Tuesday, February 13, 2018


There have been plenty of rightwing tantrums lately over press coverage of the North Korean presence at the Olympics, but Ben Domenech’s takes the cake:
Dear America: Your News Media Absolutely Hates You
It’d be nice to say that American media doesn’t hate this country. It’d be nice to claim that the American press, while maintaining objectivity and balancing against bias, is still inherently American – that they are patriots who love this country even as they report on its defects... 
But we cannot say these things when the American media, time and again, illustrates its utter hatred for the nation and its people in those newspapers and on television. Having judged the American project kaput after the election of Donald Trump, they are now stooping to the level of defending the North Koreans – perhaps the most brutal and heinous regime in the world today – thanks to some side-eye from its minister of propaganda, the sister of Kim Jong Un. If the headlines are to be believed, “North Korea heading for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics” is the story American media want to tell about this moment.
The stories Domenech cites are ordinary reported pieces describing a diplomatic push by the North Koreans at the Olympics being held in South Korea. One such story from CNN quotes a "senior diplomatic source" disparaging Mike Pence's show of protest at the Olympic reviewing stand; this Domenech describes as "15 year veteran reporter at CNN, Will Ripley, just straight up delivering North Korean propaganda whole cloth to an American audience, simply because it criticizes the Trump administration."

Domenech doesn't say anything bad about the senior diplomatic source, perhaps because he's afraid it'll turn out to be John Kelly or some other rightwing made man, and he'd get in trouble.

I'm very old and can remember when we used to make fun of the Soviet media for reflexively slurring America as a hellhole and its allies as running dogs and lackeys. We had room to talk, of course, because we had a free press and, liberal or conservative, we were proud of that. Domenech has a different feeling about it, obviously, and would prefer to patriotize the press so that any description of activities involving countries hostile to the U.S., even innocuous soft diplomacy at the Olympics, be screened by the Committee for inappropriate tone and unflattering realities.

It’s long been clear that Trump’s ultimate goal is to delegitimize all press outlets not devoted to his praise, and painting them as unpatriotic for telling the truth is part of the strategy. Here’s hoping the clumsiness of operatives like Domenech, and the memory of the kind of country we used to be, will keep him from succeeding.

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