Call it the New York Times’ Benghazi.
The video at the center of a media firestorm is being described as breaking news.
The New York Times today is out with a story receiving blanket coverage across the news landscape: At a recent pro-Trump PAC conference in Florida, a crude video meme was aired depicting Trump as a character from the film “The Kingsman: The Secret Service.” In the film, the protagonist goes on a rampage inside a church, killing many during a highly stylized action sequence.
In the meme, the character has a photoshopped picture of Trump’s face, and his enemies have logos of liberal news outlets photoshopped onto their faces.
It’s remarkable mostly for its amateurish nature, yet the Times reports on the meme as if it’s a call for violence:
The video is similar in style to one Mr. Trump tweeted in July 2017, in which he is shown at a wrestling match body slamming CNN’s logo and beating it up. The president was roundly criticized for encouraging violence against journalists by posting that clip, but his supporters enjoyed it, and helped make the tweet viral.
Throughout his 2016 campaign and presidency, Mr. Trump has sought to demonize the news media, partly out of frustration about the coverage of his administration and partly because he likes to have an opponent to target. Mr. Trump has also sought to undermine confidence in the mainstream media, some of his advisers acknowledge privately, to make people doubt the accuracy of less favorable accounts of what goes on in his administration.
The Times admits that this video is not new. It’s been on YouTube for more than year. Its creator, TheGreekzTeam, regularly publishes similar political-themed, pro-Trump mashups. The channel uses a very crude model: superimposing Trump’s face onto the face of characters in action movies, and his political adversaries’ faces onto those films’ antagonists’ faces. The channel features dozen of similar videos dating back years.
CNN and other media outlets are not airing the video, seen below, ostensibly because it’s too violent. Readers can see for themselves whether they agree.
The New York Times acknowledges the video has no connection to anyone associated with the Trump Administration or the Trump campaign. The video was simply aired at a conference — apparently during a session few attended — where members of the Trump administration were scheduled to appear.
After the terror attack in Benghazi, the Obama Administration infamously pinned blame on a YouTube video. It was later discovered the video had been online for many months before the attack that supposedly came in response.
Meanwhile, The New York Times recently offered its own contribution to violent political discourse. The Times’ ran a piece of creative fiction from novelist Zoë Sharp who fantasized about murdering Trump: