So, as you know, my goal is to help you know what’s going on as speedily as possible. Often a headline is enough.
But lately I’m finding that a headline is enough less often.
Take the speech of Defense Secretary Mattis to NATO on Wednesday.
"Defense Secretary Mattis tells NATO allies to spend more, or else,” headlines The New York Times.
"Defense Secretary Mattis issues new ultimatum to NATO allies on defense spending,” headlines The Washington Post.
Does this sound to you, as it did to me, that Mattis is pursuing what was considered an extreme Trump position during the campaign: that the United States might not come to the defense of member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that don’t pay their share of the bill for defense?
But, in fact, “for decades, the United States has exhorted its allies to put more money into their military budgets, arguing that if the alliance is called on to defend a member country, the United States would have to shoulder too much of the load,” the Times article says.
“I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States and to state the fair demand from my country’s people in concrete terms,” Mattis told NATO Wednesday. “America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense.”
Mattis’ comments mark "an escalation in Washington’s long-running frustration that many NATO countries do not spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product as they have pledged,” says the Post’s article.
The meeting in Brussels "was a tough European debut for the Trump administration, as Mr. Mattis also sought to convince NATO allies that the United States still values the alliance despite the president’s persistent critiques,” says the Times.
So, what appears in the headlines to be more brash Trump policy actually is a — perhaps louder — message that defense secretaries have been delivering to NATO for years.
Mainstream media, we readers are counting on you to give us the facts. Don’t make us scrutinize every story to make sure we're finding them.