The American media is the enemedia…
Macron springs Iranian FM on G7; French media report accurately, U.S. media sell anti-Trump narrative
French President Emmanuel Macron invited Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to crash the G7 party in Biarritz this weekend. He didn’t try to set Zarif up for a full-scale group grope with the G7, but the timing was still pretty bad.
We’ll get to that in a minute. The bad timing is important, but I think the game played by the U.S. media (and some other Western media) is actually more so.
‘Blindsided’ by the flight
The narrative theme being sold is that this was an in-your-face move to highlight the EU’s, or at least France’s, daylight gap with Trump on Iran policy. And clearly, Macron was pulling a stunt. (French media referred to it as a coup de théâtre.) While Macron had a captive audience in Biarritz, any such move would be a stunt. So the counterpoint to be highlighted here is not that it wasn’t a political stunt.
It’s that the media rushed to help frame it in anti-Trump terms, up to and including the omission of a salient piece of information.
The U.S. reporting, and much of the reporting from Western wire services, adhered to the themethat the visit was a surprise, Trump was taken by surprise, and this was something of a black eye for Trump. Some reports even quoted anonymous sources to the effect that the Trump administration was not informed of the visit in advance.
However, French media reported based on on-the-record comments from the foreign ministry that Macron had informed all the G7 delegations beforehand, including the U.S. delegation, that Zarif would be coming. (Le Figaro says it was on Saturday, and in fact that Trump was the first one informed, in his one-on-one lunch with Macron. The other G7 members were told during an event Saturday evening.)
AP later picked up on that, but not until after the mainstream media had issued forth the “Trump blindsided” theme with a trumpet fanfare.
This was not a lengthy prior warning, to be sure, especially not in diplomatic terms. But anyone watching the live U.S. coverage of the G7 summit on Sunday would have gotten the impression that there was no warning at all. (A few pundits observed that it was unlikely Macron really sprang this as a total surprise on his fellow G7 leaders. Their voices probably had little reach past the MSM headlines, however, which were couched in language to emphasize Trump being caught flat-footed.)