FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2022
Won't report what Trump has said: It has long seemed clear—Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) seems to be somewhat disordered.
Yesterday, in the Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez and Mariana Alfaro reported the latest evidence. Headline included, their report started like this:
Rep. Madison Cawthorn calls Zelensky a ‘thug,’ says Ukrainian government is ‘incredibly evil’
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) recently called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government is “incredibly evil,” in remarks that are at odds with the broad bipartisan support for Ukraine among American lawmakers and the public amid Russia’s invasion.
“Remember that Zelensky is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt, and it is incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies,” Cawthorn told supporters at a recent event in North Carolina, according to video published Thursday by Raleigh-based TV station WRAL.
Ukraine "has been pushing woke ideologies," the youngster weirdly said. But at that point, the weirdness begins to shift to the Post. Its report continues like this:
SONMEZ AND ALFARO (continuing directly): Cawthorn, 26, is on his first term in the House and is a vocal supporter of former president Donald Trump, who has recently praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of the invasion as “genius” and “savvy.”
On the bright side, the highlighted statement can be described as technically accurate. Less than three weeks ago, Donald J. Trump did say that Putin's initial handling of the invasion was an act of "savvy" and "genius."
Since then, Trump has changed his tune. On February 26, he referred to the invasion as an "atrocity" and "an assault on humanity." On March 2, he described it as "a holocaust."
Last night, in an appearance on Hannity, Trump said the war on Ukraine "truly is a crime upon humanity." The Post's report predated that latest remark. But Sonmez and Alfaro continued the Post's ongoing practice by citing Trump's initial statement about Putin, then failing to mention his subsequent denunciations of the invasion.
Repeatedly, the Post has failed to report Trump's comments denouncing the war. In this latest report, Sonmez and Alfaro continue this highly selective practice.
In and of itself, this constitutes a remarkable case of journalistic misconduct. Incredibly, though, Sonmez and Alfaro were even willing to publish this claim by the DNC, a claim which is simply false:
SONMEZ AND ALFARO: Democrats quickly seized on Cawthorn’s town hall comments, with the Democratic National Committee noting that “the overwhelming majority of the party sided with Trump when he tried to withhold military aid from Ukraine.”
“It’s only natural that a Republican Party led by Donald Trump, who regularly praises Vladimir Putin as a ‘genius’ and ‘savvy’ as he launches an unprovoked and unjustified war on the Ukrainian people, would evolve to attack the democratically elected president of Ukraine who has shown true heroism in the face of Russian aggression,” DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement.
Has Donald J. Trump "regularly praise[d] Vladimir Putin as a ‘genius’ and ‘savvy’ as he launches an unprovoked and unjustified war on the Ukrainian people?"
Actually, no—he hasn't. In fact, Trump's rhetoric has gone well beyond the milquetoast language used in that DNC report. He has called the war an assault on humanity and a holocaust—and now, a crime upon humanity.
It's embarrassing to see the DNC issue a statement which is flatly false. It's even worse to see two Post reporters who are willing to put the inaccurate claim in print, without a word of comment.
Beyond that lies the wider war in which Sonmez keeps refusing to report the full range of statements by Trump. Meanwhile, the Post's Aaron Blake is turning himself into a pretzel, on a daily basis, by refusing to report the actual things Trump has actually said.
(Regarding Blake, we'll only say this: Keep Storyline alive!)
Almost surely, Donald J. Trump was our most disordered president. As our journalism continues to slide toward the sea, the Washington Post is becoming disordered too.