The US media’s disrespectful obsession with Trump
Many once-reputed US television news networks, whose newsgathering, unbiased reporting and war coverage was formerly beyond reproach, have evolved into a platform for people who despise the current president. Besides being wholly unprofessional, some of these channels are undermining their credibility among those of us who once looked to them for global news.
We are today met with a repetitive roll-out of one-sided opinion and unabashed political propaganda. Switch on at any time of the day or night and what you get are talking heads dissecting President Donald Trump’s every action and word on the pandemic or the mass social awakening on racial inequality.
Invariably egged on by program hosts, so-called experts in their field spew their anti-Trump vitriol unchallenged. In fact, I am beginning to think that their invitations to appear on air are based on their ability to indoctrinate viewers with hatred for America’s democratically elected commander-in-chief.
Admittedly, Trump and hard facts are like oil and water. He often exaggerates statistics and has a tendency to put a positive spin on bad news. He is an optimist. He is a fighter. He has been attacked with a stifling cloud of daily criticism and unfounded speculation. Never in America’s history has a president been subjected to such an onslaught of media attacks, vulgar press mockery or treacherous former aides out to pen lucrative tell-all exposes of their time at the White House. He has been stabbed in the back again and again by people he trusted.
His own niece, Mary Trump, who fought with him over the family fortune decades ago, has now leapt on the “literary” gravy train with a book characterizing the president as a product of a toxic family and as a “narcissist” who is a danger to every American. So much for family loyalty. Her opinionated book is long on accusations and unflattering anecdotes that reviewers say are not backed up by evidence. It would not have seen the light of day if publishers respected their readership and did not endorse baseless libel.
Setting aside the occasions when Trump has misspoken — often out of wishful thinking rather than a cynical wish to deceive — he should be praised for his love of his country. He attained office on a conservative ticket vowing to beef up the military and appoint Republican-leaning judges to the Supreme Court. He promised huge tax breaks and said he would not only grow the economy but also work toward job creation.
Almost all of his promises were fulfilled. On his watch, unemployment plummeted and wages rose, while the stock market reached record highs. Despite his bluster and threats, during his four-year tenure the US has not been engaged in a costly new war. Indeed, he has pulled almost all US troops from Syria and is in the process of drawing down the troop contingent from Afghanistan.
From the president’s perspective, the timing of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak could not have been worse. Through no fault of his own, markets tumbled, companies were liquidated and millions of jobs lost. Lockdowns gave rise to poverty, hunger and homelessness. With economic Armageddon looming, most states opened up prematurely, leading to disastrous results in terms of skyrocketing case numbers and deaths.
Several prominent channels are blaming Trump for failing to get a handle on the virus, while alluding to the president’s refusal to wear a mask in public as having contributed to the rate of infections. In keeping with conservative thinking, he allowed people to choose and relied on governors to tailor the reopening of businesses in their states. He gave governors a free hand in deciding if masks were mandatory in public spaces. In a country made up of 50 states with an overall population of 328 million, a one-size-fits-all policy would not be sensible.
The White House COVID-19 task force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, along with thousands of doctors and scientists, strongly advise social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and nose and mouth coverings to contain the spread until there is an effective vaccine.
Sadly, many Americans, especially young people, have flocked to the beaches, bars and clubs believing they are invincible, with no care for the parents or grandparents they could infect. Others have joined mass protests around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, no doubt contributing greatly to the spread.
Because the president is not exactly gushing in his approval of the Black Lives Matter movement, sections of the US media are attempting to paint him as a racist. Notably, some people are using the guise of this movement to loot stores, torch buildings and vehicles, attack police officers and vandalize monuments and statues. As head of state and a self-proclaimed believer in law and order, he cannot encourage anarchy or back the dissolution of police forces, of course. Such misbehavior cannot and must not be tolerated.
Against the backdrop of Mount Rushmore and the carvings of four famous US presidents, he this week decried the way, in his view, schoolchildren are being indoctrinated into hating their own country. “Every virtue is obscured… every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond recognition,” Trump said.
We all have deep sympathy for African-Americans, who have been subjected to systemic discrimination for centuries, but alienating the majority or seeking to erase history and the imperfect heroes who began America’s upward trajectory will only embolden white supremacists and accentuate existing racial divisions.
Setting aside the occasions when Trump has misspoken, he should be praised for his love of his country.
Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has his own theory as to why Trump is so hated and despised by the left: He cannot be controlled.
Like him or hate him, what happened to public respect for the office? Now that the genie of no-limit disrespect is out of the bottle, Trump’s successors can expect to be placed under a similar microscope. Anyone with a skeleton in his or her closet or grudging enemies waiting to pounce will be in for a rough ride. If Trump is voted out come November, will Fox News adopt CNN or MSNBC’s presidential battering ram? And, in that event, will the new US president be strong enough to withstand the pain?
- Khalaf Ahmad Al-Habtoor is a prominent UAE businessman and public figure. He is renowned for his views on international political affairs, his philanthropic activity and his efforts to promote peace. He has long acted as an unofficial ambassador for his country abroad. Twitter: @KhalafAlHabtoor