The partisan demands of leftist activists who now dominate the mainstream media reached a new extreme last week, when they successfully pressured the New York Times to re-write the neutral headline on its initial report on Trump’s speech to the nation in response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. They insisted that the headline reflect their preconceived notion that the motive for all violent domestic attacks must be attributed to the president’s allegedly “racist” rhetoric, and the Times quickly bowed to their demands.
Ever since the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy and cover-up accusations were exposed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s as hoaxes, anti-Trump activists have been struggling to find another pretense for their ongoing efforts to get Congress to impeach him or, at the very least, undermine his bid for re-election next year. While more than half of House Democrats now support launching a formal impeachment procedure against Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi keeps reminding them that such an effort is doomed to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A SHIFT IN STRATEGY
The anti-Trump resistance has been forced to shift its strategy by focusing on the complaint it first raised in the 2016 presidential campaign: that the president is prejudiced against Muslims, Hispanics and illegal immigrants, and that his “Make America Great Again” theme inspires deadly attacks by right-wing white supremacists, such as Patrick Crusius, who killed 22 people and wounded 26 in El Paso.
Before the attack, Crusius had posted a rambling manifesto in which he wrote, “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. … I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement.” Crusius cited as his model and inspiration Bretton Tarrant, who attacked a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March, killing 51 people and wounding 49. After he surrendered to police following the attack, Crusius said that he had specifically targeted the Hispanics who were shopping at the Walmart he attacked near the Mexican border.
Crusius wrote that his anti-immigration views predated Trump’s entry into national politics. Nevertheless, the New York Times sought to imply that the president’s rhetoric helped trigger the attack. A Times article headlined “El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language,” tried to prove the association by focusing on just 28 of the manifesto’s words out of a total 2,300.
In addition to elaborating on Crusius’ race and culture-based hatred for Hispanic immigrants, the manifesto touched on a wide variety of other political issues, ranging from the impact of automation on the future of the American economy to the high price of a college education and his concerns about the degradation of the environment.
ATTACKING THE RIGHT-WING MEDIA
The Democrats and their media allies were hoping to exploit the twin shootings to advance a longstanding goal in their policy agenda, the passage of stricter gun control laws, in addition to reinforcing their warnings about Trump’s alleged “racism.” The Times coverage of the El Paso shooting goes to great lengths to prove that Trump, as well as popular right-wing media platforms and commentators who support him, are inciting acts of racist violence by white supremacists.
The Times published a separate article analyzing the language used by right-wing news outlets such as Drudge Report and Breitbart News, as well as leading conservative media personalities Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, and harshly criticized them for using the same common words, such as “invasion” and “replacement” – which Crusius employed in his manifesto – to condemn the wave of illegal immigration at the Mexican border.
The Times sought to prove that Trump and anyone else on the right who uses such words to accurately describe the immigration crisis should bear some of the guilt for the attack in El Paso. Another apparent aim of the article was to quarantine the use of those words in polite public conversation by labeling them as politically incorrect.
This has become a common practice by extreme left-wing activists. They demand that Americans change the way people speak because of their hypersensitivity to perceived racial prejudice and gender intolerance behind the language traditionally used. Banning the use of such newly forbidden words and phrases as “inappropriate” and “dehumanizing” has become a favorite tool by the left, enabling them to censor and shut down any serious public discussion of their extreme views on these issues.
ATTACKS ON TRUMP LOSING THEIR CREDIBILITY
Ever since Trump entered the 2016 presidential race, his political opponents have condemned his provocative rhetoric for appealing to the baser instincts of his supporters, as well as their sense of pride and patriotism in America. Trump’s effectiveness as a communicator in conveying his ideas to his supporters, minimizing his critics and setting the agenda for most daily news cycles, has alarmed the media establishment. Despite constant efforts to tarnish his image, many realize that Trump is still winning his battle for the minds and hearts of most Americans who live outside the elite establishment bastions on the East and West Coasts.
