Accuracy in Media

Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for The New York Times and an analyst for CNN, condescendingly referred to Defense Secretary James Mattis as “something of a binky” to pacify a Congress she projected was horrified by a reckless President Trump for fulfilling his campaign promises to engage in fewer Middle East conflicts and to stand up for America’s interests abroad.

“You call this an astonishing rebuke of Trumpism,” John Berman said while introducing Haberman on the CNN program “New Day.”

“Well, it is,” Haberman said of Mattis’ plans to depart the administration early next year. “I mean, he makes very clear that he does not agree with the key tenets that the president not only has espoused over the last two years, but let’s remember these are things that he ran on, he campaigned on.

“And he made very clear that he was against extensive U.S. engagements in the Middle East. This should not surprise anyone, and that’s interesting about that letter is Mattis, he was a general through and through, he made very clear, that there’s one president and it’s president trump, but that he himself does not feel that he can consider to serve this administration anymore given the deep divisions between himself and the president. He’s the first person to do this. It’s not just that Mattis is a person of stature, it’s not just that James Mattis, for a very long time, had been the person who had been something of a binky, for lack of a better way of putting it, for Republicans and Democrats who were looking for some sense of calm or guardrail within the administration. I’m not actually sure that that was anything more than a mirage, because the president went ahead and did most of what he wanted to anyway. People have been able to delay the president but not totally dissuade him from what he really wanted.”

Haberman also projected that the Democrat-led House would feel emboldened with Mattis’ departure.

“But Mattis is the first person to leave and not pretend that this was all just the right time or that, you know, he had family concerns, or he had some other job opportunity he wanted to seek,” Haberman said. “He made a clear break, and I think that makes it harder for people who are increasingly, particularly in the Republican-held Senate, who have issues with the president’s conduct, and we are going to hear a lot more about that in the last coming months as we have these House investigations. It’s going to be harder to avert their gaze.”

Neither Berman nor his co-anchor took issue with Haberman’s insulting language.

“Binky. James Mattis is their binky,” Berman said later while closing out the segment.

“I find that analogy really disturbing and telling,” Berman’s co-anchor Alisyn Camerota said.

“Dead on,” Berman said.

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