Monday 16 December 2019

Army and Navy Fans Give Trump Powerful Response at Iconic Football Game

During the World Series back in October, fans of the Washington Nationals were basically sainted en masse when they booed President Trump.
This was predictable. Once the former Expos decamped from Montreal and settled in the District back in 2005, fandom of the team became a hip accoutrement for 10 out of 10 government lifers.
These are the kind of people who sit in the stands and, instead of talking about the game, discuss recent personnel moves at the top of the USDA food chain. I know I take a lot of guff for being a Yankees supporter, but far better to be a front-runner than to be this sort of facile “fan.”
Anyhow, the World Series incident got more attention than it deserved. The voiced opinion of those who could afford World Series tickets in Washington D.C. was somehow transformed into the opinion of America writ large — even though you’d have to search hard to find a sports crowd less representative of the opinion of the country than the one in Nationals Park.
I’m sure this is going to take up fewer news cycles than the Nationals crowd did, but Trump’s reception at the annual Army-Navy game in Philadelphia on Saturday was quite a bit different.
The game itself was a bit of a snoozer, as sports competitions go — Navy won 31-7 — but it was a day for patriotism and honoring the armed forces. That was the important thing, of course, which is why the president made his usual appearance at the event.
The reaction was a bit different from what you might have heard at Nationals Park:
That’s a pretty enthusiastic reaction. So, what was the reaction to the reaction?
Here was what CBS News put at the open of its article on Trump’s appearance at the Army-Navy game: “President Trump traveled to Philadelphia on Saturday to attend the annual Army-Navy game, capping off what the president called a ‘wild week’ that included developments in the impeachment inquiry and the president finalizing the first phase of a trade deal with China.”
The reception was only briefly alluded to in the second paragraph: “Mr. Trump walked onto the field around 3 p.m. ET to administer the coin toss. As he walked off the field, the crowd cheered. Mr. Trump sat with the Army side in the first half, then — per tradition — crossed the field at halftime to spend the second half with the Midshipmen.”
The vast majority of the article dealt with impeachment and the China trade deal — topics that have been well-covered elsewhere on CBS platforms, I can assure you. Meanwhile, the booing of Trump at the World Series got a relatively long write-up by CBS News when that happened.
The New York Times carried several articles dealing with Trump’s appearance at the game, most from The Associated Press. The one a Times staffer did file involved Trump telling the players at the game about his proposal to relax rules for service academy players who want to go pro straight out of college.
“While military service academies have long competed in college sports, they have mostly emphasized training future officers rather than serving as a steppingstone for athletes seeking a career in professional leagues,” the story, written by Oskar Garcia, read. 
“Under a new Department of Defense policy promoted by President Trump on Saturday at the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, the few athletes who are good enough to catch the attention of the pros may not need to choose one path instead of the other…
“You’ll go out and make a fortune, and after you are all finished with your professional career you will go and you will serve. And everybody is thrilled,” the president told athletes in the Army locker room. “That means you can go out and do whatever you want.”
The Associated Press’ take: “President Donald Trump attended the game for the second straight year. Trump also was at the 2016 game as president-elect,” the news service reported.
“Trump wore a red ‘Keep America Great’ hat for the traditional coin flip in misty conditions. Army called heads, the coin landed tails and the Midshipmen deferred possession. The referee said before the toss it was with ‘great pride, great honor, to welcome our Commander in Chief, our President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Mr. President, thank you for all that you do.'”
The bias in coverage between the two sporting events is glaring. The World Series incident fulfilled the mainstream media’s narrative of a supposedly unpopular presidency. The Army-Navy game reception for Trump did not.
I cannot and will not pretend that the reaction of the crowd at the Army-Navy game is indicative of how America as a whole feels about Donald Trump right now.
That’s a complicated thing, after all, and the crowd at the game on Saturday was far different from the one that filled Nationals Park back in October. At Lincoln Financiancial in Philadelphia, it was military members, veterans and their families — and those who support them. It wasn’t the kind of Beltway denizens who typically would be getting their hands on Nationals World Series tickets.
In short, the split reactions form the classic tale of insiders vs. outsiders. That it wasn’t reported on so thoroughly is hardly a surprise; most of the people doing the reporting are the insiders themselves.

If they think the dichotomy isn’t important, however, they’ve learned nothing from the events of 2016 and beyond.

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