Dear American News Media: America Needs YOU To Do Better

The last four years turned me from a news consumer into a news junkie. I bet I’m not alone. In fact, I know I’m not. But, let’s be clear: the fix I’m after isn’t “news”, it’s Truth. They aren’t necessarily the same thing. That, right there, is our problem. It’s why I watch the news so obsessively now — not because I need them updating me but because I feel compelled to point out every time they confound “spouting information” with telling truth. In the age of Trump, every piece of information spewing from people notorious for lying should be seen as suspect first and true only after rigorous examination.

And, by the way? Both sides don’t “do it”.

First problem? The apparent inability to AGGREGATE information the way storytellers are supposed to. Information from one scene gets added to what we know — and that information directs us toward more questions which, in turn, produce more information that adds to what we know. Except that process has broken down with our news media.

The moment Donald Trump insisted that “Mexicans are rapists”, the correct response from our news media shouldn’t have been “Oh, well — we guess he’s just a different kind of presidential candidate”, it should have been “Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist”. Everything they reported after that fact would have built upward from our FIRM KNOWLEDGE (based on Trump’s own words!) that Donald Trump is a racist.

Every story about Trump thereafter should have included the background that everything Trump said or says is in the context of “he’s a racist”. But, because we allow racists to decide whether or not they’re racist, Trump got to claim HE was the “least racist person in the whole world”. Oy.

See how we let a racist determine the context — to the detriment of the story and our ability to understand it? Imagine, if you will, how different a place we’d be in today if we WEREN’T still debating (if the news media wasn’t still debating) whether or not racist Donald Trump is a racist or not.

If you can’t aggregate simple, evidence-based information into a narrative, journalism (storytelling in general) baffles you. Find another line of work.

Once the news media started down the “He’s just a different kind of POTUS” path, they were lost. “He’s a different kind of…” is what a journalist says to affirm that they’ve normalized what should never be normalized.

They did the same thing with pussy-grabbing, preferring to chase “But, her emails” instead. Keep in mind the perspective: pussy-grabbing plus 20+ accusations of rape, sexual assault and indecent behavior. It’s what real storytellers call CONTEXT.

Quick reminder — when Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017 (the Republican-led committee was desperate to undermine the Steele Dossier’s integrity), he described Fusion’s process after they’d been hired by the conservative-run Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. The very first thing Fusion did, Simpson testified, was their due diligence. They got their hands on every piece of publicly available information about or by Donald Trump — newspaper stories, magazine articles, Howard Stern appearances, TV interviews. They visited Amazon and used book stores. They even went to the public library looking for publicly available material.

What Fusion found — in publicly available material — convinced them that Trump had been involved with criminal behavior for years and that he’d likely laundered Russian mob money through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. In other words, Fusion found enough evidence of criminal conduct that they felt compelled to do MORE research. By then, Jeb Bush (the Free Beacon’s choice) had dropped out and Democrats backing Hillary Clinton were paying Fusion’s fees. The whole reason Fusion sub-contracted the Russian part of the oppo research out to Christopher Steele is because he’d run MI6’s Moscow desk and had top tier contacts inside Russia.

Until Fusion hired Steele, they were doing something every news organization could have done on their own, by themselves: due diligence. Like Fusion, THEY could have gotten THEIR hands on every piece of publicly available material on Trump. Like Fusion, THEY could have met the minimal obligation before beginning their formal work of reporting on Donald Trump.

Except they didn’t.

Steele’s work product is raw intel — and needs to be understood that way. That’s just context. Take away the context and Steele’s product becomes “unverified” meaning “probably untrue”. But, raw intel is all about context. There’s rarely a smoking gun but there can be the preponderance of the evidence. Plenty of smoke flows from that.

Lacking context and convinced that “both sides do it”, our news media has spun a relentless false narrative flowing from the mis-reporting that “Trump won in 2016”. We will arrive at this conclusion: take away intense voter suppression in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin (the product of Paul Manafort handing Oleg Deripaska proprietary polling data from those three states plus Minnesota) and the Comey Letter 10 days before the 2016 election and Trump’s not close enough for the machine flipping operation.

