The 2017 competition for Ingrate of the Year is now closed; the disgraceful distinction belongs to LaVar Ball. Rather than thank President Donald Trump for his part in keeping his son and two other UCLA basketball players from rotting in a Chinese prison for several years, Ball, when asked by ESPN about Trump's role, shot back "Who?" — and complained that "Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out." Well sir, that's because he did.
On Tuesday, three UCLA basketball players who were arrested in China last week on charges of shoplifting and who potentially faced 3 to 10 years in prison were released, thanks to intervention on their behalf by President Trump and the U.S. State Department. In sharp contrast to how other wire services have handled the news, two stories at the Associated Press, waited eight and ten paragraphs, respectively, to recognize Trump's role in freeing them.
One of the establishment press's rules about the Donald Trump era is apparently, "There shall be no puff pieces." The Washington Post's Simon Denyer unilaterally decided to extend this rule to Arabella Kushner, the President's young granddaughter, giving him free rein to tell readers that her wonderful singing for China's president wasn't really an unconditionally wonderful event — because, you see, she was "forced to perform."
On Thursday morning in Shanghai, Walt Disney Company Chairman Bob Iger and “a phalanx of Chinese Communist Party officials” cut the ribbon on the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, the company's first theme park in mainland China.
The celebration included fireworks over the resort's castle -- Disney's "largest and most technologically advanced castle in the world” -- a dancing Mickey Mouse, dignitaries and messages of support from two presidents. "This is one of the most exciting and important moments in the history of the Walt Disney Company," Iger proclaimed.
However, according to an article by Patrick Brzeski of the Hollywood Reporter website, the Disney executive “drew gasps of surprise from the mostly Chinese crowd as he began reading a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama,” who has taken a far more lenient stand on gay rights and same-sex marriage than China's government.
During Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, NBC’s chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson enthusiastically promoted the global warming agreement between the United States and China that was announced earlier in the day, but fretted that Republicans were “already putting up roadblocks if congressional action is needed.”
Anchor Brian Williams hyped that it was “[a] surprise announcement” and “a history making deal” that will “greatly reduce carbon emissions.” Those generous descriptions segued into Thompson’s report as she mentioned that deal was between the two nations that were responsible for “producing 39 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases last year.”
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]