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Tuesday , August 11 2020

The American media networks’ obsession with Donald Trump

Khalaf Al Habtoor, Founding Chairman of Al Habtoor Group (AHG)

The once reputed American media networks, whose news gathering, unbiased reporting and war coverage were formerly beyond reproach, have evolved into a platform for people who despise the current president of the United States. Besides being wholly unprofessional, some of these channels are undermining their credibility among those of us who once looked to American channels for global news.

Instead we are met with a repetitive roll-out of one-sided opinion and unabashed political propaganda. Switch on any time of the day or night and what you get are talking heads dissecting President Donald Trump’s every action and word on the pandemic or the mass social awakening on racial inequality.

Invariably egged on by programme hosts, so-called experts in their field spew their anti-Trump vitriol unchallenged. In fact, I am beginning to think that their invitations to appear on air are based upon their ability to indoctrinate viewers with hatred for America’s democratically elected Commander-in-Chief.

Admittedly, Mr Trump and hard facts are like oil and water. He often exaggerates statistics and has a tendency to put a positive spin on bad news. He is an optimist. He is a fighter. He has been attacked with a stifling cloud of daily criticism and unfounded speculation on his mental health that he would have resigned many months ago.

Never in America’s history has a president been subjected to such an onslaught of media attacks, vulgar press mockery or treacherous former aides out to pen lucrative tell-all exposés of their time at the White House. He has been stabbed in the back again and again by people he trusted.

His own niece Mary Trump, who fought with him over the family fortune decades ago, has leapt on the ‘literary’ gravy train with a book characterising the president as a product of a toxic family and a “narcissist” who is a danger to every American.

So much for family loyalty! Mary Trump’s book is long on accusations, unflattering anecdotes and opinions which reviewers say are not backed up by evidence. It would not have seen the light of day if publishers respected their readership and did not endorse baseless libel and slander.

Setting aside the occasions when Mr Trump has misspoken, often out of wishful thinking rather than a cynical wish to deceive, he should be praised for his love of country. He attained office on a conservative ticket vowing to beef-up the military and appoint Republican-leaning judges to the Supreme Court. He promised mega tax breaks and said he would not only grow the economy but also work towards job creation.

Almost all his promises were fulfilled. On his watch unemployment plummeted and wages rose while the stock market reached record heights. Despite his bluster and threats, during his four-year tenure the United States has not been engaged in a costly new war. Indeed, he has pulled almost all US troops from Syria and is in the process of drawing down the troop contingent from Afghanistan.

From the president’s perspective the timing of Covid-19’s contagion could not have been worse. Through no fault of his own markets tumbled, companies were liquidated and millions of jobs lost. The lockdowns gave rise to poverty, hunger and homelessness. With economic Armageddon looming, most states opened-up prematurely, leading to disastrous results in terms of skyrocketing case numbers and deaths.

Several prominent channels are blaming Trump for failing to get a handle on the virus while alluding to the president’s refusal to wear a mask in public, as having contributed to the rate of infections.

In keeping with conservative thinking, he allowed people to choose and relied on state governors to tailor-make the reopening of businesses. He gave governors a free hand in deciding if masks were mandatory in public spaces. In a country made up of 50 states with an overall population of 328 million, a one-size fits all policy would not be sensible.

The White House Covid-19 task force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) along with thousands of doctors and scientists strongly advise social distancing, frequent hand washing and nose and mouth coverings to contain the spread, until there is an effective vaccine.

Sadly, many Americans, especially youngsters, have flocked to the beaches, bars and clubs believing they are invincible, with no care for the parents or grandparents they could infect. Others have joined mass protests around the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, which have no doubt contributed greatly to the spread.

Because the president is not exactly gushing his approval of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, US media is attempting to paint him as a racist. Notably, some are using the guise of this movement to loot stores, torch buildings and vehicles, attack police officers and vandalise monuments and statues . As head of state and a self-ascribed believer in law and order, he cannot encourage anarchy or back the dissolution of police forces, of course. Such misbehaviors cannot and must not be tolerated.

Against the backdrop of Mount Rushmore with the carvings of four famous US presidents, he decried the way children are being indoctrinated into hating their own country in schools. “Every flaw is magnified, every virtue is obscured” until “the history is purged and the record is distorted beyond recognition,” Trump said.

We all have deep sympathy for African Americans who have been subjected to systemic discrimination for centuries, but alienating the majority or seeking to erase history along with the imperfect heroes who carved America’s upward trajectory will only embolden white supremacists and accentuate existing racial divisions.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson has his own theory as to why Mr Trump is so hated and despised by the left is – he cannot be controlled.

Like him or hate him, what happened to public respect for the office! Now that the genie of a no-limit disrespect is out of the bottle, Trump’s successors can expect to be put under a similar microscope. Anyone with a skeleton in his or her closet or grudging enemies waiting to pounce will be in for a rough ride. If Trump is voted out come November, will Fox News adopt CNN or MSNBC’s presidential battering ram and in that event will the new US President be strong enough to withstand the pain?

By Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

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