Nets More Terrified by Trump’s ‘Dangerous’ ‘Rhetoric’ Than North Korea

On Wednesday, the network morning shows portrayed President Trump’s stern warning to North Korea as being more “dangerous” than the rogue authoritarian regime threatening the world with nuclear weapons. Going into full panic mode, hosts and correspondents warned viewers that Trump was “going to make a bad situation worse” with his “blistering rhetoric.”

At the top of NBC’s Today, co-host Matt Lauer proclaimed: “War of words. North Korea threatens to attack the U.S. territory of Guam after President Trump warns the regime with his harshest language yet....What will bring the two sides back from the brink?” Moments later, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie hyped the “rapidly developing North Korea crisis” with “ominous threats being exchanged by the U.S. and the North Korean regime.”

 

 

After noting how North Korea was threatening to attack the U.S. territory of Guam, Lauer suggested Trump was to blame by provoking the hostile nation: “So what was the timing of this? Well, it followed a harsh warning hours earlier from President Trump that any further threats from Kim Jong Un would be met with, quote, ‘fire and fury like the world has never seen.’”

In the report that followed, correspondent Andrea Mitchell asserted: “The North Korean threat, frighteningly routine for the rogue regime, was a chilling response to thunderous words from President Trump.” Later in the segment, she touted:

Meanwhile, the President’s strong language is being criticized by leading lawmakers of both parties. Democrat Dianne Feinstein calling his rhetoric “bombastic” and saying diplomacy is the only path. Republican John McCain cautioning Trump against making empty threats.     

Mitchell concluded that “the real fear is that the rhetoric is escalating from both sides.”

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In a discussion with military analyst Jack Jacobs and MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace, Guthrie fretted: “Let’s talk about the rhetoric....Is this the President giving Kim Jong-un a taste of his own medicine, maybe his own vocabulary? Or is it going to make a bad situation worse?” Jacobs downplayed the importance: “Well, I think it’s irrelevant, actually.” However, he quipped: “When I first heard the remarks...I thought that Kim Jong-un had said those remarks.”

Guthrie pressed: “But is it dangerous? I mean, do the words matter in this context?”

As Jacobs continued to reject the fearmongering language being pushed by the anchor, Lauer jumped in:

Let’s not dismiss the words so quickly. We all remember “shock and awe” in Iraq. “Fire and fury,” as a military guy, Jack, what do you read into “fire and fury”? Is this conventional weaponry? Or is he threatening something else?

Meanwhile, Wallace was freaking out. “He has now drawn a far more stark, a far more inflammatory, a far more dangerous red line,” she declared of the President’s comments. “And he’s the kind of guy who would be sort of shamed into sort of keeping up with his own word,” Wallace added.  

She then incorrectly claimed: “So the language is so stunning because it contradicts all of the traditions of American military history.” In reality, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy issued the following warning during an address to the nation on October 22, 1962: “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

In addition, Trump’s language was very similar to remarks made by President Harry Truman following the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos announced:

You know, that blistering rhetoric is a real break from past presidents and it is being met with concern from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. As a new poll shows that six out of ten Americans are uneasy about President Trump’s ability to handle North Korea.

Correspondent Martha Raddatz insisted: “This morning, some political leaders, even from the President’s own party, concerned that the commander-in-chief’s fiery warnings could further incite the already volatile North Korean leader.”

At least national security expert Steve Ganyard reminded the journalists of Truman’s words: “...this is really the first kind of fiery rhetoric we’ve seen out of a U.S. President since really Harry Truman.” Stephanopoulos acknowledged: “Steve mentioned that was the kind of rhetoric Harry Truman used after dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.”

On CBS This Morning, fill-in co-host Vladimir Duthiers highlighted: “Some Republicans and Democrats say the President's strong words are not helping the situation. Mr. Trump echoed the tone of another presidential statement made as the U.S. attacked Japan with nuclear weapons 72 years ago this week.” Correspondent Major Garrett emphasized: “But beyond that Cold War imagery of fire and fury, the Trump administration has not articulated a policy to stop North Korea or defuse this crisis.”

