Monday, July 30, 2018


I don't want to keep busting on The New York Times, but here we go again: The lead story in the online and print Times, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, concerns President Trump's threat of a government shutdown, in part over funding for the wall:
Congressional Republicans, already facing a difficult election landscape, confronted a prospect on Sunday they had worked feverishly to avoid: a threat by President Trump to shut down the government over funding for a border wall.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
Left unmentioned is the fact that the wall was never supposed to be paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Here's what Stolberg writes:
From the very beginning of his term, Mr. Trump has seemed to court a shutdown over the wall, despite the deep objections of much of his staff and Republicans in Congress. Each time congressional leaders have reached a broad bipartisan agreement on spending, he has expressed anger that it does not include money for the wall and threatened to torpedo the deal.

He tweeted in the spring of 2017 that perhaps what the country needed was a “good shutdown” over that issue, among others....

Then, earlier this year, as Congress approved a catchall spending bill that had no wall funding, Mr. Trump briefly threatened a veto before signing it. But he said he would never sign such an omnibus bill again. His base was enraged at the time, with some core supporters saying Mr. Trump had essentially ceded the midterm elections by failing to insist on the wall funding....

Mr. Trump campaigned on a vow to build a “big, beautiful wall” at the nation’s southern border, and 19 months into his presidency, he is clearly frustrated at the lack of movement on his signature issue. Congress passed a measure in March that included $1.6 billion for more than 90 miles of barriers along the border with Mexico, but that sum is far short of the $25 billion the president would need to fulfill his campaign promise.
That's a lot of background on the issue of wall funding -- but one tiny detail is missing:

This basic fact appeared, as it should have, in stories from The Washington Post ("During the presidential campaign, Trump frequently promised that Mexico would pay for construction of the wall, but the Mexican government has refused to do so"), CNN ("his proposed wall, which he promised Mexico would pay for"), and AP ("Trump campaigned on the promise of building a wall to deter illegal immigration and making Mexico pay for it. Mexico has refused").

But Stolberg left it out, and no editor intervened to add it. Why? How could a top reporter write a detailed story about conflict over wall funding without reminding readers of that information?

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