Remember — Trump won by a combined 77,000 votes across those three states in order to secure the Electoral College votes. If Trump committed treason to win those three states (and win the election) then he did not “win”. Cheating to win can NEVER equal winning. Committing treason to win — that should go double. We KNOW for a fact that any voting machine that connects IN ANY WAY to the internet is hackable. We KNOW these systems have been hacked and are still being hacked. The reason vote-by-mail horrifies Trump and the Republicans in this election is because their whole cheating op is based on using disinformation to foster low turnout by disenchanted voters. Then, with the race inside the polled margin of error, the hacking op can flip or add just enough votes for the result to look dicey but within the margin of error and therefore “possible”.

Also remember — Trump asked repeatedly — OUT LOUD — for Russia to help him. Also remember — Trump was impeached for doing the exact same thing with the Ukraine except in THIS election. You know, the one he’s currently running in?

That fact alone seems not to have been aggregated: Donald Trump is the first (and only) president to EVER run for re-election having been IMPEACHED for cheating in the very election he’s running in. You’d think that fact alone would keep the news media actively engaged. You’d think an impeached president running for office — while STILL cheating — would be grist for plenty of great, Pulitzer-worthy reportage.

And yet…

None of us wants the news media to fail. On the contrary, we NEED the news media to succeed. That’s why it breaks our hearts when most of them continue to trip over themselves daily. It’s not just personal failure they’re courting as they try to disentangle themselves from themselves, it’s our collective failure they’re flirting with. Their inability to see the larger story is going to kill us.

The first trick with helping an alcoholic or a drug addict is getting them to SEE their own weakness. There’s nothing wrong with having weaknesses. It comes with being human. But we don’t have to be prisoners of our weakness. We CAN overcome them with a little, um, due diligence. The news media needs to acknowledge that it HAS a problem: a lack of perspective born of a failure of imagination.

Our news media still can’t “imagine” the enormity of Trump’s crime. Therefore they under-report and normalize what they see. A talking head round table might examine all the possible explanations for Trump’s behavior. They’ll ALWAYS include the possibility that there’s some innocent explanation (he’s just a “different” kind of POTUS). They’ll NEVER include the opposite possibility — that Trump is guilty of criminal behavior; he’s a “different” kind of POTUS all right, just not in a good way.

These are all fixable. But, like a good 12-step program, freedom from addiction starts with acknowledging that one HAS an addiction.

One last suggestion to help our news media (especially televised news media) be all they can be. Forget about primping before you go on air. Spend more time prepping instead. Got that? “Prepping Instead Of Primping”.

What’s your size, American News Media? I’ll put it on a t-shirt for you…

Dear American News Media: Republicans Have A “Point Of View”; That Doesn’t Mean They Have A “Point”

“Both sides do it” journalism is a scourge because it starts from a false premise — that everyone’s exactly alike and does things for the exact same reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Democrats could march in lockstep with each other, they’d be Republicans. And if Republicans could care about people over money, they’d be Democrats. All you have to do is listen to a progressive speak to appreciate that their aspirations are hopeful, wanting as much happiness and success for as many people as possible. Listen to a conservative and you get cynicism. Expect the worst of people (meaning non-white, non-Christian people) and legislate accordingly. Meanwhile, suck up every dollar you can.

A rapist and his victim both have stories to tell. The rapist — needing to justify a criminal act — will insist his victim “wanted it” or was asking for it. Or maybe even consented to it and is lying now. That’s a point of view. It’s a “side” in the story. It’s just not an honest side. In fact, it’s flat out dishonest. That means, if we’re discussing “sides” to a story meaning legitimate reasons for doing a thing as opposed to, say, just because you’re a bully, it’s going to be hard for the bully to ever justify their bullying. Except maybe to other bullies.

We’ve heard more than enough — way, way, WAAAAAAAY more than enough — to appreciate that cruelty for cruelty’s sake (and corruption for corruption’s sake) is now baked into the Republican brand. Want to dissuade desperate people from fleeing to America in search of hope? Imprison their children at the border. Want to steal an election you’re losing overwhelmingly? Pack the federal bench — up to and including the SCOTUS — with lifetime appointments you denied Barack Obama. For some reason, our Big Story-loving news media can’t keep it in its head that Donald Trump is the first POTUS ever to run for re-election HAVING BEEN IMPEACHED. Icing on the cake? He was impeached for cheating in the very election he’s now running in.

And still cheating!

