June 14, 2016

Report Which Led to Trump’s Wash Post Credentials Pull Still Justifies His Move

As Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters noted Monday afternoon, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has revoked the Washington Post’s press credentials for covering his campaign.

Trump took special umbrage to the following headline at Jenna Johnson’s coverage of Trump’s reactions to the terrorist massacre in Orlando: “Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.” The Post, claiming it did so before Trump made his move, is now carrying this revised headline: “Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting.” The trouble is, Johnson’s content, which deliberately injected scurrilous meaning which was not present into Trump’s comments, still containes the contention made in the earlier headline.

What Trump said indicates that he is as mystified and outraged as millions of other Americans are as to why President Barack Obama won’t identify Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen’s specifically stated Islamic radical motivations — and why Obama and his party insist on treating a terrorist massacre as an excuse for pushing more gun control measures which would not have prevented the carnage.

To the expert-at-mind-reading Johnson (that’s sarcasm, folks), this really means that Trump thinks Obama is “identifying with radicalized Muslims” to the point of being “complicit” in Sunday’s attack (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Donald Trump seemed to repeatedly accuse President Obama on Monday of identifying with radicalized Muslims who have carried out terrorist attacks in the United States and being complicit in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend, the worst the country has ever seen.

“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said in a lengthy interview on Fox News early Monday morning. “And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

We could go on and on with Johnson’s nonsense, but the single definition of “complicit” at dictionary.com is far more than enough to make the point that the Post hasn’t accomplished anything by changing its headline:

complicit [kuh m-plis-it]; adjective — choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having complicity.

It is therefore beyond dispute that Johnson wrote that Trump “seemed to” say that Obama was “involved” in Omar Mateen’s massacre of 49 people.

It’s quite a stretch to believe that any reasonable person could interpret Trump’s remarks as Johnson did by using the word “complicit.” As such, what she wrote would, to use her weasel words, “seem to” be libel (“defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures”). Whether it’s actionable in the legal system is a separate matter.

Thus, the Post accomplished nothing with its smarmy headline revision. It replaced “suggests President Obama was involved” with “seems to connect President Obama.” But Johnson’s dispatch, in its use of the word “complicit,” still contends that Trump “suggest(ed) President Obama was involved.”

CNNMoney covered the Post’s headline change, as well as the paper’s disgraceful, play-the-victim response:

Donald Trump said Monday that he is “revoking” the Washington Post’s press access at his campaign events, calling the newspaper “phony and dishonest.”

In a Facebook post, the presumptive GOP nominee attributed the decision to the newspaper’s “incredibly inaccurate coverage” of him.

The Post’s executive editor Marty Baron responded:

“Donald Trump’s decision to revoke The Washington Post’s press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn’t correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, then a news organization is banished. The Post will continue to cover Donald Trump as it has all along — honorably, honestly, accurately, energetically, and unflinchingly. We’re proud of our coverage, and we’re going to keep at it.”

Monday’s announcement was an astonishing move by the Trump campaign, given the Post’s status as one of the most respected newsrooms in the United States.

But it follows a pattern. Trump has repeatedly refused to give press credentials to major news outlets when he disagrees with coverage decisions.

“I am no fan of President Obama, but to show you how dishonest the phony Washington Post is, they wrote, ‘Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting’ as their headline,” Trump wrote. “Sad!”

As to Post executive editor Marty Baron’s attempted defense:

  • Jenna Johnson’s report, which the paper continues to stand by, is dishonorable (“showing lack of honor or integrity; ignoble; base; disgraceful; shameful”).
  • It is also dishonest (“not worthy of trust or belief”). The Post’s continued carriage of a story essentially accusing a presidential candidate of believing that the current President of the United States was involved in the massacre of 49 people should cause readers to believe that the Washington Post as an institution is “not worthy of trust or belief.”
  • Johnson’s report is obviously not accurate.
  • The Post is only “energetic and unflinching” in how it stands by its dishonorable, dishonest and inaccurate reporting.

One could argue that Donald Trump has in certain instances been too quick to take credentials away from other news outlets. It’s impossible to argue that this is one of them. Anyone with an ounce of self-respect wouldn’t allow unfettered access to a bunch of people who want their readers to believe that you think President Obama was complicit in a terrorist massacre.

The assertion by CNNMoney writers Tom Kludt and Brian Stelter that the Post is “one of the most respected newsrooms in the United States” is now a sick joke. Trump’s candidacy, whatever its merits, has sent its journalists and columnists into a fit of collective hysteria which would deeply embarrass the Graham family, the paper’s former longtime owners. They at least knew that if you’re going to be agenda-driven, as the Post has been for least the past 50 years, you at least need to have some facts on your side.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. But two can play at that game…

    Barack Obama said some time ago you have more chance of dying in a bathtub than being killed by a terrorist in America. So I could say at this point that:

    Obama suggests being gay means you have more chance of being killed in a bathtub.

