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Whatever you may think of President Trump, it is an unalloyed pleasure to have someone in the Oval Office who does not hide his thoughts. We can hope his tweets never get staff sanitized. Think back to his passive aggressive predecessor who tried to disguise his animus towards Israel until the very end of his term. And likewise his dislike of Great Britain, which while never spoken, was obvious if you were willing to look beyond the smiling face. The latter displayed his faculty lounge ignorance of the historic contributions of the British anti-slavery movement led by William Wilberforce at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. For thousands of years of human history slavery was ubiquitous worldwide. And yet in 40 years, history’s proverbial blink of an eye, it was halted in the large part of the world touched by British power.
Today’s post examines the unprecedented attacks on the country’s president; including calls for his assassination. Donald Trump looks like he has the courage and cojones to withstand this withering fire from the Left. Since Pickings trashed Trump early on in the campaign it is startling to realize he has become the irreplaceable president because no other politician in recent memory could withstand this unrestrained, and at times, unhinged aggression. Victor Davis Hanson provides an overview of the assault on Trump.
… Oddly, in early January, Senator Charles Schumer had essentially warned Trump that he would pay for his criticism of career intelligence officials. In an astounding shot across his bow, which was followed up by an onslaught in February, Schumer said: “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you. . . . So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”
Schumer was evidently not disturbed about rogue intelligence agencies conspiring to destroy a shared political enemy — the president of the United States. What surprised him was how naïve Trump was in not assessing the anti-constitutional forces arrayed against him.
The elite efforts to emasculate the president have sometimes taken on an eerie turn. The publisher-editor of the German weekly magazine Zeit raised the topic on German television of killing Trump to end the “Trump catastrophe.” So did British Sunday Times columnist India Knight, who tweeted, “The assassination is taking such a long time.” A former Obama Pentagon official, Rosa Brooks, recently mused about theoretical ways to remove Trump, including a military coup, should other avenues such as impeachment or medically forced removal fail: “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.” …
… Nor is the Trump family immune from constant attack. Daughter Ivanka Trump was recently cornered on an airline flight, while traveling with her three young children three days before Christmas, and bullied by a screaming activist passenger. Her private fashion business is the target of a national progressive-orchestrated boycott. Celebrities and writers have attacked Trump’s eleven-year-old son Barron as a sociopath-to-be or as a boy trapped in an autistic bubble. First Lady Melania Trump sued the Daily Mail after it trafficked in reports that she had once been a paid escort — a lie that was recently recirculated by a New York Times reporter.
Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka are routinely smeared as anti-Semites and fascists. One Trump critic berated Gorka as a Nazi sympathizer for wearing a commemorative medal once awarded his father for his role in the resistance to the Communist takeover of Hungary. …
… Compared with Obama in 2009, at the same point in his young administration, Trump has issued about the same number of executive orders. For all his war on the press, Trump has so far not ordered wiretaps on any reporter on the grounds that he is a “criminal co-conspirator,” nor has he gone after the phone records of the Associated Press — Barack Obama’s Justice Department did both, to little notice in the media.
Trump’s edicts are mostly common-sense and non-controversial: green-lighting the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, freezing federal hiring, resuming work on a previously approved wall along the Mexican border, prohibiting retiring federal officials from lobbying activity for five years, and pruning away regulations. …
… Trump has had fewer Cabinet appointees bow out than did Barack Obama. Most believe that the vast majority of his selections are inspired. The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch was a widely praised move. The defense secretary, retired general James Mattis has echoed Trump’s earlier calls for European NATO members to step up and meet their contracted obligations to the alliance.
Clearly in empirical terms, nothing that Trump in his first month in office has done seems to have justified calls for violence against his person or his removal from office. What then accounts for the unprecedented venom? …
For a good example of media bias, Matthew Continetti writes on the coverage of the opposition to Betsy DeVos. The fact that politicians against DeVos were bought and paid for by teacher’s unions is barely mentioned.
… The atrocious coverage of DeVos troubled education blogger Alexander Russo, who wrote an item for the Phi Delta Kappan lamenting the fact that established publications “have cherry-picked storylines that put DeVos in a negative light and written about DeVos’s ideas and efforts using fraught, charged language.” This development surprised Russo, because “right after the presidential election, mainstream journalism went through an intense period of self-reflection and decided—among many things—that reporters and editors should try to check their liberal biases at the door and do a better job of covering people who weren’t like them.” Clearly Russo was hallucinating when he wrote those words, because the only period of intense self-reflection journalists went through after the election is when they decided to be even more antagonistic and hysterical in their treatment of Donald Trump.
Even I, your humble Mediacracy columnist, am occasionally surprised at the one-sidedness of media coverage. On the day DeVos was confirmed, I clicked on a story in the Washington Post with the headline, “The DeVos vote is a bad case study for the power of campaign contributions.” The headline struck me as completely backward—if anything, the vote is a classic case study of the power of campaign contributions, since all of the senators opposing DeVos, including the two Republicans, are on the take from the unions. But, incredibly, Philip Bump’s article did not contain a single mention of the word “union,” and instead focused solely on DeVos’s contributions to Republican senators. I thought the omission absurd, an example of horrible journalism, and said so on Twitter.
