Don’t stare at the blue smoke and mirrors, watch what Trump does while eyes are diverted…
While media said ‘sh**hole’ over and over, Trump altered policy on Iran, Hezbollah
Little needs to be said here about the fascinating phenomenon of the Trump-suggestible media, which seem to scurry from one Trump-lobbed theme-word to the next without pausing to catch their breath.
The previous word – “genius” – was only beginning to die down. Then “sh**hole” overtook it like a runaway 18-wheeler barreling down the mountainside on an interstate highway, after those yellow signs warning of certain death flash by.
Meanwhile, back in what must be the eerie quiet of the offices of POTUS and his top officials, Trump laid down a new marker on Iran. If not for “sh**hole,” “genius,” and the word-of-the-day selections that came before them, the media might have been in a posture to do more about that. But it takes a lot of effort to explain to America what a real genius is, and how actual geniuses talk, and why Trump isn’t one, and how pathetic and wrong it is for him to call himself one.
And then, just when they’ve almost got that one put to bed, and Trump well and truly slam-dunked, along comes sh**hole, and the process has to be started all over again.
Who can keep up with actual policy developments under such exigent circumstances?
For the record, what Trump has done is give his Congress, and the other parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), until the next “certification” date – 120 days from 15 January – to improve the terms of the JCPOA. If that isn’t accomplished, the U.S. exercises our right to pull out of it.
The mainstream media have almost uniformly depicted this as Trump not changing policy on the JCPOA. He is leaving the Obama sanctions waivers in place for this final 120 days. It appears the media basically assume he is not serious about pulling the U.S. out of the plan. They’re also hewing to the line – too good to pass up – that Trump is failing to keep his campaign promise to get rid of the bad deal.
But Congress is taking him seriously. Both houses have respective bills proposing ways to strengthen the plan. (The Senate bill is considered weaker in that regard.)
Meanwhile, his Department of Justice has also assembled a team to investigate the transnational criminal activities by which Hezbollah has been supporting itself, and coordinating other threatening operations with equally bad actors. I wrote here about Josh Meyer’s important piece on this in December, which revealed that the Obama administration strangled off the effort to track and interdict those activities, out of concern that undermining Hezbollah would anger Iran and “destabilize” the Middle East.
The Trump administration is renewing the interest in Hezbollah’s criminal syndicate, and that’s a very good sign. As long as the mainstream media have rumors of geniuses and sh**holes to combat, they may not be able to mount a concerted, thematic counter-effort against Trump’s actual policy moves.
Analyzing that point would be a whole separate post, but it does suggest one way the “echo chamber” is being thwarted; i.e., by being baited with red herrings, and seeming to score one empty point after another while Trump actually changes the all-important facts on the ground.