Unable to prove any of the major allegations of wrongdoing against Trump, his political opponents doubled down on their negative interpretations of carefully selected portions of Trump’s rhetoric which they claim prove him to be a liar, a racist and morally unfit to serve as president. Those accusations are based upon snippets from Trump’s speeches and tweets, taken out of context by the media and distorted to conform with that negative image which they have been painting for the past four years.
The impact of the ceaseless media attacks on Trump has been limited by the public’s realization that the most outrageous media accusation against him – that he illegally conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election – was a hoax. That the Mueller report came up with nothing lent further credence to Trump’s claim that all the other allegations against him are also politically motivated “fake news.”
TRUMP DEMONSTRATES HIS SENSITIVITY TO SUFFERING
The mainstream media has consistently portrayed Trump as insensitive to the suffering of victims of mass shootings and natural disasters. It has also refused to report the fact that, three years into his presidency, Trump has become much more adept at publicly empathizing with the victims and conveying the sympathy and grief of the nation.
For example, when Trump visited Pittsburgh last year to show his support for the local Jewish community in the wake of a shooting at a local synagogue in which 11 Jews were murdered, the anti-Trump media and leftist groups openly questioned his sincerity and urged members of the local community to protest against his visit.
Unlike his liberal opponents, Trump does not see underlying racial prejudice behind every violent police incident in which a member of a minority group is involved. Instead, he is inclined to give law enforcement officers the benefit of the doubt in such incidents.
Trump has also frequently spoken out against the alarming increase in violence and lawlessness in many large urban centers, such as Chicago and Baltimore, which mostly target members of minority groups living there. He blames Democrat officials of those cities for facilitating the rise in criminal violence by restraining local police from properly enforcing the law. Trump’s opponents and the mainstream media have seized upon Trump’s outspoken support for the forces of law and order in this country, and his insistence on enforcing current federal immigration laws as written, as further evidence of his alleged “racism.”
DEMOCRATS EXPLOITING TRAGEDIES TO PUSH GUN CONTROL
Democrats have invariably sought to exploit every mass shooting incident, including the two last week, to renew their demands for swift federal action to chip away at the Second Amendment right of every American to bear arms, even though there is no evidence that those proposed laws might have been able to prevent those shootings.
Trump does not see the constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms as the root problem behind the rise of gun violence. Instead, he blames it on the glorification of extreme gun violence in popular American culture, as well as a failure by society to recognize individuals with dangerous mental health problems and intervene to protect the public from them.
Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that [is that] it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
As a member of a televised ABC News roundtable discussion last week, Emmanuel specifically applied that political principle to the El Paso shooting. Emmanuel urged his fellow Democrats to recognize the tragedy as “a once in a lifetime opportunity” to pressure Trump and Republicans on gun laws. Emanuel added, “I don’t think Democrats should go so quick to go right to background checks and red flag,” areas in which Trump has already offered serious concessions. “I would put an assault weapon ban clearly on the table.”
In contrast to the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, by Connor Stephens Betts, a self-describe leftist and supporter of the violent Antifa movement, the shooter in El Paso was a made-to-order example of the violent, anti-immigrant white racists whom Trump’s opponents have long sought to identify him with. In addition, the media could excerpt carefully selected snippets from the shooter’s lengthy manifesto highlighting beliefs he shared with Trump. At the same time, the media deliberately downplayed or omitted from its coverage the clear statement by Crusius in his manifesto denying any influence by Trump on his beliefs.
He wrote: “My ideology has not changed for several years. My opinions on automation, immigration, and the rest predate Trump and his campaign for president. I [am] putting this here because some people will blame the President or certain presidential candidates for the attack. This is not the case. I know that the media will probably call me a white supremacist anyway and blame Trump’s rhetoric. The media is infamous for fake news. Their reaction to this attack will likely just confirm that.”
Trump’s reaction to the two Dayton and El Paso shootings also contradicted the mainstream media’s distorted portrait of Trump as a president whose racist rhetoric encourages such attacks by gun-wielding white supremacists targeting minorities.
TRUMP’S RESPONSE TO EL PASO AND DAYTON
The president’s speech last week, expressing the nation’s condolences for the victims in the Dayton and El Paso attacks, was pitch perfect for the solemn occasion.
