If you get your news from any other source than our local “newspapers,” I’m sure that you are aware of the controversial call from President Trump to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger. Here are today’s front page headlines from two national newspapers:
New York Times:
Condolence Call To Widow Ignites Trump Imbroglio
Details emerge on president’s calls to Gold Star families
Neither Wheeling paper carried the story. Here are some of the details from one of the earlier AP report that, given its time of publication, either Wheeling “newspaper” could have used today:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a Florida congresswoman “fabricated” an account of the commander in chief telling the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in Niger that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”
Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson said she was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body of Johnson’s husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when Trump called. Wilson said she and others heard part of the conversation on speakerphone.
When asked by Miami station WPLG if she indeed heard Trump say that she answered: “Yeah, he said that. To me, that is something that you can say in a conversation, but you shouldn’t say that to a grieving widow.” She added: “That’s so insensitive.”
But in a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump said Wilson’s description of the call was “fabricated.”
The AP also noted:
Trump has been criticized for not reaching out right away to relatives of the four killed in Niger. On Monday, Trump said he’d written letters that had not yet been mailed. His aides said they had been awaiting information before proceeding.
The absence of coverage by the locals is not a surprise. As I’ve documented many times this year and last, negative AP stories about Donald Trump’s controversial words or actions seldom make it into the pages of the local papers (at least in their original form) and the editorial pages never criticize Donald Trump for racist, nativist, or misogynist statements. I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination on how the locals would have covered this had Obama or Hillary Clinton acted in a similar manner.
As I wrap this up, I see that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has come to President Trump’s defense:
Kelly called Wilson’s behavior “selfish” and indicated she had eroded the standards of decency in America.
“I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield,” he added. “I just thought that might be sacred.”
An amazing statement that also suggests that Kelly doesn’t believe Trump when he said that Wilson had “fabricated” the account. Kelly’s defense probably means the locals will finally cover the story on Friday by highlighting (or giving equal footing) to Kelly's defense.
10/20 Update -- the News-Register's predictable Friday coverage
There was nothing about this in the morning Intelligencer. The afternoon News-Register covered the story by focusing on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly's response:
Kelly Blasts Democratic Congresswoman
The N-R's page 2 coverage dropped the last 2/3s of the original AP article but did include the following:
Kelly called Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida an “empty barrel” who “makes noise,” but he did not deny the lawmaker’s account of the phone call, as the president had this week.
Hey, aren't we due for another one of those editorials that tells us how the Ogden papers keep us informed with fair and balanced coverage?