Feb 25, 2017 by ROGER ARONOFF
It is becoming increasingly clear that the often oppositional mainstream media will only promote stories which contain an angle designed to make President Donald Trump look bad. That this is the opposite of how President Barack Obama was treated by the media only exposes reporters’ ongoing double standard.
One press narrative is that Trump intends to weaken NATO and will, therefore, place American security and interests—as well as those of our allies—in jeopardy by undermining our international alliances. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in his February 20 show “Wolf,” repeatedly attempted to bait the secretary general of NATO into criticizing Trump for his promise to insist that NATO allies must pay their fair share of the “common defense.”
“You were with the vice president when he said that the U.S. commitment to NATO is firm,” said Blitzer, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s speech in Munich last weekend. “Were you reassured by those words?” Refusing to follow Blitzer’s narrative, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he was reassured.
“Absolutely, because it is a very consistent message,” Stoltenberg said.
In other words, the secretary general was saying that there is no contradiction between Trump’s campaign promises and his actions now. The Trump administration seeks to strengthen NATO, not undermine it.
Stoltenberg continued, “I have heard from President Trump in two phone calls, from the vice president today in Brussels, but also in Munich on Saturday and in meetings with Secretary Mattis, Secretary Kelly, and phone calls with Secretary Tillerson. And the message from all of them is that the United States is strongly committed to the trans-Atlantic alliance, to NATO, and will continue to support us not only in words but also in deeds. Because we see that the United States is now increasing their military presence in Europe in new forces and more equipment.”
Wedded to his media narrative, Blitzer then aired a segment featuring Trump saying, “The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense. And if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.”
“As a candidate for office, President Trump actually called attention repeatedly to the fact that for too long, many of our NATO allies have not been sharing the financial burden,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer at a February 21 press briefing. “The President looks forward to working closely with NATO to advance our shared objectives. A strong NATO means a safer world.”
In other words, the Trump administration understands the value of NATO, but wants the countries involved to pay their fair share.
But journalists like Blitzer prefer to fearmonger about this administration, and air segments that emphasize the risks of Trump’s actions, rather than the potential rewards of holding other countries accountable. In a related story, The New York Times wrote that “It is a time of great anxiety in Europe, in no small part because of the rise of Mr. Trump, who has brushed aside long-held tenets of American foreign policy.”
It is ironic that the media continually air Trump’s past statements in order to pressure him to either break those promises or recommit to them. Yet Obama was allowed to break his Obamacare promises, most notably his lie that Americans could keep their doctor if they wanted to, and that their costs would decrease for an average family by $2,500 per year.
“But what happens—what happens if they don’t [increase expenditures]?” Blitzer asked Stoltenberg. “You heard the vice president, Mike Pence, say the patience of the American people will not endure forever. What happens, for example, if rich countries, like France, Germany, Italy, Canada, if those countries don’t step up and meet that two percent threshold?”
Stoltenberg replied that his focus “is on ‘what can we do to make sure that we succeed,’” not prepare for the worst. “And we are—it is quite encouraging to see that defense spending has started to increase,” he said. “The picture is still mixed but it’s much better than it was just a year ago.”
After Stoltenberg’s strong performance, Blitzer admitted that NATO countries committing less than two percent of their gross domestic product is “a problem.”
Blitzer appeared stunned and forlorn at these answers. They were clearly not the answers he was expecting to hear. What Blitzer didn’t mention—but Stoltenberg did—is that the 28 member states of NATO committed to spend two percent of their GDP on this alliance back in 2014. So Trump’s policy is to merely hold these countries to the promises that they have already made.
Stoltenberg told CNBC that there had been a four percent increase in European and Canadian spending in 2016. “Meeting the target will take longer for some countries than others, he admitted,” reports CNBC, “and said he was confident all allies will meet the benchmark within a decade, as promised.”
The Cato Institute’s Christopher Preble argues that Trump’s campaign statements may have rattled the NATO members and caused them to “hedge their bets.” In other words, Trump’s tough stance may actually motivate allies to allocate more of their defense budgets to funding NATO—an improvement that would ultimately enhance world security.
