Signature Significance For “The Enemies Of The People,” Part II

Thinking about this since posting Part I yesterday, I have realized that the denial of toxic mainstream media bias, and particularly the media’s efforts to bring down President Trump, is the ultimate Jumbo-–“Elephant? What elephant?” on a grand and unforgivable scale. Want some more elephants? There were oh-so-many of them in 2018, like…

and…

and…

and, in a slightly different context,

The unethical methods used by the anti-Trump mainstream news media to ensure public fear and hostility and to minimize support for the President are familiar by now. They include…

  • Framing facts and events, whenever possible, in ongoing anti-Trump narratives rather than just reporting them.
  • Outright fake news, including misleading headlines, negative spin that distorts understanding, innuendo without evidence, and giving prominence to minor or insignificant stories to imply that they are significant.
  • Using unethical leaks and hearsay without verification to embarrass or impugn the President.
  • Deliberately under-reporting positive developments.
  • Hyping developments by speculating on worst case scenarios for the President.
  • Publishing “future news,” suggesting dire events that might happen.
  • Applying hyper-critical standards to all Presidential words and actions, and actively seeking “gotcha!” fodder.
  • Applying news standards for Trump that have never been applied to past Presidents.

It isn’t necessary to review the whole ugly year of unethical journalism. The steady state of hostility was spectacularly demonstrated over Christmas when CNN and many other news sources reported that President Trump had broken a tradition among recent Presidents by not visiting the troops. Indeed, this embarrassing fiasco could stand as the ugly monument to what our journalism has become.  Wrote NBC:

On Christmas Day, President Donald Trump took part in a long-running practice of presidents who called troops stationed around the country and the world.But he broke from a recent tradition of actually visiting troops and wounded warriors….By staying home on Tuesday, Trump became the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel around Christmastime.

This was the epitome of fake news, because the President and First Lady were deplaning in Iraq as the false story was published. Only the eagerness of the news media for a negative “gotcha!” can explain such shoddy and nasty journalism. Nobody checked with the White House. The Trump-hating journalists couldn’t wait until after Christmas to report on what the President didn’t do on Christmas, which is as incompetent as it is unethical. Incredibly, some sources have still not removed the original false story.

Once that mode of attack failed, the news media seamlessly and apparently without any self-awareness slipped into attacking the President for making the visit and manufacturing outrage over how the visit was handled.

Both CBS and NBC framed the troop visit in negative terms. CBS Evening News fill-in anchor and NFL Today host James Brown announced,  “But we begin with a historic trip today for President Trump. His first-ever to a combat zone. The President and First Lady paid a surprise visit today to U.S. troops in Iraq. The Commander-in-Chief had been criticized for not visiting a war zone sooner.”

Let me state right now that I think it is certifiably nuts to send Presidents into war zones, ever. Nobody criticized FDR, Truman, or the multiple Presidents who presided over Vietnam for not visiting the troops to boost their morale. That was Bob Hope’s job. Send Bill Maher.

Then CBS chief White House correspondent Chip Reid found a way to compare Trump’s visit unfavorably to President Obama’s time in office, saying,  “It’s the first time the President has traveled overseas to visit U.S. troops in a war zone. Critics say it took far too long, especially compared to President Obama, who visited troops in Iraq in his first three months in office.”

Note the standard “critics say” trope in both instances, which is pure deceit. You’re the critics whose saying it, you hacks.

Next CNN decided, having been among the first to attack the President for not visiting the troops, to bash the President for going! Don Lemon, who no longer even makes a pretense of objectivity, said that he and his family “turned on CNN and we saw the President politicizing a Christmas message, it was like– we kept saying, ‘he’s like the Grinch.’ I’m being honest.”

Every Presidential troop visit is political, of course. It isn’t necessary, it is costly and dangerous, and it is political theater. Only in Trump’s case, however, is this considered a legitimate target of criticism.

Then Lemon attacked the President’s words and demeanor during the visit:

Instead of being positive with the troops, saying, “this is about the troops, it’s not about me. I’m here to thank you for your service,” whatever, even if reporters ask him questions. “This is not about me. This is about the troops, they serve out country well.” Maybe he should have said, “it’s unfortunate that some of them are not getting paid and I wish they were. We’ll come to an agreement and make sure everyone gets paid, the 42,000 members of the Coast Guard who are not getting paid. So, you know, let’s be positive about Christmas.” The same thing during Christmas– It was so negative and so — you want positivity when it comes to Christmas. It is perplexing. Why would he visit the troops and do that?

