Fake news networks wasted an inordinate amount of time analyzing several handshakes between President Trump and foreign leaders at the G20 meeting, and droning on about the ‘optics’ of the greetings.
CNN led the way, spending most of a segment obsessing over a handshake between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Trump, and debating who initiated it.
“It is notable that the body language this time, the pictures are up right now, are better and different than perhaps we had seen in the initial meetings between the president and the German chancellor,” said CNN host John Berman.
“Do you get the sense that the White House was preparing for this, cares about the optics of the meeting between these two leaders?” Berman asked correspondent Jeff Zeleny.
“I am told that she initiated the handshake by a pool reporter in the room that she initiated this handshake here, so yes optics always matter in this case, ” Zeleny said.
“I think we probably make more of them now in the age of social media than we used to,” he added. “There are always awkward moments here, but it’s the substance of this meeting. They have so many disagreements, John, that really will be an issue here for these two countries going forward.”
The pair then CONTINUED talking about the handshake, suggesting that Trump was acting undiplomatic.
“Her hand went out first. Outreach. Physical, literal outreach from Germany to the United States,” Berman said.
“But we are in her hometown, her own country, John, so it seems sort of hospitable because she would be someone to do that, so I don’t find that that strange actually,” Zeleny concluded.
The hosts of MSNBC’s Hardball suggested that the exchange between Trump and Merkel was icy because Trump is sexist:
“There also might be a little gender thing. Just saying,” said Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, prompting Chris Matthews to agree that “[t]here is a pattern” of behavior with Trump being offensive towards women.
“Look at this? What’s this? The finger-pointing, pointing up and down. What is he up to here? This is cold stuff.” Matthews continued, commentating on the exchange, and then comparing it to the “good relationship” Merkel had with President Obama, and flashing up graphics of the two hugging.
“It is no secret that Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, had a closer working relationship, as Ruth said with President Barack Obama, seen here at the G-20. Look at them. They’re cuddling. Anyway, well, that was then. This picture today of President Trump and Angela Merkel today tells a different story. That’s a cold picture,” Matthews added.
In a separate incident, fake news anchors blew up an exchange between Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda, circulating an edited video that appeared to show the Polish leading snubbing Trump’s handshake.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza went apeshit on Twitter, posting a link to the video:
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 6, 2017
Newsweek posted an all caps shouty headline of “WATCH DONALD TRUMP HANDSHAKE REJECTED BY POLISH FIRST LADY IN HILARIOUSLY AWKWARD EXCHANGE.”
The Washington Post tweeted out that the incident was “super awkward.”
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 6, 2017
USA Today went with the headline: “Another awkward handshake overseas: President Trump left hanging as Polish first lady greets Melania.”
In reality, the full video reveals that it was not a snub at all:
Folks, Poland's first lady did not diss Trump's handshake attempt. She was looking at Melania, shook her hand, then shook Trump's. Stop. pic.twitter.com/ta8DNsv0Th
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 6, 2017
The outlets were then forced to add an update to their posts clarifying their previous fake news.
CNN’s Cillizza downplayed his earlier freak out:
I know! It was a funny video of a misunderstanding! Nothing more! The same thing has happened to me a billion times! https://t.co/xmA0gK5xYS
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 6, 2017
And then came the Trump/Putin handshake, which included a ‘pat on the back’, which to several fake news reporters, and armies of twitter Democrats obviously meant they are in cahoots.
Trump gives Putin a pat on the back pic.twitter.com/qyaVZHU9e8
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 7, 2017
Reminder. Trump earlier this year: "If Putin likes Donald Trump, guess what folks, that's called an asset, not a liability." https://t.co/aJt7PAtoFD
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 7, 2017
At the risk of turning this into the Zapruder film, it's interesting how Trump doesn't try his silly alpha handshake on Putin. https://t.co/7FkTa45V10
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) July 7, 2017
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) July 7, 2017
New: Trump & Putin met on the sidelines of the G20, shared a handshake and a pat on the back (Photo from official German gov Facebook page) pic.twitter.com/6SiO1huSnY
— Dan Merica (@danmericaCNN) July 7, 2017
Putin and Trump handshake + Trump pats him on the back pic.twitter.com/FZQUh3XrA3
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) July 7, 2017
Finally Trump handshake and back rub with his buddy Putin. pic.twitter.com/VrBSrfLiqG
— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) July 7, 2017
CNN analyzed the ‘shake and the underpat’, and admitted they were ‘begging for a body language expert’:
Get a grip:
@cnn shows trump putin handshake.. 6 times in a row….and analyzing the hand shake..what irrelevent idiots
— LGW (@Greystone248424) July 7, 2017
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