CNN discovers that combining Trump Derangement Syndrome with ignorant reporters leads to embarrassing corrections
CNN’s Chris Cillizza tried valiantly to hew to the Party Line when writing about the story that President Trump is exploring the concept of acquiring Greenland from Denmark. We know that everything the 45th President does is bad, so the only question for CNN people is how to pick and present the data that tries to prove the point.
Alas for Cillizza (a graduate of Georgetown University), he chose (or more likely was assigned) the task of using the precedent of acquiring Alaska from Russia to comment on the possibility of a second Arctic acquisition, and he came up with this howler, caught by Ellie Bufkin and Jerry Dunleavy of The Examiner:
CNN stated that the 1867 purchase of Alaska by the United States "didn't work out so well" in an analysis article outlining potential problems if the U.S. pursued the purchase of Greenland.
"One of the last times the United States bought land from a foreign country was in 1867, when Seward orchestrated the purchase of Alaska from the Russians for $7.2 million," reporter Chris Cillizza wrote. "It didn't work out so well -- and has gone down as 'Seward's Folly' in the history books."
Who could possibly write such drivel? And what kind of editor would let the contention that we’d be better off with Russia owning Alaska (and its vast natural resources including oil and many minerals) strategically placed at the top of the Western Hemisphere? And what about the nearly three quarters of a million Alaskans? I know that CNN wishes Sarah Palin had never been governor of a state, but really do we want to tell all those other Alaskans that they and their home state are a mistake?
Apparently, Cillizza and his editor had never read about “Seward’s Folly” in a history course. It took someone else to eradicate the embarrassing contention:
On Friday evening, the language of the article was adjusted to remove the sentence, "It didn't work out so well." The new version stated that the purchase of Alaska was "heavily criticized."
Indeed it was. Thomas Nast, considered the master editorial cartoonist, satirized the purchase:
American-historama.org explains the cartoon:
In the Seward's Folly Cartoon the dominant cartoon figure is a depiction of William Seward (cabinet member and Secretary of State) as a mother patting the head of her child. The 'child' is a cartoon representation of a small President Andrew Johnson ("Andy"), dressed as Uncle Sam. William Seward is depicted soothing President Andrew Jackson with "Russian Salve" to calm him from all the problems he was experiencing with Congress. The map is entitled "Map of the Russian Fairyland - Only $7,000,000 in Gold". Images on the Map of Alaska represent the hostile, snow covered landscape with seals and polar bears looking on. The picture on the wall depicts an Aleut family with the sub-heading "One of the Advantage" a sarcastic reference to the hostile reception the natives of Alaska had given to the Russians.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky