Accuracy in Media

Vox managing editor Matthew Yglesias offered no attempt at a nuanced or balanced look in his analysis, “Why are we taking Donald Trump’s Korea diplomacy seriously? All he does is lie and break promises. This will be no different.”

Rather than offering an alternative voice to his thesis about President Trump’s approach to North Korea, Yglesias wrote: “A good clue that we are being set up for some bullshit is that not only is the Trump administration’s North Korea policy being headed up by Donald Trump, but it has been conducted so far like you would expect a bullshitter to conduct policy.

“The key turnabout in the region, after all, has come from the fact that Trump decided to make a large, unilateral concession to the North Koreans. As Josh Smith and David Brunnstrom reported for Reuters in March, ‘for at least two decades, leaders in North Korea have been seeking a personal meeting with an American president,’ and across all that time American presidents have been saying no.’”

Yglesias did not acknowledge the work of the Oval Office when he wrote on the dramatic concession by the North Koreans to drop its long-held demand that the United States withdraw forces from South Korea in exchange for denuclearization. Instead, he questioned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s motives.

“When a notorious liar does something dramatic and new and starts immediately lying about what it is that he’s doing, a sensible reaction is to become alarmed and suspicious — not to suddenly become credulous and naive….Much of the U.S. national security establishment, however, has decided to simply block out everything they have learned from everything Donald Trump has ever done in his career in business and politics.”

Yglesias also made no mention of Trump’s influence on China, the patron subsidizing North Korea that stands to lose if the North Koreans obtain nuclear weapons, including a possible arms race by Japan and other regional actors. 

“I’m happy to admit that it is, at least in theory, possible that a vainglorious, dishonest, ignorant, and corrupt president who is already lying about his own diplomatic initiatives will shock the world by delivering something fantastic,” Yglesias wrote. “But Trump has been in the public eye for decades, has a well-deserved reputation as a braggart and a liar, and deserves to be met with nothing but skepticism.”


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