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The Atlantic’s contributing writer and former Lincoln Project adviser Tom Nichols has faced attack on social media for criticizing CNN for reporting on President Biden’s comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Saturday, Nicholas tweeted a screenshot from CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” during a discussion of Biden’s speech in Poland. During his speech, Biden made his first explicit call for the removal of Vladimir Putin since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
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“For the love of God, this man cannot stay in power,” Biden said during a speech outside the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.
CNN’s chyron read ‘Biden: Putin can’t stay in power’. In response, Nichols called the network “irresponsible” for highlighting Biden’s comments and casting it as a “war objective.”
“It’s irresponsible. This chyron makes it look like it’s kind of a war goal,” Nichols tweeted.
Several users pointed out that the chyron were Biden’s exact words, but Nichols continued to claim that CNN and other outlets were leaving out important context when it came to Biden’s comments.
“I can’t blame them for taking his words and putting them in a chyron, but without context it makes it seem like this is now what it’s all about”, Nichols later noted.
While Nichols was quick to criticize people who blamed Biden for this “irresponsible” display, he later wrote a article acknowledging the quote as an “unforced error”.
“What Biden was doing, of course, was being Joe Biden. He was speaking for all of us, from the heart. One of the most endearing things about the president — at least for those of us who look up to him – is that he has almost no self-talk and regularly indulges in the kind of gaffe where a politician says something impolitic but true,” Nichole wrote on Saturday.
The White House quickly backtracked on Biden’s initial comment after his speech, insisting that Biden was not calling for regime change in Russia.
“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not talking about Putin’s power in Russia, or about regime change,” an official said. the White House to Fox News Digital shortly after the speech ended.
Nichols himself criticized the White House for trying to bury an obvious gaffe.
“It’s okay – but I’ll just say it again, if everyone has to come out and clarify what the president *really* wanted, then he shouldn’t have improvised it. Now is not the time to improvise”, Nichols tweeted.
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Nichols continued on Sunday to criticize reporters who reported Biden’s remarks without attempting to clarify them.
“I just wrote a whole article about why I think this is a gaffe, but unlike Jimmy Olson here, I decided to include the part where the administration tried to clarify what she meant. In an international crisis, you’d think that’s something journalists should do,” Nichols tweeted.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.