Media top headlines August 18
In media news today, a top Biden aide says he won’t ‘comment on hypotheticals’ when asked if Americans will be left in Afghanistan, a journalist who witnessed the fall of Saigon reacts to the situation in Afghanistan, and Twitter faces scrutiny as Taliban fighters continue using the Big Tech platform
Some late-night comedians are working to deflect blame against President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan policy following the Taliban takeover of the country.
While some media outlets criticized Biden for the botched troopp withdrawal, many left-leaning comics, focused their ire on Republicans following Biden’s address on Monday, where he said he stood “squarely behind” it despite the chaos that followed.
CBS’s “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert attacked former President Donald Trump for his response to Biden’s speech and ultimately defended Biden’s policies.
“Republicans were quick to point the finger. Including the former president who called on Biden to ‘resign in disgrace’ over Afghanistan. Pretty weird to blame Biden for withdrawing troops, when this summer, he was claiming credit for it,” Colbert said.
“The former president is right about one thing. His policies are equally responsible for the Taliban’s takeover. After all, he reduced our troop presence from 15,000 to 2,500. The ceasefire he negotiated was directly with the Taliban. He didn’t even include the Afghan government. Then, he went back and convinced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, many of whom are currently fighting in Kabul, while also agreeing to pull all troops out by May 1. So you can’t put all the blame for a debacle you helped set the stage for.”
Colbert also notably compared the Taliban to supporters of Trump who raided the Capitol in January.
“Why should our soldiers be fighting radicals in a civil war in Afghanistan? We’ve got our own on Capitol Hill,” Colbert said. “And maybe Biden’s right. Maybe there was no good alternative. Were we never supposed to leave? Make Afghanistan the 51st state? They’d have better COVID numbers than Florida.”
NBC’s “Late Night” host Seth Meyers also defended Biden. He argued with his guest CNN host Dana Bash that, “we also have these bad faith arguments by those on the right who are forgetting that the plan that is being carried out right now was Donald Trump’s plan.”
“He put it in place,” Bash said. “He set the deadline. Well, let me back up. He made the agreement inside Afghanistan for the pullout. He pulled most of the troops out, save for 2,500, and then set the deadline so the only question for Joe Biden when he took office, is whether or not he would stand by that, or change things.”
Trump’s administration originally negotiated the terms of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1. However, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the comparison to the former president, insisting “American lives are at risk because President Biden still doesn’t have a plan.”
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah also diverted attention away from Biden in his comments on the speech. Although Noah did call out Biden for passing the buck on blame, Noah blamed former President George W. Bush in a tweet on Monday.
“tfw you started a 20 year war and people are arguing whether to blame Biden or Trump,” Noah tweeted.
Noah also tweeted a joke against Texas’ recent education bill when referencing the ongoing Taliban takeover on Sunday.
“The situation in Afghanistan makes America look so bad, Texas has already banned schools from teaching it,” Noah tweeted.
Recent polls show about 70 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s actions on Afghanistan, with nearly 60 percent strongly disapproving.
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