Hurricane causes flood of media hate against Texas and Trump; and other journalism disasters

Disasters bring out the best and worst in people.

There are big-hearted celebrities like Sandra BullockJ.J. Watt, Kevin Hart and others working hard to aid the flood victims. (Please donate here!)

There are reporters like CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera who rescue those in need, remembering that they are first and foremost human beings, not just journalists.

But for many in the media, the storm is just one more chance to rain on President Donald Trump’s parade. One more chance to remind ordinary Americans that they hate Texas, Texans and anyone connected to Trump. Politico and Charlie Hebdo were the worst of the pack, but there were far too many outlets and cartoonists trying to use a disaster to further their own agenda.

Politico tweeted out a cartoon from Pulitzer winner Matt Wuerker on Wednesday and it was met by a storm of controversy. The image depicts a Confederate flag-wearing man being rescued from a house emblazoned with a giant Texas flag with the word “Secede” written on it. A Gadsden flag (stating “DON’T TREAD ON ME,” used in the American Revolution and by some modern tea party groups) is being covered in the floodwaters nearby. The man shouts: “Angels! Sent by God!” The rescuer responds: “Er, actually Coast Guard … sent by the government.”

The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake summed it up nicely. “It's almost a caricature of what you'd expect a liberal cartoonist to draw in response to conservative Texans relying upon the government in their time of crisis. The Confederate flag T-shirt. The Gadsden Flag. The reference to being saved by God (which seems extremely dismissive of Christianity). The Texas secession banner. It's all kind of ... predictable?”

Yes, predictable. Because we expected it and it happened. Left-wing Politico discovered that many people don’t actually hate the storm victims and promptly deleted the tweet. Only one problem: the cartoon is still available on the Politico website – while people have died in Texas from that very same flood.

Wuerker released the obligatory phony statement to try and fend off his numerous critics. He claimed: “It of course was not aimed at Texans in general, any more than a cartoon about extremists marching in Charlottesville could be construed as a poke at all Virginians.” Except, of course, the people dying or losing everything from the flood are Texans in general.

Wuerker’s whole Twitter account is filled with attacks on conservatives, including a retweet of a similar cartoon and one showing a photo of high-heeled swim fins for Melania Trump. That second one reflects on yet another Politico use of the flood for political gain. (See below.)

Politico wasn’t the only clueless, hateful outlet to push a cartoon making fun of flood victims. Charlie Hebdo, the controversial French publication, did its part. Its cover depicted a bunch of drowning Nazis saluting, with only their limbs and the tops of Nazi flags showing. The headline? “God Exists! He Drowned All Neo Nazis of Texas!”

This might be a good time to remind Charlie Hebdo staffers that the only reason they aren’t goose-stepping today is thanks to a ton of Americans who risked everything – including some who gave their lives – to liberate France from the Nazis in World War II. Many of these heroes came from Texas including one of the most-decorated American soldiers of World War II, Audie Murphy.

2. Let’s Play Politics With People’s Lives Part II: When CNN correspondent Rosa Flores shoved a microphone in the face of one flood victim, she got more than she bargained for. “But y’all sit here, y’all trying to interview people during their worst times – like that’s not the smartest thing to do,” said the angry woman. She went on to toss a few four-letter words at CNN before it cut the segment. Just as Ed Lavandera showed the sensitive side of journalism, this showed the insensitive.

There was a lot of that.

MSNBC’s amazingly biased Katy Tur (D-J school) complained that it was too early for President Trump to go to Texas. She went on that “there's real concern that his going there is going to have to divert, at least a little bit, some resources away from the rescue effort and toward him.” CBS’s openly left-wing morning co-host Gayle King wondered if it was “the best time for him to come?”

Then when the president got to Texas, both “Morning Joe” and CNN complained he didn’t have enough empathy. “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski followed her usual froth-at-the-mouth line that there was “something wrong with” the president. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny whined that there was “very little in terms of empathy from this president.”

Then there was Slate, with a headline just complaining about … stories of heroism. “Why It’s Misleading to Say That Houston Showcases ‘America at Its Best.’” The subhead to the story added: “Natural disasters shouldn’t be used for the purpose of national mythmaking.”

Pretty sure those thousands of heroes and volunteers aren’t myths. But Slate’s integrity sure is.

3. Hurricanes Must Mean Global Warming: Weather coverage is reliable. A lack of major storms must mean climate change. The first major storm to make landfall in more than a decade? Climate change again. It’s the perfect answer to every question.

The horrendous flooding in Texas meant journalists moved from the first strategy to the second. And they did so with ease. So many that it was impossible to tell the “journalism” from the opinion. One claimed, “there’s a connection between rising global greenhouse gas levels and the extreme weather now being inflicted.” (Journalism, allegedly). “Now we have a moral duty to talk about climate change.” (Opinion).

