I know that many of you saw that President Trump presented the Medal of Honor to Capt. Gary Michael Rose for gallantry during Operation Tailwind. If any of you haven’t seen it it, I commend it to you but it’s not what this article is about.
Does Operation Tailwind ring any bells with you? This was a classified mission into Chavane, Laos, between Sept. 11-14, 1970. It would not be declassified until June 1998.
Capt. Rose remembers signing documents pledging that he would never talk about Tailwind. “You gave your word that you would not talk about it. So I just determined that if anybody asked me, I was going to be a mail clerk during the Vietnam War.”
What has been missing from the discussion is the CNN “fake news” about Tailwind on June 7, 1998 in a story titled Valley of Death.
This was a huge story at the time and continued the narrative that the Vietnam War was immoral and that the good guys were, in many ways, the North Vietnamese.
CNN was forced to issue a retraction in July 2, 1998. I have to warn you, if you watch this video, it will absolutely make your blood boil. Like many of these despicable fake news stories, the damage was immediately done with many people still today believing that we attempted to use sarin gas during the Vietnam War. Here we are in 2017 watching CNN use the same exact tactics they were accused of in 1998 but now it’s much more institutionalized.
There’s something poetic about President Trump giving the Medal of Honor to a Tailwind soldier. Both men survived CNN’s fake news perpetrated over decades. They were comrades in arms in a war neither expected or wanted!
Another interesting tidbit is that First Amendment Attorney Floyd Abrams did the analysis that led CNN to retract the story. You can read Mr. Abrams’ Report on CNN Broadcast.
In that respect, we start with our assessment of the good faith of the journalistic effort involved here. After interviewing the journalists, reviewing their notes and outtakes and considering all criticism voiced of the program, we are persuaded beyond doubt that the report was rooted in extensive research done over an eight-month period and reflects the honestly held conclusions of CNN’s journalists.
Of course, this is what we’ve discussed at length during the campaign and President Trump’s administration where journalists selectively apply facts to a preconceived conclusion. I’m sure that these CNN journalists all truly believed their conclusions as do the ones today who believe that President Donald Trump is literally Hitler! This doesn’t excuse them then and it doesn’t excuse them now.
Floyd Abrams . . . where have I heard that name before? If you remember when phone calls were leaked early in the Trump administration, here is Mr. Abrams defending how this was all very newsworthy and in need for First Amendment protection:
Who is it who’s been the “legal analyst” who keeps popping up to give his opinions on the situation between President Trump and the NFL? That would be Floyd Abrams again.
It certainly reflects a deeply contemptuous view by the president of the exercise of First Amendment rights with which he disagrees. I also think that if one of the teams were to go ahead and fire players because of the president’s statement, that could give rise to litigation in which the president himself or the United States government could become a defendant.
And then when President Trump tweeted that maybe the purveyors of fake news should have their broadcast licenses revoked, it was Floyd Abrams once again.
The idea of any president saying that broadcast licenses ought to be at risk because he disapproves of their news coverage raises a really dangerous First Amendment issue. This is unadulterated Richard Nixon. This is precisely the sort of thing that the Nixon administration did, threatening broadcasters with antitrust actions, threatening them with taking their license away, all to get better coverage. And it’s the most direct sort of threat to the First Amendment that President Trump has made since he was sworn in.
I would say to Mr. Abrams — I understand you’re an attorney with a responsibility to the news industry. However, the country is not served well by fake news and the First Amendment is too precious to be corrupted by those who intend harm to the country, its government, or its citizens. You will also take note, Mr. Abrams, that those looking to stifle free speech are coming from the left and not from the right. Might I suggest you give the President his 140 characters of amusement from time to time lest you miss the true threats to our First Amendment rights!