Meanwhile, here was the Washington Post opening paragraphs in its story about the visit:

President Trump touched down Wednesday in Iraq in his first visit to a conflict zone as commander in chief, a week after announcing a victory over the Islamic State that his own Pentagon and State Department days earlier said remained incomplete.The president’s visit to Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, which was shrouded in secrecy, follows months of public pressure for him to spend time with troops deployed to conflicts in the Middle East and punctuates the biggest week of turmoil the Pentagon has faced during his presidency.

The Wall Street Journal, among others, flagged this as the partisan bile it was, writing in an editorial,

“[C]an anyone reading those opening two sentences wonder why millions of Americans believe Donald Trump when he tells them that he can’t get a fair shake from the press? These reporters can’t even begin a news account of a presidential visit to a military base without working in a compilation of Mr. Trump’s controversies, contradictions, and failings…such gratuitously negative reporting undermines the credibility of the press without Mr. Trump having to say a word.”

Oh, sure they can. “Elephant? What elephant?” If Facebook would allow me to post this essay—but pointing out the “Get Trump!” lynch mob the news media has turned into violates Facebook “community standards,” so I can’t—I guarantee that a large group of my damaged Facebook friends would deny that there is any mainstream media bias at all.

Caught in journalism malpractice, the Post stealth-edited the story to tone down the bias, as if a single story was the extent of its two year war on the President. Now it begins,

President Trump greeted U.S. troops on an unannounced trip Wednesday to Iraq, where he defended his decision to withdraw forces from neighboring Syria and declared that the Islamic State is “very nearly defeated” while making his first visit to a conflict zone as commander-in-chief. The president used his visit to al-Asad Air Base to amplify his call to draw down the U.S. presence in foreign wars and assert his personal influence over the military at a moment of tremendous turmoil at the Pentagon.

But the news media quickly found other ways to be negative. Melania, it seems, wore the wrong kind of boots. CNN mocked her for wearing sunglasses. (If anyone can find a single example of Michelle Obama ever being criticized for a fashion choice, let me know. I can’t recall any.) On “New Day,” Brian Karen said,

“This entire trip we should look at, from our perspective, when we cover this man, is it’s just another flash-over-substance type of thing . . . Everything with this President is staged events . . . It seems very disingenuous . . . It seems to contrived and so disingenuous . . . He should have made it earlier. He only made it because Mattis quit and he had a lot of pressure saying he hadn’t gone anywhere . . . If you put it in the larger context of what’s going on, it does seem disingenuous.” 

Nice.

CNN also found something sinister about the President handing autographing MAGA hats at the request of some of the troops, and attempted to frame it as some kind of scandal.

During Wednesday’s edition of “The Situation Room,” fill-in host and chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta asked CNN  Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr to comment on the President’s  turning the trip into a “campaign stop.”

(Pssst! CNN! The election isn’t for another two years!)

“Is that unusual, to see the President doing that on base? Does this run the risk of the President, you know, facing some accusations that he’s turning some of this into a campaign stop? What do you think?” Acosta asked. Typically not checking his facts, Acosta assumed that the President brought the hats. He did not.

Starr, of course, didn’t have the guts to say, “See, this is why you got banned from press conferences, Jim!” She dutifully replied,

“We will have to see if that actually proves to be the case. The question is, if they brought them or if the President brought them; what commander allowed that to really happen…Because this is very much against military policy and regulation. Troops are not supposed to be involved in political activities. The U.S. military is not a political force. And there’s no question, the saying “Trump 2020” and “Make America Great Again,” those are political slogans of a Trump campaign they are not governmental sayings, to say the least.”

Showing support for the Commander-in-Chief is not a political act, except among the news media who believe that the patriotic and responsible position is to hate his guts. What other President would be criticized for signing autographs for combat troops?

The New York Times, however, took the prize. Taking its cue from various Hollywood Resistance Troops on social media who attacked the visit because Trump was a “draft dodger” during Vietnam, the Times put a story on the front page that represented a new low. “A Foot Doctor’s ‘Favor’ May Have Helped Trump Avoid Vietnam” was the print headline. Online, it was Did a Queens Podiatrist Help Donald Trump Avoid Vietnam?”

