Unpleasant words were exchanged between the leaders of the United States and Denmark, resulting in the cancellation of President Donald Trump’s trip to Denmark that was scheduled for early September.
To what extent is the media responsible for this bitter outcome?
It all began when the press learned that the Trump administration was considering buying the island of Greenland from Denmark.
President Trump did not deny the news, but made it clear that the idea came up during internal conversations within his administration and that it was by no means a priority on his agenda.
“I don’t know, it got released somehow. It’s just something we talked about,” the president said, making it clear that it is not a “number one” priority for the Trump administration.
Immediately the media critical of President Trump began to mock the idea as something “absurd,” as a “whim” of the president to try to “look like a tough guy,” in the words of CNN’s Don Lemon.
The truth is that Greenland has enormous geo-strategic value for the United States and also possesses a large amount of natural resources such as iron, lead, zinc, diamonds, uranium, oil and most importantly, rare earth elements, Tammy Bruce explains in Fox News.
This is particularly important because the United States now depends on China for its supplies of these resources, essential material for the manufacture of a wide variety of electronic devices and structures, and scarce resources not easily found elsewhere on the planet, Bruce continued.
Despite this wealth, the truth is that Greenland is a great economic burden for the government of Denmark and 16% of the island’s population live below the poverty line, according to 2015 data from Borgen Project, a non-profit organization that analyzes poverty and hunger in the world.
Many of Greenland’s inhabitants, most of them Inuit, do not have water or sanitation facilities in their homes, particularly in rural areas.
The importance of Greenland, a semi-autonomous territory belonging to the Kingdom of Denmark, is such that China has already paid attention to this situation and has been trying for some time to get a company controlled by the communist regime to start building infrastructure on the island.
“The incompetence [in Denmark] ruining Greenland, in fact, compelled Greenlandic officials to reach out to China as they searched for a Sugar Daddy to fund infrastructure projects,” the Washington Times said.
It is therefore by no means “absurd” that President Trump sees the possibility of buying Greenland as a major strategic move.
Besides, it is not the first time the United States has tried something of the kind; Harry Truman offered to buy Greenland from Denmark as early as 1946, according to National Public Radio.
It is true that it would require an intense and possibly complicated negotiation to convince Denmark to sell it.
Returning to the role of the media in this sequence of events, no one is unaware that all media have their editorial line and ideological biases, and this point can even be a good thing in a healthy democracy.
Some media would highlight the pros and others the cons of politicians’ decisions and that is the job of the “fourth power,” to serve as a counterweight to governments and legislatures in democracies.
But what happens when the agenda of the vast majority of the media is simply to undermine the figure of the president at any cost?
Is it justified in the interests of democratic plurality to ridicule the highest representative of the nation, even if that means damaging bilateral relations with an ally?
This smear campaign against President Trump in relation to Greenland quickly reached the other side of the Atlantic on the same day the news leaked. On Aug. 18, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen described the idea as “absurd.”
Why would the leader of a power like Denmark, a long-time ally of the United States, act so impulsively and inappropriately?
A much more diplomatic reaction would have been expected from a prime minister, for example: “Greenland is not for sale, but we would be delighted to hear what President Trump will tell us about it on his next visit to Denmark in two weeks’ time.”
In this context, President Trump responded in a firm, sincere and dignified manner by postponing his trip and explaining the reasons:
“I looked forward to going but I thought the prime minister’s statement that it was ‘absurd,’ that it was an absurd idea, was nasty,” he told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to Kentucky, according to ABC.
“I thought it was an inappropriate statement. All she had to do was say, ‘No, we’re not interested,'” he added.
“She’s not talking to me, she’s talking to the United States of America,” the president noted, something that many media seem to have forgotten when they criticize the president’s decision to postpone his trip to Denmark.
When the media discredit and scorn the president of the United States in an international matter, they are actually undermining the reputation and prestige of their own nation and leading to incidents like this one.
What is the editorial line followed by these media that have contributed, if not provoked, the alienation of two allied nations, undermining the chances of success of an operation that would have benefited the interests of the United States and those of the people of Greenland?
In view of this, some media have definitely become the worst enemies of the United States and common sense.
Fortunately, President Trump has once again shown his dignity, strength and good faith, leaving his nation’s flag even higher.