Once again I will begin by saying that those who deny the partisan bias in the mainstream media against President Trump (among other topics) deserve contempt, either for their lack of perception of the obvious, or for their atrocious citizenship. The last metaphorical rotten journalism gun choking the public with smoke was September’s effort by the New York Times and two of its reporters to continue the smearing of Justice Kavanaugh, a story quickly buried by the Ukraine phone call impeachment plot. (I know, I know, I never got my promised post up on Kavanaugh II. But I will, if it takes until December…) The latest, this time by the Washington Post, is pure res ipsa loquitur. Let me break it down:
A “high value” target believed to be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a US raid in Syria Saturday, according to multiple news reports. Baghdadi was targeted in a strike by US Special Operations forces, three US officials told ABC News. One of those officials told ABC that it is believed the ISIS leader detonated a suicide vest as the ground raid was carried out in the northwestern city of Idlib. Defense Department officials told the White House Saturday it had “great confidence” that Baghdadi was killed in the raid, Newsweek reported, citing Army sources.
This is an undeniable achievement by U.S. forces of the type that the previous President claimed great credit for, and received from the news media without hesitation.
II. Reporting on the terrorist leader’s death, some headline writer at the Washington Post naively played it straight, as if the Post was a real, trustworthy news source. Referring to Al-Baghdadi as “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-Chief” in the obituary heading. Oooh, can’t have that! It will make casual readers assume that the Trump Administration did something praiseworthy! So the foolishly objective headline writer was dispatched to the Kids Post section, and new headline was appended:
That means President Trump just killed a religious scholar! Oh, he may have been austere, but that’s no reason to kill him! Trump’s a monster!
This was so misleading and blatantly absurd that it didn’t remain for more than a couple of hours. Ultimately the Post settled on…
That’s better, but it omits the little detail that the man was a terrorist, like, for example, Osama Bin Laden. The first headline was the right one; unfortunately, it might have benefited President Trump.
III. The Post was caught red-handed. Tweeted muck-raking journalist Glenn Greenwald, no friend he either to the mainstream media or President Trump…
The Washington Post changed their headline on the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi THREE times: First, he was “terrorist-in-chief”. Then he was “an austere religious scholar”. (I doubt the Post will disclose the conversations that led to that). Now it reads “extremist leader.” Another self-inflicted legacy media wound. Keep blaming “dumb people”, “privileged white men, “deplorables”, Trump…anyone but themselves.
This headline was no accident, nor was it rushed. In fact, the original WaPo headline was “Islamic State’s terrorist-in-chief” and they changed to “austere religious scholar.” That shows a certain amount of contemplation. They got so much flak for the “religious scholar” designation that now they’ve settled on “extremist leader of Islamic State,” a still-tepid description for a man so vile and sadistic. It makes one wonder what the present-day editors of the WaPo would make of Hitler’s death if they had to report it all over again: “Animal-loving vegetarian with ambitious plans dies tragically”Or Stalin’s: “Former seminary student who became leader of a great nation is deeply mourned”
IV. Social media has taken up the challenge: the Post’s headline-writing style has now become a game. Here are some of the recent entries:
Nero, emperor who helped Christians bring light to Rome, dies at 30.
Genghis Khan, accomplished horseman and indefatigable traveler, breathes his last.
John Wilkes Booth, noted thespian, dies at age 24.
Charles Manson, club leader and motivational speaker, dies at 83
Mussolini, community service volunteer renown for getting the trains to run on time, dies at 61.
Mao Zedong, who saved 20-45 million of his own people from having to suffer through the struggle of existence, dies at 82.
Jim Jones, passionate community organizer and religious leader, dead at 47
Alphonse Capone, prominent liquor distributor, boxing promoter and supporter of St. Valentines Day activities, dies prematurely at 48
V. The problem is that, as Jack Nicholson says before his character’s meltdown in “A Few Good Men,” this isn’t funny, it’s tragic. The mainstream media no longer makes an effort to protect its credibility and trustworthiness, so devoted it is to pandering to the Trump-loathing market, and to doing what it can to undermine the President and the Presidency.
In this it really is “the enemy of the people,” and democracy, and an informed electorate, and, ultimately journalism itself. And those who overlook the obvious implications of fiascos like this one are deliberately, or negligently, participating in the deconstruction of the United States of America.