Trend-tracking lesson

“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, little babies… that crosses… many lines.”

Those were President Donald Trump’s words following news of a chemical attack on Syrian citizens on April 4 — an incident the media claim was orchestrated by President Bashar al-Assad.

At least 86 people, including 30 children, died in the attacks. Mainstream and social media were flooded with bloody images of the suffering, especially babies and children.

Apparently deeply moved by the images, Trump vowed to unleash the fury of America’s military. This attack, he said, “was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies, their deaths were an affront to humanity.”

Indeed, there were horrific social-media videos of children gasping for air and crying in pain. The mainstream media picked up on the footage. Children, suffering and dead, allegedly at the hand of a dictator using unspeakable means against his own people, was just cause for a military strike by the freedom-loving, humanitarian US.

Within 72 hours, and without any approval from Congress, as constitutionally mandated, Trump authorized the missile attack that dropped 59 bombs inside Syria and killed 19 people. In an instant, Trump, who declared on the campaign trail that the US should “stay the hell out of Syria,” changed US policy. He decided a “red line” was crossed. He attacked.

Praise for the swift, aggressive response was immediate and far-reaching — and almost unanimously positive. Even John Kerry, secretary of state under Barack Obama, said he was “absolutely supportive” of the strike.


Chemical-weapon attacks used to kill innocents, in the eyes of Trump and political and military leaders around the world, cross a line that other bombings, shootings, beheadings and acts of mass death and destruction don’t cross. And presstitutes and our elected officials will render that judgment, regardless of an absence of facts to justify it.

A baby with limbs blown off in a hospital bombing in Gaza doesn’t rise to the level of inhumanity that a weapons attack does — especially when you have a villain you can hold accountable. But chemical attacks? That’s a different story.

That’s the twisted narrative that almost universally drove mainstream media coverage.

In covering the missile attack launched by the US, a New York Times headline read: “U.S. launches missiles into Syria in retaliation for Assad’s gas attack.”

Assad was tried and convicted in The New York Times just hours after reports of the “devastating chemical attack,” even though Assad denied it and the US showed no proof. In fact, the US said it would not release all available intelligence on this attack.

In the course of just three days, opinion pieces in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal — America’s largest daily newspapers — strongly praised the president’s retaliatory action. And while sentiment in those pieces called for an even tougher military response, there were no editorials or op-ed columns that opposed the bombings.

Moreover, reported that 47 of the country’s top 100 newspapers ran editorials on the US’ bombing with “39 in favor, seven ambiguous and only one (The Houston Chronicle) opposed to the military attack. In other words, 83 percent of editorials on the Syria attack supported Trump’s bombing, 15 percent took an ambivalent position and 2 percent said the attack shouldn’t have happened.”

No real reporting. No debate. No analysis.

Even a 14-page letter from a prominent chemical-weapons authority and Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor maintained no evidence existed that Assad’s government orchestrated the attacks.

“I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun,” said professor Theodore Postol.

The professor’s conclusions never made the mainstream media in the US, where cable-news programs’ talking-head retired generals, elected officials from both parties and news-show hosts waxed praise on Trump. Even Fareed Zakaria, prominent plagiarist and faux CNN journalist, said “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.”   TJ  

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