Trump began with a statement of solidarity with “all Americans in praying and grieving for the victims, their families, and the survivors.”
The president declared, “These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity. We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror. Our hearts are shattered for every family whose parents, children, husbands, and wives were ripped from their arms and their lives. America weeps for the fallen.
“We are a loving nation, and our children are entitled to grow up in a just, peaceful, and loving society. Together, we lock arms to shoulder the grief, we ask G-d in Heaven to ease the anguish of those who suffer, and we vow to act with urgent resolve,” the president said.
While the motives of the Dayton shooter were initially unclear, Trump noted that “the shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism, whatever they need.”
Trump then pointed the finger of blame at the Internet for providing “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” such as the El Paso shooting. He suggested that measures to expose “the dark recesses of the Internet” are necessary to “stop mass murders before they start. . . The perils of the Internet and social media cannot be ignored, and they will not be ignored.
“In the two decades since [the mass shooting at a high school in] Columbine [Colorado], our nation has watched with rising horror and dread as one mass shooting has followed another. Over and over again, decade after decade.
“We cannot allow ourselves to feel powerless. We can and will stop this evil contagion. In that task, we must honor the sacred memory of those we have lost by acting as one people. Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided. We must seek real, bipartisan solutions. We have to do that in a bipartisan manner. That will truly make America safer and better for all.”
TRUMP’S CLEAR ANSWER TO HIS CRITICS
Trump’s speech was a direct, point-by-point refutation of the accusations by his critics that his political rhetoric has been deliberately inciting racism and acts of gun violence.
Instead, in his speech, Trump explicitly denounced hatred, bigotry and white supremacy, and promised to support measures that would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Since there were no inappropriate statements in Trump’s speech to criticize, the initial headline of the New York Times story about the speech was a simple statement of fact: “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.”
But the liberal audience of Trump haters to which the Times has been catering since the 2016 election campaign was outraged. They demanded in a flurry of scathing social media posts that the Times withdraw the original headline and substitute one which described how Trump’s speech was consistent with the ugly portrait of the president the left has been promoting. To satisfy those demands, the editors quickly revised the headline to read: “Assailing Hate but not Guns,” but it was too late. Anger at the neutrality of original headline inspired a significant number of anti-Trump Times readers to cancel their subscriptions in protest.
In the battle between journalistic integrity and blind, all-consuming hatred for the president, hatred won, prompting New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin to observe, “The New York Times doesn’t write headlines anymore, the mob does. . . These days, the Times doesn’t cover the news as much as promote an agenda. . . Instead of informing readers and challenging them to question their own views. . . it now provides comfort food for the committed.”
THE SAD DECLINE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES
For more than 100 years, the New York Times was the most trusted newspaper in America, and perhaps the world. People relied upon its reporting because they accepted the proud boast on the paper’s masthead, that it was delivering “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Readers chose the superior news coverage because they believed that it was unbiased, fair and in good taste. That enabled the Times to establish its unique status as the “paper of record” in the media world.
The paper was often criticized as boring, earning it the nickname the “Grey Lady” because it presented the news without sensationalism. It refused to openly take sides in its reporting on most current political disputes outside of its editorial page, but that restraint was also one of the foundations of its credibility.
In truth, the paper’s political biases often did show through in its reporting, but much more subtly than in most of its competitors. Whenever that subtle bias led to factual errors, the Times felt embarrassed enough to apologize to its readers and correct its record.
But that was yesterday. Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2015, no news organization has compromised its commitment to political objectivity in its reporting, by separating news coverage from opinion, more than the Times.
The Times has abandoned the high journalistic standard which made the paper great and famous. Instead, it has adopted a new business model in order to survive the steady decline of print journalism in the face of growing competition from the many new channels of information, including the recent rapid rise of social media.
The newspaper no longer appeals primarily to readers seeking comprehensive, unbiased reporting of the news, and a fair balance of clearly marked political opinion to help them formulate their own views. It is now catering to the liberal members of the ongoing Trump resistance movement. In return for their continued recognition of the Times’ claim to be the “paper of record,” they demand that its reporting and opinion pages faithfully reflect their own views exclusively, and refuse to tolerate the slightest deviation.
