What would we find, specifically, if we examined how America’s most influential media outlets used their news pages ⸺ as distinguished from their opinion pages ⸺ to report on how Presidents Trump and Obama, respectively, responded to homicides that occurred in racially charged circumstances?
The Coverage of Trump
Earlier this month, on August 12, a group of white nationalists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the proposed removal of a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a local park. Those demonstrators clashed with a leftist group of counter-demonstrators, many of whom represented the Marxist/anarchist movement known as Antifa, and one woman was killed when a young white nationalist rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Shortly after the mayhem, President Trump condemned “the egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in Charlottesville. In response, the left rose up like a chorus condemning the president for failing to specifically call out the instigators as “white supremacists,” and for choosing to assign blame not only to the supremacists but also to the Marxists and anarchists. Two days after that, on August 14, Trump specifically named “the KKK,” “neo-Nazis,” and “white supremacists” as objects of ridicule. But by then, it was far too late to mollify the left. He hadn’t said exactly the right words, with precisely the right inflection, at just the right moment.
CNN reported that as a result of Trump’s initial statement criticizing violence from “many sides,” various “Nazi, alt-right and white supremacist groups … were emboldened by the condemnation, which they saw as a defense, or even as a tacit approval.” “By refusing to name the white nationalist groups at the center of the conflict,” CNN elaborated, “the President left the definition of both ‘hatred’ and ‘violence’ up to interpretation and handed the groups a rhetorical victory.” Trump’s subsequent statement of August 14, added CNN, “divided his white nationalist supporters,” some of whom “heard the diluted words of a man forced to bow to media pressure,” while “others found winking encouragement in between the lines.” Citing, in particular, former KKK leader David Duke’s dissatisfaction with Trump’s second statement, CNN noted that “not all of his [Trump’s] supporters are pleased.”
The New York Times, for its part, reacted to Trump’s initial statement about Charlottesville by asserting that “President Trump is rarely reluctant to express his opinion, but he is often seized by caution when addressing the violence and vitriol of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right activists, some of whom are his supporters.” Speculating as to why this might be, the Times story said: “Democrats have suggested that Mr. Trump is simply unwilling to alienate the segment of his white electoral base that embraces bigotry.” To further drive home that theme, the Times noted that David Duke had reacted to Trump’s second statement by tweeting this message to the president: “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.”
In a further, gratuitous attempt to caricature Trump as an elitist, know-nothing racist, the same Times piece decided to dredge up a 28-year-old story about an infamous interracial gang rape that had occurred in New York’s Central Park. “Mr. Trump,” said the Times, is “the product of a well-to-do, predominantly white Queens enclave who in 1989 paid for a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for five black teenagers convicted but later exonerated of raping a white woman in Central Park.” Presumably there wasn’t room on the page for the Times to point out that despite the “exoneration,” there is no doubt whatsoever that all five of the convicted teens were indeed involved in the brutal crime. But hey, who cares about all that? The message we’re supposed to take away is that three decades ago, a racist Donald Trump advocated capital punishment for a group of innocent black lads.
The Los Angeles Times jumped aboard the media’s anti-Trump bandwagon by reporting that “Trump seemed to deflect blame from groups who accuse his presidency of emboldening white supremacists.” To bolster its case, the paper noted that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a highly partisan Democrat, had “suggested the president was providing ‘cover’ to white supremacists.”
In the same vein, the Washington Post said that Trump’s initial statement about Charlottesville was “weak and vague,” as it “didn’t denounce the ideology that had driven the white nationalists to rally in the first place.” Another Washington Post piece said that Trump’s “choice of words — and the silence that preceded them — are being cheered by at least a few groups of people: neo-Nazis and white nationalists.”
The bottom line of all these “news” reports: Donald Trump = KKK.
The Coverage of Obama
Now, let’s look at how CNN, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post dealt — on their news pages — with President Obama’s highly politicized, utterly reprehensible rhetoric in the wake of a horrific multiple murder by a black racist in Dallas just one year earlier.
First, the backdrop: On July 6, 2016, Obama issued a statement saying that “all Americans should be deeply troubled” by the then-recent police shooting deaths of two black men, Alton Sterling (in Baton Rouge) and Philando Castile (in Minnesota). The president emphasized that “these fatal shootings [were] not isolated incidents,” but were “symptomatic” of the very “serious problem” of “racial bias in law enforcement” and throughout the entire “criminal justice system.” The following day, July 7, a black gunman in Dallas murdered five police officers and wounded six others during a Black Lives Matter protest against the Sterling and Castile shootings. During a subsequent standoff with police, the gunman made it clear that he wanted to kill white people, especially police officers, and he emphatically declared his solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Founded by Marxist revolutionaries, Black Lives Matter is a black supremacist movement that depicts white police officers as trigger-happy bigots who are ever-prepared to gun down innocent black men, and it reveres Assata Shakur, the former Black Panther who murdered a white police officer in 1973 and has spent the past several decades as a fugitive in Communist Cuba.
