Dutch Reporters Stun Trump’s Ambassador by Pressing Him to Admit He Lied About “No-Go Zones”

White House correspondents who routinely allow the president of the United States to repeat false claims unchallenged should study the footage of how their Dutch counterparts greeted Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the Netherlands on Wednesday. Dutch reporters simply ignored a plea from the new United States ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, to forget all about the fact that there is video of him lying about their country in 2015. In the video, he insisted that parts of the Netherlands have been surrendered to Islamist radicals that supposedly rule over “no-go zones” for non-Muslims, where Dutch politicians have been set on fire. After Hoekstra refused to answer one reporter’s direct question — “Are politicians being burned in the Netherlands…? Is that something you believe, yes or no?” — his colleagues immediately followed up. “If you are truly an honest and wise man,” another journalist asked, “would you please take back the remark about burned politicians — or name a politician that was burned in the Netherlands?” When Hoekstra, who was born in the Netherlands but raised in Michigan as a staunch social conservative, called for another question, two reporters asked him, “Why don’t you answer the question?” Another told the former congressman, “This is the Netherlands; you have to answer questions.” After Hoekstra had presented his credentials to the Dutch king in the Hague on Wednesday, the former congressman told reporters that he would be “moving on” from the controversy over his remarks. The reporters failed to play along, though, with one quickly asking, “Will you be visiting our ‘no-go areas’?” Hoekstra had spectacularly failed to defuse the crisis in an interview in December in which he told a reporter from the Dutch state broadcaster NOS that it was “fake news” to claim that he had said exactly what he had been recorded saying in 2015. Later in the same interview, Hoekstra stunned the reporter by claiming that he had not used the term “fake news” minutes earlier. After that debacle, Hoekstra issued a statement in which he expressed “regret” for lying to the NOS program Nieuwsuur. But he refused to retract his original comments about the entirely imaginary threat of non-Muslims being banned or attacked in areas of the Netherlands ruled according to Islamic Shariah law. The response of the Dutch press corps to Hoekstra’s lie contrasts sharply with how American reporters handled Trump’s false claim, also made in 2015, that he had watched on television as “thousands and thousands” of New Jersey Muslims had cheered the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While American news organizations comprehensively debunked Trump’s false claim — showing that there was no such footage of any mass celebration that day — reporters covering his campaign made only a few gentle attempts to confront him with the facts before they stopped asking about the lie entirely. Trump, let off the hook, assured his supporters that he had been vindicated and even mocked the physical disability of a reporter whose work undermined his account. Updated: Jan. 11, 11:14 a.m. EST This piece was updated to note the contrast with American press coverage of Donald Trump’s outrageous lie that he had seen video of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center on television on September 11, 2001. The post Dutch Reporters Stun Trump’s Ambassador by Pressing Him to Admit He Lied About “No-Go Zones” appeared first on The Intercept.

Originally posted from The Intercept which can be read here.

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