On Monday morning, CNN and MSNBC missed an easy lay-up that would have reinforced their love for America and our military. Instead, they refused to carry live the public portion of a White House event honoring Conan, the Belgian Malinois dog who became famous for their heroism during the October 26 raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
In CNN’s case, the Jeffrey Zucker-led network’s hatred for Trump led them to not even acknowledge that the event took place during Inside Politics and since then (as of this blog’s publication).
And for MSNBC, there was a 34-second brief before a pivot back to the only story that matters to the press, which is removing President Trump from office. Here was MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell during her eponymous show (click “expand”):
And that's the President and First Lady with Conan and of course the Vice President. Conan is a Belgian Malinois. He is the hero dog from the Baghdadi takedown. His name was declassified by the president. Also gave some interesting details about that raid, none of which were confirmed by military officials, such as the alleged screaming of Baghdadi when he was taken down and captured. If the President takes questions about impeachment, we'll return to this, but there is Conan, who’s been given a plaque and a medal today at the white house. And for now, we’ll talk about the impeachment hearings.
Earth to the news media: It’s not Trump propaganda or caving in any way to dip in for one, two, or even five minutes to honor this heroic dog. Once again, CNN and MSNBC need to be reminded to not be holed up in their little worlds sniffing their own glue.
If the broadcast network newscasts can engage in a juggling act, CNN and MSNBC can too. Trust me, Jeff, it won’t kill you. Trust me, Phil Griffin, because covering Conan wouldn’t have resulted in anyone spontaneously combusting.
The Fox News Channel’s Outnumbered didn’t see this as unimportant and some evil plot to change the day’s top stories. Instead, they carried most of the appearance, which featured Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence.
Here’s a portion of what the President told reporters in the Rose Garden (click “expand”):
He’s trained and if you open your mouths, you will be attacked. You want to be very, very careful, but Conan came over from the Middle East and just arrived with some of the great people from the special forces that did the incredible, flaw — it was a flawless attack and al-Baghdadi is gone. But that was a flawless attack and I just a met quite a few of them and we just gave him a metal and a plaque. And it’s really — and I think Conan knew exactly what was going on. But a dog that is very, very special....We spent some good time with it. So brilliant, so smart. The way it was with the special forces people that have worked with him, for obvious reasons that can't be out in front of the media. But they did a fantastic job. Conan did a fantastic job and we’re very honored to have Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award that we’re going to put up in the White House.
Conan is not retiring yet, Conan is prime time. Age-wise, primetime. I asked them, about six years like an athlete. Six years. They start, they like to get them at one and a half or two years old and they go for about six years from that time....[T]hey’re very special dogs. They’re very hard to get, this particular dog is — this is the ultimate fighter, the ultimate everything. Ultimate in terms of sniffing drugs. We have — we spent a tremendous amount of money on drug equipment at the border and I was talking to the people I said, is there anything better than this equipment? No, sir. The only thing better is a dog, this type of dog exactly because it's a certain type of dog and it's pretty amazing.
As co-host Kennedy pointed out afterward, the President does have a number of negative headlines out there swirling in the news cycle, but she didn’t take issue with Conan having a place in the spotlight.
If CNN and MSNBC wanted to show their appreciation for a pivotal figure in the al-Baghdadi raid and those brave special forces, perhaps they would have spared a few minutes. Unfortunately, hating Fox News, the Republican Party, and Trump have proven to be full-time jobs.
Or who knows, maybe it’s because they agree with these three clowns:
Editor's Note: This piece has been updated to include one of CNN political commentator Joan Walsh's remarkably bad takes about Conan's visit.
To see the relevant transcript from FNC’s Outnumbered on November 25, click “expand.”
November 25, 2019
12:37 p.m. Eastern
HARRIS FAULKNER: Oh wow, look at that.
JESSICA TARLOV: And here is the President.
HARRIS FAULKNER: Hold on, Jessica. We’ll pick your u-tape later.
KENNEDY: Oh no, you didn’t!
MELISSA FRANCIS: Oh boy.
FAULKNER: Okay, so the President’s here. Let’s watch and listen. This is the Rose Garden. We were told that he was opening up an event. Is his mic on?
FRANCIS: I think. I think we can guess which dog this is.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He’s trained and if you open your mouths, you will be attacked. You want to be very, very careful, but Conan came over from the Middle East and just arrived with some of the great people from the special forces that did the incredible, flaw — it was a flawless attack and al-Baghdadi is gone. But that was a flawless attack and I just a met quite a few of them and we just gave him a metal and a plaque. And it’s really — and I think Conan knew exactly what was going on. But a dog that is very, very special and we could say — Mike, come over, maybe you can say something about the type of dog. They were going to put a muzzle on the dog and I thought that was a good idea, but then again, it gets even more violent, John, so I had a choice, but the dog is incredible. We spent some good time with it. So brilliant, so smart. The way it was with the special forces people that have worked with him, for obvious reasons that can't be out in front of the media. But they did a fantastic job. Conan did a fantastic job and we’re very honored to have Conan here and to have given Conan a certificate and an award that we’re going to put up in the White House. Mike, do you have anything to say?
VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: It's great to be here Mr. President, I know you just finished meeting with some of the very same special forces who completed the successful raid and it took down the leader of ISIS. But as I recall Mr. President, you made the decision right there in the white House. The day before the raid, you talked about measures that were available to protect our soldiers and it had been described to us about the fact that they had dogs that could go in, in the event that al-Baghdadi had on him an explosive vest that you put the premium on the safety of our special forces, and this dog was there, suffered some injury. We were able to complete the raid without any American casualty and so I think having the special forces here today, who obviously can't come out in the public but also having this extraordinary dog here today is a reflection of our armed forces and the great job that they do. Conan is really here and it's a real joy to help welcome him here to the White House with you.
TRUMP: It’s true. Conan was very badly hurt as you know, they thought maybe he was not to recover. Recovered actually very quickly and has since gone on very important raids. As you know, we captured 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate. When I took office, we had almost nothing, as though they were just forming again and now, it's 100 percent and we have done a lot of work since then, we’ve done a lot of work since the raid, certain things have happened that were very important and so, we’re in very good shape. We’re in very good shape. We’ve had a lot of help too from other countries. We’ve had — we’ve really done a good job and this is a special time for Conan. I was told about the breed. I was told about Conan himself and Conan is a tough cookie and nobody’s going to mess with him. I asked one question. Go see how fast Conan can move. I said what chance would a strongman have, a really tough fighter, what chance would this person have against Conan? Without the guns? What chance? And I guess the answer pretty much was none. He would have no chance, so it's amazing and you yet see how beautiful and calm they are in situations like this is and you're very lucky he's not in a bad mood today, Jeff.
JEFF MASON: Oh really?
TRUMP: Not a bad mood. You’re safe. Anyway, I want to thank you all, thank you very much and it's a great honor to have Conan here, a great honor to have the special forces here.
TRUMP: No, Conan is not retiring yet, Conan is prime time. Age-wise, primetime. I asked them, about six years like an athlete. Six years. They start, they like to get them at one and a half or two years old and they go for about six years from that time. After that, it happens where maybe the reflexes aren't quite as good, you know, things like that happen. It would never happen to us, but the dog's prime time is six years after two, and they’re very special dogs. They’re very hard to get, this particular dog is — this is the ultimate fighter, the ultimate everything. Ultimate in terms of sniffing drugs. We have — we spent a tremendous amount of money on drug equipment at the border and I was talking to the people I said, is there anything better than this equipment? No, sir. The only thing better is a dog, this type of dog exactly because it's a certain type of dog and it's pretty amazing. But they are really better. We had a case where we had drugs in a — in the cylinder of a car and it was undetectable by this very expensive machinery which is really amazing machinery but still. It was undetectable. The dog came in, whoa! Jumped on the hood, pointing, you know, it opened the hood and knew exactly. It's incredible, sense of smell or whatever it may be, probably sense of smell. So, they’re incredible animals and thank you all very much.
REPORTER: Melania, do you want to adopt the dog for Barron.
FRANCIS: That last question from reporters, much friendlier than use usual. Melanie, do you want to adopt that dog for baron? That is the hero dog Conan, who was obviously instrumental in capturing the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi and ultimately his demise. Coming back here and receiving a metal and a plaque, President Trump said he wasn't really sure if the dog knew what was going on during the ceremony, unclear. I think you could tell, Chris Stirewalt, who among that group was a dog person and who maybe wasn't. Mike Pence was snuggling up to that delicious Conan. President Trump was a little bit further away. Not saying anything.
FAULKNER: You already.
CHRIS STIREWALT: Not a dog — not a dog guy.
FRANCIS: Clearly, he loves the dog. But you saw his body language.
KENNEDY: He admires the dog.
STIREWALT: He admires the dog. He talked for about the dog is an athlete. He talked about the dog as a killing machine. He talked about —
TARLOV: Crime dog.
FRANCIS: Drug smuggling.
STIREWALT: Sniffing, ultimate fighter, many adjectives that he had for the dog but one of them is not “buddy.” But Pence loves the dog.
FRANCIS: No. Vice president pence can't get enough of the dog and the first lady Melania trump asked on the way out if she wanted to adopt it. Harris, it's an interesting pivot in terms of topic. We have these other topics in the military and we bring out this hero dog. A celebration
FAULKNER: I don't know if you could knit a sweater with all the different topics and try them all together, but we now definitively know the dog's name. Kennedy? Kennedy held up her finger.
KENNEDY: I think the President has two aces up his sleeve.
FAULKNER: You do? Tell us.
KENNEDY: One is a tariff deal with China. The other is the medal-awarding to Conan.
KENNEDY: So you've just seen one ace which derails the secretary of the Navy talk,
FAULKNER: And a new nickname for Conan.
KENNEDY: — he had a Gallagher talk and also tampers down impeachment because hero dogs who kill awful hell-bound terrorists deserve our affection.
FAULKNER: There you go.
FRANCIS: Alright, hero dog here in the Rose Garden —
TARLOV: All dogs do.
STIREWALT: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
FRANCIS: — receiving a medal —
FRANCIS: — yes, that’s right.
FAULKNER: Call him Primetime. I like that.
FRANCIS: — and getting his due.