The national media have a new anti-Trump campaign and are now looking to exploit and weaponize the pain of Gold Star families, who lost their sons and daughters in combat, even going so far as to advertise to find service families that will criticize President Donald Trump.
This week, private comments of condolences President Trump offered to the widow of the late Sgt. La David Johnson were spun by a Trump-hating Florida Democrat and used to attack Trump, who was characterized as a monster for calling to console the grieving widow.
Trump was accused of dismissing Sgt. Johnson’s death as merely something he knew he “signed up for.” The comment was supposedly overheard by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who ran to the press to claim that Trump was “insensitive” to the widow’s pain. Johnson also hinted that Trump did not care about the widow’s loss because the sergeant was an African American.
Of course, the media went into a feeding frenzy on the story, with nearly every news outlet in the country stampeding to Rep. Wilson’s office to hear more of her wild accusations. For his part, the president denied the characterization of his call to the widow.
Now, the media are looking to find other Gold Star families who might feel disposed to attack Trump. In fact, the Associated Press (AP) is taking out advertisements to find Gold Star families who will slam Trump.
The AP recently put out a tweet seeking attackers, saying, “Are you a member of a Gold Star family who’s had contact with the White House? Confidentially share your story here”:
Are you a member of a Gold Star family who’s had contact with the White House? Confidentially share your story here: https://t.co/fRPjyDw20X
— The Associated Press (@AP) October 18, 2017
One of the first replies to the AP’s advertisement was from a former Reuters journalist, who wrote, “This seems outside of the scope of ‘journalism.'”
The media pushed the story so much that presidential press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders felt the need to comment, calling the media’s coverage of it a “disgrace.”
“The comments were certainly, I think, taken very far out of context by the media,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing on Wednesday.
“I think it, frankly, is a disgrace of the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture and to try to make it into something that it isn’t,” Sanders added.
The media’s latest feeding frenzy was slammed by Fox News contributor Brian Flood.
“The families of fallen soldiers now are used as political ammunition and, sadly, there seems to be no end in sight in the current media landscape,” Flood wrote on Wednesday.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.