Whether the story was gossip, hearsay, or rumor, whatever it was, it shouldn’t have been reported as news anywhere, much less the front page of America’s “newspaper of record.” The gist of it is that the daughters of the man who diagnosed young Donald Trump with bone spurs in his feet now speculate that he may have done so as a favor to Trump’s father. That’s it. The doctor himself is dead. There is no documentation. One of the daughters, both of whom admit to being Democrats and opposed to the President, even says, “But did he examine him? I don’t know.”  That’s enough, apparently, for the Times to make an unprovable accusation that the President’s draft deferment was fraudulent, though deep in the article there is mention that IF the doctor falsely stated that Trump had the bone spurs, there is no evidence that Trump himself didn’t believe the diagnosis.

Over at Fox News, former Washington Post and CNN ethics watchdog Howard Kurtz said,

“I’m not saying they are making it up. I am saying that they don’t know, they acknowledge that they don’t know.  You know, they are used to be at least journalistic standards — I’ve been an investigative reporter for years. There are times when you smell a story. You think it’s true, you just know in your heart that’s its true, but you can’t quite prove it. You have to wait until you have the piece of paper, the document, the first-hand evidence. All of that is missing from this New York Times story — which says maybe the paper wanted it to be true, but it simply hasn’t proven it.”

The paper wanted it to be true, and especially wants the public to believe it’s true, especially the naive and gullible members of the public who don’t believe the New York Times would ever put such a story on the front page if it wasn’t true. That is because the Times’ objective, along with most of their industry, is to destroy an elected President by any means possible, and if this permanently damages the nation, its institutions and the public’s trust in democracy, so be it.

_______________

Sources: Threadreader, Newsbusters 1, Newsbusters2, Althouse,

27 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Jumbo

27 responses to “Signature Significance For “The Enemies Of The People,” Part II

  1. Arthur in Maine

    The saddest thing about the foot doctor story: I’m currently engaged in a Facebook debate on a page dominated by lefties and owned by a journalist (in fairness, she’s a travel journalist, but she came up through the ranks and is formally trained as a reporter. She posted the Newsweek version of the story. I was incredulous – the only thing the Newsweek of today has in common with the Newsweek of 20 years ago is the name and logo. I pointed that out and also asked her if any of her editors would every have let her run with a story as thinly sourced as this one. Her response boiled down to “harrumph.”

  2. Outstanding continuation of the topic!

  3. adimagejim

    Everyday in my neck of the woods, when you are not a true resistance believer, has become a test. Leftists constantly launch their trial balloons in conversations be they business or social. Watch their eyes dart around to look for the slightest unpleasant or disapproving reaction. They are compiling literal or, at least, mental lists of who is not yet with them. It happens so often I have taught myself to chuckle a bit to disguise my understanding of what they are doing and my own distaste for them and their objectives.

    Sounds paranoid, right? So would calling the press the enemy of the people 30 years ago.

    It has become, quite analogously, very much like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ out there.

    • crella

      It’s not paranoid at all. It has become a ubiquitous facet of social interaction. Someone must start it off, ‘Boy, Trump sure was an ***hole this week!’ and all the others join in, often raising their voices (really weird!) until they all get it out of their systems, then normal socializing takes place. Any praise for policy that’s going well has to be prefaced with a disclaimer that you didn’t vote for him, or you don’t like him, before people can listen to whatever you’re going to say without flying off the handle again.

      The looks of disapproval (mine, at least) are not because I like Trump, but because I am sick to death of hearing and reading his name all the time…I have friends on social media who literally post nothing but anti-Trump memes and opinion pieces, some several times a day. It’s so condescending, that they think we all need to be told hundreds of times that Trump is Bad. Like we can’t see and decide for ourselves, that we can’t get it without it being shoved in our faces every….single….day….

  4. Chris Marschner

    The MSN story that your link points to recounts Obamas visits to troops in Hawaii in all eight years of his presidency. They failed to note that Hawaii is not exactly a war zone and Obama spent every Christmas in Hawaii as a 2 week family vacation. Stopping by a military hospital while on vacation, between rounds of golf and windsurfing for a photo op is not what I call legitimate concern.

