Mainstream media coverage of the Trump-Putin news conference in Helsinki showed that many reporters did not understand what he was talking about, only that it was treasonous and unprecedented.
“The U.S. leader’s focus appeared to be not on his country’s interests – but rather on his own,” wrote CNBC, which went on to quote a Georgetown professor who went on about how “unprecedented” it was, another from Hong Kong that said he “regrettably is more and more preoccupied with himself than the interests of the U.S., the West, or whatever is left of the global order” and another from the Brookings Institution saying it “was an embarrassing performance by President Trump.”
Politico headlined its piece “Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor,” and reported that alleged Russian hacking of the election “was every bit as much to devastate the American homeland as Pearl Harbor or 9/11.”
CNN headlined its analysis story, “Trump caved spectacularly to Putin. Here’s what might happen next,” then launched into a long description that did not include a single thing to which Trump caved spectacularly or at all to Putin.
“For as long as history remembers Donald Trump, it will be a day that will live in infamy,” the piece began.
“The president’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday is already one of the most notorious moments in the tortured relations between Washington and Moscow.
“Trump’s humiliation is taking its place alongside John Kennedy’s bruising at the hands of Nikita Khrushchev, and George W. Bush staring into Putin’s eyes and getting a sense of his soul.”
No mention of Obama’s humiliations at the hand of Putin on Syria, Crimea, Ukraine or the hot mic incident in which he told a Russian diplomat to tell Putin he would “have more flexibility after my election.”
This was bigger.
“Like those moments in U.S.-Russia summit lore” — the ones that did not involve Obama — “the events that unfolded Monday are likely to have significant and unpredictable political and geopolitical reverberations in the United States and around the world,” CNN wrote.
“Trump’s favoring of Putin’s denial of election interference accusations leveled by the U.S. intelligence community was not just the most abject display given by any president overseas, it may be the moment that finally validated claims that Trump prizes his own interests above those of America.”
The Washington Post accused Trump of getting weak in the face of Putin – of losing the manliness contest.
“Both presidents are highly focused on projecting dominance and machismo, but Trump on Monday waffled beside a stone-faced Putin and avoided a confrontation when an Associated Press reporter asked Trump whether he believes U.S. intelligence officials or Putin.”
Trump did not say he believed Putin over his intelligence community.
According to the Post, when he was asked whether he believed the U.S. intelligence officials or Putin, he responded, “They say they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin – he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this – I don’t see any reason why it would be … I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Trump has reason to weigh his answers to this carefully. Numerous investigations and congressional hearings have revealed efforts by intelligence officials in the Obama administration to clear his opponent of criminal wrongdoing, entrap his campaign and administration in wrongdoing and stifle progress with endless and, so far, fruitless investigations.
The Post wrote that he had “remained fixated on the exploits of his campaign two years ago.” His raising the point that his opponent obviously got a free pass from investigators was ridiculed where it was not ignored.
Trump then “went on to air many of his pet grievances, including unsubstantiated conspiracy theories familiar to his campaign rally crowds and Twitter followers,” the Post wrote.
It then quoted his remarks about why the Democratic National Committee won’t turn over servers it claims were hacked by the Russians.