From the earliest days of Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions he has transparently tried to exploit the men and women of the military for his electoral advantage. Never mind that his actual actions were disrespectful, and even illegal (his charities withheld promised funds) as he insulted veterans like John McCain, Gold Star families, and the fallen who he refused to pay tribute to. And until today, Trump had never even visited the troops in a war zone, and only conceded to take the trip after being shamed into it for months.
Trump’s visit to Iraq today was a blatantly self-serving affair that appears to have been done for the sole purpose of producing a propaganda video of him cavorting with real life soldiers. The video was just a montage of Trump smiling and shaking hands set to a soundtrack of the right’s favorite syrupy paean to patriotism, “God Bless the U.S.A.”
But perhaps the most notable hypocrisy of the Trump era has been his own evasion of military service via a series of academic deferrals and a highly suspicious medical exemption for “bone spurs” in his heel that never prevented him from playing baseball or golf. On Wednesday the New York Times published a story that examined the bone spurs controversy. They interviewed the daughters of the doctor who is reported to have given Trump his medical excuse to deploy to Manhattan’s Studio 54 instead of Vietnam. The story said in part that the daughters of the doctor…
“…say their father often told the story of coming to the aid of a young Mr. Trump during the Vietnam War as a favor to his father.
“‘I know it was a favor,’ said one daughter, Dr. Elysa Braunstein, 56, who along with her sister, Sharon Kessel, 53, shared the family’s account for the first time publicly when contacted by The New York Times.”
The Times found that Dr. Braunstein rented an office in the Edgerton Apartments in Jamaica, Queens, which was owned by Trump’s father Fred in the 1960s. The daughter’s claimed that their father received special treatment from the Trumps following his “favor” for young Donald.
So naturally, Fox News rushed in to shield Trump from any of the criticism resulting from the article in the Times. On the Fox News website they published a story with an unfair and unbalanced headline stating that: “New York Times tracks down anti-Trump children of deceased doctor to run uncorroborated Vietnam allegations.”
Wow. That really packs in the pro-Trump bias by the shovel full. First, the story attempts to dismiss what the women said by casting them as anti-Trump, implying they did this to deliberately harm the President. However, they have said nothing about this for decades and only spoke after the Times found them and asked for their account of what happened.
Secondly, the story is not uncorroborated. It originated from an anonymous tip that didn’t include any details or names. The Times then did the legwork to fill in the blanks. So what the daughters told them was, in fact, the corroboration of the original tip.
The Fox News article noted that Trump himself has never provided any details of his alleged infirmity because he said that he didn’t recall them. This from the man who says he has the world’s greatest memory (which he later didn’t remember saying). And Fox wasn’t at all curious as to why there was no evidence that the doctor had ever examined Trump before disqualifying him from military service.
Finally, the Fox News article only solicited two other persons for comments on the story. One was Dan Gainor, of the uber-rightist Media Research Center, who said “I’m surprised the paper didn’t arrange a séance and quiz the late doctor, too.” The other was conservative strategist Chris Barron, whose comment attacked the Times saying that “The New York Times is essentially indistinguishable from a gossip rag you’d find in the super market checkout line.” That’s it. No other quotes were provided from any left of center or neutral sources.
Trump’s recent treatment of Secretary of Defense James Mattis is proof of his disrespect for the military. And an interview he did last month on Fox News (wherein he bashed Adm. William McRaven, a former Navy Seal who helped dispose of both Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden) shows that he only supports the military when they bow down to him. But on Fox News Trump is still a hero whose evasion of the draft was a trivial matter that shouldn’t be explored by the real news media. And any attempts to do so will be met with biased retorts that offer zero substance to support their claims, but fit nicely in the Trumpian era theme of fake news.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.