  5. Jack wrote, “the Post stealth-edited the story to tone down the bias”

    This has become standard fare for left leaning media outlets. I read something and two days later it reads differently and there is nothing telling readers that the piece had been edited or what it said before. This is intentional deceit and I’ve talked about it before. What the left leaning media is doing is intentionally presenting fake news propaganda to emotionally rile up people against their political target and then they change it if/when opposition calls them out for it and then they act as if they never happened.

  6. One of the more telling signs of a less-than-discerning public?

    Michelle Obama Ends Hillary Clinton’s (17 year) Run as Most Admired

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/245669/michelle-obama-ends-hillary-clinton-run-admired.aspx

  7. Other Bill

    I can only speculate what the press’s reaction would have been had Air Force One, a great big, slow landing 747, had been shot down by an RPG. What a STUPID idea.

  8. Steve

    This is all getting really dangerous and I don’t like the fact that Mattis and Kelly are out.

    The silencing of dissenting voices, the rage at not having a representative point of view presented and the devaluing/stigmatatizing of the lives of those they disagree with have us steadily on the road to armed conflict.

    In a sense a large portion of the media is acting in a concerted effort to disenfranchise half the U.S. population, it is acting in a manner that is nearly indistinguishable from the power of a government organization. The founders built in a solution to tyranny, it is a simple solution and has lasting consequences.

    Food for thought, most of you won’t know or think about this but those many combat vets, those several million infantrymen, that we trained and have vast experience, they are not in service anymore, they live next door to you. We listen to former unit commanders we respect but there are only a couple senior commanders that have the respect that could significantly sway veterans actions in a time of peril. If this train goes off the rails and I think the track is in really bad repair, the speed in which things will happen will preclude the government being able to effectively recover.

    I am a career Marine, I retired after 24 years and my job often had me working at the highest levels and in places of the world that no one knew the U.S. had people. I have worked for Gen Mattis, Charelli, Casey, and a few others. I have the utmost faith and trust in Mattis, he has earned it in my opinion. So I know that myself, many Marines and soldiers will follow his guidance so he will remain a bulwark to disaster.

    With all that said and with the post about the ethical concerns over the Warrior Monk’s resignation letter, I normally agree with Jack about tell-alls and public resignation letters, but consider that Mattis was communicating with veterans and he was also doing a favor to all citizens, if he didn’t publicaly enumerate his reasons the media would have spun have all kinds of stories courtesy of some anonymous official. I think he chose the most ethical course given what the enemy of the people are up to.

    • Steve,
      Without going into any real detail as to why, you should really read Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions

      P.S. Thank you for your many years of service to the United States of America.

      • Steve

        Noted and one of the reasons it took me a while to come to my opinion. I just can’t let it go, with a bad actor involved with the nation breaking power they are abusing the ethical consideration to combat that, with information and facts to me is the most important competing ethical consideration. Or are we talking non ethical considerations?

        • Steve wrote, “with a bad actor involved with the nation breaking power they are abusing the ethical consideration to combat that”

          Can you please explain what you’re trying to say in that statement?

          • Steve

            Missing a comma after “abusing”. If that doesn’t help to clear up that mess of a thought I will try to later.

            • Steve wrote, “Missing a comma after “abusing”. If that doesn’t help to clear up that mess of a thought I will try to later.”

              I figured there were a couple of commas missing, even then I think a further explanation is needed – at least for my simple mind. 😉

              • Steve

                I just can’t let it go, with the very powerful, completely unethical media involved the most ethical means in which to combat them is with information and facts. To me the most important competing ethical consideration is to insure that the reason he is leaving is clearly understood and not misinterpreted, or more clearly stated his leaving doesn’t create the spark that burns the nation down. Or are we not now talking about non ethical considerations like destroying nations? We are one misstep from having a Fort Sumter. I will go back to the comment you first referenced and answer it here when I can.

    • Steve,
      Also, please read this commentand submit your opinion based on your many years of service.

      • Steve

        I read over it and some other comments, I only read the post because I was trying to capture an idea that wouldn’t quite form. There is a lot to unpack in that comment and I will try to get to it after a bit.

        I will ask you to ponder and take as fact something until I can reply later in some detail.

        I have know Mattis since the 90s, he makes mistakes, even big ones but the moniker Warrior Monk is a truism of Mattis but beyond that is that he is a living legend, veterans, not just Marines follow his lead. I am trying to put in terms that I know isn’t doing it justice.

