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Right Opinion

Media Check

Bill Wagner · Feb. 14, 2019

I realize everyone knows that Donald Trump will never get a break from the mainstream media, but every once in a while it helps to be specific about the obvious. Let’s take my favorite rag, The New York Times.

The front page yesterday above the fold depicted a photo of Trump speaking at his Cabinet meeting. The caption, quoting his comments on the border deal, reads: “Am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it.” What he actually said was, “Am I happy at first glance? I just got to see it. The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy.”

Since many people only look at pictures, headlines, and captions, the impression left is that Trump is perhaps okay with the deal; he just needs to take a closer look. Whether he is happy is left vague, so people are left to their own conclusions, when in fact he is not a happy camper.

Of course, The New York Times is thrilled with the deal because the editors can spin it as a Democrat win, with Trump not getting even half of his border-wall funding. They pile on in the right-hand column with a headline reading, “GOP pressures Trump to accept deal on border,” which implies Trump is on an island with even his own party against him.

The truth is that Trump is not happy, but he might sign the deal anyway — at least that’s what I think he will do. He will not back away from the wall but rather look to other sources of funding to keep it on schedule until the next budget battle later this year.

I hope he doesn’t declare an emergency. It’s a horrible precedent. He will spin the deal as a down payment with progress continuing and mock Democrats as the open-border party as they go to court to stop Trump from protecting the country, even as they support releasing criminals from ICE custody by limiting retention beds.

It’s not clear who is driving the Democrat train on this or which donor base this is aimed at, but it is handing Trump another campaign issue on a silver platter. Simply put, we want to have and protect a country, and they don’t.


On the same front page is an article on how many taxpayers are frustrated with the Trump tax plan because they had planned on getting refunds, but now they find themselves having to pay the IRS. You have to go deep into the article to find that the vast majority of taxpayers are paying less in taxes this year than last, courtesy of the Trump plan. But because of some poor planning or modified withholding, refunds are less, and some even have to write a check.

Now, it is a truism that the guy who invented withholding did more for big government than anyone in history. Just think of the revolt against government taxes and spending that would occur if everyone had to write checks to Uncle Sam every quarter.

But the article implies dissatisfaction with Trump because refunds are less. You wonder where the New York Times writers got their economics degrees.

It might have been nice to point out that when taxpayers receive a “refund,” it’s because they have overpaid on their taxes during the year and given the government an interest-free loan. What idiot would deliberately do that?

It would be far more beneficial for the taxpayer to way underpay the government so the interest-free loan went the other way, but that eventually catches up to you, so in an ideal world the withholding would exactly match the taxes owed.

Some people screwed up and overpaid, and the Times wants you to think these folks are ticked off at Trump and his tax plan (even though taxes are less) and want to lash out at him instead of firing their accountants.


On Tuesday, a New York Times headline read: “Deal on border would avoid a shutdown.” True enough, but really? I thought the discussion was about funding to secure the border. The article says zero about how the deal would do that. There was no commentary from experts and no analysis — only “thank God the Democrats avoided the dreaded shutdown and saved us all from another airport backup” garbage, which as we all know was Trump’s fault last time.

Of course, there were the obligatory comparisons about what Trump wanted for his “wall” and how tough Democrats were to provide only a fraction of that. There was also no explanation of why the $1.375 billion was now perfectly fine even though giving more than a dollar was “immoral.”

Speaking of walls, did you know that border walls end lives? At least that’s according to the swooning media coverage of the Beto O'Rourke speech that competed with Trump in El Paso. Can anyone tell me what that means? This is typical of the vacuous sound bites that a candidate needs to come up with when his only claims to fame are losing to Cruz and good teeth.


The media is now in overdrive trying to cover for the Virginia disaster. The governor is being praised now for being empathetic (no, you read wrong; there’s an “em” at the beginning) enough to recognize his white privilege, begin reading books on indentured servants (oops, I meant slavery), requiring sensitivity training in his office, and going on an apology tour — anything but resign.

Magically, Virginia polling numbers among blacks went from 60% against to 60% willing to forgive in one week. After all, the governor was just a kid and hasn’t shown any racism in years. Of course, all that had nothing to do with the fact the lieutenant governor has two sexual-assault charges against him and the number three Democrat in line has a blackface history too. And, uh-oh, number four is a Republican.

Every Democrat is hoping it will all just go away so they won’t have to tick off at least one (or both) of their key constituencies (Black Lives Matter and #MeToo can be so annoying at times), and the media is doing their part by praising the ultra-clever governor’s PR strategy and somehow forgetting his endorsement of infanticide.

Ironically, most rational humans would probably give the governor a pass on blackface or KKK costumes from his college days. We were all young and stupid once. Moreover, the rest of his career displayed no racism. But the infanticide comments are buried. The height of hypocrisy when the over-under on whether all would have been gone if they were in the GOP could be stated in nano seconds.

My guess is that everyone stays. There was some talk of a sleight of hand wherein the deputy governor would step down to fight the accusations and be replaced by a reliable Democrat. The other two would then go, leaving said Democrat as the new governor, but that ran into the Virginia Constitution. It’s hard to rally the troops to do the right thing when the media is in full cover mode.


The media is portraying Mitch McConnell’s plan to call a Senate vote on the Green New Deal as a stunt. It may be, but he is right not to give grandstanding Democrats, including multiple 2020 presidential wannabes, a free pass. Since it would be political suicide for any Democrat to vote no, watch for the coordinated effort between Democrats and the media to explain that a yes vote doesn’t really mean they are for the entire plan as written. But they do wholeheartedly support the aspirational principles in the plan to save the planet from fossil fuels and provide a more equal and just society for all.

There will be outs and quibbles, such as: “We get it. It all can’t be done in 10 years. But striving to make the world a better place is a laudable goal.” The media will spin these remarks as virtuous and denounce any conservative who questions the goals. This is what we are up against.

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