JUSTIFYING THE ABANDONMENT OF OBJECTIVITY
The sea change in the Times’ editorial policy was announced to the world in its own pages in an August 7, 2016 article by its media columnist, Jim Rutenberg.
He claimed that because of his belief that Trump “is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies,” he was obligated to incorporate that belief in his reporting, even though it would “throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer.” Rutenberg admitted that “by normal standards,” deliberately coloring his reporting with a political bias would be “untenable,” but that it was justified in this case because Trump was such “an abnormal and potentially dangerous candidate” that his election would pose a threat to the country’s future.
After a tortured analysis seeking to justify this conclusion based upon Trump’s statements on the campaign trail, Rutenberg concluded that unbiased reporting would “be an abdication of political journalism’s most solemn duty: to ferret out what the candidates will be like in the most powerful office in the world.” Therefore, even though a hostile depiction might seem unfair to Trump and his supporters, Rutenberg argued that the Times had a responsibility to discard its obligation to journalistic fairness for “journalism’s job to be true to the readers and viewers, and true to the facts, in a way that will stand up to history’s judgment.”
Rutenberg did not originate the deliberate injection of political bias into the Times’ news coverage. He was merely explaining the policy of its executive editor, Dean Baquet, who had authorized his reporters to express their personal dislike of Trump in their news articles, violating the high standards which had been held by its legendary former chief editor, Abe Rosenthal. Once the Times abandoned its mandate to provide its readers with opinion-free news coverage, and joined in the mainstream media effort to discredit Trump and undermine his presidential candidacy, there was no turning back.
NO ROOM FOR OTHER OPINIONS
When Trump was elected president, despite the united opposition of the mainstream media, the Times continued on its new course. It gave maximum coverage to a flood of politically motivated stories which challenged the legitimacy of his election and his right to wield the powers of the presidency. Because it had long been the most respected newspaper in the country, other news outlets were quick to adopt its consistent bias against Trump in their own reporting.
The editorial and op-ed pages of the Times were also purged of all voices that had been sympathetic to Trump and his policies. Even its designated conservative columnists, now drawn exclusively from the ranks of embittered never-Trumpers, were obliged to continually prove their disapproval of the president.
Three years later, when it is clear that most of its warnings about the dire consequences of a Trump presidency have proven to be false, or greatly exaggerated, the Times still refuses to acknowledge its initial error. It is still harshly criticizing the president’s every move and minimizing his successes, further tarnishing its once unparalleled reputation for fairness, credibility and journalistic objectivity.
OUTRAGEOUS MEDIA POTSHOTS AGAINST TRUMP
Following the Times’ lead, other once respectable media outlets have been vying to come up with ever more outrageous accusations against the president, including accusing him of promoting the “extermination” of Latinos and using the American flag to secretly honor Hitler.
The accusations emerged from an exchange of tweets between MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace and attorney Raul Reyes, who appeared on her program. Reyes blasted Trump for using “words like infestation,” to describe the swarm of illegal immigrants inundating the border with Mexico, and accused Trump of asking the American people to believe, “with an infestation, the natural conclusion is attempting an extermination.”
Wallace promptly endorsed Reyes’ outrageous leap of logic, declaring, “You now have a president, as you said, talking about exterminating Latinos.”
The predictable storm of protest forced Wallace to issue a lame “apology” in which she said, “I misspoke about Trump calling for an extermination of Latinos. My mistake was unintentional and I’m sorry.” But conservative talk show host Liz Wheeler challenged the sincerity of Wallace’s apology by noting, “Funny, I never ‘unintentionally’ accuse an innocent person of advocating mass genocide.”
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, told MSNBC host Brian Williams that Trump’s order last week to lower American flags to half-staff because of the mass shootings was a hidden tribute to Adolf Hitler. “The president said that we will fly our flags at half-mast until August 8. That’s 8/8.”
