Several Donald Trump Tweets Effectively Stunted Negative MSM Coverage in 2017
To say that Trump’s first year in office was interesting is an understatement. It was characterized by pitched ideological battles on both sides, many of which played out on Twitter. Trump used Twitter not only to fend off attacks from the mainstream media (MSM), but to pitch policy narratives that they chose to omit. From that standpoint, Trump’s use of “new media” was a smashing success.
Below, we highlight five cases where Donald Trump tweets effectively countered the MSM narrative In 2017.
5. Trump Saves 3 African-American Basketball Players From Chinese Prison
In early November, three African-American UCLA basketball players were arrested by Chinese authorities on shoplifting charges. LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill allegedly stole high-end sunglasses from the Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou. In America, shoplifting charges are thought of as a relatively minor offense. But in China, this type of infraction is taken much more seriously.
A criminal offense like shoplifting can carry a punishment of up to 10 years in prison in China. We’re not talking “country club”-type jails either; rather, something more closely resembling a gulag than a typical North American detention center.
Enter Donald Trump. While conducting his first major Asian tour, he personally intervened on the players’ behalf to have them set free. Trump could have easily sidestepped this case and let his foreign office instigate diplomacy. He could have let the players languish in Chinese legal limbo while their prospective careers went down the toilet. But he didn’t. He grabbed the reins and had the players back on American soil within a week.
Despite Trump’s selfless act of diplomacy, the high-profile father of one UCLA player (LiAngelo Ball) decided to slag Trump instead of thanking him. LaVar Ball actually claimed that Trump wasn’t responsible for the players’ releases (untrue), and he criticized Trump for not bringing them back on Air Force One. Talk about ungrateful.
Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2017
This tweet is influential because it definitively exposes the ingratitude of the Left. Instead of receiving a simple “thanks,” Trump was somehow criticized and derided. It furthered unmasked the insanity of Trump’s opponents, who are unwilling or unknowingly hostile to everything he does. It showed that the Left will always be haters, no matter what good deeds Trump foists upon them.
Even CNN liberal host Chris Cuomo couldn’t go along with LaVar Ball’s reasoning during his on-air interview. It was a microcosm of the Left’s utter inability to acknowledge even the most obvious act of selflessness. Conservatives have now tuned out.
4. Trump’s “Muslim Ban” Reasoning Tweet
On January 27, 2017, president Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769, halting all refugee admissions and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries. The countries affected were Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Of course, the MSM bombarded the airwaves with a cascade of negative news coverage on the matter. By framing the act as a “Muslim ban” instead of what it really was—a security ban—the MSM attempted to portray Trump as some sort of racist, bigoted, Islamaphobe. Trump was having none of it:
Everybody is arguing whether or not it is a BAN. Call it what you want, it is about keeping bad people (with bad intentions) out of country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 1, 2017
This tweet is influential because it defined the reasoning behind the move. Or at least, it should have. Trump was acting to protect the nation, not because he was bigoted. It just so happens that the most security threats are emanating from Muslim-majority countries, where terrorism and war are commonplace.
Just a cursory glance of the facts should lead any non-comatose person to the same conclusion. If Trump was really trying to ban Muslims, why didn’t he include the Muslim world’s most populous countries like Indonesia and Egypt on the list? Why was the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) only suspended for 120 days?
The MSM wasn’t interested in the facts; it was interested in a narrative. Trump’s tweet effectively confronted the dishonest messaging.
3. Iran “Playing With Fire” Tweet
It’s no secret that Donald Trump isn’t fond of the Iran nuclear deal reached in 2015. From the moment he stepped on the campaign trail, he derided Barack Obama’s brainchild as unfair and one-sided. Trump’s critique went far beyond the standard fence-sitting political speak employed by most career politicians.
