We’re barely ten days into 2020, and the liberal media is already facing a tremendous reckoning. At the beginning of this week, many thought America was on the brink of war with Iran — not so. Instead, the media outlets that blamed President Donald Trump for warmongering by killing Qasem Soleimani found themselves held to account for defaming conservatives. Oh, and the liberal media’s hero — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — finally caved on impeachment, which means other liberal heroes might just get stuck in a trial when they want to be campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire.
President Trump ordered the strike that killed Soleimani days after an Iran-backed attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. The Pentagon claimed intelligence linked Soleimani to that siege and showed that he was planning an imminent attack on U.S. troops. Even so, liberals accused Trump of warmongering, and some seemed downright cheery about the prospect of Trump getting blamed for starting a World War.
The Washington Post hailed the late Soleimani — a terrorist behind Iran’s actions in the Middle East — as a “revered military leader.” The New Yorker ran an article from actress Robin Wright describing Soleimani as “a flamboyant former construction worker and bodybuilder with snowy white hair, a dapper beard, and arching salt-and-pepper eyebrows.” She described the Quds Force as “an Iranian unit of commandos comparable to the U.S. seals, Delta Force, and Rangers combined.”
The View‘s Joy Behar even celebrated a white nationalist — because he rejected Trump over the Soleimani strike.
CNN gave a friendly interview to a woman who helped lead the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 — and said at the time that she would kill U.S. hostages if troops attacked the embassy — and who described America’s actions as terrorism. The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman claimed that Trump killed Soleimani to distract from impeachment. A Times op-ed predicted that Soleimani’s death would “unleash chaos.”
Author and commentator Reza Aslan said Trump’s plan “from day one” was “war with Iran,” because Trump withdrew from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.
Indeed, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed “severe revenge” against the U.S. for the strike, but the resulting rocket attacks on Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers failed to kill a single Iraqi or U.S. soldier. Instead, it seems they destroyed a Ukrainian plane carrying Canadians — a tragedy that is all Iran’s making. Similarly, Iran brought in troops from across the country to Tehran for Soleimani’s funeral — and the stampede killed fifty people and wounded 200 more. Trump’s statement on Wednesday urged deescalation, and the U.S. slapped more sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The whole situation is an unmitigated disaster for Iran, a success for Trump, and a huge misfire for anti-Trump legacy media outlets.
Yet it got even worse for the liberal media. On Tuesday, CNN agreed to settle a defamation lawsuit from Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, almost exactly one year after media outlets rushed to demonize the boy. A short clip of Sandmann interacting with a Native American man after the March for Life went viral, and liberal media figures rushed to demonize the young man wearing the “Make America Great Again” hat. Even when the truth came out — showing that Sandmann was not the instigator but an innocent bystander — liberal media outlets published op-eds about the essentially aggressive nature of MAGA hats.
CNN’s agreement to settle the lawsuit — which demanded $275 million — for an undisclosed amount not only brought justice to Sandmann but also showed that media outlets were vulnerable to defamation claims for the Covington fiasco.
The day after the CNN settlement, Reza Aslan finally deleted his tweet calling Sandmann’s face “punchable.” Aslan had just been served a defamation lawsuit of his own — from the lawyer Robert Barnes, who represents nine anonymous Covington Catholic boys, not including Sandmann. That lawsuit seeks between $135,000 and $450,000 from Aslan.
In another epic blow to the liberal media, VDARE editor Peter Brimelow filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against The New York Times, because the paper had condemned him as a “white nationalist.” In doing so, the Times violated its own ethical standards and cited the scandal-plagued hate-exaggerating Southern Poverty Law Center. Brimelow’s white identity politics are disgusting, but it seems he has a strong case here.
This is a loss for the liberal media not just because it weakens the credibility of the Times but also because it highlights the SPLC’s many scandals — which most liberal media outlets would prefer to ignore.
Yet the biggest blow to the liberal media may have come on Friday, when the much-vaunted Pelosi finally caved after her ridiculous impeachment stand-off. While the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on December 18, Pelosi refused to send the articles of impeachment over to the U.S. Senate, claiming that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not oversee a fair trial of President Trump.
The move was laughable — the Constitution clearly states that the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments — and hypocritical. Pelosi and her Democratic allies had rushed the impeachment, insisting that Trump was an imminent threat to America who needed to be removed without delay. Democrats even impeached Trump for “Obstruction of Congress” because the president raised a point of executive privilege when the House wanted documents. The White House was more than willing to litigate the matter in court — the right approach — but Pelosi and the Democrats condemned this as obstruction.
McConnell called her bluff, and the House speaker knew she had no good options.
Pelosi said she would forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate next week. If she does so before Tuesday evening, the Senate trial will prevent Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-who?), Bernie Sanders (S-USSR), and Elizabeth Warren (D-1/1024th of a plan) from debating in Iowa less than a month before the Iowa caucuses.
In one fell swoop, Pelosi’s caving revealed just how mistaken her decision to hold the articles was — and handicapped Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren. If the debate is postponed, CNN will again have egg on its face, as the liberal news outlet was set to host this debate.
So, to summarize, the hits to the liberal media this week included: no war with Iran, Trump looking good after the Soleimani strike, CNN settling Nick Sandmann’s lawsuit, Reza Aslan served with a lawsuit for calling Sandmann’s face “punchable,” The New York Times sued for violating its own standards, attention to the SPLC’s scandals, Pelosi’s supposedly brilliant move revealed as fruitless, and a debate derailed. There was even a court order involving Jussie Smollett!
Liberal media outlets haven’t been this embarrassed since Trump won in 2016.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.