Accuracy in Media

Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. went on an Irish pub crawl, received with rousing cheers, waving of American flags and great revelry in Doonbeg, the Irish village where President Trump owns a golf course and hotel.

Video of the visit to the pubs by the younger Trumps, whose father doesn’t drink, showed the brothers posing for pictures, drawing beers from behind the bar and enjoying the crowd. Text presented alongside it on the CNN website revealed the locals love the Trumps, whom they thank for bringing jobs and economic growth to the area.

But that’s not the story mainstream media wanted to get out about the president’s two-day stay in Ireland preceding and following ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

“Trump to stay at Doonbeg, his money-losing golf course threatened by climate change,” read the headline on the Washington Post’s story by David Fahrenthold, the reporter who has been obsessed with delving into the finances of the president’s defunct charitable foundation.

Trump “arrived at his golf course in Doonbeg, Ireland, on Wednesday for a two-night stay – pausing between official events in Europe to visit a business that has cost him $41 million and never reported turning a profit,” Farenthold wrote in his lead.

Next Farenthold walked readers through the minor dust-up over where President Trump was to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Trump wanted to meet at Doonbeg; the Irish wanted to play host to him somewhere other than his own hotel, and the two agreed to meet in the VIP area of the Shannon Airport. Farnethold called it “an awkward compromise.”

He then pointed out Trump would fly from England to Ireland, then back to France for the D-Day commemoration, then back to Ireland to stay in Doonbeg, noting, “Despite the odd geography of that schedule … Trump said he stayed at Doonbeg for convenience.”

He also pointed out the visit brought “a large contingent of U.S. and Irish officials, as well as police and security forces, to a village of about 750 people. It was not clear how many of them, besides Trump, were staying at the Doonbeg course’s 120-room hotel,” but there were only two other hotels in town and one is “not a typical hotel but a group of ‘camping pods’ that resemble cozy wooden sheds.”

Despite stating definitively that Trump had never turned a profit at Doonbeg, Farenthold wrote that revenues rose in 2018 “but records that would show profit or loss are not yet available.”

He also called into question how Trump bought the property without borrowing, saying it was part of a 14-property “all-cash spending binge that topped $400 million – defying his history as the heavy-borrowing ‘King of Debt.’”

Farenthold says without evidence this “defies the usual practices of the debt-loving real estate industry,” but the Trump organization explains “this unusual spending … by saying its other businesses produced enough cash to make it easy.”

He tried to paint Trump as a hypocrite for applying to build a sea wall at the end of the course to stop the Atlantic Ocean from eroding away part of it and citing sea-level rise and more powerful storms as having increased the risk – a common claim among those seeking such accommodations from the government.

“Trump, of course, has questioned the idea that climate change is a threat at all – -defying the overwhelming scientific consensus and his own golf course’s assessment of its future.”

Farenthold doesn’t explain why, if the course is so imminently threatened by global warming, the president also has applied to expand his hotel there.

And about those people cheering on the Trump brothers in the local pubs, Farenthold found a member of the Trump club to say, “People divorce Donald Trump the owner of the golf course from his politics. People have their own ideas about his policies. The big thing here are the jobs he supports.”

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