“Dude,” replied a colleague. “It’s the Post.”
Washington Examiner with another example of fake news.
Reporters have done it again.
The latest media misfire on the Trump administration involves Ibtihaj Muhammad, a New Jersey native who made headlines last year when she became the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal for the United States.
Muhammad, a lifelong American citizen, claimed in an interview last week that she was detained “just a few weeks ago” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. She said she was held for two hours without explanation.
Her remarks on Feb. 7 earned her an entire news cycle, as several journalists ran with reports suggesting, and alleging outright, that the American Olympian had been ensnared in the president’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries.
But Muhammad has since clarified crucial parts of her story, including the date on which she was detained. A Customs official with direct knowledge of the incident has also disputed much of how she characterized what happened. …
… The problem with this particular news cycle is that Muhammad was detained in 2016, weeks before Trump had even been sworn in as America’s 45th president. …
… Before we go, a few points bear further discussion, and none of them reflect well on Muhammad or the press.
First, it’s mind-boggling that no one in that room on Feb. 7 thought to ask her for the exact date on which she was detained. It’s a basic duty of journalism to get the who, what, where, when, why and how to every story. That Muhammad’s interviewers didn’t think to pursue the “when” is astounding.
Secondly, Muhammad isn’t blameless in all of this. A less-than-charitable person would suspect her of being intentionally vague and imprecise. She was asked a simple “yes or no” question about the president’s immigration order. Instead of giving a simple answer, she provided an anecdote involving the very misleading use of “just a few weeks ago.” …
WSJ OpEd says Eric Hoffer saw Trump coming almost 50 years ago.
“Scratch an intellectual, and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the sound and the smell of common folk.” Those words might have been written last year, as an explanation for Donald Trump’s rise or a rejoinder to Hillary Clinton’s denunciation of “deplorables.”
In fact they were published in November 1970 and written by Eric Hoffer, the “longshoreman philosopher,” who was best known for his slender 1951 classic, “The True Believer: Thoughts on the nature of Mass Movements.” The 1970 essay, under the headline “Whose Country Is America?,” eerily anticipated not only the political events of 2016 but the tone and language of last year’s campaign and the anti-Trump hysteria since Election Day.
Hoffer started his analysis with “the conspicuousness of the young”—that is, the baby boomers. “They have become more flamboyant, more demanding, more violent, more knowledgeable and more experienced,” he wrote. “The general impression is that nowadays the young act like the spoiled children of the rich.”
He attributed those developments to the “ordeal of affluence,” which threatened social stability. Wealth without work “creates a climate of disintegrating values with its fallout of anarchy.” Among the poor this takes the form of street crime; among the affluent, of “insolence on the campus”—both “sick forms of adolescent self-assertion.” …
We opened today with Victor Davis Hanson and he will be the close as he writes on the laws of unintended consequences.
The classical idea of a divine Nemesis (“reckoning” or “downfall”) that brings unforeseen retribution for hubris (insolence and arrogance) was a recognition that there are certain laws of the universe that operated independently of human concerns.
Call Nemesis a goddess. But it was also simply an empirical observation about collective and predictable human behavior: Excess invites unexpected correction.
Something like hubris incurring Nemesis is now following the frenzied progressive effort to nullify the Trump presidency.
“Fake news” was a term the Left invented to describe the ancient practice of propaganda (updated in the Internet age to drive Web traffic). They applied it to the supposed Russian habit of planting international news stories to affect Western elections, and in particular Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency and his tendencies to exaggerate and massage the truth.
But once the term caught on in our faddish age, who were the more appropriate media fakers? Fake news now serves as a sort of linguistic canary to remind the public that it is customarily saturated with a lethal gas of media disinformation.
Thus “fake news” seemed a proper if belated summation and clarification of years of liberal bias in the media that were supposed to be our custodian of the truth.
Were NBC anchor Brian Williams’s fantasies fake news? Were Dan Rather’s “fake but accurate” Rathergate memos? How about the party line circulated in JournoList or the Washington and New York reporters who colluded to massage the news to favor the Clinton campaign, as revealed in the Podesta WikiLeaks trove? Was jailing a video maker part of an Obama-administration fake-news attempt to blame Benghazi deaths on a spontaneous riot? Was the Iran Deal’s “echo chamber,” about which Ben Rhodes later bragged, the epitome of fake news?
Thank the Left, because suddenly the term “fake news” is becoming a common description of the media’s effort to suggest that Trump once went to Moscow to frolic with prostitutes, that his lawyer met Russians in Prague, that he removed Martin Luther King’s bust from the Oval Office, that he was going to employ “100,000” guardsmen to enforce immigration law, or that he wished to invade Mexico.
The once liberal invention of the term “fake news” now mostly refers to media efforts by leftists to warp the Trump presidency; to progressive media celebrities who have been caught lying, colluding, or plagiarizing; and to the cohort of unapologetically left-wing journalists who, in the words of Obama White House operative Ben Rhodes, “know nothing” and thus are easily manipulated by their progressive political puppeteers. …