    Of course the tragedy in Orlando demonstrates once again Obama’s attempt at minimalizing the threat is proved wrong.

    Maybe The Washington Post should carry the headline: 49 gays drowned in bathtubs on the same day

    Comment by dscott — June 14, 2016 @ 3:07 pm

  2. Unhinged DHS Secretary:

    DHS Secretary: Right-Wingers Pose Same Threat As Islamic Extremists


    So, Obama’s point man at the DHS believes Right Wingers have been roaming the country and indiscriminately mowing down gays at will? In the meantime the tally on people in America being killed by Muslim Extremists stands at 94… It seems the Right Wingers are simply out gunned by Muslims to make a difference.

    Report: Radical Islamists Have Killed 94 on American Soil Since 9/11

    More than all other extremists combined


    IF Trump holds to the script here, this will be a blow out election for him. Democrats are going to become a minority fringe party on the order of Socialists and Greens (but I repeat myself since they are merely branches of the same diseased tree of political thought.) The fact that Obama only now shows some passion on this issue in his talking points indicates Trump is on target and the Democrat Party is feeling the heat, or rather feeling fear. Notice Obama’s passion is not about Americans being killed but about Trump stating the obvious that while all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim. It was Obama who downplayed the threat of terrorism by saying you have more chance of drowning in a bathtub than being killed by a terrorist.

    Once again Obama has been proven wrong, in other words Obama was yet again caught in a demonstrable lie. Who are you going to believe? Obama or your lying eyes?

    It’s time to demand the resignation of the DHS Secretary for gross incompetence in the performance of his duties. Yet another feckless incompetent appointed by the hopelessly clueless Obama.

    Comment by dscott — June 15, 2016 @ 7:40 am

  3. An excellent (lengthy) article, 14 years too soon that demonstrates why Trump is correct and why Obama (left/liberal) is completely wrong:

    Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology
    by Lee Harris
    Thursday, August 1, 2002


    …There is one decisive advantage to the “evildoer” metaphor, and it is this: Combat with evildoers is not Clausewitzian war. You do not make treaties with evildoers or try to adjust your conduct to make them like you. You do not try to see the world from the evildoers’ point of view. You do not try to appease them, or persuade them, or reason with them. You try, on the contrary, to outwit them, to vanquish them, to kill them. You behave with them in the same manner that you would deal with a fatal epidemic — you try to wipe it out.

    So perhaps it is time to retire the war metaphor and to deploy one that is more fitting: the struggle to eradicate disease. The fantasy ideologies of the twentieth century, after all, spread like a virus in susceptible populations: Their propagation was not that suggested by John Stuart Mill’s marketplace of ideas — fantasy ideologies were not debated and examined, weighed and measured, evaluated and compared. They grew and spread like a cancer in the body politic. For the people who accepted them did not accept them as tentative or provisional. They were unalterable and absolute. And finally, after driving out all other competing ideas and ideologies, they literally turned their host organism into the instrument of their own poisonous and deadly will.

    The same thing is happening today — and that is our true enemy. The poison of the radical Islamic fantasy ideology is being spread all over the Muslim world through schools and through the media, through mosques and through the demagoguery of the Arab street. In fact, there is no better way to grasp the full horror of the poison than to listen as a Palestinian mother offers her four-year-old son up to be yet another victim of this ghastly fantasy.

    Once we understand this, many of our current perplexities will find themselves resolved. Pseudo-issues such as debates over the legitimacy of “racial profiling” would disappear: Does anyone in his right mind object to screening someone entering his country for signs of plague? Or quarantining those who have contracted it? Or closely monitoring precisely those populations within his country that are most at risk?

    Let there be no doubt about it. The fantasy ideologies of the twentieth century were plagues, killing millions and millions of innocent men, women, and children. The only difference was that the victims and targets of such fantasy ideologies so frequently refused to see them for what they were, interpreting them as something quite different — as normal politics, as reasonable aspirations, as merely variations on the well-known theme of realpolitik, behaving — tragically enough — no differently from Montezuma when he attempted to decipher the inexplicable enigma posed by the appearance of the Spanish conquistadors. Nor did the fact that his response was entirely human make his fate any less terrible.

    W was absolutely correct to name the attackers/al Qaeda as “Evildoers”.

    Comment by dscott — June 15, 2016 @ 9:30 am

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