The cruise missiles struck, and many in the mainstream media fawned.

"I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night," declared Fareed Zakaria on CNN. "On Syria attack, Trump's heart came first," read a New York Times headline.

"President Trump has done the right thing and I salute him for it," wrote the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens.

Brian Williams, on MSNBC, seemed mesmerised by the images of the strikes provided by the Pentagon. He used the word "beautiful" three times.

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Assessing Trump's presidency a few weeks ago, Zakaria wrote that while the Romans recommended keeping people happy with bread and circuses, "so far, all we have gotten is the circus". And the New York Times has been so tough on Trump that the President rarely refers to the paper without "failing" or "fake" as a descriptor.

"Guest after guest is gushing. From MSNBC to CNN, Trump is receiving his best night of press so far," wrote Sam Sacks, a podcaster . "And all he had to do was start a war."

Why do so many in the news media love a show of force?

"There is no faster way to bring public support than to pursue military action," said Ken Paulson, head of the Newseum Institute's First Amendment Centre. "We rally around the commander-in-chief."

Paulson noted that the news media also "seem to get bored with their own narrative" about Trump's failings, and they welcome a chance to switch it up. But that's not good enough, he said: "The watchdog has to have clear vision and not just a sporadic bark".

Clara Jeffery, editor in chief of Mother Jones, offered a simple explanation: "It's dramatic. It's good for TV, reporters get caught up in the moment, or, worse, jingoism."

She added: "News organisations that are fearful of looking partisan can fall into the trap of failing to provide context."

And so, empathy as the president's clear motivation is accepted, she said - "with no mention of the refugee ban keeping those kids out, no mention of Islamophobia that has informed his campaign and Administration. How can you write about motive and not explore that hypocrisy?"

Groupthink, and a lack of proper scepticism, is something that we've seen many times before as the American news media watches an administration step to the brink of war. Most notoriously, perhaps, that was true in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, the start of a long disaster there.

Stephen Walt, Harvard professor of international affairs, thinks the press and the public should have learned some things by now.

"Syria remains a tragedy because there are no good options," he wrote in Foreign Policy, and America's interventions in the Middle East very seldom end well.

Walt later told me that the news media now must look forward and ask deeper questions. "What is Trump's overall strategy for Syria," given that "the balance of power on the ground is unchanged and we are no closer to a political settlement".