It’s been a good week for President Donald Trump.
That’s because, as a direct result of his policies, it’s been a great week for America.
And that means it’s been a terrible week for the mainstream media, whose 17-month-long narrative painting the Trump presidency as an apocalyptic disaster has just hit a wall.
Now journalists are scrambling to rewrite the script.
For as long as Trump has been in office – and during his year as a front-running candidate – the media has had it out for him, and their language has shown as much. Every single day for the length of his tenure we’ve seen his governance, his legislative goals, and his very personality impugned as “despotic,” “chaotic,” “dangerous, “diminished,” and “unraveling,” among countless other colorful descriptors. It has become standard procedure for top publications to lead with headlines like “Is Mr. Trump Nuts?” (The New York Times), “Trump Has Never Been More Dangerous Than He Is Now” (New York Magazine), and “Donald Trump is Destroying the United States” (The Washington Post).
Mainstream news outlets lob ominous headlines about the grave danger into which Trump’s “bombastic rhetoric” has plunged us. They paint him as a madman, out of control and out of his mind, and certainly on a crash course to nuclear war. Literally.
Judging on the basis of this reportage, one would expect to see the US on the brink of World War III.
But the reality is starkly – and wonderfully – different.
Over the last seven days alone, Trump has scored major achievements in international relations and fulfilled a number of the bedrock promises of his campaign platform. Now, instead of facing nuclear war, we have shut down the world’s most dangerous regime, reaffirmed our authority in an unstable region, and opened the possibility of conciliation with a decades-old foe. Trump moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he withdrew from the Iran deal, he negotiated the safe release of three American prisoners from North Korea, and he arranged an unprecedented summit with Kim Jong-un, to be held next month.
Any one of these wins would for any other leader have heralded months of laudatory fanfare in the press. But a streak of victories for Trump draws only muffled consternation, at best, from the disoriented media, as they struggle to regroup and find a new line of attack.
Take North Korea.
Under Barack Obama’s “conciliatory” approach to diplomacy, North Korea piloted its first round of underground nuclear tests; by the time he left office, they had launched four rounds of tests. In media coverage, Obama was heralded as a “master of diplomacy.”
In stark contrast, Trump has used a no-nonsense approach to Kim Jong-un and his ilk since day one.
Over Trump’s first year in office, as Kim’s missile tests escalated to ICBM launches, and 22-year-old American Otto Warmbier died just days after being released from a brutal imprisonment in Pyongyang, Trump responded accordingly: He imposed tough sanctions and punched up his rhetoric. He threatened reciprocal force against any aggression by the North Korean state and skewered the young tyrant personally. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” He went on to warn, “Military solutions…are locked and loaded.” And at an address to the UN General Assembly on September 19, he said, “The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself and its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea… [Little] Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing, and able.”
News outlets lost their minds predicting nuclear fallout; some literally exhorted Trump to give in to Kim. One New York Times op-ed accused Trump of “provoking the Kim regime” with “warmongering early-morning tweets,” and urged the US government to “accept the obvious…and settle in for an extended cold war with the Kims.”
They were wrong.
Sometimes all it takes to stand down a bully is a little bullying. Trump merely brandished the threat of American might, stated unequivocally that the US was not to be threatened “or else,” and poked a hole in Kim’s phony bravado, and the tyrant stood down.
Against the media’s greatest wishes, by the turn of 2018, Kim suddenly changed his tune. He sent his sister to the Olympics in South Korea as a goodwill emissary in January, and in March he invited the US for peace talks. By April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had visited Pyongyang, and on May 10, the three US captives being held in North Korean prisons had been returned home.
Trump managed the safe return of these prisoners without military force and without making concessions to a dangerous despot. More important, it was most likely his “bombastic rhetoric” that brought about their release, as a spooked Kim was made to realize that releasing the hostages was a precondition to any US sit-down.
It was a victory with no concessions.
Of course, headlines praised Kim’s “evolving diplomacy” and declined to credit Trump directly (“North Korea Frees American Prisoners,” boasted a slew of outlets); calling the hostages’ release “no great accomplishment” and instead critiquing Trump’s self-congratulations for the feat. CNN chose to lead with, “Why Donald Trump Talked About “Ratings” Standing Next to Three Recently Freed Prisoners,” but declined to highlight the fact that Trump was the man responsible for freeing them.
Contrast this case with the last time the US secured the release of hostages. Obama arranged the swap of one convicted US Army deserter and suspected traitor, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, for the release of five murderous Taliban. The trade was widely celebrated as a great diplomatic coup and covered triumphantly in the news for weeks.
In another major win this week, Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.
On Tuesday, May 8, he scrapped the signature “achievement” of the Obama White House, a measure enacted in 2015 without Senate approval that lifted all sanctions against Iran and delivered pallets of cash to the terrorist-funding state in exchange for a “peaceful” agreement limiting its nuclear activities and allowing pre-scheduled inspections of its nuclear facilities.