For instance, In January 2016, the then-Republican presidential front-runner slammed the Iran nuclear deal as so bad, he wondered whether it was done poorly on purpose. Said Trump, “It’s almost like there has to be something else going on…I don’t think there is, I just don’t think they’re competent…Who would make that deal?” Trump further insinuated that Tehran was celebrating as the agreement was being negotiated. (Source: “Trump: Iran deal was so bad it’s suspicious,” The Hill, January 2, 2016.)
Fast forward to post-inauguration, Trump showed no sign of softening his rhetoric. Just a couple weeks into his term as POTUS, Trump put the whole Iranian nuclear agreement in doubt with his now infamous “playing with fire” tweet:
Iran is playing with fire – they don't appreciate how "kind" President Obama was to them. Not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
Of course, the significance of this tweet is unmistakable. It signaled that Trump’s stance hasn’t changed and that American policy would take a 180 degree U-turn in the coming months. It also not-so-subtly derided Barack Obama as being “kind” to an American arch-nemesis, Iran, thus insinuating that America got a raw deal.
It was one of those Donald Trump tweets which killed two birds with one stone.
2. Trump’s North Korea Tweets
America’s long-drawn-out and failed diplomatic strategies regarding North Korea is well known. It started back in the 1990s when Bill Clinton opted to engage the North Koreans with the carrot-and-stick approach. Those maneuvers ended up backfiring on American interests.
The proof? In 2016, North Korean test-launched the most ballistic missiles ever. Several of those ended up in or near Japanese territorial waters. The apocalyptic rhetoric, already simmering for years, burst free like a volcano blowing its lid. Obviously, relations between both countries cascaded to new lows.
How did the mainstream media approach this diplomatic row? They mostly blamed Trump. If Trump had just been a little more accommodating, none of this would have happened. Had Trump just followed the same tired diplomatic path, the North Koreans would have relented. None of it is true, obviously.
Instead, Trump chose a different path. Breaking from traditional American diplomatic strategy, Trump decided to ramp up the brinkmanship, perhaps hoping that his rhetoric would scare North Korea into scaling down its military activities. Here are two such tweets:
Presidents and their administrations have been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements made and massive amounts of money paid……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
…hasn't worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, makings fools of U.S. negotiators. Sorry, but only one thing will work!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2017
Bonus Donald Trump tweet released on December 28:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2017
While the media went into a full-scale frenzy over Trump’s decision to match fire with fire, he also signaled to the American public that diplomacy would no longer be one-sided. The president could and would change tactics instead of following a failed status quo.
Some will agree with that approach, some will not. But Trump fundamentally ushered in a new era when American diplomacy would be dictated by reciprocity rather than custom.
1. Trump Fulfills Promise to Declare Jerusalem Israel’s Capital
On December 6, 2017, Donald Trump officially announced that the federal government would now recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This sent shock waves through the Middle East and world diplomatic community, which was staunchly committed to the status quo. It also wasn’t an easy decision to make.
By acting on its intentions, America would become the first country to move its embassy to Jerusalem. The city is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians, and is viewed as a strategic bargaining chip for future joint ownership in Israel/Palestine peace negotiations. Currently, countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel keep their embassies in Tel Aviv. The reason? No country wants to inflame tensions or deal with withering diplomatic pressure from either side. Donald Trump broke that taboo.
The amazing thing about the tweet below is that it delivers a stunning reminder about broken promises. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, yet none ever did. Only Trump had the fortitude to execute his gutsy call, in the face of boisterous world opposition and dissent within the chambers of the United Nations. Watch.
I fulfilled my campaign promise – others didn’t! pic.twitter.com/bYdaOHmPVJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2017
The tweet is perfect in its simplicity. Whether you like his policies or not, Trunp has stayed true to his word, unlike so many calculated career politicians. Honoring his word is a primary reason why Trump’s base remains resilient in the face of relentless attacks by the media and the occasional political foible. Trump wins the political narrative without resorting to his aggressive counter-punching style.
What more is there to say? Trump’s decision speaks for itself and his predecessors’ own words make the case for him. Democrats cannot claim that Trump is going rogue on this important diplomatic decision. They can only claim that Trump actually followed through.