We’ve now openly heard Republicans saying “own voter suppression!” In other words, be proud of your cheating and naked attempts to undermine the integrity of our democratic system of self-government. That is their point — their “side of the argument”. End it all. Cease to be a self-ruled democratic republic. Become instead a minority-ruled authoritarian hell hole. As we speak, We The People are going to the polls in numbers We The People don’t ever go to the polls.

Take this to the bank: people standing in line for eight hours to vote are not doing that so they can vote for Donald Trump. We’re saying something right out loud by our individual and collective actions: we don’t want what Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing. We never did. When Americans show up en masse to vote — that’s what our votes say: “whatever the Republicans want, we want the opposite”.

If we were having a conversation with the Republicans instead of voting against them, we’d be telling them: “you have no point”.

Considering as how Republicans rely on cheating to win elections rather than arguing their points (and letting the marketplace of ideas dictate the results), they must not believe their own crap either. Even THEY don’t think they have a point.

And yet — because a Republican spouts the party line — unfounded on anything substantive as it might be — our news media trips over itself trying to present this shotgun blast of bullshit with the other side’s point of view. If, that point of view represents the truth (say climate science versus climate denial) then the news media — in trying to be “fair” presents these two arguments (before they realized how stupid they were being) — would have a conversation that presented truth and bullshit as a fifty-fifty proposition.

Truth and bullshit were given equal weight — as if they weighed the same — and it was left to the news media’s audience to decide if bullshit was truer than truth.

That is the false premise that flows from “both sides do it”. Bullshit and the truth might as well be the same thing. It’s not the journalist’s job to discern between them — having already elevated bullshit and demeaned truth.

Trump smiles at “The Boss” while our allies don’t.

What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

Dear NBC NEWS: What You Are Doing Is Wrong And Wrong-Headed; The LAST Thing America Needed Tonight Was “Counter-Programming”

Having turned in a (not unexpected) horrible performance at the first presidential debate, Donald Trump ducked the second debate (that is what he effectively did) by refusing to address his own diseased status. That’s the headline here, NBC News: Donald Trump is diseased. And not just with coronavirus. He’s decimated every bit of our whole way of doing things — in large part because YOU (and the rest of the news media) have, to this day, refused to hold Donald Trump accountable for any of the overtly criminal, deceitful acts we’ve watched him perpetrate right in our faces.

The Republican Party is waging a culture war on the rest of America — and YOU continue to carry its water. Donald Trump continues to tell YOU you’re full of shit while YOU put his shit on the air often without contextualizing his shit as shit. And you look at yourselves in the mirror…

Now, in your defense, at least you now say openly that Trump is, on average, a liar. But you don’t behave as if that means anything to you. Though you know the odds are what Trump says is a lie, you still present it, first, as if it “might” be true. In other words — right off the bat, sight unseen, you are giving bullshit all the credence of Truth. Or, as you call it, the benefit of the doubt.

The benefit of the doubt is a “But, what if bullshit was true…?” question. What if pigs could fly. What if the Pope did shit in the woods? What if Donald Trump could declare himself emperor for life? The moment you give bullshit credence, you make bullshit results possible. That’s what happens when un-reason triumphs over reason. That never works out in the end.

Never.

America is more polarized than ever in part because corruption is rarely if ever held accountable. That’s happened in part because our news media sees everyone they cover in cynical terms. Everyone’s a cartoon character who acts exactly the same regardless of whether they’re Democrat or Republican. Oh, the Democrats might say they want to make peoples’ lives better but they’re no different from the Republicans who just want to get rich and keep power in the hands of white people. See? They even sound the same.

Who does NBC News thinks is going to watch Donald Trump tonight? Trust me, NBC News — people who hate Donald Trump (and, right now, people are willing to wait in line 12 hours to vote Trump out) are not going to tune in to you tonight. If they do, it’s because you’ve done and are doing the nation — and our democracy — a gross disservice. Donald Trump doesn’t want to stand toe-to-toe with Joe Biden because he can’t. Rather than expose that weakness (something one would think a news operation would WANT to do), you’ve allowed Trump to have his forum all to himself.

Please don’t ask us to trust you — that you will hold Trump’s feet to the fire when he refuses to answer anyone’s question. You haven’t done it for four years. You’re not starting now. You’re not.

Some ideas (“Manimal” comes to mind) should die on the vine.

