President Donald Trump’s stand-off with Iran did not go the way the media thought it would.
No Americans were hurt when Iran retaliated for the killing of its top general Tuesday night, but the anti-Trump media’s credibility suffered a humiliating blow, according to critics. By the time Trump announced that he was de-escalating with Iran, the crisis had already ripped the mask off of a rabid, alarmist media whose judgment is clouded by hatred of the president, many said.
After Iran stand-off fizzles, media, Democrats slammed for rush to judgment
America and Iran entered a crisis last week after the U.S. killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general and leader of the elite Quds force, in a retaliatory drone strike outside Baghdad’s airport in Iraq. The strike followed an attack on America’s embassy in Baghdad by Iranian proxies, and its aftermath raised fears of war among many Democrats and a handful of Republican critics like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
The media framed Trump’s Soleimani strike as perhaps the most reckless decision of his presidency, a summarization of Trump’s alleged shoot-from-the-hip approach to governance. But to critics of the Left, the strike did just the opposite: it showcased the anti-Trump Left’s worst tendencies and showed how, out of blind hatred of the president, the media was driven to foment fear of the apocalypse.
Predictions of “World War III” failed to materialize when Trump, mirroring Iran, said that he would not seek further military escalation after Iran appeared to be “standing down” with what many said were intentionally zero-casualty missile attacks. In retrospect, many critics have weighed in on the Left’s rush to conclusions as an example of “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
“There is this sense that this president perhaps doesn’t get credit when something goes right,” said Fox News’ Bret Baier, hardly known for being a Trump sycophant. “Originally, as this all was happening, it was going to be World War III. ‘He started World War III and there’s no strategy here.’ Now we saw what Iran did in response. We see what the U.S. is saying in response to that,” he continued. “And you wonder whether ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ factors into some of the responses you hear publicly here in Washington.”
Critics: Dems fail to see Trump’s success
Democrats sought to rebuke Trump with a resolution limiting his war powers on Thursday, but even that vote was cast over with a pall of partisanship. Some noted how the Democrat leading the vote, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), failed to hold President Barack Obama’s feet to the fire when he intervened in Libya in 2011.
The party struck a different tone this time around, as Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden warned that Trump was risking catastrophe by throwing “a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox” and isolating America in the Middle East, to Iran’s benefit. But others pointed out that Democrats, blinded by hatred, failed to see how Trump actually weakened Iran and put the regime in its place.
Some have pointed to Iraq’s vote to have American troops leave as proof of a power shift away from America and towards Iran — but Washington Examiner writer Hugo Gordon claims the vote was “no more than an effort to help Iran save face while it contemplated its regional humiliation,” much as Iran had saved face by firing missiles with — many say — no intent to kill. In the end, Gordon wrote, “the mania and delusions of anti-Trumpian responses in the past week have outstripped perhaps anything we have seen in three years.”
Siding with Iran?
Awash in a haze of paranoia, the media failed to appreciate that, as nationalist thinker Yoram Hazony put it, there’s no contradiction between responding to Iranian aggression and Trump’s avowed desire to end needless wars in the Middle East. The media was taken by surprise when Trump successfully cowed a rogue regime — all without igniting a deadly war — in what Republicans have hailed as a rare example of “peace through strength.”
Far from risking war, some have expressed hope that Trump’s strike will lay the foundation for a better framework to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions than Obama’s nearly defunct 2015 Iran deal. While it remains unclear what will happen next between America and Iran, the last week of crisis has revealed much about the American media.
Over and above criticizing Trump’s decision, the media glamorized Soleimani and even portrayed Iran as the victim of America’s aggression, according to many critics. The media’s response to the Iran strike didn’t happen in a vacuum, of course (how many “bombshells” have turned out to be duds by now?), but to many critics, this was one of its worst fits of rage. But in these times, one never knows when we’ve reached the bottom.