Garrett went on to promote polling showing Americans “uneasy” with Trump as well as Democrats on the attack:

America’s appetite for conflict appears limited. Only 29 percent favor military action in a CBS News poll and 61 percent are uneasy about the President's ability to solve the crisis. Some Democrats took pause. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said Mr. Trump’s comments “once again show that he lacks the temperament.” And Senator Dianne Feinstein said Trump was bombastic and “is not helping the situation.”

In a report prior to Garrett’s, correspondent Ben Tracy parroted talking points from the Chinese government criticizing the President:

We actually just received this response from the Chinese government and in it they say, “The situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly sensitive, we hope the parties will be cautious with words and behavior and stop provoking each other and avoid escalation.” Now the Chinese government fears that this war of words could lead to a regional arms race and that already appears to be happening....Now keep in mind, China just agreed this past weekend to go along with the U.N. sanctions on Kim Jong-un’s regime, which will largely be up to China to enforce. Having the President of the United States throw more fuel on this fire may make China think about how far down the road it wants to go in supporting U.S. actions on North Korea.

Later in the 8:30 a.m. ET half hour, during an interview with former Hillary Clinton staffer Jake Sullivan, co-host Charlie Rose wondered: “You say North Korea is a land of lousy options. Where are we going? What is going to happen and does the language of the President help or hinder?” Unsurprisingly, Sullivan blasted Trump: “It just doesn't help when our allies and the countries in the region can’t tell whether it’s Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un who’s the crazier one.”

The biased reporting across all three networks was brought to viewers by PetSmart, Walmart, and Popeye's.

Here are excerpts of the August 9 coverage on the NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts:

Today
7:06 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Let’s talk about the rhetoric, let’s pick it up where Andrea just left off. Is this the President giving Kim Jong-un a taste of his own medicine, maybe his own vocabulary? Or is it going to make a bad situation worse?

COL. JACK JACOBS: Well, I think it’s irrelevant, actually. When I first heard the remarks – I hadn’t read them before or heard them before – when somebody read them to me, I thought that Kim Jong-un had said those remarks. I think it’s just for consumption by each side, and consumption in Korea for the North Koreans.

GUTHRIE: But is it dangerous? I mean, do the words matter in this context?

(...)

MATT LAUER Let’s not dismiss the words so quickly. We all remember “shock and awe” in Iraq. “Fire and fury,” as a military guy, Jack, what do you read into “fire and fury”? Is this conventional weaponry? Or is he threatening something else?

(...)

LAUER: Nicolle, when someone says something like what President Trump said yesterday, he draws a line in the stand. And then the question is, do our adversaries cross that line? Shortly after he said that, North Koreans issued a statement and said they are looking at plans to attack Guam, which is a U.S. territory. By the very fact that they said that, didn’t they cross the line?

NICOLLE WALLACE: Sure. And listen, this president ran as someone who was going to almost in a Seinfeld-like way, be the opposite of Barack Obama in every way, shape, and form. Over and over again, he criticized President Obama for drawing that red line in Syria. He has now drawn a far more stark, a far more inflammatory, a far more dangerous red line. And he’s the kind of guy who would be sort of shamed into sort of keeping up with his own word. So the language is so stunning because it contradicts all of the traditions of American military history.

You talked about “shock and awe,” those were words used after the military phase had begun. Those weren’t words used –

JACOBS: By the media, as a matter of fact.  

WALLACE: But those weren’t words when we were still engaged in diplomacy. Those weren’t words when the debate about Iraq and whether or not they had WMD was at the U.N. Security Council, which is where this conversation was over the weekend. And this is a president that has now used language that he can’t put back in the toothpaste tube.

GUTHRIE: Okay, there’s a theory of the case – and I’ll see if either of you sign on to it – that perhaps this is all by design, this is strategic. The president uses this hot rhetoric so that the North Koreans feel like, “Hey, this guy might be – he might be willing to actually use that force.” And that’s the deterrent effect. Do you buy it?

