Media obsession with Michael Cohen trumps coverage of Trump’s North Korea summit – until it ends with no deal

No matter how obsessed the media have become with President Trump’s former personal lawyer, the biggest story this past week happened on the other side of the world from Washington.

Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a quest to denuclearize North Korea. Who knew that the typical shorthand for North Korea – NoKo – also became shorthand for the summit results.

The deadlock on the Korean Peninsula is so old that it now qualifies for Social Security. Yet the media acted like they wanted Trump to fix it with a few short meetings. Only in reality, they didn’t.


CNN had warned the summit might turn out badly even before President Trump traveled to the meeting in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The news channel turned to its resident expert – the former senior adviser to President Obama’s ambassador to China. Of course, that’s also CNN national security analyst and active anti-Trumper Jim Sciutto.

Sciutto cautioned that there was a “wider concern that the president may give up too much to get a win, as it were, from these talks.”

NBC tried the same strategy, warning of attempts at peace. Anchor Lester Holt must have talked to many of the same “critics” who were “concerned about what President Trump may be willing to concede in this second summit and whether Kim could flatter him into giving up too much.”

Essentially, these journalists were setting Trump up to fail on the small chance he succeeded.

Once the talks broke down, the media sharks acted like there was blood in the water. ABC “World News” anchor David Muir took a bizarre position, asking of Trump: “Why did he put Kim Jong Un back on the world stage, allowing him to sit across from an American president without knowing what was going to happen?” So never negotiate unless you know the results?

CNN’s whiny Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta took to the baseball metaphors saying, “strike one in Singapore, he didn’t get a deal from Kim Jong Un,” following up with “it’s strike two in Hanoi.”

Quartz even went after the price of the trip, complaining that “the entire Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un summit looks like it may have been a costly mistake” costing $6 million. The website did a detailed cost breakdown. Counting pennies for a nation $22 trillion in debt and trying to prevent war with a nuclear power.

2. Washington Post Backtracks: It’s amazing what lawyers and a $250-million lawsuit can accomplish. The Post ran a more than 200-word “editor’s note” about the Covington High School hate crime hoax six weeks after the first story appeared.

The note read like lawyers held the Post editors hostage. Here’s some classic D.C. legal gibberish: “Subsequent reporting, a student’s statement and additional video allow for a more complete assessment of what occurred, either contradicting or failing to confirm accounts provided in that story – including that Native American activist Nathan Phillips was prevented by one student from moving on, that his group had been taunted by the students in the lead-up to the encounter, and that the students were trying to instigate a conflict.”

That’s a 68-word rationalization, with four commas and a long dash. You think the Post is just a tiny bit worried that it took six weeks to address the issue? The Post’s Twitter feed also admitted the company deleted an earlier tweet "in light of later developments."

The funny thing about suits is that people worry they’ll be taken to the cleaners.

3. Harris in Black and White: Last week, I defended CNN and NPR. This week, it’s Democrat Sen. Kamala Harris? The far-left former California attorney general was attacked on MSNBC because “the African-American community expects more from people who look like us,” at least according to Tiffany Cross of The Beat DC. She added that Harris needs to “find a prominent blue-collar, self-made, black man to be in your corner.”

The race-baiting of Harris, who is black, is not new. The Washington Post wrote just two weeks ago that “some African Americans are questioning Kamala Harris’s blackness.” Because, according to the Post: “Her father is a Jamaican immigrant; her mother is a Tamil Indian immigrant. Her husband is a white man from New York.”

That’s not good enough for MSNBC. Political contributor Jason Johnson wasn’t subtle about it either. "Let's just be candid. When you're saying she needs to have an advocate out there, it's not going to be her husband. She needs to surround herself with African-American men," he said.

I’m certain that if these quotes appeared in conservative media the left would demand someone be fired.

4. Acosta Whines … Again: If pride indeed goeth before the fall, CNN’s Jim Acosta better watch his step.

Acosta’s weekly dust-up with President Trump was fueled by the fact that Acosta did not get called to rant and rave during the news conference in Vietnam following the summit with Kim Jong Un. He accused the president of committing the grave sin of having “steered clear largely” of the White House press corps.

According to Acosta, Trump was “selecting journalists at random from the other side of the room where there were foreign journalists seated.” Gosh, a president holding a press conference about foreign policy in a foreign nation, I wonder why he might do that?

But Acosta quickly got to the heart of the matter, saying of the president: “I think that was by design. That was because he didn't want to really answer the questions about Michael Cohen.”

Again, yes, Trump was talking about the attempt to end a nuclear threat and not getting caught up in the media narrative of a convicted liar. And, in reality, Trump called on several members from the White House press corps, including reporters for The New York Times, Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NPR, Bloomberg and Fox News.

If you noticed that CNN was missing from the list, you know the real reason.

5. After the Thrill Is Gone: How does MSNBC replace fading stalwart Chris Matthews? Page 6 reports that the man who made “thrill up my leg” a national catchphrase might be exiting stage left.


To replace him MSNBC might turn to anchor Brian Williams, who made lying almost an Olympic sport. NBC suspended him without pay for six months back in 2015. Here’s what the network said at the time: “While on ‘Nightly News’ on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues.”

He lied. But NBC had spent too much money building Williams up, so he was just exiled to MSNBC. Now, he’s back like a bad case of the flu the network just can’t shake. Journalism in 2019.