It is a widely understood fact that media coverage of the Trump administration was, to say the least, massively critical. While some of this was justified as a result of objective reporting, a large portion — if not a majority — was the result of hyper-partisanship within the legacy media with the apparent goal of undermining the Republican president in preparation for the 2020 election.
Nothing demonstrates this shameless partisanship more than the legacy media’s reaction to events that are almost entirely identical, with the one difference being the political affiliation of the man in the White House.
Here are three examples of Trump and Biden doing — effectively — the same thing but with vastly different media coverage.
During Trump’s presidency, two missile strikes were approved against Syria. In 2017, Shayrat Airbase was targeted in response to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack days earlier. In 2018, the United States — alongside the United Kingdom and France — carried out a series of missile strikes against Syrian government sites in response to the Douma chemical attack.
The New York Times responded to the 2017 strike with “Acting on Instinct, Trump Upends His Own Foreign Policy.” After the 2018 strikes, the Washington Post published a piece titled “The many things Trump didn’t accomplish in the latest Syria strike.” The USA Today went with “Analysis: Trump’s strike on Syria has fire and fury — but not the element of surprise.”
In the first military action taken under President Biden, the United States carried out an air strike against Iran-backed militias in Syria. The strike came after “a civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on US targets,” with the Pentagon saying that the strike was launched “at President Biden’s direction.”
The New York Times reported on the strike with a piece titled, “With Strikes in Syria, Biden Confronts Iran’s Militant Network,” adding “Using a carefully calibrated approach, the president hopes to restrain Iran’s regional militia allies without undercutting efforts to reach a new nuclear deal.”
CNN reported “US carries out air strikes in Syria targeting Iranian backed militias.” The Washington Post went with “Biden administration conducts strike on Iranian-linked fighters in Syria,” which included that the Biden administration was “signaling its intent to use targeted military action to push back against violence tied to Tehran.” USA Today had “Biden’s Syria airstrikes first test of role as world’s police.”
Border Control and Illegal Immigration
In the first days of Biden’s presidency, it was announced that his administration would be reopening migrant facilities — specifically for children — at the border between the United States and Mexico.
The Washington Post reported “First migrant facility for children opens under Biden.” Axios went with “Biden administration reopens Trump-era facility for migrant children.” ABC News said “US reopens Texas surge facility to hold immigrant teenagers.” CNN’s headline read “Biden administration will begin to admit migrants held in tent camp near the US-Mexico border.”
Compare these muted and emotionless headlines to the coverage of the Trump administration’s policy.
CNN reported on the policies, with headlines like “Trump makes political gamble with immigrant lives,” and “Trump whips up immigration storm over children.”
NPR published a piece titled “What We Know: Family Separation And ‘Zero Tolerance’ At The Border.” The San Francisco Chronicle published an opinion piece titled “Trump’s tent city for children is a concentration camp,” and Michelle Goldberg wrote for the New York Times “They Really Don’t Care About Migrant Families.”
After Trump promised that an effective COVID-19 vaccine would be delivered before the end of 2020, the legacy media widely rejected this as fantastical nonsense. CNN questioned the safety of “rushing” the approval of a vaccine, with pieces like “Past vaccine disasters show why rushing a coronavirus vaccine now would be ‘colossally stupid,’” and “The timetable for a coronavirus vaccine is 18 months. Experts say that’s risky.” They even posted a “fact check” of Trump’s claim that the vaccine was ready in late October.
Once the vaccine was delivered, the legacy media then moved to undermine and criticize its distribution. CNN reported the false claim that “Biden inheriting nonexistent coronavirus vaccine distribution plan and must start ‘from scratch,’ sources say.” The New York Times published a piece in mid-January titled, “States are scrambling after the Trump administration’s vaccine promise falls apart.” The Washington Post pivoted to preemptively defend Biden, saying “Experts warn of vaccine stumbles ‘out of the gate’ because Trump officials reused to consult with Biden team.”
With Biden now in the White House, the media narrative has continued to move from an offensive effort against Trump to a defensive effort for Biden. The New York Times celebrated Biden’s “accomplishment,” reporting “Biden Expects to Surpass His Goal of 100 Million Shots in 100 Days,” despite this amounting to one million doses per day, a milestone passed multiple times by the Trump administration. After Biden celebrated 50 million vaccine doses being administered, CNN reported “Biden marks 50 million vaccine doses but cautions there’s a ‘long way to go.’” Over 15 million doses were administered by the Trump administration prior to Biden entering office.
Whether it be the coverage of military action in Syria, the language used to describe migrant detention centers, or manipulating mathematics regarding vaccine distribution, one thing is clear. If the only difference between two almost identical events is political party, the legacy media are capable of producing two completely different headlines.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.