By Jackson Richman
Alaska senator Dan Sullivan criticized the media on Sunday for not reporting on the near defeat of the terrorist group Islamic State.
Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference, the Republican senator credited President Donald Trump with the “almost defeat” of ISIS in that “over a year ago [ISIS controlled territory] the size of Indiana.”
“The press didn’t write about this,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan is not the only one to give this rebuke.
Last October, media reporter Joe Concha echoed Sullivan’s words. “ISIS — and particularly its expanding caliphate — used to be a major news story in this country. Defeating the terror army that largely stretched across Syria and Iraq was a major campaign topic in 2016.”
He continued, “So one would think, after the ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa was liberated from the terror group by U.S-backed Syrian and Kurdish forces on Tuesday, that the story would dominate news coverage.”
“But it didn’t. Not even close,” Concha concluded.
National Review‘s David French wrote last December the president’s behavior and relationship with the press detracts and is therefore one of the reasons ISIS’s decline does not grab front-page headlines. “Part of the blame, of course, rests with Trump himself. Peruse his Twitter feed for a moment,” French said. “Aside from the occasional boast about the economy, Trump uses his favorite instrument to wage war on ‘fake news’ and to pursue personal vendettas. It’s hard to blame the press for not reporting more extensively on the war when the president himself is directing its attention elsewhere.”
French also mentioned the concern for a premature celebration over defeating America’s enemies, like during the Iraq War. “We’re also understandably wary of ‘mission accomplished’ moments. Jihadists, including ISIS jihadists, are still out there seeking to kill Americans,” French wrote. “And we shouldn’t minimize that reality in acknowledging the momentous accomplishment of the Caliphate’s defeat.”
French added, “But part of the blame still rests with us. Let’s be honest: Panic and fear make for a better story than victory and peace.”
In addition to his critique of the press, Sullivan addressed participants of the annual AIPAC conference regarding combatting the threat from Iran, which he said is “a regime you cannot trust.” Sullivan also said that with the budget Congress passed last month, which increased military spending to at least $700 billion in 2018 and $716 billion next fiscal year, “We are finally beginning to rebuild our military.”
Finally, Sullivan labeled Israel working with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and other Mideast allies to combat the region’s threat, like from Iran, as a “paradigm change.”