Before we had the term "fake news," and long before the existence of broadcast radio, TV or the internet, we had the term "yellow journalism."
Look up that term and you'll find that the textbook example is the (perhaps apocryphal) story of William Randolph Hearst (the newspaper magnate who was the model for Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles' classic film "Citizen Kane"), eager to promote the Spanish-American War, telling his correspondent in Cuba, "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war."
Today's "Mainstream Media" seem to have taken a lesson from Hearst. Their motto might be "You tell us the action taken by Donald Trump, and we'll find a way to make it wrong."
Advertisement - story continues below
So the seemingly orchestrated condemnation of President Trump's elimination of Qassem Soleimani has taken two major directions: disputing the notion of "imminent threat" posed by Soleimani, and elevating Soleimani to the position of "a high-ranking government official" and then arguing that because of that position he shouldn't have been summarily dispatched like some terrorist, enemy combatant or mad-dog criminal mass-murderer, but rather deserved to be dealt with in a more "diplomatic" manner. It was toward that bit of revisionism that so many reports characterized his killing as an "assassination."
Well, let me remind everyone of what happened back in the fall of 2011. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state under Barack Obama, and she convinced Obama (who was indecisive on the matter – I know, it's hard to imagine Barack Obama being indecisive, isn't it?) that it was time to eliminate Moammar Gadhafi, who wasn't just a "high-ranking official" in the government of Libya, he was the strongman who firmly held the reins of power in that country.
TRENDING: If the economy were a bike
Gadhafi had been known and condemned as a brutal despot and terrorist-enabler for years. My old talk-radio colleague Bob Grant for many years ended his show with the sign-off, "Get Gadhafi!"
And when his death was confirmed, Hillary Clinton was happy to take credit for putting the wheels in motion for his demise. She was even videotaped gleefully clapping her hands and giddily cackling, "We came, we saw, he died!" She characterized her actions as "'smart power' at its best," and that claim was reported and accepted without any second-guessing or significant challenge.
Advertisement - story continues below
Like Soleimani, Gadhafi's convoy was targeted by a drone-fired missile. But the Libyan dictator survived that attack and fled, only to be soon captured, brutally violated and executed by NATO-backed "rebels."
And were Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama taken to task by the press for "assassinating" a "high-ranking official of a foreign government"? Did they get even a whiff of the castigation, condemnation, or opprobrium that is still being heaped on President Trump? No, of course not, even though, before his death, the fawning press had given Gadhafi the same romanticized "beauty treatment" Soleimani received posthumously. The word "charismatic" was ubiquitous in the descriptions of both men (although the press' unctuous eulogizing of Soleimani went so far as to describe him as "a flamboyant former construction worker and bodybuilder with snowy white hair and a dapper beard").
I think these episodes tell far more about our so-called Mainstream Media than about the statecraft of the administrations involved. The press is anything but nonpartisan, and the term "yellow journalism" is as fitting as ever.
There's an old joke about Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Richard Nixon meeting up in the Great Beyond. Alexander laments that, "If only my armies had tanks instead of elephants, I could have truly ruled the world!" Napoleon says, "If only I'd had a couple of those newfangled helicopter gunships, Waterloo would have gone quite differently!" And Nixon chimes in with "And if only I'd had the press in my pocket, supporting me the way they supported the Obama administration, I'd still be president!"