This is so bad I have trouble categorizing it.
So desperate were repeat journalism ethics offender Chris Cillizza and his hopelessly biased employer CNN to find a way to turn a rumor into a new topic to mock Donald Trump with, that they displayed their collective historical ignorance across the metaphorical sky like the Northern Lights, and made those silly enough to trust them more historically ignorant than they were to begin with. (Note: journalists are supposed to make us more knowledgeable, not less.)
Apparently there has been some discussion in the White House about the U.S. buying Greenland, which belongs to Denmark. Talk is cheap, and this is, if news at all, barely news.
Asked about the non-story, economic adviser Larry Kudlow told “Fox News Sunday” that the administration is “looking at” purchasing Greenland, whatever that means. It doesn’t mean much, since Denmark saysit isn’t selling, no talks are underway, no offer has been made, and the U.S. can’t afford to rebuild its infrastructure, so the idea makes about as much sense as a family on food stamps deciding to go to Disney World.
Oh, by the way, I’m looking into buying a Rolls Royce.
Not that the idea (Greenland, not the Rolls) is completely bats: at least twice that we know about, in 1867 and 1946, the U.S. has made an offer to buy Greenland. President Truman offered $100 million for it, but Denmark turned down the offer. Nobody knows how often a President’s administration has “looked into” trying to buy the huge chunk of frozen tundra, but hey, if the “resistance” can make fun of Trump for dreaming of a white land mass, that’s news enough.
And so it was that CNN published an article by Cillizza that said in part,
“It didn’t work out so well.”
It is astounding that Cillizza could write this, and that CNN could allow it to be published. Never mind that Alaska has the largest oil field in North America. In Harvard historian Oscar Handlin’s book,”Chance Or Destiny: Turning Points In American History,” the purchase of Alaska is #5 out of ten. Written during the Cold War (I have an old copy of it right here, because unlike Chris Cillizza, I know something about American history, ’cause I read and stuff…), the book explains that had it not been for Seward’s prescient purchase, “the bases that today flank the northern ocean would not have been American, pointing toward Asia, but Russian, pointing toward the United States. If our citizens, in the air age, still feel that distance from the potential enemy gives some security to their national borders, it is in no small measure due to Mr. Seward’s bargain.”.
That’s right, bargain. Alaska’s location is now considered critical protection for the continental United States, and has been for about a hundred years. The state is uniquely positioned for supporting space surveillance and satellite control networks, tracking thousands of orbital objects on a daily basis, and providing access to refueling tankers and the Greenland ice sheet.
Did it ever occur to Cillizza to do a little research regarding Alaska, since he obvious knows less than nothing about it (knowing what isn’t true is less than nothing)? Nah. Nobody checks facts at CNN anyway.
Saying that the Alaska purchase is known today as “Seward’s Folly” is like saying that the sun never sets on the British Empire, or that Babe Ruth holds the career home run record. Try to keep up, Chris: the name “Seward’s Folly”—cartoonists drew Alaska as a worthless and uninhabitable iceberg, which is what most Americans, who were like Chris, though they had an excuse, it being the 19th Century and all—- was officially retired in 1896. That was when the Klondike Gold Rush brought over100,000 prospectors to Alaska , creating “boom towns,” businesses, and eventually, a new state.
CNN, after much chiding on social media, quietly removed the “It didn’t work out so well” line, but didn’t have the sense to excise the “Seward’s Folly” howler.