The Media Is Unfairly Smearing the Trump Administration’s Strategy on Islamist Extremism

Trump Travel ban speechHow should the U.S. win the war of ideas against Islamism?

That question understandably provokes strong differences of opinion.

For example, honest people can disagree over the merits of the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism policy, which George Selim, director of the Office of Community Partnerships, described as “the first federal assistance program devoted exclusively to providing local communities with the resources to counter violent extremism in the homeland.”

However, recent reports from certain quarters in the media have given an unfair representation of the new administration’s approach. This reporting has obscured rather than clarified, and ultimately does nobody any favors.

In January 2017, then secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, announced $10 million worth of Countering Violent Extremism grants for 31 organizations.

But rather than accept this policy as a done deal, the incoming secretary, John Kelly, requested a review of the grants. When all was said and done, many groups kept their funding, some new grants were handed out, and others were cut.

This move should have been largely uncontroversial, considering the competing views that exist on how to best combat violent extremism and to deal with extremism more broadly.

But instead, some media players twisted this story to suggest that the Trump administration was somehow largely sympathetic to white supremacists.

Specifically, this stemmed from the administration’s decision to cut a $400,000 grant to Life After Hate, a group made up of former right-wing extremists, who planned to use the money for an online campaign targeting neo-Nazis.

This led to a string of stories in PoliticoNewsweekThink Progress, and the Chicago Tribune that focused on the Department of Homeland Security cutting funds to that particular group above any other. Salon called the decision “inexplicable.”

The subtext was clear: The Trump administration is soft on the far right.

Others were not as subtle in making that charge. The Muslim Public Affairs Council (which also had its grant cut) accused the Trump administration of turning a “blind eye” to white supremacy.

Christian Picciolini, one of Life After Hate’s founders, accused the administration of “refusing to acknowledge that white nationalist extremists are a major domestic terrorist threat.”

What these media sources ignored was a February 2017 Washington Free Beacon story highlighting some of Picciolini’s more unsavory tweets.

As the story points out, between November 2016 and January 2017, Picciolini took to Twitter to launch a series of incendiary insults against President Donald Trump. These tweets stated:

“OK, America. Time to put an end to this nonsense once and for all. The Nazis fooled us once and this time we BECAME the Nazis. #Revolt”.

“Shame on you, UNITED States of America. Last night, you committed suicide.”

In response to one Trump tweet, Picciolini responded, “F— you, a——-.”

Life After Hate surely does important work, but this is hardly sensible behavior for someone hoping to earn a government grant. It would also not be a great look for Homeland Security to spend Countering Violent Extremism money on a group founded by someone whose messaging appears a tad, well, extreme.

One would imagine that Picciolini would not have wanted to accept the money anyway, coming from an administration headed by an “a——” he thought needed to be overthrown and which possessed an agenda he had vowed to fight.

The media also seemed to overlook a $866,687 grant cut to a University of North Carolina project dealing with Islamism. (That’s more than double the amount of money Life After Hate was cut.)

The university’s program had been tasked with producing “videos and other materials to counteract jihadist propaganda that targets young people,” yet Homeland Security ultimately decided that was not an effective use of taxpayer money.

No one in the media seized on that example to accuse the Trump administration of being soft on Islamism, because such an accusation would be patently absurd. Yet when it came to the far right, no such restraint was in display.

The unglamorous truth is that, as a Homeland Security spokesperson commented, “The program has not been altered to focus on any one type of violent extremism.” He went on to note that there were 16 grants that were “equipped to handle all types of violent extremism, including white supremacist violent extremism.”

Preventing public misunderstanding on what “countering violent extremism” policy actually seeks to achieve is hard enough as it is. By twisting the narrative in the way it did, the media is only making that task harder.