In other words, the “deal” was a joke.
Iran took the billions of dollars in cash and additional profits from renewed international trade and funneled it directly to terror outlets in Israel and Syria. What’s more, Iran secretly continued to enrich uranium, coming dangerously close to developing nuclear weapons, according to damning evidence released by Israel intelligence.
The move to pull out of this terrible deal was bold, but necessary.
Though leftists cling to the deal as the only peaceful way to delay or prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it’s just another incarnation of appeasement to a dangerous regime with ambitions to take over the world and wipe off the map a slew of stated enemies (Jews, for starters). Iran’s global ambitions are so troubling that even traditionally anti-Semitic and anti-Western Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia have applauded the move.
As usual, though, the media knows better. Rather than focusing on the widespread Middle Eastern support of Trump’s move, coverage has honed in on Europe’s distress over the deal and their efforts to rehabilitate it.
Oh, yeah, and we’re back “on the path to war,” according to many news outlets.
Achievement number three: Trump opened the new embassy in Jerusalem, fulfilling a promise made nearly a quarter century ago.
The embassy move was first legislated in the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, but no president in two decades had had the courage to follow through – that is, until Trump.
By moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Trump finally acknowledged Israel’s Biblical and historical birthright. In doing so, he not only validated the sovereignty of the Jewish state to determine its own capital, putting to rest the lie that Jerusalem is not Jewish, but also reaffirmed the US’s own sovereignty: We will appoint our embassies where we see fit, and will not be cowed by the threat of violence from terrorist states.
True to form, the Palestinian Authority responded to the embassy move with violence: Tens of thousands armed with Molotov cocktails and other weapons attempted to breach the Israeli border. Israeli forces were compelled to defend the safety of their borders, resulting in 60 casualties, at last count. Of course, the media has spun this latest terrorist outburst as “carnage” by Israel and a “humanitarian crisis.”
These descriptions jive conveniently with their forecasts on the danger of Trump’s policies. But they’re wrong.
Casualties on any side are a tragedy to be sure, but this sad outcome cannot in fact be attributed to Trump’s “dangerous” policies, as the media has painted it – a fulfillment of their ominous prophecy. The people killed were not “innocent protestors” but instead warring combatants deployed to bring violence to their self-described enemy, the State of Israel. This violence would have erupted in some form or another with or without Trump’s intervention and only stands a chance of abating as we move forward with the peace process. Sovereignty and international peace cannot be held hostage.
This display of strength by both Israel and the US by moving the embassy can only serve to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward in the long run, by showing our enemies that they will no longer be allowed to continue their bully politics. As with North Korea and Iran, we’ve finally made good after at least eight years of ineffectual leadership and “high-minded” cowardice. America is not to be trifled with; rogue dictatorships will no longer be allowed to threaten international security.
These are just the international achievements.
The week has also seen huge domestic wins for Trump: His approval ratings continue to rise and two judges debunked the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt”; and the economy is boasting historic gains, as unemployment plummets and tax cuts bring relief to the middle class.
Instead of celebrating – or simply reporting – these wins for the American people, the media is scrambling to deflect and derail Trump’s accomplishments.
One strategy that seems to be gaining traction over the last week is diversion.
Since it’s hard to make this news cycle look anything other than a string of victories, the media is drumming up non-issues and petty scandals.
In a 180-degree reversal from the times of President Bill Clinton or even presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, when personal scandals were deemed par for the course and swept under the rug by the media, it’s suddenly not only fair game but pressing news to report on Trump’s private affairs.
Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, is now being investigated as an offshoot of the already year-long, unsuccessful investigation of so-called Russia collusion. News outlets are desperate to deflect from the success of this week that they giddily spun out a totally unvetted, un-true “news” story on “Michael Cohen” receiving payments from Russia, Kenya, and Malaysia.
Days later, the “Michael Cohen” in question turned out to be a 26-year-old man totally unrelated to the president or his lawyer, sending funds to his brother abroad.
But little mention has been made of this travesty of reportage, and any corrections are certain to be relegated to a bottom corner of the page C6 retractions section.
Meanwhile, they continue with the old refrains about Trump’s “Dangerous Lies,” “Dangerous Decisions,” and “Dangerous Fictions” (all headlines from this week).
The fortunes of the mainstream media are inversely linked to the fortunes of the United States and the world. They root for Trump to fail so they can win. They pretend that a win for Trump is a loss for the world, but this week has proven the opposite.
In an age where the concept of “diplomacy” has come to mean neutered impotence, it might just take harsh talk and bold actions – like everything Trump has been doing – to achieve any real progress in world politics. The time has passed for ineffectual weaklings like Barack Obama seeking approval from equally worthless leaders in Europe and the UN. This is the time for action. Whatever the current president is doing, it’s working.
Let’s hope that Trump continues down this “dangerous” path.
By Emily Cohen