Media "Fact Check" of Trump's Paris Statement Backfires

Yesterday, French police officers were ambushed on the Champs-Élysées. One officer was killed and two other wounded by a Known WolfTM gunman:

A man who killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees Thursday night was known to French security services and had shot and wounded an officer in the past, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.

The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.


President Trump was meeting Italian President Paolo Gentiloni when the news broke and expressed an opinion that it was terrorism:

Then AP was off to the races:

At MSNBC Brian Williams expressed discomfort with Trump “getting ahead of the facts.” Yes. That Brian Williams. He was uncomfortable.

Via Newsbusters:

Moments later, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd complained about Trump “getting ahead of the facts” even though police were indicating that what took place was terrorism.

Timeout, Chuck. It’s both infuriating and hilarious when the media complains that they’re not in control of what’s reported or said about something. Who’s largely in charge of informing the masses about what’s going on in the world? The media.

Moving on, Todd griped:

And then I am with you, look, the only thing on the what’s going on in Paris, you know, always a dangerous time to be — you know, the coverage is getting ahead of the facts and I think, you know, the President was referring to what he was saying he’s watching on television.

“You do wonder if — are people are going to take what he said as some idea that it’s — that he knows something more than what anybody else does. But if you recall, even in his answer, oh, I just saw that as I was walking out type of thing,” Todd added.


Ironically, before AP’s “fact check” was tweeted, French interior ministry officials were saying the police officers had been deliberately targeted and before Williams and Todd lost their sh**, AP was reporting the French were treating this as a counterterrorism investigation.

A couple of thoughts on this.

First and foremost, you can see the genesis of the press trying to create a narrative to attack Trump. If you were alive during 2001-2008 you’ll recall the “Bush is stupid” subtext that influenced any story about George Bush. The same thing is underway. See Todd’s comment, “I think, you know, the President was referring to what he was saying he’s watching on television.” As Trump was with the Italian president, it is highly unlikely that he was watching television while giving a press conference.

Second, this is a high-stakes game for Trump. In this case, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what happened. All you needed were “AK-47,” “police targeted,” and “Champs-Elysees” and pretty much anyone with a couple of functioning neurons could make a 6-sigma guess as to what happened. By coming out immediately and saying the attack was terrorism, Trump played to his base and raised the profile of terrorism as a threat. That Todd and Williams can be mocked is just icing on the cake. This works as long as it works. The first time he guesses wrong, the “did he see it on television” storyline will catch fire.



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