        • Let’s be clear about something Steve; I don’t know all the details about the Syria withdrawal and neither do you. I am not basing my opinion about Mattis’ resignation behavior on his military expertise, his difference of opinion about the withdrawal, his honorable military history, or whether I think we should or should not withdrawal from Syria. I’m basing my opinion on his behavior when he resigned and military protocol regarding what he did when he resigned. I won’t rationalize his resignation behavior based on his past history no matter how honorable it is.

          Mattis was wrong.

        • Steve wrote, “I will ask you to ponder and take as fact something until I can reply later in some detail.”

          Thanks

      • Steve

        Andrew Wakeling wrote, “I hope we could also agree that Mattis has a ‘right’ to write his resignation letter and to distribute 50 copies to his staff.”

        Having the “right” to do something doesn’t make what was done right.

        In this instance I would say he had a responsibility to clearly state his reasoning for resigning. I am sure I will get to why later on down the comment.

        The resignation was between Mattis and his immediate superior the President of the United States, no one else. What Mattis did was quite intentionally done. It’s apparent that it was done to intentionally sow discord in the ranks and gain support for Mattis’ position as opposed to President Trump’s position. for brevity I will just try to break in when I can. It was intentionally done to do the exact opposite, Mattis leaving had to be explained, because it is Mattis, and it had to be from him. It was unprofessional military behavior for Mattis to share details of his resignation with anyone but the President himself, it wasn’t following military decorum, it was intentionally disrespectful of the President of the United States and the chain of command, and it was intentional bad conduct. President Trump brought Mattis on because he is Mattis, he is a living military legend who is as A political as any officer ever, he is fully trusted by most everyone. Trump having Mattis at his side was a signal and guarantee that while Mattis was there the honor of the service would not be sullied. There was no other that could have done that, Petraeus may have been able to fill his shoes at one time but he was always seen as more political even before his fall. Mattis has the personal loyalty of millions of troops that he built on battlefields, he is a distinct figure in society in that he has millions of trained killers who take personal interest in his position and opinion. Additionally I think your characterization of the resignation letter as intentional bad conduct is hyperbolic. Anyone in the military that engages in such sow discord behavior has earned public rebuke and being fired from the position and maybe discharged. As I said before if any person under Mattis did the same thing to Mattis they would have been removed from the position immediately, and busted significant rank, and likely discharged from the military because of the high ranking nature of the position; to put it bluntly, there would have been HELL to pay. A military leader does not intentionally poison the chain of command to his/her subordinates and/or the public, it’s completely unacceptable behavior in all ranks of the military and if it happens that person must be taken to task immediately and in a very visible way!nope you’re coming at it all wrong, what it did was to tell everyone why he was leaving and what it communicated was “we disagree on these points, I am not concerned about Armageddon.”

        There is absolutely no ambiguity here; what Mattis did was wrong for many reasons. The President of the United States had two choices; first choice was to ignore the bad conduct and risk future possible problems because he ignored it; second choice was to make an example of Mattis showing everyone in the ranks that that type of bad conduct from subordinates will not be tolerated. The President made the right choice.I would say it differently, the President didn’t fuck it up yet. The president brought on Mattis, someone who’s cult of personality is much more firmly based on reality and whose following though mostly apolitical in nature is very active when it pertains to General Mattis. This is a good situation to demonstrate why maybe Secdefs shouldn’t be former General Officers, kinda blurs civilian control with military loyalty.

        Andrew Wakeling wrote, “He did not divulge the nuclear attack codes or other secrets. He just made clear the key areas of difference (politely and respectfully on my reading), that drove his decision.”
        I do think your characterization of the letter as disrespectful a bit much, I can see and understand the argument of making it public being disrespectful but in this case I don’t agree.

        Rationalizations?

        Andrew Wakeling wrote, “To my mind Zoltar your position supports the onward slide into ever greater manipulation of news and information and the deep undermining of the democratic ideal.”
        Where you and I started this conversation this morning goes somewhat to his point and why I brought it up in Jacks “enemys” post. There is no room for misunderstandings or anonymous officials with Mattis leaving, especially balanced with Kelly’s departure, all the animosity and mistrust building in our country, we just can not afford to accidentally drop a spark.

        I think that’s an extrapolation into absurdity. You have no solid basis for that. really? have you paid any attention to the shit they report and don’t?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.