MSNBC’s Joy Reid had a strong message for American journalists Saturday: to remain focused.
While President Trump’s missile attack in Syria is clearly extremely serious, she asserted that the media mustn’t latch onto this story as the only story, given the ongoing Trump/Russia investigation. Joy Reid likened the attack in Syria to a “shiny new toy” and described the ways in which the American media loves providing war coverage — referencing international conflicts from 1991 to today, comparing it to “reality television.”
‘Back then , for the first time in television history, an American war was beamed into homes all around the world, around the clock…We watched an entire cast of characters play their parts against the backdrop of Pentagon-provided footage that put the best possible face on the mission.
‘Years later when the U.S. once again waded into a conflict in the Middle East, the Iraq war became the shiny toy the news media just could not resist, thanks to improved broadcast technology and unprecedented access.
‘For 43 days in early 1991, the United States’ first war in the Persian Gulf was the original reality TV,” Reid began. “Day after day, millions tuned in for the Operation Desert Storm show on TV…’
Ratings went through the roof as a result, and that ultimately is why media outlets opt to air such coverage, but that it is extremely important to retain the understanding that the footage provided is edited to exclude some the horrors of the aftermath. She articulated specifically that:
‘You saw the flashes and the smoke as the bombs went up — but never the severed limbs and carnage when they landed.’
In some ways, her comments echo those of her MSNBC colleague Lawrence O’Donnell who touted a new conspiracy theory, which suggested that Donald Trump engaged in this airstrike to make the American people think he was separate from Russian President Vladimir Putin and/or as an elaborate distraction technique to draw attention away from the 2016 election investigation.
Reid, however, took it a step further and identified that perhaps of all war coverage, this was most similar to the Iraq War, which “cost more than $2 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, [and] was based on a weapons of mass destruction claim that was completely and utterly false.”
Indeed, as far as the general public is aware, there is some doubt in whether or not the chemical attacks were caused by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While Reid avoided saying it outright, she did offer this tidbit message as a take-home for the general public and American journalists especially:
‘It’s a lesson that the media would be wise to remember this week as we turn our focus from the very real scandal of Donald Trump’s Russia ties to the shiny object of Trump’s assault.’
Watch Reid’s comments for yourself below, via YouTube:
Feature Image is a screengrab via YouTube.