On Wednesday morning, NBC’s Today show and ABC’s Good Morning America recited identical liberal talking points as both broadcasts warned viewers that the U.S. was on the verge of looking like world’s worst “authoritarian regimes” if the Pentagon followed through on President Trump’s desire to hold a military parade in the nation’s capital.
“Some unusual marching orders from President Trump to the Pentagon. He wants a massive parade to highlight the country’s military strength,” fretted Today co-host Hoda Kotb. “But as NBC’s Hans Nichols explains, that request is not sitting well with some lawmakers,” she added.
Unsurprisingly, Nichols revealed moments later that Democrats were the ones balking at the idea as he teed up a clip of liberal California Congreswoman Jackie Spear ranting: “I was stunned by it, to be quite honest. I mean, we have a Napoleon in the making here.”
The Pentagon correspondent followed: “For the most part, U.S. presidents have avoided displays of military power that are often associated with the former Soviet Union’s Red Square celebrations, or more recently, Kim Jong-un’s parades in North Korea.”
Nichols at least acknowledged that Trump’s idea – inspired by witnessing France’s Bastille Day parade in July – was not unprecedented in the U.S. He pointed to past Republican and Democratic administrations that put on similar demonstrations of America’s military strength:
In fact, the nation’s capital hasn’t seen a procession of tanks and troops since 1991, when President H.W. Bush commemorated America’s victory in the Gulf War. At the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy included military equipment in his inaugural parade in 1961....As did President Harry S Truman in 1949.
In contrast, GMA completely avoided offering any such historical context. Co-host Robin Roberts was worried as she turned to Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz: “And, Martha, the kind of parade the President has in mind would be pretty unusual, correct?” Raddatz breathlessly declared: “Oh, very, very unusual, Robin.”
“The President’s talking about tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue, fighter jets streaking over the Capitol....Parades of that magnitude are now more often associated with authoritarian regimes, think Russia, think North Korea,” Raddatz proclaimed.
Suddenly transforming from a liberal media anchor into a fiscal conservative, Roberts asked: “Who’s gonna pay for it? How much is it gonna cost?” Raddatz replied: “Oh, a lot of money. It could cost millions and we would pay for it.”
Unlike the NBC and ABC morning shows, CBS This Morning managed to report on the President’s parade request without any hyperbolic pronouncements about America slipping into dictatorship. Co-host Norah O’Donnell offered this straightforward news brief:
The Pentagon is working on a grand military parade in Washington requested by the President. A Pentagon spokesman tells CBS News that plans are in the early stages for an event in November. That could coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. President Trump brought up the idea last July after watching France’s Bastille Day celebration in Paris. He told reporters that the parade was one of the greatest he had ever seen.
The last military parade in Washington was nearly 27 years ago, when troops marched through the capital to celebrate the U.S. victory in the 1991 Gulf War.
It actually was possible to report on the story without descending into fearmongering.