THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2022
Journos still haven't quite heard: We're still surprised—but not surprised—by the way the press is reporting—or not reporting—Donald J. Trump's repeated remarks about the war on Ukraine.
As we noted in Monday's report, Trump came out quite strongly against Mr. Putin's war when he addressed the CPAC convention on February 26. These are the things he said on that occasion:
TRUMP (2/26/22): The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling. It is an outrage and an atrocity that should never have been allowed to occur...We are praying for the brave people of Ukraine, God bless them all.
Thank you. They are indeed brave. As everyone understands, this horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged and if I was the president.
The problem is not that Putin is smart—which, of course he's smart. But the real problem is that our leaders are dumb. Dumb. So dumb.
They so far allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity. That's what it is. This is an assault on humanity. So sad. Putin is playing Biden like a drum...
To review the C-Span tape of Trump's address, you can just click here.
In his original statement about the war, Trump had almost seemed to endorse Putin's "savvy" conduct. Speaking at CPAC, he explicitly said that Putin was conducting "an assault on humanity."
You'd think those statements would have been news, but mainstream news orgs almost seemed to disappear them. Even now, very few journalists seem to know that Trump came out strongly against the war at CPAC—that he said that Putin was conducting an atrocity and an assault of humanity.
Way back on February 26, opposition to Putin's war became the official Trump position. But right on through this morning's editions, mainstream journalists have failed to report this basic information. Instead, they keep acting like other Republicans are defying or opposing Trump when they criticize the war.
This is pleasing gruel for our tribe. But it's clownishly wrong.
How dumb does this school of journalism get? Let's start with Max Boot's column, which appeared online today in the Washington Post. Below, you see the way the column begins, headline included:
Will Trump’s love affair with Putin finally be the breaking point for Republicans? I doubt it.
For years, I’ve been hoping that some outrage would finally turn the Republican Party against Donald Trump, and for years, I’ve been bitterly disappointed...
Will the Republican Party finally come to its senses now that one of Trump’s favorite dictators is waging a cruel war of aggression against Ukraine? Hope springs eternal. The Republican Accountability Project—a Never Trump conservative group—has been airing a hard-hitting commercial on Fox “News” Channel that juxtaposes Trump’s sickening praise for Vladimir Putin’s dismemberment of Ukraine (“genius,” “smart,” “savvy”) with heartbreaking pictures of the suffering being inflicted by the Russian military. Trump backtracked a bit last week; he called the invasion a “holocaust” but still would not denounce his pal Putin.
In that second paragraph, Boot quotes some of the stupid things Trump said in his first comments about the war in Ukraine. He fails to mention the aggressive comments Trump made at CPAC. Given the way those comments have been disappeared, we'd bet even money that Boot has never heard about them.
Bringing the note of comedy in, Boot says that Trump "backtracked a bit last week," calling the invasion of Ukraine a "holocaust." Boot seems unaware of the fact that this aggressive assessment actually extended Trump's earlier denunciations.
When did Trump call the invasion a "holocaust?" That comment has also largely been disappeared wherever our liberal tribe's Storyline is sold.
By way of contrast, readers of the New York Post were allowed to know that Trump had said that. That said, here's the start of Mark Moore's comically bungled news report, to which Boot provides a link:
MOORE (3/2/22): Former President Donald Trump condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “holocaust” Wednesday, but would not denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin for launching the military operation that has been targeting civilian areas with ferocious rocket attacks.
During an appearance on Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria,” host Maria Bartiromo asked the one-time commander-in-chief to comment on how he thought President Biden should respond to Putin’s “possible crimes against humanity.”
“We’re watching a holocaust. We’re watching something that I’ve never seen before, the way that they’re going to go in—they’re blowing up buildings with children, with women, with professions, with people—think of just people,” Trump responded. “They’re blowing up indiscriminately, they’re just shooting massive missiles and rockets into these buildings and everybody is dying.”
“The numbers are far worse than what you’re seeing on television. … Many people are dying and we’re allowing this to happen,” he added.
In Moore's fuller account of Trump's remarks, he quotes Trump calling the invasion a "holocaust" again. Nore notes that Trump didn't use Putin's name as he voiced this judgment.
Earth to Moore: When you've called the Russian invasion a holocaust, you've come fairly close to denouncing Vladimir Putin!
That said, Moore didn't seem to know that Trump had previously denounced the invasion, naming Putin as her did. Here's the way Moore described Trump's previous statements about the invasion:
MOORE: When the Russian leader announced last month that he would move troops into a section of eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed rebels to act as “peacekeepers,” Trump called the move “smart” and “savvy.”
“So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine, I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper,” the former president said in a radio interview. “That’s the strongest peace force. … We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace, all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy … I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Despite taking criticism for praising the Russian autocrat, Trump doubled down during his speech over the weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.
“Yesterday, I was asked by reporters if I thought President Putin was smart. I said, ‘Of course he’s smart,’ ” Trump told the crowd. “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he is smart, but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb.”
Sad! Moore reported Trump initial stupid remarks about how "savvy" Putin's initial move had been. The reporter had heard about that!
But when Moore quoted Trump's subsequent remarks at CPAC, he completely omitted the remarks in which Trump—referring to Putin by name—described the invasion as an atrocity and an assault on humanity.
To appearances, Moore simply didn't know that Trump had made those comments. To appearances, the blackout on Trump's remarks had been so complete that the news hadn't even reached the New York Post!
Earth to journalists:
Ever since February 26, it has been the official Trump line to denounce this invasion. When other Republicans denounce Putin and the invasion, they aren't challenging the official Trump line. They are echoing it.
For whatever reason, Trump established this official line during his CPAC address. Mainstream newspapers seemed to disappear what he said—and to this day, we can't find a single sign that Max Boot has ever heard that the crackpot former president actually made those remarks. Just check out that headline again!
To appearances, it's more fun for our liberal tribe if we pretend that our disordered former president never said the things he actually said.
Trump's remarks were disappeared. Let a thousand Storylines bloom!
This pattern extends rather widely: This pattern extends rather widely. For another example from yesterday's Washington Post, you can just click here.
Trump's initial remarks are pleasingly cited. His later remarks don't appear.