Why confront #reality when #smokeandmirrors seems to bring better #media coverage? This brings us to the #Syrian missile strikes, about which #paulKrugman does not hold back: "Showy actions that win a news cycle or two are no substitute for actual, coherent policies. Indeed, their main lasting effect can be to squander a government’s credibility...The attack instantly transformed news coverage of the #Trump administration. Suddenly stories about infighting and dysfunction were replaced with screaming headlines about the president’s toughness and footage of #Tomahawk launches."
The worst part is that the U.S. missiles did nothing to weaken the regime Trump blasted in a press conference for using chemical weapons against its own people (never mind that the week before he seemed uninterested in taking any kind of action). In fact, Krugman writes, "A few hours after the attack, Syrian warplanes were taking off from the same airfield, and airstrikes resumed on the town where use of poison gas provoked Mr. Trump into action. No doubt the Assad forces took some real losses, but there’s no reason to believe that a one-time action will have any effect on the course of Syria’s civil war." But one-time actions are Trump's specialty, and the pundits are rewarding him for it. He "becomes president" for simply reading a speech off a teleprompter. He's praised yet again for the missiles, as if a few strikes could compare. This, Krugman admonishes the rest of the media, is a dangerous path: "aside from everything else, think about the incentives this creates. The Trump administration now knows that it can always crowd out reporting about its scandals and failures by bombing someone." At the beginning of another week in our new reality, Krugman leaves us with this: "Real leadership means devising and carrying out sustained policies that make the world a better place. Publicity stunts may generate a few days of favorable media coverage, but they end up making America weaker, not stronger, because they show the world that we have a government that can’t follow through." If only anyone in charge were listening.