China Hawk Donald Trump and the Bloodbath of Media Credibility

Watching on television as former President Trump spoke at an event in Dayton, Ohio, as I did, his speech made perfect sense.

Politically, that neck of the American woods is filled with autoworkers in nearby Michigan. And the idea of China flooding the American market with cars or anything else and causing economic mayhem is all too believable. 

China is never far from Trump’s thoughts. All the way back there in the stone age of 2014 I interviewed private citizen Trump in his Trump Tower office. And one of the subjects that he raised with no prompting was the US relationship with China, focusing on trade. He was an emphatic China critic.

Thus there was no surprise the other day as I listened to him say this in his speech: 

China now is building a couple of massive plants, where they’re going to build the cars in Mexico and … they think that they’re going to sell those cars into the United States with no tax at the border. Let me tell you something to China. If you’re listening, President Xi, and you and I are friends, but he understands the way I deal, those big, monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now, and you think you’re going to get that, you’re going to not hire Americans, and you’re going to sell the cars to us, no. We’re going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those cars.

If I get elected. Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s gonna be a bloodbath for the whole, that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it. But they’re not gonna sell those cars.

Crystal clear, no? Trump is saying that “those big, monster car manufacturing plants” China was building in Mexico without American workers were going to flood the country with foreign made cars if allowed to proceed. And in doing that “It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country” – clearly meaning a flooded American market.

Not hard to understand. Unless, of course, you’re the liberal media and despise Trump. As noted here from Fox News

Politico’s headline stated, ‘Trump says country faces ‘bloodbath’ if Biden wins in November.’ An NBC News headline stated, ‘Trump says there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses the election.’ The headline for CBS News stated, “In Ohio campaign rally, Trump says there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses November election.

These headlines were so wildly not even close to accurate.   Yet when challenged over the obvious misinterpretation – trying to make it seem as if Trump had threatened violence if he loses in November -  the liberal media instantly turned to denial. The headline on that Fox story read: 

MSNBC, ABC, others vigorously defend Trump ‘bloodbath’ coverage: ‘We did not miss the full context’

But conservatives suspected that the liberal media did not simply “miss the full context” of his words. The media, it was suspected, was quite deliberately trying to portray Trump as advocating violence in the streets. A “bloodbath” if he did not win. And saying this to slam Trump.

This, of course, follows on the heels of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax. A media manufactured “scandal” that dogged Trump through most of his term in the White House.

Both of which, individually not to mention collectively, has painted a portrait of the media as so determined to take down Trump that they will say and do anything – make that print or broadcast anything – that targets Trump.

The problem here is that in doing this the media has effectively targeted …. its own credibility.

In the long ago hit movie based on the Tom Clancy bestseller The Hunt for Red October, a too-smart-for-his- britches Russian sets in motion a torpedo which turns around and targets his own submarine. To which a horrified and angry crewmate snaps: “You arrogant ass, you’ve killed us.”

Make no mistake, the liberal media is not dead. But coming as this “bloodbath” controversy does in the Trump era where the former President is the repeated target of media stories that are – shall we say- less than truthful? It reinforces the belief that the liberal media has increasingly less credibility for truth-telling and reporting facts.

It’s a problem that effectively increases the popularity of conservative media, whether on television or talk radio. 

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