And Now They Love Him: Media Reaction To Trump’s Missile Strike.


The cruise missiles struck, and many in the mainstream media fawned.

“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,” declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN, after firing of 59 missiles at a Syrian military airfield late Thursday night. (His words sounded familiar, since CNN’s Van Jones made a nearly identical pronouncement after Trump’s first address to Congress.)

“On Syria attack, Trump’s heart came first,” read a New York Times headline.

“President Trump has done the right thing and I salute him for it,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens — a frequent Trump critic and Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist. He added: “Now destroy the Assad regime for good.”

Brian Williams, on MSNBC, seemed mesmerized by the images of the strikes provided by the Pentagon. He used the word “beautiful” three times and alluded to a Leonard Cohen lyric — “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons” — without apparent irony.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.© Reuters MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.

Quite the pivot, for some. Assessing Trump’s presidency a few weeks ago, Zakaria wrote that while the Romans recommended keeping people happy with bread and circuses, “so far, all we have gotten is the circus.” And the Times has been so tough on Trump that the president rarely refers to the paper without “failing” or “fake” as a descriptor.

But after the strikes, praise flowed like wedding champagne — especially on cable news.

“Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far,” wrote Sam Sacks, a Washington podcaster and journalist. “And all he had to do was start a war.”

Why do so many in the news media love a show of force?

“There is no faster way to bring public support than to pursue military action,” said Ken Paulson, head of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center.

“It’s a pattern not only in American history, but in world history. We rally around the commander in chief — and that’s understandable.”

Paulson noted that the news media also “seem to get bored with their own narrative” about Trump’s failings, and they welcome a chance to switch it up.

But that’s not good enough, he said: “The watchdog has to have clear vision and not just a sporadic bark.”

Clara Jeffery, editor in chief of Mother Jones, offered a simple explanation: “It’s dramatic. It’s good for TV, reporters get caught up in the moment, or, worse, jingoism.”

She added: “Military action is viewed as inherently nonpartisan, opposition or skepticism as partisan. News organizations that are fearful of looking partisan can fall into the trap of failing to provide context.”

And so, empathy as the president’s clear motivation is accepted, she said — “with no mention of the refugee ban keeping those kids out, no mention of Islamophobia that has informed his campaign and administration. How can you write about motive and not explore that hypocrisy?”

Mocking “the instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader,” Glenn Greenwald in the Intercept recalled John Jay, one of the Federalist Papers authors, who wrote more than 200 years ago: “However disgraceful it may be to human nature . . . nations in general will make war whenever they have a prospect of getting anything by it.”

In fact, Jay wrote, “absolute monarchs will often make war when their nations are to get nothing by it” — except, of course, to scratch that eternal itch for military glory, revenge or self-aggrandizement.

Groupthink, and a lack of proper skepticism, is something that we’ve seen many times before as the American news media watches an administration step to the brink of war.

Most notoriously, perhaps, that was true in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, the start of a long disaster there.

Stephen Walt, Harvard professor of international affairs, thinks the press and the public should have learned some things by now.

“Syria remains a tragedy because there are no good options,” he wrote in Foreign Policy, and America’s interventions in the Middle East very seldom end well.

Walt later told me that the news media now must look forward and ask deeper questions.

“What is Trump’s overall strategy for Syria,” given that “the balance of power on the ground is unchanged and we are no closer to a political settlement.”

Missile strikes may seem thrilling, and retaliation righteous.

But journalists and commentators ought to remember the duller virtues, too, like skepticism, depth and context.

And keep their eyes fixed firmly there, not on the spectacular images in the sky

Still running the show, regardless of who the President is.

Martin Harris

I have a lovely partner and 3 very active youngsters. We live in the earthquake ravaged Eastern Suburbs of Christchurch, New Zealand. I began commenting/posting on Uncensored back in early 2012 looking for discussion and answers on the cause and agendas relating to our quakes. I have always maintained an interest in ancient mysteries, UFOs, hidden agendas, geoengineering and secret societies and keep a close eye on current world events. Since 2013 I have been an active member of community, being granted admin status and publishing many blogs and discussion threads. At this time I'm now helping out with admin and moderation duties here at Uncensored where my online "life" began.

