If you’ve been watching the news recently you’ve probably seen that President Trump has dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the United States military arsenal on purported ISIS targets in Afghanistan (gasp). Although, while the media has been describing the MOAB in those frightening terms this move is not a dramatic departure from what President Obama was up to during his two terms. In fact, one twenty thousand pound bomb is nothing compared to the more than twenty thousand bombs a year that were dropped during his two terms. Of course, the media was hardly paying any attention while that was taking place.
Although it wasn’t reported at all in the mainstream media, President Obama dropped more than 23,144 bombs in 2015 and more than 26,172 bombs in 2016. Those are the most reliable numbers available but they’re still far from accurate. The numbers are estimates that are based on individual strikes and those strikes likely included more than one single bomb. Therefore, the total number of bombs dropped is surely much higher. Furthermore, those are only the airstrikes that the government has admitted ordering. They’re notoriously bad at reporting those figures and have repeatedly attempted to cease releasing them altogether. All that said, it’s still no excuse for the media not to cover it.
Although, now that a Republican is sitting in the White House the paradigm has shifted. It didn’t take any time at all for the media to suddenly start caring about covering foreign policy critically once again. Their eight year hiatus ended abruptly with President Trump’s inauguration. Anti-Democrats from around the country are finally waking from their self-induced comas. President Trump can’t even get away with dropping one 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound MOAB without wall-to-wall media coverage. This example highlights the stark disparity between the coverage he’s receiving now and the coverage his predecessor was spared.
Nonetheless, heightened criticism is preferable to a lack thereof. It’s far better for the media to be diligently watching the President’s every move than for them to let him off the hook every time. After eight long years of media complacency with endless war it will be healthy for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction. The more coverage of President Trump’s aimless bombing campaigns and needless escalations the better. The media must reassert themselves and regain their credibility before the administration involves our country in another decade-long quagmire. If they don’t, the President will once again be able to get away with dropping twenty thousand bombs a year with impunity.