At the AP, the News Is What Didn’t Happen

Earlier today, President Trump met with a group of Republican senators. This is how the Associated Press headlines its story on the meeting: “GOP senators lunch with Trump, don’t bring up McCain remark.” The AP story begins:

President Donald Trump appeared to be in a good mood Tuesday when he met privately with Senate Republicans, buoyed by primary election results and talks with North Korea, and bypassing any serious discussion of high-profile trouble spots in the administration.

Senators did not ask about a White House aide’s crass remark of ailing GOP Sen. John McCain. They did not bring up special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference.

Got that? The AP thinks the most important thing about the meeting is the topics that didn’t come up, because there was no reason why they should. Indeed, if you read far enough, you get Senator Corker’s response when he was asked by a reporter about the McCain comment:

“That’s not what we do in these meetings,” Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told reporters. “No one would have ever brought up something like that.”

Nevertheless, the AP insists that the most important fact about the meeting is a topic that was irrelevant to the meeting. The reporter adds:

But much like when Trump was headed to the GOP Senate lunch to talk policy in October 2017, the White House agenda was eclipsed by another story.

That story being the White House aide’s comment about McCain. But how did that week-old story “eclipse” the president’s agenda? It evidently didn’t; in fact, it wasn’t even discussed. It is only in the mind of the AP’s Democratic Party reporter that there is any connection between the aide’s reference to McCain and today’s meeting.

But that’s the AP’s story, and they’re sticking to it.

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