One thought on “And Now They Love Him: Media Reaction To Trump’s Missile Strike.

  1. Gerry Patterson at The Con Trail site shared this:
    Donald Trump asserts his authority over his allies

    Don’t be confused by the diplomatic games and the Pied Piperism of the major medias. What happened this morning in Syria has no connection with the story you are being told about it, nor the conclusions which are being drawn for you.

    This morning, the United States are said to have fired 59 cruise missiles from the Mediterranean in order to destroy the Syrian military air base at Sha’irat. The attack was intended as a unilateral action aimed at punishing the chemical weapons attack which the US attributes to the Syrian Arab Army.

    Stunned by the amplitude of the reaction by the US, all commentators concluded that the Trump administration had made a 180° turn concerning the Syrian question. The White House was claimed to have finally adopted the position of its US opposition and its British, French and German allies.


    The reality does not correspond to the story

    Without hindrance, the US cruise missiles crossed the zone controlled by the new Russian weapon which inhibits NATO communications and commands. According to General Philip Breedlove, ex-Supreme Commander of NATO, this weapon enabled Russia to gain the advantage over the United States in terms of conventional warfare. It should normally have upset the guidance systems of these missiles, but apparently did not function. This indicates either that the Pentagon has finally found a technical riposte, or that the weapon had been de-activated by the Russians.

    The Syrian anti-air defence system includes S-300’s controlled by the Syrian Arab Army and S-400’s served by the Russian army. These weapons are supposed to be capable of intercepting cruise missiles, although the situation has never yet presented itself in combat conditions. They are, of course, triggered automatically, but they did not function either. Therefore no anti-missile missiles were fired, neither by the Russian army, nor by the Syrian army.

    When the US cruise missiles hit their targets, they landed on a military base which was almost deserted, having been evacuated only a short time before. Therefore, the missiles destroyed the tarmac, the radar equipment and a number of aircraft which had long been out of service, some hangars and living quarters. They nonetheless caused a dozen victims, six of whom died.

    Although no cruise missile was officially tracked as off-course or destroyed, only 23 and not 59 hit the base at Sha’irat.

    What does this masquerade mean?

    Since he acceded to the White House, President Trump has been trying to change his country’s policies, to substitute cooperation for the current confrontational system. On the question of the « Greater Middle East », he took position for the « destruction » of jihadist organisations (and not for their « reduction », as his predecessor claimed).

    Over the last few days, Trump has recognised the legitimacy of the Syrian Arab Republic, and thus the maintenance in power of the democratically-elected President, Bachar el-Assad. He received the Egyptian President, Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, an ally of Syria, and congratulated him for his fight against the jihadists. He has re-established a direct communications channels between Washington and Damascus.

    In any case, President Trump’s problem was to convince his allies to apply his policies whatever the investment they had made to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic.

    It is of course possible that President Trump made his about-face in three days simply because he saw a video broadcast on YouTube, but it is more probable that this morning’s military action is the continuation of his previous diplomatic actions.

    By attacking,President Trump satisfied his opposition, so they will be unable to oppose the next phase of operations. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton called for the bombing of Syria in a riposte to the alleged use of chemical weapons.

    Donald Trump ordered his troops to fire cruise missiles on an almost empty base, after having given advance notice to the whole world, including Russia and Syria.

    Damascus, by sacrificing this base and the lives of a few men, gave him the authority to carry out a vast action against anyone who uses chemical weapons. But so far, the only people who actually use these weapons, and have been identified by the United Nations for doing so, are – the jihadists.

    Daesh, which had also been warned of the US attack (but by its British, French and German commanders), immediately launched an attack on Homs, which is now deprived of an air base.

    We shall see in the next few days how Washington and its allies will react to the jihadist advance. It will only be at that moment that we shall know if Donald Trump’s manœuvre and the gamble by Vladimir Putin and Bachar el-Assad has worked.

    Thierry Meyssan

    Pete Kimberley

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