By Kevin Knox
“He became President of the United States in that moment, period.”
That was CNN’s Van Jones of reaction to President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress on Feb. 28, a sentiment echoed by many of his colleagues on CNN and much of the US media.
The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker tweeted, “This is the best morning of Donald Trump’s presidency. He is basking in positive pundit reviews. All that tumult feels like yesteryear.”
The phrase “presidential” was used ad nauseam by panelists on every American TV news network. Even frequent Trump critic Ana Navarro praised his “unifying” message.
Perhaps there was something in the water in America’s major newsrooms, or perhaps the president’s usual rhetoric has merely set the bar so low that even this speech seems presidential. Whatever the case may be, the pundits’ reactions were comical to say the least.
The speech itself was classic Trump. He bragged about how enormous he thinks his victory in 2016 was, demonized Latino immigrants, and described the inner cities as though they’re demilitar ized zones where anarchy reigns.
He also promised to increase America’s obscenely bloated military budget, and perhaps the most troubling, to form the “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement,”a government agency designed specifically to harass immigrants under the guise of cracking down on crime.
This is the speech the Boston Globe called “the long-awaited pivot…unlike any other speech we have seen from Trump.”
What specifically made this speech so terrific? According to most of these pundits, it’s chiefly because of his honoring Carryn Owens, a cheap appeal to emotion and patriotism.
Owens is the mother of Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL who died in a botched raid in Yemen on Jan. 29. A raid that the president was strongly advised against approving, but approved anyway.
So it seems that using the parents of a soldier, who was killed thanks to his incompetence, as political props, is what makes a man the president in the eyes of the media. Then again, Trump isn’t the first president to use such a tactic so perhaps they’re not wrong.
This kind of emotional appeal plays well on television, as did the two minute standing ovation that Owens received, and that’s the real reason the TV media loved it so. Actual policy means nothing to them, they care only about appearances. Which is why Hillary Clinton and Trump got so much free coverage in 2016 – they looked best on TV.
The American people deserve better than this. They need better than this. It’s time for the mainstream media – the TV media specifically – to wake up, stop getting distracted by trivialities and focus on what is important. If ever there was a time when the American people needed to be as informed as possible, it’s now.