The year ends like the year began — with the media attacking President Donald Trump and his supporters. It’s not a holiday matter of naughty or nice. Instead, almost every story is hateful, vindictive or worse.
This week, the media attacked Trump on everything from building the border wall to pulling out of Syria.
1. If You Build It, They Will Snark: Few issues divide left and right more clearly than building a border wall. Conservatives strongly support it, liberals oppose it as part of their open borders agenda.
With Trump pushing hard for wall funding, the media went to town and the divide led to a partial government shutdown. Both CNN and The Washington Post embraced the drama and immediately installed shutdown clocks on their sites. CNN’s was more honest, noting “Government has been partially shut down for” and then giving the total. The Post called its clock merely “Time since shutdown began,” giving the false impression that it was a general shutdown instead of a partial one.
Journalists had certainly prepped for the battle. CBS termed the conservative opposition to caving on border security as coming from the “far right.” NBC said Trump would have given in “until the roar from typically ferociously loyal conservatives.” I think they meant to say “voters.”
CBS even termed a possible surrender on Trump’s part as a “compromise.”
MSNBC reporter Cal Perry pretended dragging kids 3,000 miles through Mexico and eventually through desert wasn’t putting them at risk. He called that idea “xenophobic nonsense.” He layered on the pro-illegal immigration argument describing the issue as: “America is an idea. And America is an idea that everybody should take a part in. It’s an idea of civil liberties.”
If “everybody” taking part in the nation isn’t a clear open borders argument, I’m not sure what is.
The highlight of this wall war was watching White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller own CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer. Wolf claimed in a wide-ranging combat that, “the Democrats support border security.”
Miller savaged him and Democrats in response, listing numerous ways the Democrats had opposed border security including: “They voted against Kate’s Law. They voted against ending sanctuary cities.” He continued, saying, “They voted time and time against a physical border wall to stop illegal entry. I mean, where is the evidence that you keep asserting they’re for border security? They haven’t been,” he added.
Wolf’s lame response to this was simply: “Stephen, I want to move on to another sensitive issue.” No wonder.
2. Mattis resigns and it gets complicated – very complicated
Journalists who didn’t care when President Barack Obama fired Defense Secretary James Mattis without even a phone call were suddenly in a furor when Mattis resigned Friday, after disagreeing with Trump about Syria.
NBC Special Correspondent Tom Brokaw compared Trump to movie villain Capt. Queeg and said “getting rid of general Mattis is like the captain of a sinking ship firing the Coast Guard.” Brokaw apparently forgot the story of “The Caine Mutiny” where Queeg was unfairly maligned and undermined by his officers.
CNN accused Trump of having a scandal “probably worse than Watergate” and knowing “all the best words, mob words.” Their words were more predictable. CNN and its anti-Trump sister network MSNBC claimed “the walls are closing in” at the White House more than 50 times in just 10 days. Although, now it looks like the official liberal talking point term has shifted to “the wheels are coming off.” (See below.)
Journalists correctly ended the week focusing on the Mattis resignation because he was a major White House figure, as well as popular on the right and a quote machine for journalists. But the issue soon became complicated.
The Syrian pullout dropped The New York Times officially on both sides of the ongoing debate at the same time. A January editorial criticized Trump’s increase of troops in Syria as “poorly conceived, too dependent on military action and fueled by wishful thinking.” It even warned about whether “the mission won't creep more.”
Fast forward 11 months and The Times had a different answer — once more anti-Trump. The Times editorial board warned readers this time of Trump’s “abrupt and dangerous troop withdrawal decision.”
The media described the resignation as chaos. The Daily Beast added: “Fear Mounts as Mattis Quits Pentagon.” The Hill went with: “The worrisome meaning of Mattis’ departure.”
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Host Joe Scarborough called the pullout “foreign policy welfare for Vladimir Putin.” CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta raised the question of “whether the wheels are on over here at the White House” in response.
Interestingly, while most in the media were using the resignation to bash Trump, Washington Post Global Opinions Editor Karen Attiah used it as a time to slam Mattis for downplaying the Saudi role in the killing of Post writer Jamal Khashoggi. “Please spare me the ‘Mattis stands up for US values’ takes,” she wrote.
3. The Reality of Fake News and Other Journalistic Failures: Fake news never happens, claim many in journalism. Then there’s reality. Der Spiegel, a prominent German news magazine, found out how real. It is now publishing a massive 23-page special report about “how one of its award-winning reporters faked stories for years and dealt a blow to media credibility,” according to The Guardian.
Reporter Claas Relotius’ “dispatch from Trump country featured a ‘Mexicans Keep Out’ sign. But he made it all up,” wrote The Washington Post. His whole goal was to destroy Trump supporters. Locals who dissected the attacks for The Spectator described Relotius’ reporting as “endless pages of an insulting, if not hilarious, excuse for journalism.”
It gets better. CNN International awarded him "Journalist of the Year" in 2014.
The media constantly claim neutrality. But the more you know, the less you should believe it. The Financial Times just declared left-wing billionaire George Soros its “Person of the Year.” Why? Because of “the values he represents.” Soros has been a major funder of liberal causes and candidates for decades to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
And speaking of liberal journalism, Vanity Fair is still trying to dig into Brett Kavanaugh, The High School Years – 35 years ago. Contributing Editor Evgenia Peretz compared Kavanaugh’s alma mater to the mob, describing the scene as “Georgetown Prep’s Culture of Omertà” or code of silence. It even depicted Kavanaugh and two friends as an “unholy trinity,” to color them as evil and also attack their Catholic faith.