Two American presidents can say virtually the same thing, express the same sentiments, share the same deep condolences after enormous tragedy in their role as chief executive — but the mainstream media show their bias almost instantly depending on who’s talking.
The proof is in the facts.
President Donald Trump held an extraordinary listening session at the White House on Wednesday. He heard the tragic stories of love and loss, of pain and heartache, of anger and a desire for stronger school security, and a change in gun laws after the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, last week.
And yes, people expressed an array of opinions.
But Trump heard it all — and he’s pledged change.
Yet the mainstream media socked him and mocked him because he happened to be holding a note card reminding him of points he wanted to make during this extremely difficult and intense meeting before the media and, in essence, the entire world, including the sentiment, “I hear you.”
Ah, but how different things were when Trump’s predecessor expressed those exact sentiments.
Consider the following comment from former President Barack Obama after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when Obama addressed the nation after that tragedy:
“And in the days since the heartbreaking tragedy in Newtown, hundreds of thousands of you from all 50 states have signed petitions asking us to take serious steps to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country. So I just wanted to take a minute today to respond and let you know we hear you,” said Obama in December 2012.
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The media ate it up. But that was hardly the only time Obama used the phrase “we hear you” during his presidency.
“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it. And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear,” he said in November of 2013, following the cancellation of countless Americans’ health care coverage due to the legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Oh, and remember this?
“To everyone who voted, I want you to know I hear you,” said Obama after the midterm elections in 2014, which resulted in dramatic Democrat party losses. “And to the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”
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But he was hardly the only Democrat who liked to use that phrase — and who took no hits at all for it from the mainstream media.
In June of 2016 in Brooklyn, New York, shortly after accepting her party’s nomination, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton consoled disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters by saying, “So many of you feel like you’re out there on your own, that no one has your back. Well, I do. I hear you. I see you. And as your president, I will always have your back.”
At times, presidents — and sometimes presidential hopefuls — must play the role of consoler-in-chief. Their job, which most take quite seriously, is to bear witness to the expressed pain and hardship that constituents experience.
Even more importantly, our nation’s leaders must communicate to Americans that they understand and are eager to personally leverage every resource at their disposal to help address obvious pain and suffering.
Some chief executives use teleprompters. Others memorize speeches. Some may even tuck away a handwritten note reminding them to hit certain crucial points as they engage in what can be an emotionally draining interaction or address, especially when the cameras are rolling and the media are hovering. What’s wrong with that? Those who make speeches for a living — no matter what their field — know the importance of hitting key notes, of staying focused, of keeping succinct reminders nearby. The best leaders and speakers use sharp, on-point reminders.
No matter their style, though, the aim in such circumstances is to communicate that they care, that they are listening, and that they plan to help.
If the media intend to excoriate President Donald Trump for holding a simple notecard containing the words “I hear you” on it — part of a larger series of notes during his listening session on Wednesday — then it seems only fair they would offer the same interpretation to other presidents and presidential hopefuls who’ve communicated that sentiment.
No such luck. Instead, they condemn President Trump for a supposed “lack of empathy” — and relish doing so.
The president spent hours with the survivors and family members and held a follow-up session at the White House today with local government leaders. He’s pledged to fix the problems his predecessors did not fix. If nothing else, the media should give the chief executive credit for that.
The media’s insane reaction to Trump’s notecard isn’t just “bias” this time. It’s a lot closer to full-on propaganda.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.