Accuracy in Media

Greta Thunberg can attack Donald Trump’s environmental policies, lecture the world on its inability – to her – to respond to global warming fears in a timely manner and even fix a made-for-TV icy stare on him as he walked past and was taking questions from reporters. But for Trump to respond was an outrage, according to the mainstream media.

Thunberg lectured attendees Monday at the UN Climate Summit in New Yorktelling them “Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. People are suffering. People are dying and dying ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”

Hours later, Trump tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” and linked to video of her speech.

“Trump’s penchant for Twitter insults and online confrontations with people he sees as political adversaries is well known, though Monday’s tweet is a striking display of the president teasing a child,” wrote Veronica Stracqualursi of CNN under “Trump mocks teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.”

Aaron Rupar of Vox made an error in the second paragraph of his story when he wrote Trump had “rearranged his schedule earlier that day and briefly attended Thunberg’s speech.” Trump, who was not invited to the climate meeting, nevertheless dropped in on it for 15 minutes, where he listened to speeches by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was not there for Thunberg’s talk.

Rupar wrote in “Trump’s tweet about Greta Thunberg is one of his ugliest yet” – subhead: The president responded to the teen climate activist’s impassioned UN speech by mocking her” – that “Trump’s tweet is notable in at least three respects.

“First, the contrast Trump drew between ‘a very happy young girl’ and Thunberg’s demeanor during her speech,” wrote Rupar, who then listed some of Thunberg’s more extreme claims.

“Trump’s comment is meant to undermine the very thing that makes Thunberg and effective activist: the impassioned moral clarity with which she speaks about climate change,” Rupar wrote.

He said Thunberg has learned the “frustration, impatience and fear of young people for the catastrophic future is a powerful tool” and that her “superpower appears to be shaming adults. And she’s used it to successfully pressure European leaders to enact policy changes – but Trump seemed to be trying to undercut that very persuasive tool, on the same day Thunberg addressed scores of world leaders at the UN.”

Point two is that “Trump’s tweet also says something about how he thinks girls should be. They should not be angry about the climate crisis and trying to do something about it. The UN is not the place for them. Perhaps beauty pageants are.” Trump’s tweet says nothing about the role gender plays in activism.

Point three is that Trump’s tweet “reflects how profoundly unserious he is about the climate crisis.” Later in the day, he further drove home that point, Rupar wrote. When asked why he dropped in on the meeting – another fact Rupar seems to have missed; he appears to have thought the president was coming from Thunberg’s speech – “Trump immediately pivoted to reciting his false talking points about how clean the water and air in America is – as if clean air and water negates concerns people like Thunberg have about the unsustainability of global temperature increases.”

Time magazine ran an AP story that said Trump had counter-programmed the climate meeting for electoral advantage. “President Donald Trump made his political priorities clear Monday within an hour of arriving at the United Nations for a three-day visit: He breezed by a major climate change summit to focus instead on religious persecution, an issue that resonates with his evangelical supporters,” wrote Jonathan Lemire and Deb Riechmann of AP.

Photo by deckhand

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Comments are turned off for this article.