President Trump makes all kinds of news on his overseas trips. This is a fellow, after all, who’ll nudge a foreign leader aside for greater visibility. Who’ll skip a walk with his fellow Group of 7 leaders and wait for a golf cart. Or who’ll say whatever occurs to him.
So, by all means, watch his every move.
That’s apparently what CNN was doing when it published a story Monday under the headline, “Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond.” How is that newsworthy? Well, it’s newsworthy if Trump acted like a boor and pounded the precious koi with an overabundance of food. Such appears to be the case if you look at the video below, which starts with a shot of Trump, alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, flicking spoonfuls of food from a wooden box into the koi pond below. Then the shot narrows to Trump himself, and he empties the entire box.
Another instance of presidential boorishness abroad? As Mediaite pointed out, that’s how it played out among some media types. There’s that CNN headline, for starters, which places outsize significance on the president’s handling of the box. Jezebel headlines, “Big Stupid Baby Dumps Load Of Fish Food On Japanese Koi Pond.” The New York Daily News: “Photo of Donald Trump dumping fish food into koi pond during Japan visit draws Obama comparisons.” And more than one prominent journalist wrote tweets fixated on the fish-food box-dump.
A wider shot of the proceedings, however, shows that Trump was merely following the lead of his host:
So Trump was acting as a responsible guest, merely following the actions of Abe. The CNN story admits as much, noting that Abe “actually appeared to dump out his box of food ahead of Trump.”
In light of those facts, perhaps a new headline is in order: “Trump, Japanese PM both dump small boxes of fish food into koi pond.”