Trump's cheerleaders over on state-run TV conveniently avoided discussing the substance of Trump's trip to Iraq, which he treated like a campaign stop, by bashing the media instead.
December 29, 2018

Jason Chaffetz and his gang of Trumpers on the Hannity show spent nearly 11 minutes whining about the media coverage of Donald Trump’s trip to Iraq. It was little more than a convenient strategy for avoiding discussing the substance of Trump’s trip.

What gave away the game was that with all the attacks on the media criticism, there was little talk of anything the media got wrong or what Trump got right. “Watch this!” guest host Chaffetz said excitedly before rolling clips of pundits criticizing Trump’s behavior with the troops in Iraq. Yet, except for Trump’s autographing of campaign memorabilia, Chaffetz didn’t talk much about what engendered the criticism.

In fact, there wasn’t that much praise of Trump’s visit, either, other than a few comments here and there.

“The pundits actually criticized Trump for autographs,” Chaffetz said dishonestly. Even in the clip he showed, it was the autographing of political campaign gear, i.e. the partisanship, that disturbed people

“Then-candidate Obama signed memorabilia,” Chaffetz whined. He somehow “forgot” to note that the memorabilia Obama signed were not campaign swag. “But now that it’s Trump, and he’s the president, this is no longer allowed?” Chaffetz continued. “Prime example of blatant media bias and hypocrisy.”

It certainly is, but not the sort Chaffetz meant. Besides the autographs, Trump made some serious faux pas that could have serious consequences. For one thing, his cavalier and insulting treatment of the Iraqi prime minister resulted in demands that Parliament vote to immediately kick the U.S. out of the country. Trump also seems to have exposed a covert Navy SEAL deployment, a violation of operational security. On top of all that, he lied to the troops about the amount of their pay raise and engaged in divisive rhetoric: attacking his own generals and saying Americans are no longer “the suckers of the world.”

Even Fox host Julie Banderas ripped Trump earlier that day on Outnumbered. “Our military men and women, I believe, deserve way more respect than that,” she said, noting that Trump had also suggested that previously fallen soldiers had been suckers when they died for their country.

Yet, in a rare moment of positivity, Chaffetz claimed, “The message has got to be a resounding Donald Trump has your back.”

The prime-time Trump lickspittles apparently figured that if they just demonized the media's reporting enough, that would stir up enough partisan venom in viewers to obscure anything Trump had actually said and done.

Guest Sebastian Gorka, the Nazi-tied "national security strategist" whose questionable credentials and "clownish" opinions have made him persona non grata on Fox’s “hard news” programs, got the ball of demonization and dishonest distraction rolling by pretending that the Trump critics had attacked the troops:

GORKA: the fact that CNN and the rest of the fake news industrial complex is attacking those that wear the uniform of the republic that are serving in a war zone? It’s an utter disgrace and an outrage. … All we need to know right now is, if you love this country like the president does, if you love this country like our service men and women, then CNN and the rest of that crew will hate you. It is really that simple.

Chaffetz did not challenge a word.

Also on the panel of propagandists was RNC spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany, who lacks even a fake national security credential. “Oh, Jason, there’s no doubt that the American people see through this,” McEnany insisted, without offering a lick of evidence. In fact, Trump’s approval rating has sunk since his trip. “They have become so biased, so ridiculous, so outrageous … they have become a parody of themselves,” she continued. Irony can be rich on Fox News.

The third panelist, Morgan Ortagus at least has legit national security and military credentials, though her real work these days seems to be running a conservative PAC. That is, in between Fox News appearances. Ortagus complained about a reporter who photographed troops’ faces and name plates as “not the best opsec” and said that reporter should not be allowed to remain in the White House press corps.

But Oratagus "forgot" that Trump posted a video to Twitter in which he and Melania Trump posed for pictures with service members that appear to be from SEAL Team Five. They were dressed in full battle gear and wearing night vision goggles, Newsweek reported.

Putting all that aside, if the four thought Trump’s visit to Iraq was such a great success, they could have spent the 11 minutes focused on the highlights. The fact that they spent most of the time trying to squelch criticism instead speaks volumes.

Watch the sleight of hand above, from the December 27, 2018 Hannity.

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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