This bit of “counter programming” was one of them. This isn’t just a bad idea, NBC News, it’s the kind that harms a news organization’s integrity — and (after the way you’ve handled sexual assault allegations inside your ranks) your integrity wasn’t exactly healthy. Never mind how angry some of us are today. Surely you can think longer term than that.

America is going through a massive sea change in its political culture. Women and people of color are taking the power they deserved to have eons ago. The truth is, we’ve never had a level playing field here. Before we can really be the country we aspire to be, we need to address that. Now that so many of us have come out to vote — to hold political power in our hands — more of us will recognize that democracy works only when we make it work. And we will work to make it work.

There’s a circle of fire ahead. The process of rooting out the corruption that nearly destroyed us will be brutal. It has to be. Just as you can’t compromise with evil, nor can you compromise with corruption. The act of compromising immediately corrupts you. One of the questions we’ll have to ask is how did corruption come so close to overwhelming us? Where were the critical voices that should have guarded the commonweal more vigilantly?

When that question comes up, all eyes will look to our news media.

I sure hope they’ll be ready for their close up.

“Previously On” The News…

Why, oh why, can’t America’s news media tell the Donald Trump story? In their defense, there is a lot of the Trump story to tell and it’s always happening at breakneck speed. There are Constitutional violations, violations of decency, outright racism, sexism and bigotry, lies about the coronavirus and his criminally inept response to it. There’s outright treason and all-around insanity. With so much to keep track of, maybe what our broadcast news outlets should do — if only for themselves — is run a “Previously On…” sequence before they start any new reporting on Trump.

The “Previously On” sequence has become a staple of serialized television storytelling. Here’s what you need to know from past episodes so that THIS episode will make sense. The storytellers dip into the AGGREGATED storyline to remind the audience WHAT THEY ALREADY SHOULD KNOW. America’s news media (especially its broadcast news media) has made a total hash of covering Donald Trump specifically because it can’t even remind itself what it knows about the story they’ve been covering now for five freaking years.

A lot of us watch MSNBC and CNN less for the news itself than for how the Fourth Estate acquits itself. Journalism is the only non-governmental job mentioned in the Constitution — as our final check on power. Imagine having a story this amazing to tell! Imagine being this bad at telling it. How the hell does that even happen?

How can a network that has smart, quick minds like Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow, Ali Velshi and JoyAnn Reid — the whole Trump story clearly in their heads — also put dullards like Meet The Press host Chuck Todd and Weekend host Alex Witt on its air? How can Nicolle be so far ahead of the story while Alex is so far behind it?

It’s strange to, in essence, know certain things when Nicolle’s on the air then know nothing as soon as Alex Witt slips into the hosting chair. Nicolle would never ask any of the questions Alex asks because, in essence, Nicolle’s already asked them — asked them (when the details were fresh), established new details as facts then built on those facts to advance the narrative. Alex Witt, meanwhile, asks generic questions that suggest she’d be shocked to learn what her colleague there at the news network knew a week ago.

How is that possible? How can one news show on a news network be fully up to date with important details that the very next show up seems to know nothing about? The result of this “some know, some don’t” dynamic is that — from the audience’s point of view — we can never be sure of what we know because even the news networks refuse to ever be sure about it.

If you were watching a new, serialized TV show that never played a “previously on” sequence and, instead, kept taking the show back to a kind of “Square One” to begin each episode, after a while, the audience would bail out of sheer frustration with the storytellers. Tell the story or get out of the way.

What a “previously on” sequence also does is create context within context. Context is our news media’s kryptonite. But then, our news media still believes “both sides do it”. They can hardly even spell “context”.

Russia Didn’t “Influence” 2016’s Outcome, Russia CHANGED It — And That Matters

The rest of the world’s leaders show what THEY think of Vlad Putin while Donald Trump shows what HE thinks. See the difference?

You’d think that a journalist, hearing from a reliable, informed source that Russia (a hostile foreign power) had “influenced” (or even tried to influence) an American election to favor Donald Trump (who’d laundered Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos), would ask the next obvious question: “Really? Russia actually INFLUENCED the outcome of our election? How exactly did they do that? In what ways? To what ends and effects?” You’d think a journalist would recognize a Woodward-Bernstein-sized opening? There’s already mountains of evidence that indeed Russia DID influence the 2016 election. You’d think American journalists would be the loudest canaries in this coal mine — squawking their heads off that Donald Trump is a traitor who owes Russia (perhaps even Vlad Putin himself) hundreds of millions of dollars!

