Sarcasm Alert [Updated]

This is a small but revealing illustration of how reporters’ hate for President Trump distorts their thinking, to the point where they have no idea how they come across to people who don’t share their biases. The Associated Press reports: “Trump says he wasn’t being serious in remarks about Putin.”

President Donald Trump said he was not being serious when he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering a drastic reduction in the number of U.S. diplomatic employees and saving the U.S. significant cash.

“Absolutely, I think you know that,” Trump told reporters Friday when asked about the comments he made a day earlier.

Trump had said he “greatly” appreciated Putin’s help cutting down the State Department’s payroll. At the time, it was unclear whether he was joking.

Just ponder that for a moment. The Associated Press actually thought Trump may have been serious in thanking Vladimir Putin for helping him cut the State Department’s budget by kicking diplomats out of Russia? The idea is absurd on its face. It can only have been a product of the AP’s extreme antipathy toward our president.

Earlier Friday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump “was being sarcastic” when he made the remarks.

Sanders must think the reporters who question her at press briefings are morons.

This incident reminded me of one that occurred during the George H.W. Bush administration. The press despised Vice President Dan Quayle, and obsessively denigrated him. At one point, someone made a joke: the vice president visited Latin America, and regretted that he hadn’t studied his high school Latin more so he could converse with people there. Ha Ha.

But when reporters heard the joke, they interpreted it as a straight news story. It appeared as such in newspapers across the United States. The story–obviously false, if you took it seriously–told us nothing about Vice President Quayle, but quite a bit about the journalists whom most people relied on to report on him. Dan Quayle graduated from high school, from college and from law school. He worked in his family’s publishing business, and then was elected to the House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate; in these capacities he traveled around the world. He was elected Vice President of the United States. And reporters seriously believed that he thought people speak Latin in Latin America? Only a reporter consumed by blind hatred could have considered that claim plausible.

The same thing is going on today with the press and President Trump, only much worse. As with this story, press coverage of Trump frequently tells us more about the reporters than it does about our president.

UPDATE: As sometimes happens, Paul and I were working on posts on the same theme simultaneously. His post is here. As usually happens, we agree.

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