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Media Retrospectives: 2018 Was The Worst of Years for Trump

According to mainstream media outlets’ retrospective stories, 2018 was a bad year for President Trump.

He lied. He got things wrong. He needlessly offended people. And he is ruining the country, according to many of these stories that popped up over the last days of 2018 and the first of 2019.

NBC News didn’t bother with a list of accomplishments or even controversies; it went straight for “President Donald Trump’s 10 biggest falsehoods of 2018” by Jane C. Timm [1]. “President Donald Trump misled the American public repeatedly in 2018,” her story began.

Among the top lies was “Tariffs are making America rich [1].” Tariffs have contributed to China agreeing for the first time to buy rice and meat from the U.S [2]., historic gains in manufacturing employment and wages and revitalization of the U.S. steel industry. [3]

“Trump is misstating how tariffs work,” Timm wrote [1]. “Tariffs are a fee charged by the U.S. when a good is brought into the U.S. They’re designed to make foreign goods more expensive – thus boosting domestic producers – but that expense, charged to the importer, is typically passed down to American consumers.”

She also pointed to Trump’s claim his was the biggest tax cut in history. It was in whole dollars [4] though not in percentage of the economy [5].

The Intelligencer, the e-newsletter of New Yorker magazine, went with “Trump’s Worst Greatest Hits of 2018,” by Matt Stieb and Britina Cheng. [6]

It begins by noting that, contrary to the image on his former reality TV series, Trump does not like to fire people. [6] It then provides a list of people he fired or forced to resign.

Another item [6] was titled, “Things Trump Forgot.” It included: “The words to the national anthem. The words to God Bless America. To show up for security briefings. The ‘caravan,’ conveniently, a week after the midterms.” It does not note that President Obama missed most of his security briefings [7] or that the caravan fell out of the news because it largely dispersed. [8]

Other items on the list [6] mocked Trump’s support of voter ID laws – “a vital tool of voter suppression,” Stieb and Cheng wrote – as well as his attacks on the fake news media and the allegation the White House used a doctored video to bolster its claim CNN reporter Jim Acosta had struck away the hand of a White House intern who was attempting to take the microphone from him at a press conference in November.

Another section dealt with Trump’s performance at various funerals [6] through the year. “After two days and much criticism, the president finally allowed the White House flag to be lowered to half-mast,” the writers stated, not noting that Trump honored protocol regarding lowering the White House flag [9] after the death of senators.

It then painted as a Trump blunder his offering of thoughts and prayers for victims of various shootings around the country. The mistake seemed to be that some reacted negatively to his statements, such as the sophomore at the school in Florida where shootings took place who said [6], “I don’t want your condolences you f—ing piece of s—t, my friends and teachers were shot.”

Politico turned to academics [10] to write what the history books will say about 2018. “At the dawn of the 21st century, free trade, advanced technology and social media seemed to hold great promise as engines of worldwide peace and prosperity,” one of the professors wrote [10]. “By 2018, however, the global economy was enriching a few and consigning the many to ill-paid jobs.”

The “city on the hill” narrative had undergone a “piece-by-piece dismantling.” The president had “mocked the principle of a free press” with his attacks on the media and had “tried to treat the Department of Justice as his personal law firm.”

Another said the parties had switched bases.

“The white working class – the foundation on which new Deal liberalism was built – had become overwhelmingly Republican. But the 2018 midterms gave the first real indication that Donald Trump’s self-destructive presidency, combined with conservative ideological zealotry in Congress, had broken the longstanding GOP loyalty of college-educated, suburban voters, and that this group would reliably support Democrats going forward.”