That’s the hardest thing to wrap one’s head around where our press is concerned. There has been some amazing reporting. But it’s always forced to share oxygen with an overload of “both sides do it” hackery and sheer access-craving cowardice. The TV news media — where most Americans get their news — seems incapable or unwilling to aggregate its own reporting. They see pieces of the mosaic but never the mosaic itself; in fact, they don’t seem to grasp that what they’re staring at is a mosaic.

If America’s news media had aggregated its own story — much like the remarkable Seth Abramson has done — they’d already be miles further along in the narrative. When we get to the part of the story where everything gets fully revealed — and we will — we’ll discover that all sorts of crimes were being committed in real time while we watched. In other words — crimes are being committed right this second that we could be pointing at or better yet stopping.

But our news media keeps restarting the narrative every day from some bizarre square one where nothing we’ve learned exists. Instead, our news media starts its day reporting from a place where Trump’s just “a different sort of POTUS” who doesn’t follow the rules or the norms, calls Mexicans rapists and grabs women’s pussies because he’s rich and “they’ll let him”, where lying isn’t just anticipated, it’s accepted!

From the get-go, our news media poo-pooed the idea that Donald Trump’s presidency was 100% illegitimate. They’ve insisted that We The People “elected” Trump — inventing a narrative to explain how Trump “won” Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. What, oh what, will our News Media do when, at last, they’re confronted with the stone cold truth: by using proprietary polling data (supplied by Paul Manafort) to suppress Black voting (that is criminal right THERE!), Russia made it possible for just enough vote flipping to capture PA/WI/MI’s electoral votes for Trump. Recall — those three BLUE states were “won” by a combined 77,000 votes.

In the face of all that Russian activity — that we KNOW was happening — you’d be insane to think Donald Trump “won” anything legitimately. Well, you’d be insane or a Republican.

Donald Trump has never — not for one stinking day — been the legitimate President Of The United States.

Nothing he’s done has had the actual authority that flows from We The People.

He’s never had the authority therefore to change anything he’s changed, push the tax breaks he pushed, or nominate a single one of the judges he nominated — SCOTUS judges especially. But then, judges and hijacking the judiciary has always been the point of the exercise.

Battening down the judiciary has always been how the RW money (the Kochs & the Mercers) were going to stop America’s “slide” into diversity and a more civilized, socialized form of governing ourselves instead of forcing us into the authoritarian, church-based neo-feudalism of their wettest wet dreams. Russia did not pose a problem for them. It presented a partner.

A partner in crime.

We The People sat here — for bloody years — thinking that either or both Robert Mueller and the FBI were deep into probing Donald Trump’s foreign entanglements — especially his painfully obvious relationship with Russia, Russian gangsters and dirty Russian money. We had no idea that Rod Rosenstein had stuck a shiv in our back. There was no investigation of Trump’s foreign entanglements. Russia has truly been at the wheel of our ship of state from the instant Trump both took and broke his oath of office at the very same instant.

That needs our immediate attention. Our self-destructive pandemic response is part and parcel of every other Russian perversion of our government. It’s meant to disarm us, weaken us and make us look foolish to the world. The goal is keep us on the sidelines for as long as possible while Vladimir does his worst to Europe and the rest of the world. The thing he fears most is an American government that ends his free-for-all.

Vlad knows a day of reckoning his coming. With the Democrats in power, Vlad Putin will become a kind of persona non gratta. We will hunt down every bank account he has an interest in. Remember — Vlad can’t do his banking in Russia — it’s too corrupt. He relies on our regulated, much more trustworthy banks to hide and launder the massive pile of money he’s stolen from his own people.

Every sanction we had on Russia will go back. Plus a thousand more. It is going to suck to be them. They’ll have to take it up with Vladimir.

That scares Vladimir almost as much as being poor.

Russia cannot get to win in any way, shape or form. That shouldn’t be a revelation. Russia worked with Trump for dark, nefarious reasons. Trump worked with Russia for dark, nefarious reasons. The Republican Party worked with both Trump AND Russia for dark and nefarious reasons. They’re all thieves and criminals.

And — in the America that’s about to reassert itself — thieves and criminals never get to keep what they stole including the will of the American People. The intent of our Will was clear as can be in 2016. It’s even clearer today.

It is absurd to argue that America “has to” accept and keep the political consequences of criminal acts — including treason. We absolutely do not — and will not.

