Military/Defense

The Constant Spin Zone

12/27/18
from The Wall Street Journal,
12/26/18:

How one publication reported Trump’s trip to see troops in Iraq.

President Trump and his wife Melania made a surprise visit to American soldiers in Iraq on Wednesday, and you would think that would be a straightforward event to write up. Report how and when he arrived, whom he visited, and what he and some of the soldiers said. These holiday trips have become a ritual for all Presidents, and the troops appreciate the Commander in Chief’s display of support. Yet here are the first two paragraphs of the news dispatch on the Trump visit that the Washington Post published on its website Wednesday afternoon, Washington time: “President Trump touched down Wednesday in Iraq in his first visit to a conflict zone as commander in chief, a week after announcing a victory over the Islamic State that his own Pentagon and State Department days earlier said remained incomplete." “The president’s visit to Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, which was shrouded in secrecy, follows months of public pressure for him to spend time with troops deployed to conflicts in the Middle East and punctuates the biggest week of turmoil the Pentagon has faced during his presidency.” We’ll admit we stopped reading there, so perhaps there was actual news later in the story. But can anyone reading those opening two sentences wonder why millions of Americans believe Donald Trump when he tells them that he can’t get a fair shake from the press? These reporters can’t even begin a news account of a presidential visit to a military base without working in a compilation of Mr. Trump’s controversies, contradictions, and failings. The point isn’t to feel sorry for Mr. Trump, whose rhetorical attacks on the press have often been contemptible. The point is that such gratuitously negative reporting undermines the credibility of the press without Mr. Trump having to say a word.

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