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The Real Reasons Why Legacy Media Are Freaking Out Over Trump’s Successful Baghdadi Mission

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Legacy media outlets responded to President Trump’s announcement of the U.S. military’s successful mission against ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with their trademark hostility and anger. That’s because the inarguably good news threatens corporate media goals for shaping foreign policy, impeaching the president, and defeating Trump in 2020.

“Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world. A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated — he will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child,” Trump told the nation on Sunday. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.”

Yet the media reacted not with the praise and excitement that greeted President Obama’s announcement of a similar successful operation against Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but with anger and rage. Many media outlets soiled their beds, but the Washington Post is representative of the hard work that went into spinning the killing of Baghdadi into, somehow, a negative story for Trump, beginning with a hagiographic look at Baghdadi as not a brutal rapist and murderer of his political and religious foes but as an “austere religious scholar.” Really:

Trump’s rollout of the news of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death contrasted sharply with the Obama White House’s approach in 2011 on the death of Osama bin Laden https://t.co/QbLHEjT1Gu

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 27, 2019

Opinion: Three ways the Baghdadi raid undermines Trump’s chaotic policy https://t.co/LxvVB2twS3

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 28, 2019

Despite the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, some analysts question U.S. ability to prevent ISIS resurgence https://t.co/jfzMgahGhM

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 28, 2019

Opinion: The U.S. kills an ISIS leader. But Trump is giving the group a new lease on life. https://t.co/rg26xpLfiD

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 27, 2019

It takes effort to try to spin the unalloyed good news of the Trump administration’s success as a net negative, but corporate media were up for the challenge. That’s because successes such as this one undercut the narratives they’re trying to force into the national conversation.

1) Positive News Coverage Hurts Media Efforts To Destroy Trump

Corporate media have moved from at least projecting concern for reporting the actual news into unembarrassed political actors. That enables them to flamboyantly spin — as opposed to their previous method of subtly spinning — even major news with indisputable facts.

The 2016 campaign was a humiliating defeat for Hillary Clinton, but also for political media. Media outlets never understood the electorate they were paid big dollars to write and broadcast news about. They confidently asserted Trump had no chance to win, and convinced themselves that casting off journalistic standards was defensible because of the certain ruin Trump would bring.

Instead, President Trump’s administration has been marked by success in the domestic and foreign spheres. The economy is humming, including job and wage growth the media had previously said was unlikely to impossible to achieve. This is due to tax cuts, tax reform, and unprecedented deregulation. No new wars have been launched, much less the apocalyptic nuclear wars the media predicted. A long overdue recalibration with China is taking place.

What is good news for the country is bad news for the media and their political allies.

One of the tools they can utilize in their war on the president is to deny him honest media coverage of his successes, making it more difficult to clip news of them discussing those successes in an honest fashion. It’s not a conspiracy so much as a shared mindset that kicked into action this weekend.

2) ISIS Founder’s Death Complicates Media’s Syria Narrative

Legacy media’s posture prior to news of the raid might be best shown by Saturday night’s opening sketch of their favorite show. Saturday Night Live’s first sketch mocked Trump supporters, portraying them as speakers at a Trump rally. One joke was to have an ISIS member who was “a prisoner in Syria until last week when you freed me … I just wanted to say, thank you for bringing jobs back to ISIS and I promise that I will make ISIS great again!”

The parody was not far off of the October 21 New York Times piece headlined “ISIS Rejoices As U.S. Withdraws From Syria.”

The story from the media is that withdrawing troops from Syria — a country we somehow found thousands of our troops in despite President Obama promising more than one dozen times that there would be no “boots on the ground there,” and despite Congress not authorizing any use of military force there — would be a disaster for everyone involved.

The death of Baghdadi, following a successful operation that required cooperation with Turkey, Syrian Kurds, Russia and others, at the very least complicates that narrative. That recent events with Turkey might have helped accomplish this goal complicates the narrative. That the Delta Force came in from troops stationed outside of Syria complicates the narrative. And the fact that all this happened at the very moment SNL was accusing the president of helping ISIS obliterates the narrative.

While the bipartisan foreign policy consensus promised ISIS’ growth and victory over the U.S., the U.S. military was actually planning Baghdadi’s capture or killing. The media are attempting to spin that this event happened “despite” Trump’s foreign policy approach, but that argument will have little persuasion outside of the Trump-deranged Resistance.

3) Trump Foreign Policy Successes Undermine Media Impeachment Drive

The biggest champions of impeachment are the media, seeking to save face after their 2016 and Russia collusion hoax failures. They have all but forced the Democrats to launch the proceedings even though their path is fraught with difficulties.

Yesterday’s Sunday Morning shows — no matter the outlet or the particular host — were all scheduled to throw more fuel on the impeachment fire. Instead, they were forced to cover a major success in the battle to defeat the Islamic State.

Impeaching the president who oversaw the operation looks even worse than just impeaching the president who has survived a non-stop, years-long campaign from the media, Democrats, and other Resistance members. For impeachment to have any chance of survival, the media need to both downplay and move quickly from the story back to their uncritical repetition of Democratic Party talking points.

That’s why the media quickly pivoted to a story of fans at the Washington Nationals’ World Series game booing the president on the day of the Baghdadi announcement. If it’s newsworthy that the town that went 96% (no exaggeration!) against Trump in 2016 before running the Resistance against the electorate is booing the president, it’s more because of what it says about them than what it says about the country or its president.

Still, it was a means to get back to their preferable push of impeachment and away from stories that make them appear foolish.

It’s understandable some in the media want to destroy their political opponent, but they could do a better job of hiding their anger at achievements that are undoubtedly good for America and make the country safer.

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a senior editor at The Federalist. She is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. Follow her on Twitter at @mzhemingway

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