When President Trump calls the press the “enemy of the American people” it’s hard to defend. But that doesn’t mean he’s not right.
Trump May Be Right
I’ll admit it. It’s hard to defend President Trump sometimes. Whatever you think of him, whether it’s that “he fights,” “he just tells it like it is,” or any number of other defenses for his rhetoric, it’s still difficult. Let’s be honest, he says a lot of stupid shit sometimes.
In the past, a lot of Trump’s rhetoric has been hard to defend. I’m not personally offended when he goes off half-cocked and says silly things. In fact, I rather enjoy watching media talking heads and democrats clutch their pearls as though they’re suffering from the vapors on a hot summer’s day in Georgia.
But still, it’s difficult to defend in polite society.
One of Trump’s frequent declarations that are particularly difficult to dance around is when he calls the press “the enemy of the people.”
Some will be quick to point out that this is “dictator talk.” Well, that’s true. But Trump’s not a dictator and I think we’ve reached the point where most of sane America realize we didn’t actually elect “literally Hitler.” Is there any doubt that Trump will “abdicate his throne” if he loses in 2020? Or that he’ll go (relatively for him) quietly in 2024?
No, a coup on democracy he isn’t.
But still, calling the press the enemy of the American people? That seems a bit extreme.
Except, I’m starting to think it’s actually true.
It’s More Than Bias. It’s More Than An Error
I’ve known that the media is generally biased in a left-wing direction. After all, these folks cried on election night in 2016, thought it was super cool that Obama’s administration weaponized government and droned the shit out of people for 8 years, and let’s not forget how we were all chastised for being Puritans in the 90’s for caring about Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct.
Yes, I’ve always known that the media was biased. Now, I’m starting to believe that they’re my enemy. And not just my enemy as a right-leaning Libertarian-ish guy. I mean the enemy of truth, justice, and yes, in many ways they actually are opposition, if not the enemy of the American people.
Take, for example, the events of October 13th, 2018. President Trump is holding a rally in Ohio. Here’s what the mainstream media reported from it:
WATCH: President Trump says "Robert E. Lee was a great general" during Ohio rally, calling the Confederate leader "incredible." pic.twitter.com/HhsLI1Mk05
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 13, 2018
It’s interesting that the video cuts off abruptly, isn’t it? Was that the end of the speech? That’s it? Just throwing it out there how General Robert E. Lee was a great general? Wow, that’s pretty bad, isn’t it? I mean, why would you just get up there and start talking about Robert E. Lee in, of all places, Ohio?
Obviously, it’s because of white supremacy, right? Well, the media certainly seemed to think so. Within minutes, the entire media coalesced around the story. NBC, of course, ran the story in the link above.
But There Were Many Such Cases!
There was CNN, of course.
And MSNBC Contributor Joyce Alene:
The Hill got in on the action
Politico couldn’t resist. Although to their credit, the caption to the link offers a vague reference to the context.
The Southern Policy Law Center ran with it as well.
CNN again, of course. This time from Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju
D.C. bureau chief of Mother Jones and MSNBC analyst David Corn
The Washington Post couldn’t resist either and even told two lies in the same tweet (more on that later).
And the list goes on…
So What The Hell Happened?
During remarks, President Trump was speaking of great Ohioans. Ulysses S. Grant was from Ohio. The remarks about Robert E. Lee may seem like they’re random. They’re not. They were part of a larger story Trump was telling about how Abraham Lincoln was trying to figure out how to defeat Robert E. Lee. Lee was, as anyone who knows a modicum of Civil War history knows, a “great” General. And by that, I mean skilled and effective.
Until Lincoln found Grant. And Grant kicked Lee’s ass.
Trump’s FULL remarks are below:
It is clear from the full text (and video) of the remarks that Trump is not “praising” Robert E. Lee. Rather, he is correctly referring to him as a skilled adversary (he was) which was causing the Union problems (he was), and for whom Lincoln had issues finding a General to match him (he was).
And the point is that Grant kicked his ass (he did).
I’d like to believe that magically NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and others just happened to all use the same video clip that just happened to cut out the full remarks which provided context to the story. And I’d also like to pretend that numerous journalists, pundits, and news outlets just magically happened to miss the fact checking on this one.
