Calling me a Never Trumper is fair, but what few Trump fans (and the president himself) seem to realize is that there are levels of Never Trumper-y.
I doubt I’ll ever reach the level where I can no longer recognize when a goofy tweet is a goofy tweet.
I mean, honestly:
AMERICAN HERO! pic.twitter.com/XCCa2sGfsZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2019
I regret to inform you that the press has decided that this picture is officially News. Right, granted, it was tweeted by the president, but the president … tweets a lot of stuff. This one is an obvious photoshop blending the photo of the dog that Trump released on Monday with a different photo of Trump presenting the Medal of Honor. The “medal” itself in the pic is a paw print for extra ridiculous-ness. And yet our media appears to be taking it quite seriously indeed:
President Trump on Wednesday shared a photograph from 2017 altered to show him placing a medal around the neck of the dog injured in the raid that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader.https://t.co/XUWwq0b9Ie
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 30, 2019
The original image appears to be an Associated Press photo of Trump giving the Medal of Honor to Vietnam veteran James McCloughan in 2017.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 30, 2019
“Trump Tweets Faked Photo of Hero Dog Getting a Medal,” sniffs the headline of the Times story.
If you find those tweets too ambiguous to draw the conclusion that journalists are missing the joke, be advised that there are others:
Fine, just the president of the United States disseminating a doctored image created by a right-wing propaganda site. pic.twitter.com/Ky26zdDaXe
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) October 30, 2019
I've requested details from the @WhiteHouse on this photo.
There was no such canine event on today's @POTUS schedule but there is a Medal of Honor ceremony set here for later today for an active duty Green Beret. https://t.co/NESINT9J4b
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 30, 2019
Why, they’ve caught the president red-handed attempting to spread disinformation. About placing a paw-print medal around a dog’s neck.
The Times story at least acknowledges in the subhead that it was a joke photo. Some anti-Trumpers, recognizing that taking this too seriously is a bad look, have shifted instead to complaining that the photo is disrespectful to James McCloughan, the man who received the Medal of Honor in the original image that was used for the photoshop. WaPo’s headline, for instance, blares that “Trump tweeted a photo of a Medal of Honor recipient — who was edited out and replaced by a dog.” Quote:
A watermark for the [Daily Wire] appears in Trump’s tweet, but it is a cropped version that removes the attribution of the source photo, which is the Associated Press. That would have indicated that it began as a legitimate news photo, raising the question of whether Trump or a staffer knew McCloughan had been edited out.
There’s a question of whether Trump knew whether he actually gave a medal to a dog or not?
Anyway, McCloughan disappointed everyone by telling the NYT that he got a kick out of it:
In a phone interview on Wednesday, Mr. McCloughan, 73, who had not seen the image before a reporter sent it to him, said that he interpreted it as Mr. Trump recognizing the dog’s heroism. He certainly was not offended and laughed when he compared the two images.
After all, he said, Medal of Honor recipients accept on behalf of their entire teams, especially those that did not return from battle. And canines have long been part of war efforts.
“This recognizes the dog is part of that team of brave people,” he said…
“They are very courageous,” he said of military canines.
Imagine how disappointed those reporters must have been to have gone to the trouble of tracking down McCloughan, teeing him up for a “Trump has besmirched my honor” soundbite, and getting that reaction instead.
Meanwhile, the obvious punchline to the story is that there will, inevitably, be an actual ceremony of some sort at the White House for the dog. Trump’s getting too much good political mileage out of it not to hold a photo op with such a very good boy.
Here’s a snippet today from a Pentagon briefing on the Baghdadi raid, including a bit of drone footage from overhead of the assault on the compound. What about the dog-cam video of Baghdadi running for his life, bro?
BREAKING: Pentagon reveals video of al Baghdadi Raid pic.twitter.com/5OTKEb8YQb
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 30, 2019