Accuracy in Media

It’s hard to know if it was just holiday cheer or an honest look at the facts, but two media organizations that have not always been fair to President Trump – Forbes and CNN – ended 2017 by publishing pieces unusually supportive of the president.

Forbes started the year with a piece about the three reasons it would be difficult for Trump to gain voters’ trust and ended it with a piece by Thomas Binion of the Heritage Foundation on the “3 things Donald Trump Did Right This Year.”

Everyone knows about the big victories for Trump – Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, the tax reform bill, dramatic rollback of Obama regulations, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and Trans-Pacific Partnership, Binion wrote.

And everyone knows the president has yet to build the wall on the Mexican border or fully repeal Obamacare.

But some victories have not received the attention they deserve, Binion wrote.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has arrested 100,000 people who entered the U.S. illegally – 70 percent of whom were already convicted criminals, he wrote. ICE has removed 2,800 criminal gang members and led an international effort to arrest and charge 3,800 members of MS-13 and 18th Street Gang members – “two of the most violent gangs on the planet.”

In energy, Trump approved the Keystone XL pipeline, which would create 42,000 jobs. In the spring, the Department of the Interior will sell 77 million acres of leases for oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico – the largest such offering in history. The president also got an item inserted into the tax bill to open up a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for drilling – a 30-year goal for energy producers.

He also signed into law three measures to improve medical care for veterans – one to streamline service, one to improve GI educational benefits and one to open up more options for veterans’ care.

“The press hasn’t covered many of the 70 bills that President Trump has signed into law, and they haven’t covered the positive effect of many of his administration’s policies,” Binion wrote.

CNN’s website published a piece on Dec. 30 by Paul Callan, one of its legal analysts and a former New York homicide prosecutor, that said President Trump has a point with his attacks on the FBI.

“While I rarely agree with much of what the president does or says regarding legal issues, this time he’s got it right,” Callan wrote. “The FBI’s reputation has been severely damaged not by the president’s criticism but by a systematic failure of the bureau’s leadership.

“The field agents of the FBI should still retain the trust of the American people. Their honor and dignity has not been compromised; but the bureau’s leadership ranks require a prompt and thorough house cleaning by the new director, Christopher Wray. The bureau’s leadership has forfeited the reputation of a cherished American institution.”

Callan wrote that President Trump’s “persistent attacks have the potential to inflict long-lasting reputational damage to the nation’s pre-eminent law enforcement agency,” but that the president was not out of line in questioning whether the “FBI fumbles and missteps in the Hillary Clinton and Trump/Russia investigations, which the president suggests were deliberate attempts to sabotage his election and administration,” were the “workings of a conspiratorial deep state liberal embedded bureaucracy fiercely resisting any conservative change.”

He then walked readers through the various comments from Peter Strzok, the FBI’s top counter-terrorism official, particularly those concerning having a backup plan in case President Trump were to be elected.

He also mentioned that the wife of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe received $700,000 from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat closely aligned with the Clintons for decades, for her state senate campaign and said McCabe should have recused himself from any investigations involving Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip who has analyzed Trump’s persuasion techniques, predicted by year’s end even hostile news outlets would be finding a way to at least give Trump’s side of the story. It looks as if, at least in these limited cases, he may have been right. 

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