I’d like to imagine that somehow there weren’t a dozen or more cameras at the rally watching the entire thing and somehow they just all went deaf at the same time and missed the point of the story. I’d really really like to imagine that.
Surely, There’s a Simple Explanation?
Hanlon’s Razor is an aphorism which states that we should not attribute to malice what can easily be explained by incompetence. That is generally how I approach it when I hear people talk about fake news and a massive media conspiracy, etc. I generally don’t think such tall tales could possibly be accurate.
However, I am also reminded of a quote by Ayn Rand which says that mistakes of this size are never made innocently. It is therefore interesting that the whole media establishment:
- Clipped the video at the same, or roughly the same, time.
- Tweeted, promoted, and ran the story with the same, or similar, perspective.
- Identical, or near identical headlines.
- Omitted the context (with Politico being slightly better in this regard).
It is also interesting that “journalists” from these outlets all tweeted the story, with the same or similar perspectives, without regard for the context of the remarks.
Hold The Conspiracy Theories
Now, do I think this was a true “coordinated” effort on the part of the media? Did they huddle together and coordinate the timing of their tweets and stories? No, I don’t. What I do think is that the media establishment is so firmly committed to pushing a collective narrative that is Anti-Trump, Anti-Republican, Pro-Democrat, and Pro-Left Wing that they aren’t even trying to be objective anymore.
Any journalist or news outlet covering the rally could plainly see the context of the story. It is not heaping praise on Robert E. Lee or The Confederacy. Any “praise” was simply a factual acknowledgment that Lee was a great general…. and was defeated by a greater one.
Fact checking this, or even performing one’s due diligence on this story would have taken all of 2 minutes. That’s one minute and 50 seconds to watch the remainder of the FULL clip or read the FULL remarks, and 10 seconds to realize that this wasn’t a calculated appeal to the 6 or 7 “Confederates” (whatever the hell that would mean in 2018) who live in Ohio.
The media needs to do better. Sadly, I don’t think they will. For that, the corporate press is and shall remain the enemy of the American people until they get their act together and do their jobs. Their jobs, lest they forget, is to report the truth and not their agenda.
Oh, What About The Washington Post?
Yeah, I almost forgot. Let’s take a look back at the second piece of Fake News of the night.
Did Trump really “call on blacks to honor him with votes?”
No, of course not. But it’s The Washington Post so why would we expect anything different? To fact-check this claim we go straight to… The Washington Post.
As in straight to the article that the above tweet links to. 5 paragraphs in:
“Minutes earlier, Trump had hailed African American unemployment numbers and asked black voters to “honor us” by voting Republican in November. “Get away from the Democrats,” he told them. “Think of it: We have the best numbers in history. … I think we’re going to get the African American vote, and it’s true.” He also celebrated hip-hop artist Kanye West’s visit to the Oval Office on Thursday, adding: “What he did was pretty amazing.”
Call me crazy, but there’s a big difference between Trump “calling on blacks to honor him with votes” and asking voters to “honor us” (Republicans) by voting for us in November.
What’s the difference? One makes President Trump sound like a narcissistic King asking the peasants for their tribute…. the other is what he actually said.
But hey, it’s the Washington Post so what else is new?
The Enemy Of The American People?
Let me be 100% clear: just because I am calling the press “the enemy” does not mean I am either calling for or condoning acts of violence against them. That would be horrible and inexcusable.
I don’t want to feel like the media is the enemy of the American people. I don’t want truth or facts to not matter. And no, I don’t want to read a story like I read tonight and feel my blood boil by how flatly wrong it is. I certainly don’t want to stay up until 2:00 am writing this article because of something so insanely stupid that could have been avoided had our “free and fair press” done their jobs.
But I also can’t let them get away with it. And until their actions seem more like honest mistakes and less like coordinated efforts to push an agenda, I’m sorry. They all collectively share the blame. They are biased, lying, activists posing as journalists.
And so Hanlon’s Razor is out. Ayn Rand, paraphrased slightly, is in:
Mistakes of this size (and frequency) are never made innocently. Prove me wrong, media. Prove me wrong and you’ll win back a lot of confidence from folks you’ve lost over the last several years.
I sincerely hope you do.