President Donald Trump hosted a “listening session” on Wednesday in the State Dining Room at the White House — an extraordinary and riveting event.
It was both authentic and moving. Attendees included survivors of the tragic massacres at Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and Columbine.
The survivors articulately and poignantly shared their stories, ideas, comments — and pain.
President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and other concerned leaders listened closely and prayed with the gathered survivors, many of whom were in tears at various points during the event.
President Trump’s tweets following the session referenced some of the ideas and goals the survivors put forward during that meeting, along with some of his own.
Inexplicably — if you still are laboring under the impression that mainstream media outlets strive for neutrality in their reporting — news sources such as The Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Chicago Tribune chose to cover their inferred meaning of handwritten notes for the session that President Trump was seen holding at one point.
The notes included five major points President Trump presumably planned to cover or communicate during the session.
- "What would you most want me to know about your experience?"
- "What can we do to help you feel safe?" (this point was partially obscured by Trump's fingers)
- "Do you see [obscured] something effective?"
- "Resources? Ideas?"
- "I hear you"
It was the final and fifth point that drove the media wild. The response was as fast and furious as it was ridiculous and petty.
PopSugar: "Shame on you, President Trump. Our students and families — American students and families — deserve better than a notecard filled with the things you are supposed to feel but don't."
HuffPo: "Trump Needs Reminder To Listen To Parkland Survivors In 'Listening Session' ... Good thing he had a cheat sheet."
The Guardian: "Trump uses cue card to remind him to listen to shooting survivors."
And finally, this whopper from The Washington Post that appeared to ignite the media firestorm: "So at least two-fifths of this card is dedicated to making sure the president of the United States assured those assembled that he was interested in what they had to say...That's at once pretty striking for a president and not at all striking for Trump. Through tragedy after tragedy, empathy has been the quality clearly missing from Trump's reactions."
In a curious twist, CNN actually demonstrated a modicum of reason in the ensuing scrum to denigrate a man who was comforting the survivors of shootings.
In CNN's story on the matter, the outlet noted that Trump "didn't appear to use the card," that he didn't use a teleprompter, and that he "did cast a tender tone during the event."
In his address to CPAC Thursday morning, NRA's executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre referenced "the art of the smear" in our country's contentious debate on Second Amendment-guaranteed civil liberties.
A wide swath of the media, as evidenced by the above agenda-driven spin, are "artists" of a sort.
Transforming the raw material of handwritten notes into "evidence" that President Trump doesn't give a fig about dead children requires a level of creativity most of us don't — and wouldn't want to — possess.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.
Last Modified: February 22, 2018, 3:17 pm