Dan Gainor: Terrorists, gang-bangers and porn star get good media coverage -- Proof of journalism's decline

The American media gave sympathetic coverage this past week to the terrorist group Hamas, the gang bangers of MS-13 and a porn star – while continuing relentless attacks on the president of the United States.

And you thought “journalism” couldn’t get any worse.

The week began with another signature achievement for President Trump – the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv was a promise that dated back to the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton.

Clinton went on to ignore the promise, as did both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama after him, despite a 1995 law that required the embassy move unless it endangered U.S. national security.

Candidate Trump promised to move the embassy and has now done what he promised.

Hamas organized weeks of riots at the border fence separating Israel and Gaza to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel – an event the Palestinians call Al Nakba (the Catastrophe) – and coinciding with the embassy opening.

First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner – both advisers to the president – attended the opening. The media made huge sport out of a photo of Ivanka Trump smiling at the celebration of the embassy opening.

Then an interesting thing happened. Hamas admitted that 50 of the 62 people who were killed were members of its terrorist organization.

The New York Daily News ran with a cover photo of Ivanka Trump and an inset photo of Palestinians carrying off a wounded rioter in Gaza many miles away. It featured the headline: “DADDY'S LITTLE GHOUL." Daily News Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich used to be the HuffPost executive editor. So that level of professionalism shouldn’t surprise people.

Sixty-two Palestinians were reportedly killed in Gaza in the past week and media outlets rushed to slam Israel, which was defending its border fence against rioters and terrorists trying to breach the defensive barrier. Some admitted in interviews that they wanted to launch attacks inside Israel.

“With 60 Killed In Gaza, U.N. Rights Commissioner Criticizes Israel,” NPR reported. “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb blamed the new embassy opening for the violence. “The opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem fueling outrage, with more protests planned today,” she alleged. Because somehow Palestinian violence is a new thing.

CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reported on “CBS This Morning” that Palestinians were “furious after the U.S. Embassy was moved to Jerusalem,” as if they had not been rioting for weeks.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” Chief Foreign Correspondent Terry Moran linked the two events. He noted that, as Ivanka Trump and her husband left, “they also left behind this: More clashes throughout Gaza and the West Bank.”

Moran went on to repeat what is now considered a wildly questionable claim, that a Palestinian baby had been killed by tear gas. (Who brings their baby to a violent riot?) “A baby suffocated by tear gas laid to rest. They draped their flag on the little body,” he reported. The Washington Post went through several edits on its online story, gradually downplaying the certainty of how the baby died.

Then an interesting thing happened. Hamas admitted that 50 of the 62 people who were killed were members of its terrorist organization. The Times of Israel also added that “the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad had said on Tuesday that three members of its Saraya al-Quds military wing were killed by Israeli forces in Khan Younis.” That means 85 percent of those killed belonged to terrorist groups.

That was too much truth. ABC, CBS and NBC dropped the story like a hot potato. The Washington Post ran a front-page story the next day that seemed entirely ignorant of the news. Instead, it blamed Israel “for its alleged use of excessive force” and added that Israel “is facing questions about why protests by mostly unarmed Palestinians ended in horrific bloodshed.”

No wonder when President Trump tweeted out about his poll numbers this week, he said: “Much of the Media may be corrupt, but the People truly get it!”

2. Media Outright Lie About Trump MS-13 Comment: There’s media bias and then there’s how the media handled the president’s comment about the violent gang MS-13. They just made it up and bombarded the public with a lie.

The president was asked a question about MS-13 and he responded with appropriate tough talk: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president with a great putdown: “if the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to.”

The news media went nuts. Outlet after outlet misreported the story. It was like ABC’s Brian Ross had suddenly become a global news editor. The Associated Press, the New York Times‏, the New York Daily News, the networks and many other news organizations joined in – all pretending President Trump had bashed immigrants, not gangs.

The Times tweeted: “Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders ‘animals.’”

The Daily News went with a bizarre version of the story, making it about all immigrants, not just illegals. “Trump Hurls Hate at Immigrants,” it said.

Snopes, the supposed fact-checkers, got it wrong, too. It claimed, “Trump referred to some people who cross the border illegally as ‘animals.’” That’s only true if you admit those “some” are murderous gang members.

A parade of media lefties rose to attack Trump for the comment. CNBC Editor-at-Large John Harwood defended the humanity of MS-13 members. “However repugnant their actions, MS-13 gang members are human beings IMHO.”

Over at CNN, Contributor Ana Navarro compared Trump to “Nazis” and “slave owners,” saying “he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.” “I’m a lot more concerned of why he does things like call immigrants animals – when we start dehumanizing people.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes claimed: “This MS-13 nonsense has precisely the same structure as the racist drug war rhetoric of the crack years.”   

Even Planned Parenthood got into the act, tweeting: “Immigrants are people. They are our neighbors, our friends, and members of the Planned Parenthood family.” Is MS-13 part of the Planned Parenthood family? I wouldn’t be surprised.

Then came the fallout. AP admitted it had been wrong and deleted its initial tweet “because it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members.”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper helped out and‏ gave “context” to the president’s remarks, noting accurately that they “came as a sheriff was complaining about restrictions placed on ICE databases, and MS-13 gang members.”

And, ironically, New York Times White House Reporter Julie Davis got the story right and her employer even tweeted that out with the same account. “Trump invokes fear of dangerous criminals clamoring to breach the border at WH immigration roundtable today; saying, ‘These aren’t people, these are animals.’”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president with a great putdown: “If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they're more than welcome to.”

3. Porn-Friendly TV: The play “Avenue Q” has a song exclaiming “the Internet is for porn.” That was before Stormy Daniels and her lawyer hit the scene. The Internet has been replaced by TV news.

Forget the has-been porn star and focus on her TV star lawyer Michael Avenatti. He’s been on broadcast and cable news 147 times in just 10 weeks – all to bash President Trump. That’s the only reason he gets any air time. He actually appeared seven times on one single day.

Thank CNN for most of this travesty – 74 of the appearances. That isn’t too surprising, since he’s been partying with CNN anchor Don Lemon and others out at Sag Harbor. The wife of CNN Political Commentator Errol Louis tweeted about it and then deleted it. She even made her Twitter account private. Too late.

When Avenatti wasn’t partying with the media, he was threatening to sue them. Two different publications felt his legal wrath. Avenatti also had a dustup with the Hollywood Reporter and allegedly called a reporter there an obscene name. He’s also being investigated by the State Bar of California for allegedly unpaid taxes.

If it sounds like a TV show plot, others might agree. Mediaite reported: “A ‘Crossfire-style’ television show for 2018 is being pitched to CNN and MSNBC, starring none other than Anthony Scaramucci and Michael Avenatti.”

Avenatti responded to reports of getting a TV show with a tweet, saying: “Lol. I have no interest in television right now.”

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.