The corporate media hailed Trump as presidential when he bombed Syria but relentlessly bashed Biden for leaving Afghanistan.
A 2017 Margaret Sullivan commentary summed up the media’s reaction to Trump bombing Syria:
“I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night,” declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN after the 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.
Here is just a sampling of reporters from some of the same mainstream outlets talking about the withdrawal from Afghanistan via New York Magazine:
Declan Walsh, the New York Times’ chief Africa correspondent (a reporting position, not an opining one) tweeted shortly before the Taliban’s final victory, “Jalalabad gone, only Kabul left. For those who lamented ‘forever wars’ — is the phrase anything more than a comforting cop-out for epic failures of policy and the imagination? — here’s what the end looks like.”
Meanwhile, Richard Engel tweeted Friday, “Biden says U.S. in constant contact with Taliban to get safe passage to airport. So, U.S. asking former enemy, the Taliban, to please allow us to get our people out while they take the country.”
At the same time, CNN’s chief foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward saw fit to present her own pessimistic hunches about the Biden administration’s future performance as established fact, reporting Friday, “I’m sitting here for 12 hours in the [Kabul] airport, 8 hours on the airfield and I haven’t seen a single U.S. plane take off. How on Earth are you going to evacuate 50,000 people in the next two weeks? It just, it can’t happen.”
The corporate media and the DC establishment love a good war. The mainstream media are all owned by large corporations, and those corporations make a lot of money when America is at war.,
The corporate outlets themselves love wars because, in the post-Vietnam era, they’ve become easy to cover.
There is no more groundbreaking journalism asking the tough questions.
Since the first Gulf War, the media loves to show images of US military might while waving flags and chanting U-S-A. The coverage is easy, and it is very, very profitable.
No matter how much the American people wanted out of Afghanistan, the mainstream media was going to paint the American withdrawal in the most negative light possible.
The relentlessly negative coverage of the withdrawal, which isn’t to say that problems should be ignored, has been out of touch with reality and classic corporate media self-interested narrative building.
A failed Republican president was hailed as a hero for a token bombing mission that hid Trump’s abandonment of Syria, while Biden is deemed a villain for rescuing hundreds of thousands of Afghans from the Taliban.
The media will quickly go back to forgetting about Afghanistan, but their hypocrisy in the way that Trump and Biden have been treated is worthy of American anger and proof of why they should not be trusted.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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