Blitzer’s interview with Secretary General Stoltenberg was just another attempt to elicit a soundbite which could be used to embarrass the administration. Members of the media, as they attempt to tarnish Trump’s reputation, fail to consider the ramifications of their bias, and how it might—just as much as Trump’s own potential missteps—harm America’s standing in the world.
THE LEFT VERSUS REALITY: MASS DELUSION IN AMERICA
Feb 25, 2017 by LEE DUIGON
Everyone’s entitled to his own opinion, Sen. Daniel Moynihan once said, long ago, but no one’s entitled to his own facts. Obviously Moynihan was talking about some planet other than ours.
It started in the universities, where all this poison hatches out, the idea that a text, any text, can only mean what the reader thinks it means. Academics liked this so much, they quickly applied it to everything. And we wound up having to say a man is a woman because he “identifies as a woman.”
Our public discourse today, at least that part of it that’s hurled at us by liberals, rests on the replacement of ascertainable facts by assertions that liberals want to be facts. They demand we base policy on whatever it is they say—because, after all, there’s no such thing as truth, there’s only politics. The rest of us are expected to let them define reality for everyone.
So last week it was the Red Pope, Francis I, solemnly assuring us that there’s no such thing as Muslim terrorism, that “it does not exist.” Does he think it’s Methodists who yell “Allahu akbar!” as they drive a truck into a crowd of defenseless people? Does he think ISIS is just some kind of Middle Eastern Lions Club? We are talking facts here, but he denies the facts. He doesn’t like them, so he denies them. And the rest of us are expected to nod our heads and say “He’s right!”
In the same speech, the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church, having just denied that Muslim terrorism exists, went into yet another sales pitch for Man-Made Climate Change, which we are pretty sure does not exist. Gotta pony up that carbon tax, says the Pope, and give governments all sorts of sweeping new powers to meddle with our lives, so they can Save The Planet: otherwise we’re all gonna die, blah-blah.
This guy’s just too much. He warns us to beware “what happens when we deny science and disregard the voice of nature.” He expresses concern for “our Sister Mother Earth.” Now he’s a prophet who speaks for Mother Earth. It doesn’t seem to matter to him how often NOAA and NASA and the rest of the Climate Change mob get caught lying and cheating. These are his facts—his facts—and he demands the world act according to his own personal definition of reality.
This is getting to be dangerous.
On Fox News, Tucker Carlson recently interviewed one of the leaders of the Berkeley riots, Yvette Felarca. This woman—employed as a middle school teacher, when she’s not rioting—has been very creative in making up her own facts. She’s trying to start a jihad of intimidation and violence against “fascists.” Who’s a fascist? Anyone who disagrees with her on any point.
She justifies what she has done, and what she wants to do, by claiming that “fascists,” otherwise known as ordinary people, are going around America “committing genocide” against this and that cherished minority—oh: and minorities, she says, are actually the majority—and must be stopped “by any means necessary” before they kill off most of the people in the country.
This woman is either one of the world’s most audacious liars, or locked firmly into a full-blown delusion. Her proposed solution to America’s problems—as defined by her own loopy set of facts—is to organize a coast-to-coast witch-hunt. Carlson had her on videotape demonstrating how her policy works: she physically attacks a Trump supporter, and is soon joined by several left-wing goons who knock the man to the street and start kicking him. Her “facts” entitle her to do this. In fact, they oblige her to do it.
Is it any wonder that a lot of people are starting to think that leftism is a mental illness?
Pope Francis doesn’t go around with a bunch of cardinals knocking down and kicking Climate Change deniers, but the only difference between him and Schoolmarm Yvette is that he relies on government to force people to do what he wants, while she’s into more of a hands-on approach.
God help us if we can’t clean up this mess.
I have discussed these topics, and others, on my blog, http://leeduigon.com, throughout the week. Please stop by and read! All it takes is just one click to get you there.
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