The Media Love Affair with McCain
In the fight between Donald Trump and John McCain (R-AZ) over the senator’s military service, the liberal media have taken McCain’s side. But since when did the media get concerned about the noble cause of fighting communism in Vietnam?
Our media, led by CBS Evening News anchorman Walter Cronkite, who was then an influential media figure, protested the Vietnam War and prompted the U.S. withdrawal and communist takeover. His FBI file demonstrated Cronkite’s contacts with Soviet officials and how he was used as a dupe by the communists.
More than 58,000 Americans sacrificed and died to save that country from communism.
The liberal media never supported the war against communism in Vietnam. Yet they are now browbeating Trump over avoiding the war through deferments. Our media are full of hypocrites. They don’t admire McCain for fighting in Vietnam. They admire him because he is a “maverick” who frequently takes the liberal line, such as on “comprehensive immigration reform.”
If the liberals in the media are so enamored of McCain’s military service in Vietnam, let them revisit the history of the Vietnam War and express some outrage over the fact that it was a Democratic Congress that cut off aid to South Vietnam, leading to the communist takeover and the genocide in neighboring Cambodia.
What about some critical coverage of Obama’s recent meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, the head of Vietnam’s Communist Party? Vietnam is one of the beneficiaries of Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement. If passed, it would benefit Vietnam’s communist rulers.
As we have pointed out, “Interestingly, Obama is trying to sell the agreement as a counter to China’s influence throughout the world. He wants us to believe that China and Vietnam somehow differ on their common objective of achieving world communism at the expense of America’s standing as the leader of what used to be the Free World. Both countries would gladly welcome the U.S. to help pay to accelerate the growth of their socialist economies and expand their markets.”
McCain supports the TPP; Trump does not.
We have pointed out that Vietnam is “a dictatorship with the blood of those Americans on its hands,” a reference to what the communists did to McCain and our soldiers, and “which has no respect for the human rights of its own people.”
A bipartisan congressional letter about Obama’s meeting with the Vietnamese communist reaffirmed this fact. It was signed by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), who represents one of the largest Vietnamese populations outside of Vietnam in the world, in Orange County, California. She said, “I am disappointed that the administration has chosen to host Nguyen Phu Trong, the General Secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party. There continues to be egregious and systemic human rights abuses in Vietnam, including religious and political persecutions. As an advocate for human rights in Vietnam I cannot ignore the dismal state of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.”
This is precisely what McCain and tens of thousands of other Americans were fighting to prevent.
Yet, McCain issued a statement, saying that he “warmly” welcomed Trong’s “historic trip” to the United States. He added, “This visit demonstrates the growing strength of the U.S.-Vietnam partnership as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the normalization of relations between our countries.”
Why is McCain celebrating a “partnership” with a dictatorship that he and thousands of Americans fought against?
What’s more, McCain says the U.S. “must further ease the prohibition on the sale of lethal military equipment to Vietnam…” Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry had partially lifted a ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam in October of 2014.
If our media are so concerned about an American Vietnam veteran being the target of a perceived insult from Trump, why haven’t they put pressure on the Obama administration to clean up Vietnam’s human rights record before going ahead with another agreement to benefit that regime? After all, this is the same regime that captured and tortured Sen. McCain.
The answer is that our media are using the current McCain controversy to damage Trump, who has almost single-handedly made illegal immigration into a national issue. They don’t really care about McCain’s service in Vietnam.
When President Bill Clinton normalized relations with communist Vietnam in 1995, he thanked Senator McCain and then-Senator John Kerry (D-MA) for agreeing with the notion that America had to “move forward on Vietnam.”
What has happened in the meantime?
We pointed out 11 years ago that President Clinton’s lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on Vietnam in 1995 was followed by a bilateral trade agreement. Kerry and McCain supported that, too. The U.S. trade deficit with Vietnam has been consistently rising ever since, to the point where it was $19.6 billion in 2013.
In his statement on Trong’s visit to the United States, McCain said, “Since 1995, annual U.S.-Vietnam trade has increased from less than $500 million to $36 billion last year.” He conveniently ignored the trade deficits that have cost American jobs. For example, the communist regime has been dumping shrimp products into the United States at artificially low prices, and has become the fourth largest shrimp supplier to the U.S. market, even though several shipments have been detected with banned antibiotics.
At the time he extended diplomatic relations, Clinton said, “Whatever we may think about the political decisions of the Vietnam era, the brave Americans who fought and died there had noble motives. They fought for the freedom and the independence of the Vietnamese people. Today the Vietnamese are independent, and we believe this step will help to extend the reach of freedom in Vietnam and, in so doing, to enable these fine veterans of Vietnam to keep working for that freedom.”
False. The Vietnamese people did not become independent. They became slaves of the communists.
Obama recently met with their slave master. But our media didn’t utter any tears for the victims of communism.
You may also recall that then-Senator Kerry ran a Senate investigation that brought the search for live American POWs from the war to a close. McCain was a member of the Kerry committee.
Since McCain has been in the news for his military service, this should have been a newsworthy topic for our media.
Roger Hall, A POW/MIA researcher, went to court, having sued the CIA for documents on missing or abandoned Vietnam POWs. Hall and many others are convinced that hundreds of American POWs were left behind in Vietnam.
Former Senator Bob Smith (R) of New Hampshire wrote the legislation creating the Senate Select Committee on POWs and MIAs in the early 1990s in order to get the truth released to the public.
“Despite the release of thousands of documents and the testimony of dozens of witnesses, I could not complete the job. Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Select Committee, and Senator John McCain were more interested in establishing diplomatic relations and putting the war behind them than they were about finding the truth about our missing,” said Smith. “I fought them constantly to the point of exhaustion. It was a very sad chapter in American history.”
A YouTube video exposed McCain’s efforts to block access to POW information and examines his alleged cooperation with the North Vietnamese while he was in captivity. Senator Smith is one of those featured in the video.
Why don’t the media remind us of that? We have the answer. They are too busy bashing Trump and trying to look patriotic about the Vietnam War.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at email@example.com
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