Accuracy in Media

An employee involved in a drill at a state emergency agency in Hawaii last Saturday accidentally pushed out a message the state was under imminent threat from an incoming ballistic missile.

President Trump, who was golfing in Florida, did not know about the push message. He did not know it had been corrected 38 minutes later. He did not know the state emergency agency was responsible. But whose fault was the false alarm, and whose job was it to clear things up and inform everyone?

According to the mainstream media, Trump, of course.

“The false alarm in Hawaii revealed an abdication of leadership by Trump,” read the headline on a Washington Post story. “Donald Trump finally commented on the false missile alert in Hawaii, and his response is unsettling,” read the headline on a piece on Hello Giggles.

“The Hawaii Missile Alert Should Make Us Reflect About Trump’s Bellicose Stance Against N. Korea,” read the headline on Forbes.

Three hours after the message was sent and cleared up, Trump tweeted about something else. The White House released a statement saying Trump was briefed on the incident and there would be suggestions on how to prevent such things in the future. Which was all that was required.

But Philip Bump of the Post said he was appalled.

“Trump could have tweeted as soon as possible that the alert was a false alarm, sharing that information with millions of Americans immediately. He could have additionally shared information about what went wrong and assured people that he would work to make sure that no such error happened again in the future. He could, at the very least, have sought to offer some emotional support to the people of Hawaii. He did none of these. He has, as of writing, done none of these.”

Only, according to a timeline published by CNN, Trump could not have done any of this. He did not have much information on what happened, and what information he did have indicated the problem had been solved in 38 minutes, which it had. If he had vowed to make sure it didn’t happen again or offered “emotional support to the people of Hawaii,” Bump would have said he spoke out of place, involved the federal government in a state issue and no one needed his emotional support.

Bump obviously spent zero time researching the protocol for such things before he laid out his list of what the president should have done. “Should a state be informed that a missile is inbound, it seems self-evident that the president should be made aware of this as rapidly as possible – even if golfing – and act quickly to confirm or rebut the claim. To then quickly inform the public that the story is not true and insist that a review will be undertaken nationally to prevent such a thing from happening again.”

Movie stars also were in high dudgeon. “I woke up this morning in Hawaii with ten minutes to live,” tweeted Jim Carrey, an actor. “It was a false alarm, but a real psychic warning. If we allow this one-man Gomorrah and his corrupt Republican Congress to continue alienating the world we are headed for suffering beyond all imagination.”

Jamie Lee Curtis went even further.

“This Hawaii missile scare is on YOU Mr. Trump. The real FEAR that mothers & fathers & children felt is on YOU. It is on YOUR ARROGANCE. HUBRIS. NARCISISSIM. RAGE. EGO. IMMATURITY and your UNSTABLE IDIOCY. Shame on your hate-filled self. YOU DID THIS!”

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