Those of us who support President Trump are used to the media putting the most negative spin possible on everything he does and says (their negative Trump coverage rating is over 90%, so if Bias were a college class, they’d be making an “A” in it). But this week, they went so far overboard that major media outlets such as the Associated Press and the New York Times actually had to swallow their hubris and issue corrections that tacitly admitted they’d been caught blatantly misrepresenting what Trump clearly said in order to inflame public outrage.
It all started Wednesday when Trump was talking about California's refusal to hand over dangerous illegal alien criminals to federal authorities. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims complained that under the state law, she might not even be able to hand over some members of MS-13, the Mexican drug gang known as one of the most violent, deadly gangs in the world, a group that rapes, beats and murders people without remorse. Trump replied, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”
Now, anyone with the comprehension skills of a relatively intelligent raccoon would understand that Trump’s use of the word “animals” was in reference to the vicious, bloodthirsty members of the MS-13 gang. But many mainstream news outlets instead went bonkers, claiming that Trump had called all illegal immigrants “animals”…even though, to quote the Mayor from “The Music Man,” he couldn’t have been any clearer if he’d been a button-hook in the well water.
To his credit, Trump did not back down from the comment. His Press Secretary (full disclosure: my daughter), faced with a slew of idiotic questions about why Trump thinks all immigrants are animals, explained the facts to them in the kind of one-syllable words you reserve for explaining the alphabet to pre-schoolers, then hit them with some of the grisly acts of MS-13 that got them rightly branded as "animals” (although it is kind of defamatory to actual animals, most of which kill only to survive and don’t prey on their own kind.)
This was a slander too far even for some of Trump’s critics, who warned that in their zeal to trash Trump, all these media outlets did was trash their own reputations. A number of them finally recovered their misplaced senses of shame and issued “clarifications.” I put that in quotes because a genuine clarification of this story would read, “We’re so biased, we lied about what Trump said to make him sound like a racist.”
You know, I’m often asked how I, as a former Baptist minister and generally nice guy, can defend the things Trump says. In fact, I don’t defend all the things Trump says. There have been times when I thought he went too far and should take it back and apologize (note that I come from a bygone era when people who were offended by an ill-conceived remark would accept a sincere apology and go on with life instead of demanding that you be pilloried, scorned, ostracized, fired, impoverished, banished and your house set on fire with you and your family inside it.) Also, like many Trump supporters, I’ve developed lines around my eyes from wincing at some of his Tweets. I’ve had to make peace with the fact that a guy who came out of the New York construction industry does not share the same vocabulary as a Southern Baptist from Arkansas.
But I’ve also learned not to rush to the microphones and condemn “What Trump just said!” until I go to the videotape and find out what he actually did say. The media, having flushed objectivity and fairness down the toilet during Obama’s first primary election, are no longer reliable sources on this subject. That's why we Trump supporters didn't turn purple with outrage over Trump “hating immigrants”: we know he actually said we should enforce immigration and border security laws that were passed by bipartisan Congresses and signed by Presidents of both parties. Or why our heads didn’t explode over him saying that there are “good people” among the Nazis and white supremacists: we know he actually said there are good people on both sides of the debate about removing Confederate monuments. Or why we didn’t grab our pitchforks over claims that he was going to put immigrants into detention camps, when he never said anything remotely like that. The only President who ever put legal immigrants into detention camps was Democratic hero, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Ronald Reagan had a saying about dealing with the Russians: “Trust, but verify.” With the news media having proven themselves less trustworthy than the old Soviet Union when it comes to reporting on Trump, many Americans now look at their hysterical anti-Trump bulletins and think, “Don’t trust; will verify myself.”
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