There are many hard battles ahead. Doing the right thing is never easy unfortunately but — as we should have learned with slavery — screw up your country’s founding principles at the founding? It will haunt you forever.

We’d be stupid as a Republican to go and make THAT foolish mistake again.

Dear News Media: There IS No Precedent For What Trump & The Republicans Are Doing; Stop Pretending There Is One

There’s corruption, there’s Republican corruption and then there’s Trumpian corruption. America has experienced the first two. It’s the Trumpian corruption for which we have no precedent. That fact has befuddled America’s news media from the get-go. But then, befuddlement was a natural outgrowth of thinking (and reporting) that “both sides do it”.

Nietsche warned “stare into the abyss long enough and the abyss will stare into you”. The same can be said about bullshit. Stare at bullshit long enough and you will become the bullshit. That’s the disease now ailing our news media. They’ve consumed so much bullshit that they can’t discern reality anymore. That’s why they regularly equate bullshit with the truth.

Since “both sides do it”, bullshit “could” be true since one side insists that it is. The news media can’t get it into its head — everyone’s entitled to their own opinion; they are NOT entitled to their own facts. The news media has confused the two in its own head. If Donald Trump says “Mexicans are rapists” or that it’s acceptable for a rich, white man to grab women by their pussies, then “maybe” it “could” be so.

Right off the bat — there’s no precedent for that: there’s no precedent for an American running for president (who isn’t named George Wallace) to be so blatantly racist, misogynist and bigoted.

But then, there’s no precedent for an impeached POTUS running for office again — while still committing the very criminal acts for which HE WAS IMPEACHED.

There’s no precedent for a POTUS or his party to wipe their asses with the rule of law and the Constitution. There’s no precedent for the level of corruption and self-dealing that permeates Trump’s cabinet. There’s no precedent for a POTUS profiting every single day and in myriad ways just because he’s POTUS. There’s no precedent for a POTUS filling the topmost levels of govt with his family members.

There was no precedent for Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing — or refusing to fill hundreds of lifetime federal court appointments because he was hellbent on hijacking the judiciary. There is no precedent for Russia passing so much money through so many hidden avenues to so many Republicans.

There’s no precedent for an American running for office to openly implore a hostile foreign government to help him.

There’s no precedent for an Attorney General doing everything humanly possible to destroy the Justice Department. Or a Secretary of Education doing everything possible to undermine education.

There’s no precedent for lying on the scale Donald Trump has lied on. That all by itself should tell us everything we need to know.

Fact: Donald Trump has always been corrupt and everyone knows it.

Republicans have spent generations lusting for power because they feared losing it forever. The trick — how to grab it and get away with it. Donald Trump — and his Russian friend — gave the Kochs, Mercers & McConnells a partner-in-crime with both the will and the stones to attack American Democracy right at its beating heart: elections. The Republicans pulled off a soft coup d’etat in plain sight. They stole an election out from under not just Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party but out from under We The People.

Unfortunately, there’s plenty of precedent for Republicans gaming elections or stealing them outright. Where they’ve taken their criminality to a bold, new height here is through their total commitment TO that criminality. The GOP has stopped being 1) a good actor, 2) compliant in any way, shape or form with the rule of law, 3) even remotely patriotic & 4) concerned with the fact that we all know it now. To this day, Mitch McConnell has refused to take up a bill passed by the House that would firm up election security in the face of a Russian onslaught against it. That’s because Moscow Mitch wants and needs Russia to do that thing it does.

And yet… on MSNBC, Steve Kornacki will get out there, bright-eyed & bushy-tailed in his button-down-blue-shirt and khakis uniform, pointing at numbers from 2016 as if they had anything to do with right now. How can they when Steve’s 2016 numbers don’t factor in Russia. Oh, Steve might allow that Russia “influenced” the election but — what does that even mean?

Nothing, of course — it’s bad journalist-speak for “I haven’t a clue, I’m not going to have a clue and therefore, I’m not factoring it into my story”. That’s an instant red flag, telling us that the journalist in question sucks at journalism. Any Russian “influence” should stop the story dead right there. “What influence, how?” a semi-competent journalist would ask, “Is it measurable? Is it possible that that “influence” influenced the election’s outcome?

We get NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell acting as Donald Trump’s personal steno pad, burping out whatever Trump says — free from context — as if it were true just because he said it.

