In the hours after the false missile alert in Hawaii, lots of folks online and in real life were asking themselves the same questions. “If an alert was real, what would I do? What should I do?” It was a busy news day, and I didn’t have much time, but I drafted a relatively short post designed to make some simple points. Nuclear strikes are not as destructive as many people imagine, and there are simple things you can do that can actually increase your chances of survival.
That was it. That was the purpose of the post. You can read it here.
In fact, on re-reading it, I’m slightly embarrassed. The post is so basic and simple that it barely scratches the surface of decent prepping. As something of an amateur prepper, I have thousands more words I could unleash. But this wasn’t a magazine piece. It was a blog post.
I wrote about it and forgot about until I got an alert on my phone. MSNBC host Joy Reid tweeted this to her one million followers:
And the magazine in question is the once-august National Review. We have truly entered the age of insanity when the conservative argument in favor of risking nuclear war is, “don’t worry, it will only kill Democrats and minorities.” Shame on you, @DavidAFrench https://t.co/YARwfhRNRE— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 17, 2018
What the heck? I said nothing of the sort. Not only did I say nothing like that, I can’t imagine saying anything like that. It’s not only antithetical to my deepest beliefs, it’s directly contradicted by two long pieces I’ve written that were specifically intended to highlight the horrific risks of an all-out conflict with North Korea.
During my time in the Army, I deployed to South Korea briefly during Operation Key Resolve in 2010. I sat in a bunker for hours watching the projected casualty counts from an North Korean invasion mount up to truly terrifying levels. I’m a veteran of the Iraq War and grieve still for lost friends. You don’t need to tell me that war is hell.
So where did Reid get her information? The quote is entirely fabricated. But is there any reason why she’d think I’d say something like that? Well, it turns out that she pointed out to a Raw Story reprint of a Newsweek piece that purports to summarize my post. It begins like this:
Amid heightened tensions with nuclear armed North Korea a conservative magazine is telling its readers not to worry about a potential nuclear strike because they live in America’s suburbs and countryside.
An article published Monday in the National Review reassures readers that nuclear war—and North Korea’s arsenal—shouldn’t cause them concern because a nuclear strike will mostly vaporize those in major cities while suburbanites will come out largely unscathed.
The piece went on to note that Trump voters tend to live outside cities. No person could read my post in good faith and conclude that I believed that nuclear war shouldn’t cause concern. No person could read my post in good faith and think that I was making a political point. Republicans and Democrats alike should have survival plans for emergencies. They should maintain basic stocks of supplies. They should understand the simple things that make it more likely they’ll survive the worst.
But whatever. There’s clickbait to write, and when there’s clickbait, then partisan smears aren’t far behind.
The strange part of this is I actually know Joy. We’ve talked, I’ve been on her show, and while I disagree with her politics, I’ve found her to be perfectly pleasant and civil. Others have had different experiences, unfortunately. But I’ll hold out a shred of hope. Perhaps she’ll actually read my post, realize her mistake, and apologize. If she does, I’m happy to forgive her and move on. Until then, MSNBC should know that one of its hosts is making things up. It’s a smear, pure and simple. There is no excuse.