One of the most vexing aspects of daily life is the nonstop flow of anti-Trump propaganda masquerading as news analysis. That is, unless you hate Donald Trump, as most of the media clearly do. Fake news oozes from nearly every media pore, some of it more subtle than others.
After President Trump last week announced a planned pullout of U.S. troops from Syria, CBS and NBC decried the plan, warning of bad consequences, with CBS calling the move a “retreat.” By contrast, when President Obama made clear in 2013 that he was done with the war in Afghanistan, CBS led this way:
“Eager to end a war he didn’t begin, President Obama announced in January plans to speed up the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, the president will announce a milestone in the timetable on that drawdown ” What a guy. No retreat, just sound policy. This is not about the wisdom of either president’s move; it’s about the media’s instinctive reaction.
The fake news just keeps coming, and not just from the networks.
Last Wednesday, in a front-page article, Washington Post staff writer Josh Partlow quoted Irineo Mujica, the “head coordinator” of the caravan of U.S.-bound Central American migrants traveling through Mexico, as telling his followers, “We are scared, just like you. Now President Trump has said that he wants to hit us with nuclear bombs.” Yikes.
Mr. Partlow goes on to explain that, “Trump has made the migrant caravan a central theme in his tweets for three days running — although he hasn’t in fact threatened a nuclear strike.” Really?
The reporter’s understatement hints that the president may actually have said such a thing. Mr. Trump loves to stir the pot with tweets designed to set progressives’ hair on fire, but a nuclear attack on migrants? Bear in mind The Post has a lot invested in its narrative of Mr. Trump as crazy, hopelessly unfit, in Russia’s pocket and in need of swift removal before he appoints any more conservative judges or secures the border.
If there isn’t a handy domestic controversy, the paper will inject the anti-Trump meme into a foreign story.
The Post’s Wonkblog recently looked at once-prosperous Venezuela, which has descended into hyperinflation, violence, mass migration, despair and toilet paper riots. The author, Matt O’Brien, barely touched on the most obvious factor — creeping communism imposed by socialist strongman Nicolas Maduro, successor to socialist strongman Hugo Chavez.
The lengthy article, which appeared in the Sunday Outlook section, omits the words “socialism” and “socialist.” The most important factor, Wonkblog informs us, is “polarization,” which we are told is what also kept dictator Robert Mugabe ruling Zimbabwe for so many years. There’s no mention of Mr. Mugabe’s unapologetic Marxism, just his skill at exploiting “polarization.”
“That’s the only way to explain the otherwise inexplicable fact that two of the most economically destructive governments in recent memory have also been two of the longest lasting,” Mr. O’Brien wrote. How about terror, torture and threats? They are pretty effective.
Discerning readers will see the main reason for The Post’s think piece right in the headline: “What sank Venezuela’s economy could sink ours, too.”
If Mr. O’Brien were warning about the danger of the United States succumbing to socialism because of massive illegal immigration and the Democrats’ constant push to grow the public sector and punish the private sector, he would have a point. But, no. It’s “polarization” that threatens our republic. And who is responsible? One guess, and the answer rhymes with bump.
To be fair, Mr. O’Brien did list some destructive things the “Chavistas” did to tank Venezuela’s once-thriving economy, concluding that, “They tried to control the goose that laid the golden egg and killed it instead.”
He rightly observed that Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Chavez and Mr. Maduro kept their opponents divided while rewarding their own supporters. You know, like Mr. Obama and his Free Stuff Army. But the end of the piece carries the take away:
“Staying loyal to the president even if he, say, shot someone in the middle of the street is the kind of thing that leads a nation to ruin. That’s true whether you’re talking about Venezuela or Zimbabwe or a lot closer to home.”
Home? You mean here? Of course he means here.
If he were talking about Russia, it would make more sense, since Vladimir Putin’s enemies keep turning up poisoned or shot, and Mr. Putin nonetheless just won his fourth “elected” term.
But I think Mr. O’Brien was slyly alluding to our current tweet-happy president, don’t you?
• Robert Knight is a Washington Times contributor.