Remember when Trump tried to jail journalists? You lie!

Remember when Trump tried to jail journalists? You lie!
(Image: Screen grab of Fox News video, YouTube)

Or you’re confused, even though if you believe what the media tells you, Trump is the biggest enemy of the Fifth Estate ever to sit in the White House.

In September (which seems eons ago), The Guardian published an article titled “‘Enemy of the people’: Trump’s war on the media is a page from Nixon’s playbook.” Here’s the lede:

War reporting has never been more dangerous, as correspondents are increasingly treated not as neutral observers but legitimate targets. Now there are signs that Donald Trump and his Republican supporters are taking a similar attitude to political journalists, casting them as enemy combatants and fair game for character assassination.

David Smith, the author of the piece, was echoing sentiments we’ve been hearing since the beginning of Trump’s presidency. In January, the New York Times grimly pronounced:

Trending: The key supporting effort appears to be underway on Trump’s operational timeline

Even by his standards, President Trump’s biting attacks on the press this week stand out.

He has praised a libel lawsuit against The Washington Post, called for “retribution” against NBC for satirizing him on “Saturday Night Live” and, on Wednesday, issued his sharpest words yet against The New York Times, calling the newspaper “a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

The irony here is thick enough to cut with a knife. Practically since Donald Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017, the mainstream media have become a “corrections” factory — that is, they have published one lie about the president after another and then, once the story has developed legs on social media, issued a correction. A few examples will suffice:

  • On Oct 18 of this, the Times repeated Hillary Clinton’s outrageous claim that “the Russians were grooming presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard to ran as a third-party candidate.” By mid-afternoon the Gray Lady had revised the lede to suggest that Russia was merely backing Gabbard and that Republicans were grooming her to run as a third-party candidate. No correction accompanied the revision.
  • Several days earlier, NBC reported that Trump had praised Robert E. Lee, then issued a correction that it was Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, not Gen. Robert E. Lee, that the president had praised. Harmless mistake?

In 2018, former Times executive editor Jill Abramson warned that the “narcissistic” paper was making “horrible mistakes” and needed a “course correction.” Her advice has clearly gone unheeded.

Returning to the title thesis, no, Donald Trump has not tried to jail members of the media. But one of his predecessors, a man held in the highest esteem by the press, has.

Here are CBS reporters Norah O’Donnell and Major Garrett, a Fox News alum, with a little dose of reality for the beleaguered media and their liberal followers.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to "Liberty Unyielding."


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