Bozell & Graham Column: The Media's Overwrought July 4 Debacle

It’s fair to say that a week doesn’t go by where President Trump doesn’t want to be the center of attention. That being the case, he must be well-satisfied by events leading up to the Fourth of July. But he succeeded in creating another full-blown media panic about democracy eroding, and civilian control of the military collapsing, all because the president is behaving like a dictator.  The “news” manufacturers wanted us to know Trump was bending the national holiday into a celebration of his own love of self.

The Washington Post kicked off the hate-filled hyperbole when Trump first announced that he would be giving a speech at the Lincoln Memorial and wanted tanks on the Mall and jet fly-overs. Stop here and ponder: What in the world is wrong with the President of the United States delivering an address on America’s birthday? And what is wrong with showing an infitesimal display of her military might that ensures her freedoms?

Well, the cost, silly. With a $4.4 trillion federal budget, the country cannot afford it. In their “news” coverage, the Post decried the costs of having the Secret Service suffer the inconvenience of defending the president on such an occasion.

Over the years, the Post and its media brethren have aggressively defended our tax money going to every possible leftist adventure, including “artists” sinking the cross of Jesus Christ in urine and making paintings surrounding an image of his mother with smudges of dung. But a celebration of America’s armed forces on Independence Day? This was an outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars.  

The Post didn’t complain about the costs on August 28, 2013, when Al Sharpton organized an event at the same Lincoln Memorial celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, featuring speeches by President Barack Obama, as well as former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. No one at that partisan paper smelled a partisan

As with the Normandy address only one month ago, it was nothing like the media’s horror-movie premonition. He spoke unselfishly about the greatness of America and the bravery of her military men and women. Commentators after the event noted that it was a dramatic pitch for recruitment for the military, which has had trouble attracting recruits. It had nothing do with Trump.

How did the press get this so wrong? Obviously, as the Democrats begin trying to select a nominee to prevent Trump’s re-election, the “objective” journalists don’t want Trump to benefit from incumbency in any way.  Thus a speech honoring our nation on July 4 had to be denounced as a campaign rally.  Their loathing of Trump led them to interpret his every bragging tweet about this tremendous forthcoming event as a sure sign the celebration would be all about his ego and not about our history.

He’s playing the press like an accordion. They are the campaign issue. They are the ones politicizing current events against the candidate they despise.

You can also blame the Pentagon. In a post-event segment on the PBS NewsHour, Mike Lyons, a Gulf War veteran and a non-resident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, complained the president’s critics inside the military “used the media, unfortunately, to get a lot of disinformation out with regard to how the thing was going to go, that general officers weren't happy about it.” He lamented that “their mission was to execute on what the president's vision was.” Instead, they kvetched to eager reporters.

Lyons said “if the Pentagon released a plan that said it was only going to be a couple of static displays of some tanks and some Bradleys and the like, it would have quelled some of the hysteria that took place well beforehand and made this more palatable from the very beginning.”

Of course the cable news analysts could have surmised the same, but it went contrary to the narrative that the Trump Train must be derailed at all costs.

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