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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
At CNS, Trump's Flip-Flop on NATO Is Just A 'Policy Shift'

When President Trump declared that NATO is "no longer obsolete" -- a complete reversal from a position he had articulated just three months earlier -- most news organizations pointed it out as the flip-flop it was.

And then there's the loyal Trump stenographers at, who would never be so gauche as to report that their dear leader was caught in a flip-flop.

Melanie Arter's April 12 article on his NATO remarks doesn't even mention the reversal; instead, like a loyal stenographer, she simply repeats Trump's statement that "I said it was obsolete; it's no longer obsolete" and made the lead of her story about Trump calling on NATO "to work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in Syria."

Two days later, Arter wrote a follow-up article that spins Trump's numerous flip-flops as "policy shifts" by, yes, uncritically quoting Trump press secretary Sean Spicer:

When asked to explain some of President Donald Trump’s recent policy shifts, the White House said Thursday that in some cases - NATO, for example - the issue is evolving towards the position that the president articulated.

“I think you can look at what you're referring to as a shift in a lot of ways,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in response to a question about what the American people should make of the policy shifts the president has made on issues such as labeling China as a currency manipulator and asking Congress to do away with the Export-Import Bank.

“By that I mean I saw a couple instances with respect to NATO being one of those shifts yesterday, and if you look at what’s happened, those entities, or individuals in some cases, are issues evolving towards the president’s position. And NATO, in particular, he talked about the need of countries to pay their fair share, to live up to their commitments of 2 percent of GDP. He talked about the need for NATO to focus more on terrorism. NATO has done just that,” Spicer said.

“And it's something that he pointed out in the debate -- the first debate in September of last year. He talked about the fact that NATO is moving towards what he has been calling for, and I think in some cases, the issues evolve -- that it's not just a clear and fast statement that this is -- the entity itself is moving towards his -- or the issue is evolving towards the position that he articulated,” Spicer said.

But as Politico pointed out, NATO has been focusing on terrorism for decades, which means any "evolution" Trump claims happened always exists.

Again, a Trump stenographer like Arter simply wouldn't be so gauche as to commit journalism by noting that.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:11 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:15 PM EDT

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