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Wednesday, January 2, 2019
CNS Shores Up Trump on Syria Withdrawal

When President Trump announced he planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, did what it does: trying to reframe the near-universal criticism of the move in order to provide support for it.

A Dec. 20 article by Patrick Goodenough did acknowledge "blistering reaction from some senior Republican lawmakers," but he used only five paragraphs near the end of his of his 27-paragraph article to detail that criticism, and his article is given the one-sided headline "Invoking Fallen Soldiers, Trump Says it’s Time For US Troops in Syria ‘to Come Home’."

That was followed shortly thereafter by an article from Susan Jones repeating claims from an anonymous senior administration official defending Trump's decision. She uncritically relayed the idea that President Obama's withdrawal of troops from Iraq "led to the re-emergence of Sunni radicals (ISIS), forcing a U.S.-led coalition to return to Iraq to fight"; in fact, after U.S. troops left Iraq following failure to reach agreement with the Iraqi government, the Iraqi military became complacent and corrupt, rendering them incapable of succeeding against ISIS.

Jones returned a few hours later with an article that began: "As a general rule of thumb, if Trump's for it, the liberals are against it, and so it is with the president's just-announced U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria. But this time, a chorus of angry Republicans are joining the liberal naysayers." Even though the article was heavy on criticism, its headline was pro-Trump: "Trump Asks: 'Does the USA Want to Be the Policeman of the Middle East?'"

Jones then took Republican Sen. Rand Paul's support of the withdrawal-- which she had referenced in an earlier article -- and expanded it into an article of its own.

Then, an anonymously written Dec. 24 article proclaimed that "The Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, said in his latest report, released Nov. 5, that the Islamic State had lost all of the territory it had once held in Iraq and 99 percent of the territory it once held in Syria." The fact that the report also said that "ISIS continued to move underground and solidify as an insurgency in Iraq and Syria" and "kept some of its bureaucratic structures in place and continued to raise funds" didn't get highlighted, remaining buried in a copied-and-pasted section of the report.

Finally, a Dec. 25 article by Goodenough did admit some reality by acknowledging that a U.S.-led coalition was continuing airstrikes  against ISIS is both Syria and Iraq, under the realist headline "After Trump’s Syria Decision US-Led Coalition Continues Airstrikes, Says ISIS ‘Presents a Very Real Threat’."

That took much longer than it should have -- if CNS wasn't more interested in advancing Trump's political agenda than reporting the news.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 PM EST

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