Media Treat Honest-To-God Murderous Despots Better Than Conservatives

Sure, tyrants are bad. But they're not Republicans!


One of the weirder things about the modern press is their tendency to go easier on honest-to-God dictators than conservatives.

Consider, for example, the differences in how Chinese President Xi Jinping and former U.S. President Donald Trump are described in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2021.

“President Xi loves his country and his people dearly,” writes former Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj , describing the man who oversees literal concentration camps. “President Xi has no arrogance. He treats people or counterparts from other countries as equals, although there is no doubt that he is the most influential politician in the world today.”

The article does conclude, however, that China’s forced assimilation policies are inhuman and that Xi “demonstrates — as many in history have before him — that it is possible to be charismatic in person and dangerous and autocratic on the world stage.”

“He can be benign and evil. So, let’s face President Xi,” Elbegdorj concludes.

So, at least there is that criticism.

Now, let’s see how former Time Editor-in-Chief Nancy Gibbs handles her write-up of Trump:

On his very first day as President, Donald Trump stood on hallowed ground at the CIA and boasted of holding “the all-time record in the history of TIME magazine” for being on the cover. That record is actually held by Richard Nixon, the other modern President in competition for doing the most violence to values, norms, honor and decency undergirding American democracy.

In 2021, Trump arguably surpassed Nixon as a menace to the Constitution. American democracy catches its breath in between the lines of the founding text; it depends for its resilience and moral power on a shared commitment to both individual freedom and the common good. Trump’s only rule is ruthlessness; he sees norms as opportunities for vandalism, a window left open in our intricate constitutional structure that he can crash through. Trump’s assault on the Justice Department, his extortion of foreign allies, his obsession with domestic enemies all rhyme with Nixonian villainy and go further. Nixon had his secret enemies list; Trump called for his congressional opponents to be arrested for treason. Nixon largely kept his bigotry private, coded in the language of the Silent Majority; Trump made his a slogan. And in 1960, despite actual evidence of election fraud in Illinois and Texas, Nixon did not summon his supporters to storm the Capitol. Trump celebrates participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection as patriots, and runs to get another can of gasoline. Although he has left office, he remains a magnetic force, propelling others who have taken up his antidemocratic mantle and challenged the validity of our elections.

It’s absolutely wild that Xi gets a rosier write-up than Trump (Sure, Xi is evil. But, by golly, he’s humble and he loves his people!). The great irony here is that if anyone in China dared accuse Xi of what Gibbs alleges of Trump, he or she would disappear forever in a matter of hours. Gibbs, on the other hand, is still very much a free woman.

If you’re surprised, you shouldn’t be. This is an old media trend. Indeed, the difference in how the press talk about murderous dictators and conservatives is most evident in the obituaries section.

When Thomas Monson , the late president of the Mormon church who dedicated his life to charitable works and public service, passed in 2018, the New York Times published a breaking news alert that said, “Thomas Monson, the president of the Mormon church who rebuffed demands to ordain women as priests and refused to alter church opposition to same-sex marriage, died Tuesday at 90.”

Its report on Monson’s death opens with these lines: “Thomas S. Monson, who as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2008 enlarged the ranks of female missionaries, but rebuffed demands to ordain women as priests and refused to alter church opposition to same-sex marriage, died on Tuesday at his home in Salt Lake City. He was 90.”

In contrast, when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro died in 2016, the paper of record announced in a succinct headline, “Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90.”

The New York Times obituary opens with these lines: “Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died on Friday. He was 90.”

When Trump’s brother died in August of last year, the Washington Post published the following headline, “Robert Trump, younger brother of President Trump who filed lawsuit against niece, dies at 71.”

The obituary’s opening paragraphs read: “Robert Trump, the younger brother of President Trump, said in 2016 that he supported his sibling’s candidacy ‘one thousand percent.’ The brothers were photographed embracing on election night. But after that, Robert Trump was little heard or seen in public until he put his name on a lawsuit earlier this summer against his niece Mary L. Trump in a futile attempt to stop the publication of her book, which called Donald Trump ‘the world’s most dangerous man.’”

An entire lifetime reduced to a long-winded aside about a stupid supposed tell-all written by a weird gossip trading on the family name.

In contrast, here’s how the same paper reported the 2019 death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at the helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

Not “murderous terrorist thug” but “austere religious scholar.” Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The Washington Post also published the following headline last year after a U.S. drone strike killed a high-level Iranian terrorist: “Airstrike at Baghdad airport kills Iran’s most revered military leader, Qassem Suleimani, Iraqi state television reports.”

In January 2020, conservative professional football coach Sam Wyche died. The New York Times announced the coach’s death in a report whose subhead declared, “He was praised as a hard-driving coach willing to go against the grain. He was also fined for keeping a female reporter out of the team’s locker room.” That same day, the New York Times published the following headline: “Qassim Suleimani, master of Iran’s intrigue and force, dies at 62.” Its subhead states, “The commander helped direct wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and he became the face of Iran’s efforts to build a regional bloc of Shiite power.”

Sure, Castro, Xi, and Suleimani may have been murderous criminals. But hey, at least they weren’t — gasp! — conservatives.

T. Becket AdamsT. Becket Adams
Senior commentary Washington Examiner. Former “S.E. Cupp Unfiltered” contributor. Bylines in RealClearPolitics, Business Insider, And another thing Subscribe

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal

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We live in satan’s (lucifer, devil, destroyer, accuser of the brethren) domain right now, for a season. It all makes sense when you look at it with Biblical eyes. We were warned about these people, especially about the false teachers calling themselves pastors. They will give an account to God for how they have handled this evil season of our lives. They should be warning their congregations, but instead they are taking their vacations, retreats…. as in the days of Noah, eating drinking, marrying. We are in tribulation now. Watch and pray folks and read the Bible, especially the book of Revelation. There are so many lies swirling around.

George Pattone

Matthew 7:15-20