Reprinted from Consortium News
Vulgar, crude, racist and ultra-sexist though he is, Donald Trump can still see how awful the American mainstream media is.
I think one of the main reasons for Donald Trump's popularity is that he says what's on his mind and he means what he says, something rather rare amongst American politicians, or politicians perhaps anywhere in the world. The American public is sick and tired of the phony, hypocritical answers given by office-holders of all kinds.
When Trump was interviewed by ABC-TV host George Stephanopoulos, former aide to President Bill Clinton, he was asked: "When you were pressed about [Russian president Vladimir Putin's] killing of journalists, you said, 'I think our country does plenty of killing too.' What were you thinking about there? What killing sanctioned by the U.S. government is like killing journalists?"
Trump responded: "In all fairness to Putin, you're saying he killed people. I haven't seen that. I don't know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he's killed? Because I've been -- you know, you've been hearing this, but I haven't seen the name. Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven't seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters."
Or Trump could have given Stephanopoulos a veritable heart attack by declaring that the American military, in the course of its wars in recent decades, has been responsible for the deliberate deaths of many journalists. In Iraq, for example, there's the Wikileaks 2007 video, exposed by Chelsea Manning, of the cold-blooded murder of two Reuters journalists; the 2003 U.S. air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded; and the American firing on Baghdad's Hotel Palestine the same year that killed two foreign news cameramen.
It was during this exchange that Stephanopoulos allowed the following to pass his lips: "But what killing has the United States government done?"
Do the American TV networks not give any kind of intellectual test to their newscasters? Something at a fourth-grade level might improve matters.
Prominent MSNBC newscaster Joe Scarborough, interviewing Trump, was also baffled by Trump's embrace of Putin, who had praised Trump as being "bright and talented." Putin, said Scarborough, was "also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?"
Putin "invades countries" ... Well, now there even I would have been at a loss as to how to respond. Try as I might I don't think I could have thought of any countries the United States has ever invaded. [Editor's Note: Sarcasm aside, Blum has compiled comprehensive lists of U.S. invasions and interventions in his books, including Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II.]
To his credit, Trump responded: "I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know. There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that's the way it is."
As to Putin killing political opponents, this too would normally go unchallenged in the American mainstream media. But earlier this year, I listed seven highly questionable deaths of opponents of the Ukraine government, a regime put in power by the United States, which is used as a club against Putin. This of course was non-news in the American media.
So that's what happens when the know-nothing American media meets up with a know-just-a-bit-more presidential candidate. Ain't democracy wonderful?
Trump has also been criticized for saying that immediately after the 9/11 attacks, thousands of Middle Easterners were seen celebrating outdoors in New Jersey in sight of the attack location. An absurd remark, for which Trump has been rightfully vilified; but not as absurd as the U.S. mainstream media pretending that it had no idea what Trump could possibly be referring to in his mixed-up manner.
For there were in fact people seen in New Jersey apparently celebrating the planes crashing into the World Trade Center towers. But they were Israelis, which would explain all one needs to know about why the story wasn't in the headlines and has since been "forgotten" or misremembered.
On the day of the 9/11 attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attacks would mean for U.S.-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: "It's very good. ... Well, it's not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)." There's a lot on the Internet about these Israelis in New Jersey, who were held in police custody for months before being released. So here too mainstream newspersons do not know enough to enlighten their audience.
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