We get the Guru of Both Sides Do It, Chuck Todd, rolling his eyes (as if a thought was passing behind them) and stammering (as if he was searching for the “right word”). We get Stephanie Ruhl asking “Yeah, but what if…?” questions that give credence to bullshit. “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” No, bullshit is never true — but thanks for telling your NEWS AUDIENCE that, sans any evidence, it ‘could be’.

We get hosts who apparently don’t watch their own news network — and whose own shows reflect a lack of familiarity with the very narrative other (far better — and better rated) hosts regularly put out as product. How can a news network not know how to aggregate a narrative into something cohesive — based on their own reporting?

I wonder if there’s precedent…

Dear American News Media — Just Because Donald Trump Likes Running Down Rabbit Holes Doesn’t Mean You Have To Follow Him There

Remember this image — Trump going down that golden escalator on the day he formally declared?

What we didn’t realize at the time — though we should have — it wasn’t the lobby of Trump Tower he was descending into, it was a goddamned rabbit hole. The first sign we had was “Mexicans are rapists”. The second sign that we were in a rabbit hole? Within a matter of moments, we shrugged off “Mexicans are rapists” as just “how Donald Trump is”. Normal world? No. Rabbit hole.

Every bizarre thing Trump says is a rabbit hole unto itself. It’s not so much an intention on Trump’s part — to get the press to chase him down each and every rabbit hole — as a hard-wired behavior. Trump lies to everyone — his family included. So, Trump is always trying to get someone to follow him down a rabbit hole because, it’s just a fact, at any given moment, Trump is lying to a stupefying number of people.

That’s why liars love rabbit holes. There’s no logic inside a rabbit hole. The normal rules of cause and effect stop working — or seem to — because a rabbit hole isn’t reality; it’s an ice core drilled into bullshit thicker than the earth’s crust. It’s a place of Magical Thinking, nonsense and drivel.

One would think that, after a time or two, one would weary of chasing liars down rabbit holes. Yes, chasing liars down rabbit holes is part of what journalism is, but journalists also must maintain perspective. Once they’ve ascertained that a liar will lie to them, they’d be stupid — as a person and a journalist — to give the liar a fair hearing each and every time the liar opened his mouth.

But, that’s what our news media does. Rather than build a narrative that says “Donald Trump’s whole ‘strategy’ is to tie us in knots with his lying”, our news media continues to assume Trump could be telling the truth this time — as preposterous as his lie sounds.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-s-plane-loaded-thugs-rumor-matches-months-old-facebook-n1238962

“Planes Loaded With Thugs” is a rabbit hole. FFS, it even sounds like a rabbit hole! Why would anyone with a degree from a J-School follow someone down it?

Oh, right — because that J-School degree came with a heavy dose of cynical (rather than skeptical) “Both Sides Do It” journalism where everyone’s the same (regardless of how different they are) — with the same motives, the same tactics, the same everything. If one person does things for political reasons then everyone does things for political reasons — even (apparently) if they don’t know it. Therefore, a Republican suppressing Democratic voters is political but so is the suppressed Democratic voter — attempting only to practice their right to vote by calling the Republican out for suppressing them.

No, the suppressed voter is NOT behaving politically, they’re a crime victim. And so are we all when 1) naked politics dictate actions and 2) the press can’t tell the difference.

The solution is shockingly easy. It’s one word: “No”. As in “No, we will not follow you down that rabbit hole. You come out — then we’ll talk”. Or, put more simply (if a little less elegantly): “Back it up or it’s bullshit”.

The news media doesn’t have to accept what Trump says THEN scurry around to fact check him. That’s their choice. It’s their habit now because they’ve been completely re-active here.

They could absolutely do this the other way round — and they should. When dealing with a known liar, you have to assume that they’re lying to you. Therefore you demand that they back up everything they say FIRST. “Put the receipts on the table”, point to the relevant facts (facts, not bullshit) THEN we’ll entertain having a discussion with you on this topic. Can’t back it up right off the bat? We’re not talking about it — we’re certainly not broadcasting it over our air to our NEWS audience.

If Donald Trump thought he had achieved dictator status, he wouldn’t be running for re-election. He’d have cancelled it already and made all his legal troubles go away.

