Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mean Media

Interviewed by MSNBC's Ayman Mohyeldin Tuesday, conservative radio talk show host and once-weekly MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt defended President Trump's Memorial Day tweet touting his own (alleged) accomplishments.

 "I think it is ordinary and routine," Hewitt contended, "for almost everyone to tweet about Memorial Day and how he honor the fallen, but also to tweet about other things."

Given that most Americans don't even tweet, that is obviously a lie. Inasmuch as Presidents don't extol their own virtues on Memorial Day, it is appallingly dishonest.

But much more dangerous is Hewitt's claim (beginning at 2:07 of the video below)

Not just this base, Ayman, I think 90% of America sighs at the obsession of the media finding something to criticize the President about, as opposed to, for example, finding something to compliment him about. And I don't think this tweet makes a difference....

They're just so mean to Donald Trump. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported

Ivanka Trump's brand continues to win foreign trademarks in China and the Philippines, adding to questions about conflicts of interest at the White House, The Associated Press has found.

On Sunday, China granted the first daughter's company final approval for its 13th trademark in the last three months, trademark office records show. Over the same period, the Chinese government has granted Ivanka Trump's company provisional approval for another eight trademarks, which can be finalized if no objections are raised during a three-month comment period.

Taken together, the trademarks could allow her brand to market a lifetime's worth of products in China, from baby blankets to coffins, and a host of things in between, including perfume, makeup, bowls, mirrors, furniture, books, coffee, chocolate and honey. Ivanka Trump stepped back from management of her brand and placed its assets in a family-run trust, but she continues to profit from the business.

"Ivanka Trump's refusal to divest from her business is especially troubling as the Ivanka brand continues to expand its business in foreign countries," Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in an email Monday. "It raises significant questions about corruption, as it invites the possibility that she could be benefiting financially from her position and her father's presidency or that she could be influenced in her policy work by countries' treatment of her business."

The Associated Press suggested it was "adding to questions about conflicts of interest at the White House," a polite way of saying "shaping America's foreign policy to serve the family's business interests." Its article appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, serving the nation's fourth largest media market, on page 9 and was benignly titled "China OKs Ivanaka trademarks." Three days earlier the Associated Press had found

The Trump administration has reached a deal that will put Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE back in business by rolling back severe sanctions put in place last month by the Commerce Department, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The move to settle with the Chinese company removes a major barrier to U.S.-China trade talks as Beijing opposed a penalty that would have shuttered the firm by prohibiting U.S. suppliers from doing business with ZTE for seven years....

News of a deal brought quick condemnation from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Many on Capitol Hill view the action as a sign of weakness against China, especially as the administration tries to take Beijing to task over policies it says have robbed U.S. companies of sensitive technology.

“Yes they have a deal in mind. It is a great deal... for #ZTE & China,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted. “#China crushes U.S. companies with no mercy & they use these telecomm companies to spy & steal from us. Many hoped this time would be different. Now congress will need to act."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the deal as reported “would be helping make China great again.“

Well, now, that is the point, isn't it?

Still, Hewitt believes (or pretends to believe) that the media is anti-Trump.  He won't acknowledge that it matters little what individual reporters think of the President but rather how their articles are written and the prominence given them by editors.  So we have an appropriately sarcastic Janet Johnson tweeting

I’m sure if Hillary Clinton promised to bail out a sanctioned, spying Chinese telecom, and then Chelsea immediately got a coveted trademark agreement from China, @nytimes would bury it on B3.

There are several possible explanations for this pro-Trump bias in what is ironically labeled the "liberal media." One one can be found- twice- in the video here.  Hewitt (beginning at 1:37) states "so I'm not going to escalate into anti-Trump rhetoric over this, it is kind of common for him." Matt Lewis (beginning at :51) had remarked

it's classic Trump It's how he has behaved all of his public life. He's always been kind of a self-promoting narcissist and this is how he's treating  Memorial Day, too. At this point it's not as much a surprise in presidential behavior so it's hard to get a rise out of me.

As a Trump apologist, Hewitt is happily excusing the President while Lewis is lamenting the President's boorish behavior. However, they both are inadvertently explaining why Donald Trump gets more favorable press than he's due or otherwise would objectively receive: he does this stuff all the time. He gets a pass because he is consistently repugnant.

It's a pattern.  It's not the product of a slip of the tongue or of a bad day but of a really bad guy. And it's how the President can sell off American foreign policy to the highest bidder with the media barely noticing.

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