by Sam Hieb
Doing my usual morning scroll through the local newspapers when I come across this headline in the Winston-Salem Journal:
Trump offers flag-waving optimism in visit to Harvey’s path
Right away I figure it’s an opinion piece, written by…the Journal’s editorial board? N&R editorial writer Doug Clark, the Journal’s BH media partner? A local Trump hater? None of the above—the “article” was penned by Associated Press writers Ken Thomas and Darlene Superville.
Check out their Twitter feeds–each is identified as a “White House reporter for the Associated Press, which tells me they are charged with reporting what they see, not editorializing on what they see. But check it out–seems to me the reporters are making some serious assumptions:
With flag-waving optimism, President Donald Trump answered Harvey’s wrath Tuesday by offering in-person assurances to those in the storm zone that his administration will work tirelessly to help the region recover from the massive flooding and storm-inflicted destruction.
….For all of his eagerness to get the federal disaster response right, though, Trump missed clear opportunities to strike a sympathetic note for multitudes who are suffering. The president did not mention those who died in the storm or those forced from their homes by its floodwaters. And he basked in the attention of cheering supporters outside the fire station where officials briefed him on the recovery.
….Trump is clearly determined to seize the moment and show a forceful response to Harvey, mindful of the political opportunities and risks that natural disasters pose for any president. Trump has been suffering from low approval ratings and self-created crisis, and the White House is eager to show him as a forceful leader in a time of trouble.
The reporters even managed to get in a jab at the first lady, noting that “Mrs. Trump traded in her usual stiletto heels for a pair of white sneakers,” following right in line with their media brethren’s obsession with her footwear upon leaving Washington.
I hear many political commentators talk about the AP’s liberal bias and its tendency to subtly editorialize in supposedly straight news stories. I never wanted to believe it, though the signals have been there for quite some time. I believe it now–what can I say, I’m a little slow.