From - The Daily Signal - by Robin Simcox

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5 years ago

The media can scream all it wants! … The American people DIDN’T LISTEN this last election otherwise Communist Hillary would have been elected. The Middle Class learned from Obamacare that forcing businesses to HAVE TO PROVIDE health insurance to full time employees when those businesses couldn’t afford to, just resulted in full time employees becoming part time, 30 hours a week, a reduction of 25% in their paychecks. Geez, thanks, President Obama! … And then finding out that Hillary was going to continue ALL of Obama’s lousy policies, guess what? Trump got elected. … Now if Trump and the Communist Rhinos DON’T REPEAL OBAMACARE, say goodbye to the America that we seniors, grew up in and Hello to Communism! … Today’s Politicians discust me!!!!

5 years ago
Reply to  Rik


Please do not blame President Trump that he didn’t repeal Obama. He said he would sign the bill if approved by Congress. Blame the Senators who didn’t.

5 years ago
Reply to  Sheila

Sheila, did Trump not say that if elected he WOULD REPEAL Obamacare??? … If you can’t take a man for his word, what kind of man is that? … I especially judge ALL POLITICIANS even more harshly than I would judge any common man. If we are not a man/person of their word, why trust them at all???

Tom Wilde
5 years ago

One needs only to read “The 45 Goals of Communism in America” that were extracted from the book The Naked Communist by Cleon Skusen in 1958. They are easily found on the internet.

In those 45 goals you will find every major agenda point of the Far Left that the Democrat Party is pushing right now today and has been for the past 50 years.

Today’s young refuse to believe any of that. They refuse to believe it when you try to tell them who and what their Leftist leaders really are. That I think is the result of a combination of endless indoctrination by the Media and our system of education. Just why anyone, media figure or teacher would want to embrace Communism is beyond me. It is a failed system that is failing even now yet they want it. They don’t really know why they want it, they just do.

Maybe that barrage of lies concerning free everything actually resonates with them despite the fact that it is so readily refuted.

Yes, all of that and one more thing: End Time Prophesy. Everything the Bible has prophesied for these days is coming true. And that is something we can’t change without changing ourselves first.

5 years ago
Reply to  Tom Wilde

Agree whole heartily with your comments. I can recall when I was in high school (1955-1959)There were some teachers then that were inclined to Marxist dialogue. Which brings to mind Senator Joe McCarthy who history has claimed as a sort of heretic on his anti-communist purge in the late (1949-1954). Take a good look at these Democrats today and tell me if you think he was wrong. Most of these men in Congress were in school and growing up during those years. I believe there was a lot of influence during those years that many of them were influenced by their teachers in academia then. No better way to get Marxist thoughts going in young minds than to plant the seeds early on. They down play “Capitalism” and enhance their “Democratic Socialism” and never look at the true comparison of the two. The bottom line to me is that (Capitalism) offers you the “opportunity to live free and pursue your own goals to your abilities. Socialism, restricts you from freedom, with the government controlling your education, work place, and where you live and how well you live. Socialism suffocates human spirit and drive. Last but not least the ability to believe in God. Without Christian-Judeo principles as a guide to a moral way of life, the family unit, the interaction with our fellow man, America will be lost. Our founding fathers based this country on those values and warned us against losing those values.

real talk 1
5 years ago

How come we have to even have a Media in light of how far we’ve come with lies half truths we do well just to all right their own articles no Times no News week or any other institution governing what we hear and what we see only thru.the social Media and then we will sort it out enough dishonesty ??

5 years ago

The only battle we lost in Viet Nam was the media battle and therefore the war. After we pulled out millions of innocent people in three surrounding countries were mercilessly slaughtered by the Communists, but the media didn’t cover that atrocity. Now, the media is at it again only this time it is happening here at home. When are people going to wake up and understand that the media is owned by anti-American left wing zealots that to install a permanent totalitarian Socialist/Communist/Fascist-Democrat? We are indeed at war and America is losing, thanks to the media and their ignorant followers. Reagan said that once a country has known freedom and liberty but then lost it, they have never been able to get it back again. We are about to find that out unless we do something major about the enemy media.

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