Trump says EU a 'foe' to much hand-wringing in media

Donald Trump once again has given the Western media the vapors after saying the European Union is a "foe."

It's instructive to examine how the media reported this statement.

Trump was asked by CBS News anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland before his summit with Putin to name America's "biggest foe globally."  Here is his response in its entirety.

Herald Sun:

Well, I think we have a lot of foes.  I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade.  Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.  Russia is [a] foe in certain respects.  China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe.  But that doesn't mean they are bad.  It doesn't mean anything.  It means that they are competitive.

Trump was specifically mentioning the E.U. as a trading competitor.  But that's not how the media played it.  Australian writer Andrew Bolt quotes the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC):

Here, in bold, is what the ABC actually quoted, along with ABC correspondent Lisa Millar's preface (the unbolded part was omitted):

MILLAR:

Mr Trump set off more alarm bells when he was asked who was the greatest foe of the US:

TRUMP:

Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.  Russia is [a] foe in certain respects.  China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe.  But that doesn't mean they are bad.  It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive.

To quote only the bold part of Trump's response, in my opinion, highly misleading given how Millar introduced it, and given that Trump went on to mention also China and Russia and then offer this crucial qualification:

But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive.

(H/T: John McMahon.)

Too often, Trump falls into these word traps set by the media.  The word "foe" could mean all sorts of things, including "enemy," "competitor," and simply "opponent."  In this context, Trump was clearly using the word "foe" to describe the competitive nature of the E.U.-U.S. relationship when it comes to trade.

And the ABC was not the only media outlet to deliberately misquote Trump.

Bloomberg:

Asked to name the U.S.'s "biggest foe globally" in an interview conducted Saturday and aired Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," Trump first mentioned the EU, adding that "we have a lot of foes."

"I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade," Trump responded.  "Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe."

Trump also listed Russia as a "foe in certain respects" and China as "a foe economically."

European Council President Donald Tusk said in a Twitter message that "America and the EU are best friends."  Turning one of Trump's derisive comments back at the president, Tusk said that "whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news." 

Bloomberg quoted Trump in the exact same misleading way.  At least it also mentioned Trump's comment on Russia and China.

But the people at Bloomberg, and at the ABC, and at other media outlets, left out the crucial qualifier that defines that statement: "it means they are competitive."

We are not going to war with the E.U.  Anyone with two working brain cells knows this.  That same nearly brain-dead person also knows that the E.U. is not the "enemy" of the U.S.

An individual with just a few more working synapses also knows that Trump speaks the truth about the E.U. being a trading and economic competitor with the U.S.  We target the same markets.  Each of us protects products that the other tries to sell.  Trump and many Americans believe that the E.U. has unfair trading practices, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in some ways.  This is the normal friction between rival powers that, as Trump said, doesn't mean anything. 

But the media can't let those simple facts get in the way of a good fake news story.

Donald Trump once again has given the Western media the vapors after saying the European Union is a "foe."

It's instructive to examine how the media reported this statement.

Trump was asked by CBS News anchor Jeff Glor in Scotland before his summit with Putin to name America's "biggest foe globally."  Here is his response in its entirety.

Herald Sun:

Well, I think we have a lot of foes.  I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade.  Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.  Russia is [a] foe in certain respects.  China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe.  But that doesn't mean they are bad.  It doesn't mean anything.  It means that they are competitive.

Trump was specifically mentioning the E.U. as a trading competitor.  But that's not how the media played it.  Australian writer Andrew Bolt quotes the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC):

Here, in bold, is what the ABC actually quoted, along with ABC correspondent Lisa Millar's preface (the unbolded part was omitted):

MILLAR:

Mr Trump set off more alarm bells when he was asked who was the greatest foe of the US:

TRUMP:

Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe.  Russia is [a] foe in certain respects.  China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe.  But that doesn't mean they are bad.  It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive.

To quote only the bold part of Trump's response, in my opinion, highly misleading given how Millar introduced it, and given that Trump went on to mention also China and Russia and then offer this crucial qualification:

But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive.

(H/T: John McMahon.)

Too often, Trump falls into these word traps set by the media.  The word "foe" could mean all sorts of things, including "enemy," "competitor," and simply "opponent."  In this context, Trump was clearly using the word "foe" to describe the competitive nature of the E.U.-U.S. relationship when it comes to trade.

And the ABC was not the only media outlet to deliberately misquote Trump.

Bloomberg:

Asked to name the U.S.'s "biggest foe globally" in an interview conducted Saturday and aired Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," Trump first mentioned the EU, adding that "we have a lot of foes."

"I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade," Trump responded.  "Now you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe."

Trump also listed Russia as a "foe in certain respects" and China as "a foe economically."

European Council President Donald Tusk said in a Twitter message that "America and the EU are best friends."  Turning one of Trump's derisive comments back at the president, Tusk said that "whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news." 

Bloomberg quoted Trump in the exact same misleading way.  At least it also mentioned Trump's comment on Russia and China.

But the people at Bloomberg, and at the ABC, and at other media outlets, left out the crucial qualifier that defines that statement: "it means they are competitive."

We are not going to war with the E.U.  Anyone with two working brain cells knows this.  That same nearly brain-dead person also knows that the E.U. is not the "enemy" of the U.S.

An individual with just a few more working synapses also knows that Trump speaks the truth about the E.U. being a trading and economic competitor with the U.S.  We target the same markets.  Each of us protects products that the other tries to sell.  Trump and many Americans believe that the E.U. has unfair trading practices, putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in some ways.  This is the normal friction between rival powers that, as Trump said, doesn't mean anything. 

But the media can't let those simple facts get in the way of a good fake news story.