The successful U.S. military campaign to bring swift justice to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is clearly a big, big victory for America. Rather than surrender, the world's most wanted terrorist tugged on a suicide vest and blew himself to pieces. He made sure the blast killed three of his children, too.
The media coverage could easily be predicted. Straight news has disappeared. Absolutely everything needs to be put through a political filter.
When we took out Osama bin Laden in 2011, journalists hailed then-President Obama as a "proven master and commander." That was NBC's Chris Matthews, and his statement simply wasn't true. There was nothing proven about Obama's military prowess.
But don't tell his friends that. "President Bush tried. President Clinton tried. But Barack Obama was the one who had the courage and the guts and the coolness, and took that chance," oozed Barbara Walters on ABC's "The View." "(P)rofessor Obama turned into Gen. Obama and ran this incredible, incredible raid," wrote columnist Margaret Carlson. "President Barack Obama just proved himself — vividly, in almost Biblical terms — to be an effective commander-in-chief," gushed Howard Fineman at The Huffington Post.
Question: Who is more supportive of and respected by the military, Barack Obama or Donald Trump?
With the elimination of al-Baghdadi, the journalists and pundits gritted their teeth and acknowledged that this mission and Trump's approval of it reflected well on him. But that lasted five minutes. And then came the parade of "buts."
But this victory won't stop impeachment. But it won't stop ISIS. But Trump was too specific about the mission. But he thanked Russia first. But he didn't inform House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the mission. But he was too raw in describing the dead terrorist as "crying" and "whimpering." And so on. And so on.
Chris Matthews trashed Trump for "hotdogging it," for destroying a chance for national unity because he "turned it into a weird kind of torture." On ABC's "The View," host Whoopi Goldberg asked, "So can we at least agree that the world is a better place without this guy in it?" Joy Behar nastily responded, "Who, Trump or ... Baghdadi? Which one?" The crowd roared with approval.
The media's mission never changes: shower this president with negativity and an overwhelming sense of horror.
The Obama-loving media cannot admit that ISIS has been on the run since Trump took office. Obama drew no harsh coverage from the networks in 2014 when he dismissed the rise of ISIS with a basketball metaphor and called it a "JV team." He didn't even draw any when those alleged amateurs took control of an area roughly the size of Indiana, making the area the largest terrorist sanctuary in history, and when they were said to have used some of the most violent and extreme forms of terrorism in history: decapitations, burnings, crucifixions.
By October 2017, nine months into the Trump era, the commander in chief had ordered relentless military pressure, and the ISIS "caliphate" collapsed when it lost its home base in Raqqa, Syria. But the network news shows said almost nothing about it. Instead, they unspooled thousands of minutes of accusatory coverage of Trump collusion with Russia. From Inauguration Day through September 2018, the three network evening newscasts gave only 33 minutes to Trump's winning the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria — a third of 1% of all their Trump coverage.
It is this dramatic media suppression that allowed CNBC's John Harwood to dismiss the win. "(I)n the American psyche, Baghdadi was to bin Laden as an ant is to an elephant." The average American had no idea who the leader of ISIS was because journalists were too busy pushing Paul Manafort and Stormy Daniels.
All this proves that the media aren't primarily interested in facts. Journalists channel their own emotions and pretend they're facts. They cannot tolerate the idea of complimenting this president for a success. His failure and political demise are always the first goals. Facts are getting in the way.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is the director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.