Last Thursday, President Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat air base in Syria, with the intention of punishing President Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people. While Trump may have been certain that this happened, many others were not, including many of us who voted for him. (And remember that we had no right to act in the first place: Syria is a sovereign country, and we have no agreements with them allowing for the use of military force.)
But do you know who was fully on Trump’s side in this action? The media. Here we have Brian Williams talking about these missile strikes in almost poetic terms, followed by Fareed Zakaria telling us that, as a result of this action, “Donald Trump became President of the United States.”
But the media didn’t always have the kind of bloodlust you see today, and saw in the runup to the Iraq War.
During the Vietnam War, rather than carry the government’s water, the major media outlets were not only publicly skeptical, but were actually working to counter the success narrative put out by the Pentagon. Take a look at this report from a young Morley Safer:
Walter Cronkite, “America’s most trusted newsman,” later went on to declare the war unwinnable; when Lyndon Johnson heard that, he supposedly said “If I’ve lost Cronkite, then I’ve lost the American people.”
I don’t know how or when the change in media came – but I’d much rather have a media distrustful of government than acting as their cheerleaders.