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Lefties’ shaggy dog story

9 November 2019

9:00 AM

9 November 2019

9:00 AM

At this distance, it’s hard to credit the derangement of the US leftist media over Donald Trump. The president had quite a success last month unleashing his special forces on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The media can’t allow such success. The Washington Post mourned the defunct Isis leader under a heading, ‘Austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State dies at 48.’ In Mosul in 2016, the austere religious scholar’s forces put 19 young Yazidi women into an iron cage and burnt them alive because they refused to be sex slaves. Last week WaPo was at it again, confecting a Trump scandal about Conan the military dog who chased Baghdadi into that dead-end tunnel. The leftist media piled on, from the New York Times down.

Inspired, ‘our’ ABC gave the canine scandal a big run on its news website last Friday. Despite fakery, errors and brazen breaches of the ABC impartiality charter, it did allow some facts to get in the way of its narrative. But first, here’s how this ‘scandal’ unfolded.

Last Monday week: Trump praises a military dog that attacked Baghdadi, ‘a beautiful dog, a talented dog’.

To appease public demand, and as a bit of a joke, he then tweets an unclassified and sort of goofy pic of the big Belgian mutt. He warns that the dog’s name is still classified (because it might identify the specific unit involved). Social media takes the dog to its bosom. The same evening, Newsweek says the dog’s name is Conan, sourcing its scoop to multiple leakers in the military.

Tuesday: The conservative media site Daily Wire, run by the hyper-entertaining and brilliant Ben Shapiro, sends out a photoshopped joke pic on Instagram. It shows Trump bestowing a ‘Medal of Pawner’ on Conan. The medal is engraved with a dog pawprint. The original photo had shown Trump draping a Medal of Honor on a hero Viet medic in 2017.

Wednesday: Trump retweets the dog pic as ‘American Hero!’ and adds that he’s invited ‘Conan’ to the White House.

Wednesday/Thursday: The Left media goes nuts saying that Trump has distributed a faked pic. Trump has insulted the medic hero. Trump has revealed the dog’s secret name (which everyone including Isis knew anyway from Newsweek). Trump is bad and a hypocrite because unlike Obama and Bo the Portuguese Water Dog, Trump doesn’t own a pet anything.

The media hunts down the medic hero in the original pic. Worse luck, they discover he enjoyed a laugh about it. The media pivot to j’accuse over the photo ‘fakery’. But Daily Wire had even put its watermark signature on it, one of a billion jokey and harmless memes online.

Ben Shapiro published Daily Wire’s  interaction with the sombre leftist media, whose sleuths have an Inspector Clouseau earnestness. WaPo reporter Alex Horton emailed Shapiro , ‘Hello, I wanted to get confirmation this photo originated with you, and if it did, that you digitally removed Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan and replaced him with a dog.’

Shapiro’s offsider Jeremy Boreing, belying his name, gave this epic reply,  ‘Alex, on the record, you’ve got to be f—ing joking. Please quote me on that.’

The WaPo then published that Boreing ‘dismissed emailed questions about whether the altered photo originated from his publication.’ Shapiro responded, ‘What? No, he  didn’t dismiss emailed questions. He dismissed your stupid question, he dismissed you.’  WaPo’s story also suggested, in maniacal mode, that Trump didn’t know the pic was ‘fake’. Shapiro to WaPo: ‘Yes,  we created the meme. Yes, it is a joke. Yes, you people are also jokes. Please feel free to quote us on this.’

Commenters added spice. ‘Democracy dies in stupidity,’ said one, mocking WaPo’s masthead motto which is ‘Democracy dies in darkness’. Another said the military doesn’t use reporters to chase terrorists because reporters are not as smart as dogs.

A sage comment was, ‘This is very funny in a terrifying way.’ Shapiro points out that the mainstream media will stop at nothing to discredit conservative outlets, even pretending to fact-check their jokes. Fact Check: False! A chicken does not intentionally find reason to cross a road.

Twitter’s ban announced last week on all political advertising goes further by subtly targeting conservative media. Like the Daily Wire, conservative media live online, and the ban aims to return mainstream media such as WaPo and New York Times to their former unchallenged state.

As for our ABC’s version of the dog stuff, the headline on its so-called news report reads, ‘Donald Trump tweets previously classified name of “hero” dog from Baghdadi raid, after photoshopped Medal of Honour image.’

Curiously, the story both hypes the ‘scandal’ and undercuts it. The ABC cropped its main pic to avoid showing the paw print on what the report  falsely calls the ‘Medal of Honor’.  But lower down a second pic reveals the paw print.

The report begins, ‘US President Donald Trump once said the name of the dog… would remain classified. So much for that.’ Then a second sneer: ‘After Mr Trump was needled by sections of the US media for tweeting an obviously faked photo of himself with the dog, he was unable to resist tweeting his response and revealing the name of the dog.’

Wait! Further down the reporter concedes that Newsweek had already published the name as Conan. Shouldn’t the ABC’s proper story have been, ‘Military leakers to Newsweek undermine troops and President’?

The report’s saving grace is to confirm that the Viet medic hero was not enraged but amused about being photoshopped out in favour of a dog. So I’d award the writer (why no byline, ABC?) five marks out of ten for professionalism. But maybe such ABC teams could do some real work on, say, the origin of the Steele ‘pee-dossier’ hoax, rather than peddling this piffle.

Talking of shaggy dogs, the above-mentioned ‘Conan’ scoop by Newsweek had a post-modern line that reverberates: ‘A female Belgian Malinois was along for the ride in the historic military operation. His name is Conan, Newsweek has learned.’ Perplexed readers asked, ‘Does the bitch identify as a dog?’ I don’t want to gross you out, but the original Conan pic seems to show a crotch lacking protuberances, which might have led Newsweek into error. Anyway, it amended its piece to dogsplain that Conan’s sex or gender was masculine. Toxic masculine, I’d say, as seen by the late Mr Baghdadi.

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