Figliuzzi then explained that the numbers “88” stand for “Heil Hitler,” because the letter H is the eighth letter in the alphabet.
While liberals continually condemn Trump’s rhetoric for inciting right-wing followers to violence, they simultaneous encourage their own left-wing followers to demonstrate with “pitchforks and torches outside [a Trump donor’s] summer house in the Hamptons,” and to invade the privacy of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home.
NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel told HBO host Bill Maher that he agreed with Maher’s controversial statement that an economic recession would be worth the pain caused to millions of American workers if it would help Democrats to defeat Trump in next year’s election. “Short-term pain might be better than long-term destruction of the Constitution,” Engel told viewers.
REVISITING THE SOURCE: TRUMP’S STATEMENTS ABOUT CHARLOTTESVILLE
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough declared last week that “Any business that donates to Trump is complicit and endorses the white supremacy he espoused in Charlottesville [Virginia, in 2017, in response to the death of a demonstrator during a riot between white supremacists and left-wing advocates over the removal of a statue honoring Confederate General Robert E. Lee].
Trump was bitterly criticized at that time for saying, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. . . It’s been going on for a long time in our country.” His critics said that Trump should have directed his criticism solely at the right-wing demonstrators who were responsible for the loss of life, and that by seeking to equate the two sides he was expressing a tolerance for white supremacists.
Now that the Russian collusion hoax has been exposed, and hopes for a successful impeachment effort are fading, many Democrats refer to Trump’s refusal to specifically condemn the right-wing extremists involved in the Charlottesville riot as primary evidence that Trump is a racist. Ironically, many of the same House Democrats failed that same test earlier this year when they refused to condemn Congresswoman Ilhan Omar for her anti-Semitic remarks, and instead passed a watered-down resolution denouncing all forms of bigotry equally.
When Trump issued a follow-up statement two days after the Charlottesville incident specifically condemning the right-wing neo-Nazi group which instigated the riot, the media rejected his effort to clarify his position as too belated.
During the raucous news conference which followed, Trump tried to explain that his original statement had been formulated in the knowledge that violent leftist Antifa activists were also involved in the riot, in addition to “very fine people” from both the left and the right who were there only to peacefully march for or against removal of the Robert E. Lee statue.
The liberal media deliberately misreported Trump’s “very fine people” characterization by suggesting that he was including the neo-Nazis in that category. The distorted reports of Trump’s two statements about Charlottesville have been used against him by Democrats and his critics in the media ever since to “document” his alleged racism, and they are now resurfacing again, even in reports from foreign media outlets such as the BBC, to challenge the credibility of the statement he made last week in response to the Dayton and El Paso shootings.
CLEANING UP BALTIMORE
Another once respectable liberal newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, fought back against Trump’s allegation that Democrat Congressman Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has neglected his duty to his Baltimore constituents while using his committee’s subpoena powers to examine every aspect of Trump’s businesses activities to find a new justification for impeaching proceedings.
Trump said that instead of accusing and investigating him, Cummings should be turning his full attention to the needs of his long neglected congressional district.
When Trump supporter Scott Pressler and 170 volunteers came to Baltimore to remove 12 tons of trash from the streets in Cummings’ district, a Baltimore Sun editorial took offense.
“Mr. Pressler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores. That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well,” the editorial said.
But the editorial was unable to produce any evidence that would counter that negative impression of Baltimore, whose deteriorating crime statistics prove it to be one of the most dangerous major cities in the country today.
DEMOCRAT PIVOT FROM RUSSIA TO RACISM
Conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt notes sadly in his Washington Post column that in the aftermath of the Dayton and El Paso mass shootings, “almost all of the Democrats chose. . . to pivot their main message of the campaign trail from “Trump and Russia” to “Trump and racism.” At least five of the Democratic candidates went so far as to brand President Donald Trump as a white supremacist. . .
“I think the rhetoric of the Democratic candidates is incendiary and dangerous, and also politically self-destructive. It is so absurd as to be laughable but for its repetition. But they do not wish to argue, debate and persuade. They wish to smear and exclude, and they have exploited this shock and fear to do so. They should turn back.”