The media rolled out their double standard for President Donald Trump’s visit to Kansas City on Friday for a Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference. If proof were needed, the media showed that not all gaffes are created equal.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch headline for the visit reads: “In Kansas City, Trump praises crime fighting ‘right here in St. Louis’.” Meanwhile the Kansas City Star headlined a story on the conference, “Trump slips and says ‘St. Louis’ when in Kansas City.”
To be sure, this observation is worth a humorous aside, but not a headline and not the half-dozen or so paragraphs the Post-Dispatch dedicated to the slip before even mentioning that the president announced his nomination of William Barr to be attorney general.
The Star mentioned Barr much sooner, but it did so snidely, referring to Barr as Trump’s “latest nominee for Attorney General.” The word “latest” implies one out of many as though the president had gone through a string of nominees. In fact, William Barr is the only the second person Trump has nominated, the other being former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Barr, by the way, comes well recommended. As the reader learns several paragraphs deep in the Star article Barr served in the same position under President George H.W. Bush. Better to bury a story that has positive implications.
Although major media consumers are oblivious to the fact, Barack Obama was a gaffe machine. In 2008, Obama was staying at a home in Kansas City when the Democratic National Convention kicked off in Denver. At the end of the Michelle Obama’s opening night speech, Barack spoke to his wife and daughters over closed circuit TV.
Said Obama unthinkingly, “I’m here with the Girardeau family here in St. Louis.” This was an awkward moment for Missouri Democrats, not because Obama needlessly repeated the word “here,” but because the Girardeaus live in midtown Kansas City. Plus, in 2008, Missouri was a battleground state, and Obama was an unknown candidate. The mistake mattered.
Missourian Rush Limbaugh caught the significance. “You people don’t understand this,” he told his national audience at the top of his show the next day. “This is a gaffe. Kansas City and St. Louis hate each other.” For the Star, however, it was all omerta, all the time.
The editors refused to even mention Obama’s flub until a sentimental going-away article in January 2017 when the Star noted, “He flubbed one of his lines — having to correct himself a moment later that he was in Kansas City, not St. Louis — as he congratulated his wife on her speech and gave a shout-out to his daughters.”
At the time, however, no media in Missouri or elsewhere appear to have acknowledged the gaffe. Here is how USNews.com covered the exchange in 2008: “‘Hi, Daddy,’ Sasha called out in a video back-and-forth with Barack Obama, who watched his wife Michelle’s speech with the Girardeau family in Kansas City. ‘Hi Girardeau family…Daddy, what city are you in?'”
USNews.com chose not to share Obama’s wrong answer. There was much the media chose not to share about Barack Obama, but Donald Trump, well that’s another story.