On July 8, Obama issued a statement characterizing the murders in Dallas as “a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” and indicating that “I will have more say about this when the facts become more clear.” He never once mentioned Black Lives Matter. Not a word, not a syllable, not a breath. Nor did the mainstream media criticize Obama in any way for that omission.
Four days later, on July 12 in Dallas, Obama spoke at a memorial service for the five dead officers. After noting that “we’re here to honor the memory and mourn the loss of five fellow Americans,” he said a few words about each of the deceased — a total of 373 words, or roughly 75 words devoted to each officer.
Obama then drew a moral equivalence between the deaths of the officers and the deaths of Sterling and Castile, stating that “Americans are struggling right now” with “the shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge,” as well as with “the targeting of police by the shooter here.” He wondered whether “an African American community that feels unfairly targeted by police and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience.” He noted that while “the audience” at the memorial service included “people who mourn for the five officers we lost,” it also included people who “weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.” And he talked about America’s allegedly enduring legacy of racism: “We also know that centuries of racial discrimination, of slavery, and subjugation, and Jim Crow — they didn’t simply vanish with the law against segregation.” “We know that bias remains,” Obama explained, lamenting that “while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s stain.” “None of us is entirely innocent,” the president emphasized. “No institution is entirely immune, and that includes our police departments.”
At that point in what was supposed to be a memorial service for five fallen police officers, Obama veered even further into grotesque political grievance-mongering: “And so when African-Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment, when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently. So that if you’re black, you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested; more likely to get longer sentences; more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime…. When all this takes place, more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid.”
Obama’s prescription for all this? Funneling more taxpayer dollars into the bottomless pit of an ever-expanding Nanny State. “As a society,” the stone-hearted president lectured those who were mourning the fallen officers, “we choose to under-invest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.”
“And I understand these protests,” Obama continued. “I see them. They can be messy. Sometimes they can be hijacked by an irresponsible few…. But even those who dislike the phrase ‘black lives matter,’ surely, we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family. We should – when we hear a friend describe him by saying that, whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody, that should sound familiar to us, that maybe he wasn’t so different than us. So that we can, yes, insist that his life matters. Just as we should hear the students and co-workers describe their affection for Philando Castile as a gentle soul. Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks, they called him. And know that his life mattered to a whole lot of people of all races, of all ages.”
So again, Obama did not have a single unkind word to say about Black Lives Matter. Not a syllable. Not a breath.
If anything, he affirmed his belief that the Black Lives Matter movement’s objectives were valid and noble. And how did the media react to this?
CNN published a very respectful report about Obama’s eulogy, with no mention whatsoever about the president failing to denounce Black Lives Matter by name. Rather, CNN simply stated that Obama had “urged Americans to corral their anger and sadness and push for the change society needs.” In a follow-up article the next day, CNN celebrated the president’s “soaring address” as a “rhetorical balancing act” that “emotionally hailed the bravery of America’s police forces at a memorial for five officers gunned down in Dallas, but warned [that] the despair of minority communities who see the criminal justice system weighted against them must not be ignored.”
The Los Angeles Times published a piece whose headline set the tone from the outset: “Obama in Dallas to Comfort a Nation in Mourning.” Another L.A. Times report lauded the president for having skillfully dealt with a “complicated backdrop” of social and political issues, and stated that Obama, seeking “to find common ground,” had “urged activists and police to set aside their differences and acknowledge one another’s humanity.”
A New York Times story praised Obama’s “poignant speech” which “spoke hard truths to both sides.”
And the Washington Post reported that Obama, by issuing a call “for open hearts and understanding from both law enforcement and those protesting against them,” “sought to unify a nation left divided and raw by fatal shootings involving police.” Another Post story lauded the president’s “impassioned appeal” for “Americans to be more empathetic and focus on their shared values.” A third Post piece was titled “Obama Seeks to Soothe Tensions Between Civilians and Police.”
The bottom line of all these “news” reports: Barack Obama = Compassionate Racial Healer.
Some Final Words
So, there you have it: a vivid illustration of how America’s “news” industry has devolved into a collective propaganda mill. It’s not a “news” industry in any sense of the word. It’s a circus, and the “reporters” who wrote the “news” articles referenced above are merely a few of its many red-nosed clowns.
And now for the kicker: On July 13, 2016 — the day after Obama delivered his disgusting “eulogy” at the police memorial service in Dallas — the president hosted three Black Lives Matter leaders at a lengthy White House meeting. Another special guest at that meeting was Obama’s chief adviser on racial matters, the legendary racist anti-Semite, Al Sharpton.
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