JACOBS: No. This president does nothing – or does very few things by design. He shoots from the hip all the time. And I think his words are taken with a grain of salt.

(...)


Good Morning America
7:01 AM ET

(...)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, that blistering rhetoric is a real break from past presidents and it is being met with concern from Republican and Democratic lawmakers. As a new poll shows that six out of ten Americans are uneasy about President Trump’s ability to handle North Korea.

(...)        

7:03 AM ET

MARTHA RADDATZ: This morning, some political leaders, even from the President’s own party, concerned that the commander-in-chief’s fiery warnings could further incite the already volatile North Korean leader.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN [R-AZ]: You gotta be sure that you can do what you say you’re gonna do. The great leaders that I’ve seen, they don’t threaten unless they are ready to act.

(...)

7:05 AM ET

ROBIN ROBERTS: Steve, you have also served in the State Department, so you know about the diplomatic side of things. And what is your take on the words, the language that President Trump has used with this?

STEVE GANYARD:  Robin, this is really the first kind of fiery rhetoric we’ve seen out of a U.S. President since really Harry Truman. And so, the President has made the decision to make a direct video appeal to Kim Jong-un to make him understand what the U.S. response will be. The question now is, does this ramp up, does the rhetoric continue to ramp up or do things begin to calm down? The next few days will be critical.

(...)

7:06 AM ET

STEPHANOPOULOS: Steve mentioned that was the kind of rhetoric Harry Truman used after dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We’re going to talk about it more now with our Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega right here. You know, such a bracing moment yesterday to see the president kind of hugging himself as he said these words. But at least parts of the statement tightly scripted.

CECILIA VEGA: Very much so, George. And this was a question that was prompted – this was an answer that was prompted by a question from a reporter....Look, I am told this was very much a strategic answer by people in the White House, that the president knew that if he was asked about this, that he would have this answer ready to go. And if you watch that tape of the president, it seems as though during parts of it he looks down and is – seems to be reading a little bit. This as we’ve seen ramped-up rhetoric from the president over the course of North Korea.

(...)


CBS This Morning
7:07 AM ET

(...)

7:08 AM ET

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: Some Republicans and Democrats say the President's strong words are not helping the situation. Mr. Trump echoed the tone of another presidential statement made as the U.S. attacked Japan with nuclear weapons 72 years ago this week. Major Garret is near the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey. Major, good morning.  

MAJOR GARRETT: Good morning. President Trump broke from his working vacation to sound an alarm of sorts, using vivid imagery and rhetoric meant to capture the attention of nations throughout Asia, especially China. But beyond that Cold War imagery of fire and fury, the Trump administration has not articulated a policy to stop North Korea or defuse this crisis.

(...)

GARRETT: America’s appetite for conflict appears limited. Only 29 percent favor military action in a CBS News poll and 61 percent are uneasy about the President's ability to solve the crisis. Some Democrats took pause. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland said Mr. Trump’s comments “once again show that he lacks the temperament.” And Senator Dianne Feinstein said Trump was bombastic and “is not helping the situation.”

GARRETT: But Republican Congressman Peter King said Trump’s comments send “a very strong deterrent signal to North Korea. To me, there’s more of a chance of war if the U.S. does not stand strong.” On Phoenix radio, Republican Senator John McCain was critical of Mr. Trump.

JOHN MCCAIN: The great leaders that I have seen, they don’t threaten unless they are ready to act. And I’m not sure that President Trump is ready to act.

(...)

8:34 AM ET

CHARLIE ROSE: [Former Hillary Clinton/State Department adviser Jake Sullivan] You say North Korea is a land of lousy options. Where are we going? What is going to happen and does the language of the President help or hinder?

JAKE SULLIVAN: Well, what we need right now is steady resolve, calm, and absolutely strong and consistent leadership and the problem with what the President said is it puts all the attention on the United States and what the United States is thinking. When right now the attention should be on north Korea and producing pressure to produce a diplomatic outcome. It just doesn't help when our allies and the countries in the region can’t tell whether it's Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un who's the crazier one.

(...)

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