Editor’s note: Each Sunday, the chattering class fills American airwaves with the thoughts and opinions of Washington’s most powerful Swamp-dwellers. Often these interviews make headlines and inform the public about what to expect in the coming week. If you want to stay informed but don’t have the time to devote to all the political punditry, there is hope. Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard sifts through the shows for you and presents the high and lowlights in this weekly column.
This Week With George Stephanopoulos – ABC
How President Donald Trump will handle the sticky situation of North Korea was the main topic for this week. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien was the guest, and he was questioned repeatedly on what the United States will do if Kim Jong Un does not give up his country’s nuclear weapons and programs. Although O’Brien was asked several different ways, the host trying to get him to slip up, the administration official didn’t reveal any security secrets. He did say that the administration would be very disappointed if Kim didn’t cooperate and that actions would be taken were that the case.
O’Brien reminded viewers that the president has not insisted on regime change and added that “if North Korea gives up its nuclear program, they could have an extraordinary bright future with a great economy.”
And if it doesn’t take that opportunity?
“The United States is still the leading military power in the world. We have tremendous economic power, bolstered because of the fantastic economy we’ve had under the last three years of the Trump administration and Trump’s policies. So, there’s a lot of pressure that we can bring to bear, and we’ll have to see what happens. I don’t want to speculate but the president is realistic about the situation there.”
In a tweet, the president said, “Despite all of the great success that our Country has had over the last 3 years, it makes it much more difficult to deal with foreign leaders (and others) when I am having to constantly defend myself against the Do Nothing Democrats & their bogus Impeachment Scam. Bad for USA!”
O’Brien was asked which Do Nothing Democrats Trump may have been referring to, and the security advisor said he didn’t think it was necessarily about any one individual, suggesting what the president meant was, “Let’s get back to the business of the American people. I think that’s what the president is focusing on, the important issues.”
Meet the Press – NBC
In this weekend’s special edition titled “Alternative Facts,” host Chuck Todd made it unequivocally clear that this episode was nothing more than a Trump roast. The main theme was the loss of credibility of news sources, and all of the blame was piled at the president’s feet. Todd used the words “disinformation” and “political weapon” to describe the country’s loss of faith in media news.
Todd started off quoting The Washington Post, saying the president has made 15,413 false or misleading claims while in office. He referred to the fake news movement as a large-scale campaign against the press perpetrated by Trump.
Ben Nimmo, director of investigations Graphika, a social-media analytics company, said disinformation actors do four things. Each item on the list had an example; however, the case was made by short clips of the president supposedly demonstrating his disinformation abilities.
The four actions of Disinformation Actors:
- Dismiss: Attack critics to erode their credibility and invalidate the facts. Cut to clip of Trump saying “fake news.” Todd then qualified his narrative with, “Mr. Trump has used the word ‘fake’ on Twitter more than 800 times.”
- Distort: If the facts are against you, make up your own facts. The example used: Trump saying “in many places, like California, the same person votes many times,” and “This is not a conspiracy theory, folks. Millions and millions of people.”
- Distract: Whataboutism, the “I’m rubber, you’re glue defense.” If you’re accused, accuse someone else of the same thing. Viewers were treated to a short piece with Trump saying “the goal that wasn’t perfect, and the words that weren’t perfect were Joe Biden with respect to his son.”
- Dismay: Threats and intimidation. The president saying “We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws” was proof that he’s lobbying to end the media.
To further the storyline, executive editors Dean Baquet from The New York Times and Martin Baron from The Post were brought aboard to discuss the concern over people falling for fake news. It also bothered the progressive editors that 91% of Trump supporters get their information from the president.
So, with the media distraught because more people are losing trust in journalists, what does Meet the Press do? Show us exactly why so many consumers are disgusted and discouraged with the news because only one side of the story is told. Not one conservative news source was presented to offer viewers the facts from another, likely contradictory voice.
Face the Nation – CBS
This weekend, Face the Nation stayed pretty neutral. It brought up the question of prayer in politics by talking to Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and James Lankford (R-OK) about the longtime tradition of bipartisan Wednesday prayer breakfast meetings. Both politicians hailed the practice as a much-needed and valued activity that brings together both sides of the aisle to discuss private and personal matters of faith. The two senators said that their beliefs have guided them throughout their lives, including the political decisions they’ve made.
Ivanka Trump, also a guest on the show, talked about the recent passing of paid family leave for government employees.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.