After a week’s stay in the United States, I have returned stunned by the persecution of President Trump by the mass media – whom I used to trust to provide me with impartial information about American political life.
It is as if these media, once respected around the world for the quality of their information and the pluralism of their editorials, had suddenly turned into instruments of unilateral propaganda. Determined to obtain as quickly as possible the removal of a president whose election they had not expected.
The prestigious New York Times went as far as to publish an anonymous article, written in the best language of communicators, attributed to a “senior official at the White House”.
This vitriolic attack on the president is wrapped in the aura of the “resistance”. A “resistance” that chooses to remain at the heart of executive power in order to limit the damage to the country by sabotaging his leader’s decisions as much as possible. To justify trampling on the basic rules of journalistic ethics by publishing an anonymous “tribune” of political denunciation, the New York daily invokes the duty to protect – against what? against whom? – the author who remains hidden.
And, of course, also to protect the national interest. The objective of the article is to prove, from the inside, that Donald Trump is mentally unstable, and therefore unfit to perform the duties of President the United States.
This theme is new. It replaces the narrative of Trump the agent of the Kremlin. Like mental retardation, the betrayal of his country is an excellent reason for impeachment. But after eighteen months of thorough investigation by hundreds of journalists dreaming of becoming Trump’s executioners, nothing very convincing has emerged against him.
Many citizens of the United States may hate Trump’s ideas, politics or personality, but very few feel that his patriotism is a disguise and that his primary loyalty is to a country other than his own.
When you open the CNN streaming news channel on your television, you’re stunned. This channel is literally obsessed with Trump. All the political talk shows and all the reports devoted to the Executive seem to seek a single result: to create a negative image of the President of the United States.
To my dismay, CNN has devoted dozens of airtime hours to past connections with a porn actress and a cover girl, before Trump became president.
During Trump’s election campaign, which primarily targeted the morally conservative electorate, these ladies are said to have blackmailed the candidate and obtained money from his lawyer in exchange for their discretion.
Big deal! Is Trump not a well-behaved child compared to Bill Clinton who, in the Oval Office, received sexual favours from a young intern? A recreation which led hypocritical Republican parliamentarians to fight against the President, paralyzing the US executive for almost a year.
Donald Trump is not fond of either the New York Times or CNN. But this is no justification for these major outlets to throw all impartiality to the wind. Their denigration of Trump has become cartoonish.
The US economy has never been as buoyant as it is today. The editorial writers of the New York Times and CNN tell us that this has nothing to do with Trump. But, in the Autumn of 2016, before the presidential election, these same outlets prophesied an economic disaster were Trump to be elected.
Donald Trump does not exude either elegance of behaviour, nor high culture, nor conceptual intelligence. His flaws were well exposed by his opponents during the campaign. He was nevertheless elected. Why do journalist elites not judge him on the achievements of his full four-year term?
This relentless coverage is counterproductive. In domestic politics, it has remobilised the conservative electorate in favour of Trump. In foreign policy, it weakens America’s diplomacy, rendering it incapable of reconnecting with Russia.
We have not failed to criticise Trump for his repeated attacks on multilateralism – on the trans-Pacific partnership, on climate change, on the nuclear deal with Iran. He is not the devil. He is right to be relentless in the face of Chinese technology plunder.
America had a sober, elegant Yale president who read the Bible every night. His name was George W. Bush. In 2003, he decided to invade Iraq with consequences that are still being paid for.
For the moment, Trump has not caused any comparable disaster.
This article was first published in Le Figaro.
Stephen Gwynne says
Is there merit in having a nationalised newspaper that can impart impartial news and arguments about the realities of the challenges and opportunities societies face rather than the increasingly propagandised news outlets we have at present.
Paul Gregory says
Well argued. Taking the line of thought a little further, I would add something. Establishment journalists and even those outside assume it is a great idea to concentrate power in a single person, head of state, president, prime minister, Kanzler(in). Then, when by election the wrong “leader” obtains this exaggerated power, they wring their hands that the populace or the Party has chosen someone whose character and judgement are not how liberals wish. The media establishment never questions the mechanisms through which power is concentrated, or the predominance of parties, or why an elected dictatorship emerges with a veneer of democracy. My impression, from vain attempts to shift this way of thinking, is that either that, for all their show of being hypercritical, they are obedient to the powers that be, or that they are individuals of little imagination, restricted intelligence.