Apparently, we don’t have a moral duty to discuss how the Galveston hurricane of 1900 was far and away the most deadly in American history – with between 6,000 and 12,000 dead. But that wouldn’t be climate change, so journalists won’t discuss it.

CBS’s Manuel Bojorquez also pointed the finger also at Houston development while interviewing one climate change alarmist. “He says when Harvey came ashore, the storm laid bare another problem decades in the making: The massive paving over of the area’s natural wetlands and prairies,” explained Bojorquez.

Of course, if one wanted to push an agenda, it’s worth noting that Houston has been led by Democratic mayors for 35 years. A point Bojorquez didn’t bring up.

4. Chinese Water Torture Journalism: Journalists would love it if Russia or some similar big story took down the Trump administration. Failing that, they have chosen the time-honored method of the Chinese Water Torture. The goal is to damage President Trump with a series of mindless, minor stories.

We had two wonderful examples this week. First, the outrage over the First Lady Melania Trump’s shoes. Yes, I’m embarrassed to type that. Even more embarrassing were the comments coming from journalists who used the shoes as “a symbol for what many see as the disconnect between the Trump administration and reality.”

The number of heels who whined about heels could have filled a shoe store – The Daily Beast, Politico, The New York Times, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair. Refinery29 writer Maria Del Russo called Melania “flood watch Barbie.”

And Vogue’s Lynn Yeager was much mocked for her criticism of the first lady. “But what kind of message does a fly-in visit from a First Lady in sky-high stilettos send to those suffering the enormous hardship, the devastation of this natural disaster?” she wrote. Conservatives on social media skewered Yeager’s own lack of sartorial excellence. Firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos’s critique was so harsh I won’t even quote it. But it was well-earned.

Then there were the Finns. During a press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Trump made the unforgivable mistake of mixing up two journalists sitting next two each other. The two women were both blonde and almost identical height, but the mix-up became international news.

The Washington Post carried an Associated Press story that led with: “It appeared to be a case of all blondes look alike for President Donald Trump,” and USA Today went with, “Well, mistakes happen.”

These all harken back to the standard liberal ways to attack conservatives. All conservatives must be: stupid, crazy, racist or evil … or some combination all four. The heels story was an attempt to make the Trumps look heartless and therefore evil, and the goal of the Finns pieces was to make Trump look stupid.

It’s been a media strategy that dates at least to President Reagan. We’ve just never seen it deployed on this extensive a scale before.

5. Goodbye Columbus, Hello Aztec Sacrifice: Nothing says tolerance like ripping someone’s heart out in a ritual sacrifice. Welcome to the City of Angels. So intent are liberals there to express their disdain for European culture, they now want to celebrate a barbaric native culture.

And The Los Angeles Daily News helped them do it. The City Council just approved replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day (just rolls right off the tongue). During that debate, the Daily News wrote a story citing one man and “pointing to his own ‘indigenous identity’ connected to the Aztecs.”

The story went on about his Aztec ties for four full paragraphs, never mentioning some of the pesky details about the Aztecs like human sacrifice on a massive scale. Just last month, NPR posted a story on its website headlined: “Aztec 'Tower Of Skulls' Reveals Women, Children Were Sacrificed.” Pretty sure Journalism 101 would cover that in the “who” or “what” questions.

Hurray For Hollywood: “F*** Donald Trump” seems all the rage on the Left Coast. It was played off camera during MTV’s Video Music Awards and nearly forgotten rapper Eminem chanted his version of it, “F*** Trump,” leading a concert audience in England to do the same. Meanwhile, hateful former celebrity Kathy Griffin unapologized for her crazy beheading Trump photo. The theoretical comedian even launched a “Laugh Your Head Off” tour, probably replacing her, “I Have No Talent” dates.

The left isn’t done bashing Texas and the South. The new B movie “Bushwick” depicts a world where “Texas has seceded from the United States” and, for some reason, secessionist troops travel all the way to Bushwick in Brooklyn to invade. (Why not pick Philly and at least get some cheesesteaks?) I don’t blame the idiot “creative” minds behind the movie. I blame the media people who already love it, in the midst of a disaster in Texas.

The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane began his clueless review of this movie with: “Some films have all the luck.” Because depicting Texans as awful villains while they are being heroic rescuing men, women and children and even pets is so trenchant.

In another example of bashing of conservatives, CNN is using Labor Day to release The Reagan Show,” a new anti-Reagan movie. The ads show Reagan saying: “Together we will make America great again.” Given how anti-Trump CNN is, this could reach Acosta-level stupidity.

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.