By Dan Gainor, ,
Published April 14, 2018
Following the missile attack by U.S., French and British forces on Syrian chemical weapons targets that President Trump announced Friday, the anti-Trump media immediately fired back at the president, wondering if he ordered the strike to divert attention from news coverage of his troubles at home.
CNN anti-Trump Republican commentator Ana Navarro took the chance to bash President Trump once more, tweeting: “It is true Trump may have ordered strikes against Syria to distract attention from Comey book & Cohen investigation.” She referred to the new book by fired FBI Director James Comey filled with criticism of the president, and to a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
MSNBC’s far-left Rachel Maddow said on her show minutes after President Trump announced the Syria attack that foreign leaders may believe the U.S. president “issued the order to launch this strike tonight, even in part, because … he wanted to distract from a catastrophic domestic scandal that is blowing up at home at the same time.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman fired off a series of tweets saying the president is “dishonest, corrupt, quite possibly being blackmailed by a hostile foreign power” and raising the question: “Could such a man deliberately wag the dog?”
“Wag the Dog” is a 1997 films that tells the fictional story of a Hollywood producer and a spin doctor who stage a fake war to dominate new coverage and successfully divert media attention from a presidential sex scandal.
The New York Times used its editorial page to take President Trump to task for the attack on Syria. While the newspaper said the limited attack was “reassuring,” it criticized the president for acting without congressional approval. It urged Congress to pass legislation limiting presidential power to wage war rather than “ceding broad powers to an impulsive president with dubious judgment.”
Other pundits kept up the anti-Trump onslaught. The Atlantic Senior Editor David Frum also blasted Trump repeatedly, claiming: “The lives of Americans and the peace of the world are in hands you wouldn't trust with your beer money.” He went on to argue that “the political leadership of the US is broken. No new wars under this president.”
Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce mocked the president’s comments after the strike: “Child very proud of new toy. And his fully-approved dollars.”
CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins was one of several in the media to criticize Trump’s use of the term “mission accomplished.” She retweeted a comment by the president, adding this: “Oh man. ‘Mission accomplished.’ A phrase George W. Bush used in 2003, and later came to regret because it conveyed the wrong message, that the Iraq war was over.”
RT, the embarrassingly pro-Putin Russian propaganda outlet, ran this unsubtle headline: “US acting as ‘ISIS air force’ in Syria, spreads ‘conscious, transparent lie’ – analysts to RT.”
2. Going into the Sewer:
There’s an old saying: “Sex sells.” The media have clearly embraced that money-making idea, working overtime to draw viewers, readers and listeners by focusing much of their recent coverage on the Trump presidency on unproven and salacious allegations about the sexual behavior of the president many years ago.
The prevailing media wisdom is that stories about President Trump’s success in creating jobs, cutting taxes, getting rid of needless regulations and accomplishing so much else is B-O-R-I-N-G.
But allegations that president denies about his sex life? Hey – that’s entertainment that will draw an audience! As satirist Tom Lehrer sang in his 1960sc ode to pornography, titled “Smut”: “More, more I’m still not satisfied!”
Stormy Daniels wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough for the media to go digging through the ancient claims of a former porn star to try to find dirt on a president they hate. They had to jump in the sewer. CBS and NBC actually cautioned viewers about content Friday, with NBC anchor Lester Holt giving parents “a warning if there are small kids in the room.”
Comey’s new book helped the media dive into the filth. Titled “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” the book hits the stands next week and major media have been doing everything but standing on street corners selling copies.
Their obsession focused on Comey’s comments about allegations – without a shred of evidence backing them up – claiming that President Donald Trump was involved with prostitutes in Moscow. President Trump has vehemently denied the sensationalist charge. This has become a national news story because journalists desperately want it to be true.
ABC anchor and former top aide to President Clinton George Stephanopoulos had a full interview with Comey. Part of that interview appeared on “Good Morning America” to help push Comey’s book.
Stephanopoulos asked: “Was President Trump obstructing justice? Should Donald Trump be impeached?” Then the show cut to a promo … like there’s a person in America who doesn’t know what Comey will claim.
It wasn’t just impeachment. Hillary Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein continued trying to tie President Trump to President Richard Nixon. He told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360”: “We’re in a constitutional crisis,” arguing that President Trump will shut down the meandering investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. Despite repeated claims that this will happen, the media have been wrong every time on this.
CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta questioned the president’s willingness to send out tweets criticizing Comey, asking: “Isn't all of that a bit unbecoming the presidency, of this White House to go after him (Comey) in such a personal way like that? Calling him a slime ball and a liar and a leaker?”
The GOP responded to Comey claims by reminding the world how much Democrats discredited Comey earlier, when they hated him for reporting on the FBI investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Republicans created an embarrassing video that shows politician after politician tearing down the fired FBI director they now lionize. Don’t look for much of that on TV news. It destroys the narrative.
Because that’s what this is about. The Chicago Tribune ran a telling column headlined: “Donald Trump's presidency is collapsing.” That’s what the left and media want.
Ultimately, the anti-Trump journalists couldn’t care less about Daniels, prostitutes, etc. Their goal is to undermine the president with an onslaught of “news” intended to embarrass him and drive him from office any way they can.
3. Social Media Isn’t So Social: Social media had a down-and-up week following a bizarre tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and then Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s apology tour of Capitol Hill.
Dorsey kicked off the week, posting “The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War.” The article described how California became a one-party state and said “there’s no way that a bipartisan path provides the way forward” for the United States. There’s only one way, going left. The article was widely mocked online. Dorsey’s take? “Great read.” Disheartening for anyone hoping for fair treatment on Twitter.
Zuckerberg spoke first to committees in the Senate and then a House committee, saying he was “sorry” 15 separate times. The discussion was notable for a few reasons. National Review called it: “Grandpa Tries to Interrogate Your Company’s IT Guy.” The magazine wasn’t wrong.
Members of Congress were sometimes poorly prepped, not just on the workings of social media, but the workings of the Internet. Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii didn’t even understand you can’t email within WhatsApp, “which is a text-messaging and voice-call app.”
Republicans hammered home points about mistreatment of the right online. Zuckerberg responded to a grilling from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by admitting: “Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.”
Zuckerberg denied Democratic claims that Facebook had aided the Obama campaign in 2012. Don’t hold your breath waiting for journalists to dig into that story to find out what really happened.
4. The Paul Ryan Tidal Wave: Remember the tidal wave in “Deep Impact,” the lesser of the 1998 meteor movies? That’s what the media envision will happen in November, predicting that Democrats will gain majority control in the House and Senate.
This week’s announced retirement of unpopular House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., further emphasized the media narrative. NBC correspondent Kasie Hunt underscored how “Ryan couldn't escape the building blue (Democratic) wave.”
MSNBC anchor Lawrence O’Donnell said: “The big blue wave is looking so big, so overwhelming” to explain why Ryan is retiring. O’Donnell added: “Paul Ryan will take his seat as simply the worst of this country's speakers of the House of Representatives” and placed him below a “pedophile” and those who were “slave-owning.”
The New York Times theoretically conservative columnist Bret Stephens told MSNBC that Ryan’s refusal to resign to protest Trump “is going to be a stain on his political reputation forever.”