Accuracy in Media

President Trump has met with dozens of world leaders, signed hundreds of billions of dollars of trade deals and thrilled audiences throughout his Asia trip.

But the top two news items out of his trip have been a tweet about North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and his remark that Vladimir Putin continued to deny Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

At a speech Tuesday to South Korea’s National Assembly, Trump warned North Korea: “Do not underestimate us, and do not try us,” to which North Korea’s foreign ministry responded, “The reckless remarks by a dotard like Trump can never frighten us or put a stop to our advance.”

Trump shot back on Twitter: “Why would Kim Jong-Un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend and maybe someday that will happen.”

It was the second time the Koreans had used ‘dotard,’ which means “old lunatic,” in a tweet. The first was after Trump’s General Assembly speech when he called on “all responsible nations” to “act now to ensure that North Korea’s rogue regime stops threatening the world with the unthinkable loss of life.”

“I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged US dotard with fire,” Kim said.

The lead itself showed the Washington Post could not assess the idea. The article’s first paragraph read:

“President Trump said that President Vladimir Putin had assured him again Saturday that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign, and indicated that he believed Putin’s sincerity, drawing immediate criticism from lawmakers and former intelligence officials responsible who assessed that the meddling took place.”

The article said the most important thing to know about the point was that it was opposed by former intelligence officials and Democrat lawmakers.

It went on to explain how Putin has come up to Trump at every possible opportunity to assure Trump he was not responsible for any effort to influence the election. “I asked him again,” Trump told reporters. “You can only ask so many times. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.  I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it … I think he’s very insulted, if you want to know the truth.”

The Post noted how this was “a jarring return to the more insular preoccupations with Washington after more than a week of what has been a trip filled with pageantry and pledges of mutual admiration, but few substantive outcomes.”

Jim Clapper, who was Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, said it was “unconscionable” Trump took Putin’s word when “the president was given clear and indisputable evidence that Russia interfered in the election,” even when much of the “evidence” the intelligence has provided is far from clear and indisputable.

Jennifer Rubin, the supposed conservative blogger for the Post, led an item on the tweet as follows: “President Trump’s authoritarianism, narcissism and racism threaten our democracy, but his gullibility threatens our national security. A man so uneducated (Trump has a masters from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at Penn and certainly has had his share of educational life experienced) and incurious about the world is willing like his followers to buy any crackpot conspiracy theory that makes its way to him via the Infowars-“Fox & Friends” pipeline.”

Rubin attributed this to Trump’s legal situation. “Certainly, Trump is not only gullible but also running scared as special counsel Robert S. Mueller III breathes down his neck.” Again, there is no evidence Mueller is breathing down Trump’s neck individually, and James Comey assured him three times he was not being investigated by the FBI.

Then, she asserted, again with much evidence, that “the strands connecting Russia and the Trump campaign – via Michael Flynn, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr. – are numerous and robust” and “evidence of a sophisticated social media plan to sway American voters has come to light.”

Finally, she asks, “What to do about the unanimous verdict of the intelligence community? Just wish it away, I suppose.”

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