Topic: Media Research Center
A new year, a new Bob Woodward book exposing the highly dysfunctional inner workings of the Trump White House -- and, just like last year, another round of tirades and ranting from the Media Research Center over said book.
This time, though, Woodward and co-writer Robert Costa (a former writer for the conservative National Review) served up a tidbit the MRC could work with, one that kept it from attacking them, at least at first: In the midst of Trump's increasingly unstable mental state following his election defeat and out of fear that he might provoke a war with China, Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Mark Milley that he secretly contacted Chinese officials to assure them that the U.S. wouldn't attack. But instead of focusing on the instability of their favorite president that forced such extraordinary measures, the MRC decided to accuse Milley of treason, like Nicholas Fondacaro did in a Sept. 14 post:
If a military general tried to insert himself into the chain of command in an attempt to usurp power from a civilian Democratic president and promised America’s chief adversary they would warn them if we were going to attack, the liberal media would be screaming and calling it what it was: treason. But since Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley did those exact things to President Trump, CBS and NBC came out in strong support of it during their Tuesday evening newscasts, suggesting he was protecting the nation.
Fondacaro pressed the "treason" narrative again a few hours later:
For much of Tuesday, CNN was fixated on claims from Bob Woodward’s new book that Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley had committed treason by promising China that he would warn them if the United States planned to attack. It even weaseled into their California recall election coverage where special correspondent Jamie Gangel openly defended Milley, suggesting he was just trying to protect the country and critics were acting on politics.
Unsurprisingly, Fondacaro refused to address the issue of Trump's mental instability.
Mark Finkelstein complained that CNN had on Miles Taylor, who anonymously wrote a book criticizing the Trump administration while still working in the Trump White House, to talk about the accusation, huffing that Tayloer was "the most perfectly partisan source" -- never mind that, again, he worked in the Trump White House -- and weirdly adding that "There's something of the callow youth about the 33-year-old Taylor."
Kristine Marsh got back to the treason narrative and downplayed the mental instability angle:
The View’s Joy Behar emphatically defended General Mark Milley, after it was revealed in Bob Woodward’s book that he may have committed treason while President Trump was in office.
In the journalist’s book, he claims that the Joint Chiefs Chairman, and principal military adviser to the president, secretly called China to assure them he would warn in advance if President Trump planned an attack against their country. Some might call that treason. But Joy Behar was fine with that, even being at odds with her equally liberal co-hosts.
But Behar was thankful for the general’s alleged betrayal of our country, because Trump was a “lunatic” and a “certifiable nutcase” who should’ve been removed from office, she claimed[.]
Fondacaro ranted some more, nonsensically calling Milley "woke" as well as treasonous:
The broadcast networks doubled down Wednesday in their defense of the woke general, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, going from beyond just circling the wagons to building out a fort backed by President Joe Biden. Each of the “big three” were out to paint him as a hero who single-handedly kept President Trump from destroying the world, a delusion they and Milley wished was true. They even tried to rationalize his promise to China to sell out America if we attacked.
Fondacaro insisted that there was "no evidence Trump was planning" an attack on China or Iran, but didn't mention that mentally unstable people are not known for their advance planning.
Finkelstein returned with a post that didn't mention Trump's mental instability but did lecture: "If substantiated, it means that behind the back of the President and Commander-in-Chief, Milley agreed to give a foreign adversary advance notice of an attack. That would constitute an egregious dereliction of duty, and a violation of the core constitutional principle of civilian control of the military."
Clay Waters decided that Milley was guilty of sedition instead of treason:
Wednesday’s New York Times ran a story on a new book by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. “New Book Details Fears Trump Would Start War.”
But national security correspondent Michael Schmidt glossed over the book’s biggest alleged bombshell: That the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supposedly promised to provide China, a foreign rival, a heads-up if any attack was coming.
Such a secret promise to undermine civilian control of the military sounds akin to sedition, and would if true help vindicate “Deep State” concerns from Trump supporters. Yet the Times didn’t even notice.
P.J. Gladnick finally acknowledged questions about Trump's mental health -- but he was more interested in a gotcha on a reporter on a minor side issue:
CBS News correspondent Ed O'Keefe attempted to defend the actions of General Mark Milley's secret unauthorized contact with his Chinese counterpart by claiming that national security officials cast aspersions on President Trump's mental health. He added Milley was embarrassed about walking across Lafayette Square with Trump to an Episcopal church on June 1, 2020, where the president allegedly held up an upside-down Bible.
The problem? It was fake news. The "upside-down" Bible cited by O'Keefe was actually held right-side-up. A fact that O'Keefe should have known.
Finkelstein came back to whine:
You ignorant Americans! How "delusional" can you be to think there was anything wrong about the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff promising America's greatest adversary to tip them off to any impending attack!
As "delusional" as that might seem to patriotic Americans, that was exactly Nicolle Wallace's opinion on her MSNBC show Friday. Discussing Joint Chief Chairman Mark Milley's phone call with his ChiCom counterpart in which he promised to give advance warning of a US attack ordered by President Trump, Wallace whined:
"Over in delusional America, where disinformation rules the day, there are calls for his firing and worse."
Note: consider the implications of Milley's promise to the Communist Chinese military that he would tip them off to any coming American attack. Milley would be sending our military members into an ambush where the enemy would be waiting for them! How is that not a fireable offense, or much, much, worse?
It's apparently not a fireable offense at the MRC for Finkelstein to omit the important context of Trump's mental instability.
And in a Sept. 18 column, Jeffrey Lord blames concerns about Trump's derangement on ... Trump Derangement Syndrome:
But as with Joe Scarborough, other liberals in the media are quick to celebrate Milley’s blatantly unconstitutional actions because, as always, Trump Derangement Syndrome reigns.
An uncomfortable truth of this moment in American media history is that liberal media simply doesn’t believe in the very Constitution that gives themselves a guarantee of a free press. To them the Constitution and the democratic values it exemplifies are situational.
And what happens if some future General - or a President - decides to take a page from Milley’s playbook and tries to suspend a network or a newspaper because they think the content aired or published is coming from network executives, editors and reporters the General or President believes are “unstable” or “unhinged”, as Milley was said to believe of Trump? Suddenly there would be self-righteous cries of indignant outrage from those in the media who are now General Milley’s cheerleaders.
All of which is to say, it is abundantly clear liberals in the media could care less about unelected Generals or bureaucrats violating the Constitution - as long as it’s the right unelected General and the right elected President. Got it.
Lord defends Trump no matter what, so perhaps he's not a reliable source of opinion on this.