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Inside the Beltway: Media still dithering over ‘fire and fury’

The news media is comfortable using anonymous sources, suggestive headlines and expletives once considered offensive in their daily coverage. But the press does not appear to know what to do with terse language. In the wake of President Trump’s “fire and fury” remark about the North Korea threat, the news media has followed up with a lot of fire and fury of its own, framing the remarks as reckless and dangerous. It was a “rhetorical grenade,” according to The Washington Post; “inflammatory words” at The New York Times; and just plain “trash talk,” according to the Daily Mail.

“The networks are more terrified by Trump’s ‘dangerous rhetoric’ than North Korea,” reports Kyle Drennen, a Newsbusters.org analyst who examined the alarmist, follow-up broadcast coverage on NBC, CBS and ABC, which devolved into “fear-mongering,” talk of a “dangerous red line” and brinksmanship, plus inevitable criticism of Mr. Trump and his administration.

There was not much speculation that the president’s blunt talk actually could resonate in North Korea.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Gorka — who holds a doctorate in international relations and diplomacy and is deputy assistant to Mr. Trump — offers a pragmatic translation of the president’s “fire and fury” remark for those who still might not understand its meaning.

“He’s saying, ‘Don’t test America and don’t test Donald J. Trump. We are not just the superpower. We are now a hyperpower. Nobody in the world, especially not North Korea, comes close to challenging our military capabilities, whether they are conventional, whether they are nuclear or whether they are special forces.’ So the message is very clear: Don’t test this White House,” Mr. Gorka told Fox News on Wednesday.


Yes, about Guam — located 2,128 miles from North Korea and named as a potential target for the rogue nation’s intermediate-range missiles. Aircraft flying out of Andersen Air Force Base on the north side of the island already have conducted bilateral missions with their airborne allies from Japan and South Korea in the last 72 hours. It is interesting to note that the official Twitter account of the Pacific Air Forces is using these hashtags: #fighttonight and #ironclad.

Meanwhile, local officials are downplaying the “North Korea threat,” according to Pacific Daily, a Gannett-affiliated news organization based in Guam. Local residents, the newspaper said, are “placing their trust in God and the military.”

In a press conference Wednesday, Guam Homeland Security and Civil Defense coordinator George Charfauros advised that the island is protected by the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense — the THAAD missile system — at Andersen, along with “other missile defense systems” in the region.

“All of those put together, there’s .00001 percent chance of that missile getting through that layer,” said Mr. Charfauros.


The news media constantly masks policy advances made by President Trump and his administration, downplaying positive coverage of the soaring stock market, job creation and the recent elimination of some costly federal regulations. The press also suggests Trump followers are wavering in their support. Once again, though, the press conveniently overlooks record-breaking donations to the Republican Party that dwarf those in the Democratic realm. In July, the GOP had $ 45 million in cash, the Dems $ 7.5 million.

“I’m traveling the country, and I’m hearing what people are saying. They support President Trump. Look at the RNC fundraising. We had 250,000 new small-dollar donors between January and March. They’re not just supporting the president, they’re rallying behind him,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told CNN.

“He has tremendous support among his base. It’s a tough time right now, when the media’s been very unfair to the president. You have Democrats obstructing him at every level, he has every obstacle in front of him. And he’s still going out and fighting for the American people. A million new jobs, unemployment numbers at a record low, consumer confidence at a 16-year high — I mean this is a president who’s delivering on the things he promised to the American people,” she said.


Scholastic Inc., the longtime megapublisher of classroom resources for students and teachers, will release “A Girl named Hillary: The True Story of Hillary Clinton” in a few months.

“It took a lot of determination, courage, and confidence to become the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party. ‘A Girl Named Hillary’ tells of the defining moments that made up her childhood and adolescence with full-color illustrations throughout.

“In addition to stories and facts about Hillary’s upbringing and accomplishments,” the publisher advises in advance notes for the 48-page book.

“Empowering young girls is important for sure, but this seems more like another never-ending ode to the almost-but-not-quite President Hillary Clinton montage. I almost wonder if they wrote the book before the election, depicting as her being the first female President, only to have to change it?” says Lianne Hikind, a Media Research Center analyst.

“I also have a few questions about this book. Will we see Hillary Clinton’s deeply middle-class background? Or find out when her hot sauce obsession began? Will we see her eventual political career and constant walking back of her beliefs?” Ms. Hikind wonders.


62 percent of U.S. voters say the ability to speak English should be a factor in legal immigration to the U.S.; 77 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats agree.

59 percent support limiting the number of refugees offered permanent U.S. residency; 80 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 42 percent of Democrats agree.

57 percent say education should be a factor in legal immigration; 68 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 52 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent say professional or academic achievement should be a factor; 62 percent of Republicans, 53 percent of independents and 48 percent of Democrats agree.

54 percent say “need for government assistance” should be a factor; 65 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of independents and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

48 percent favor reducing the number of legal immigrants by one-half in next decade; 73 percent of Republicans, 43 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,992 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 3-6.

Calm analysis, casual asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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