He hasn’t. That means that Donald’s Republican friends also acknowledge that they can’t impose permanent minority rule on us quite yet. It seems we’re likely to protest. Loudly. And we outnumber them by a lot.

Authoritarians know one thing: their authoritarian rule probably won’t end with them dying peacefully in their beds, old and ready. It will come far sooner and be way more violent. That’s why authoritarians don’t ever do that “peaceful transfer of power” thing. They can’t. They’re criminals and losing power means legal problems, prison or worse.

That’s why Trump spews rabbit holes. Lying and obfuscation are the only path he has to “win” this election. But then, Trump didn’t actually “win” his last election. Cheating to win (especially when the cheating involves treason) isn’t actually winning — in the legal sense. Legally speaking, you can’t cheat to win. Hey — that’s just the rule of law talking, not me.

Trump is the first impeached POTUS to ever run for re-election — in the very election he was impeached over: because he cheated! You wouldn’t know that from the way our NEWS MEDIA reports this story. They still treat it like a normal election where previous polling describes what’s happening now. No, Steve Kornacki, you nitwit — it isn’t! Look, I’m sure Kornacki’s a lovely guy — and he does have real insight into his numbers. But he has no perspective whatsoever about the larger context his numbers take place inside of.

Steve NEVER accounts for Russia’s vote in 2016 for example. He NEVER accounts for the impact voter suppression (and probably vote flipping) could have had. Steve insists that his flawed numbers tell the story of what happened then (they absolutely do not!) and therefore what will happen now. No — they absolutely will not!

Oh, sure — there are conscientious journalists working this beat. At Kornacki’s very own MSNBC Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow, Joy-Ann Reid, Ali Velshi consistently frame the story we’re all living in correctly — as a house completely afire. But the rest — the Kornackis, the Chuck Todds, the Kelly O’Donnells… what a bunch of amateurs.

You’d have to be an amateur to keep making the same rookie mistake, right? If you can’t figure out how NOT to chase a rabbit down an obvious rabbit hole then you should probably quit chasing rabbits. Give up on journalism. Try something you’re good at. Let’s hope there is something.

Dear American News Media: YOU Will Be The Problem Until YOU Stop Being It

When your job is to tell our story in real time, as it’s happening, it’s vital that you know how to frame that story — in real time. If you screw up the framing, you’ll end up telling the wrong story. Our news media can’t ever get the Donald Trump story right because they insist on framing Trump’s story from TRUMP’S point of view. That’d be great if Trump were even semi-reliable with the facts. The fact that he lies about everything — that’s his most prominent feature.

On the one hand, a storyteller SHOULD base their story about this character on the fact that they always lie. On the other hand, a storyteller shouldn’t base their story on this character’s lies as if they were true. Because they’re not — and it skews the whole story away from REVEALING who the character is toward revealing nothing except the depths of the storyteller’s credulity. Trump is not some visionary whose lies are part of some grand vision. He’s just a goddamned liar. He’s a goddamned criminal. His lies are meant to keep him from getting caught. Period, end of story.

You’d think professional storytellers could tell it.

This isn’t every journalist working this beat, but it is most of them. While their dedication to the journalistic ethos of fairness is admirable, they seem to have confused political neutrality with complete detachment. They don’t want to judge whether anyone’s politics are right or wrong. Okay, fine. But, then they go and assume that EVERYONE is being political — “both sides do it”.

Except that’s not true. Both sides don’t “do it”. Example: both sides do not relentlessly try to suppress the other sides voters. Both sides do not approach elections the same way. Both sides do not want every single eligible voter to vote.

When a suppressed voter raises their hand to complain that their vote is being suppressed, they’re not being “political”. They are responding to a political act however. The person suppressing their vote IS acting politically. In fact, the whole point of voter suppression is to undermine the other sides ability to conduct politics. To get what they need from the political process. To suppress a voter is a political act. To defend the suppressed voter is NOT. It’s an act of patriotism actually.

And an act of civil obligation. The vote suppressor is breaking the law.

All this is framing. It’s seeing the story from the neutral perspective journalists aspire to. Real neutrality would involve asking what everyone’s motives were rather than assuming.

What are Donald Trump’s motives? That’s not a hard question. As big a liar as he is, Trump is remarkably transparent. His motives are always right out in the open. You don’t even have to scrunch up your eyes to see them. The trick apparently (to judge by our news media) is in accepting what you’re seeing.

Plenty of journalists HAVE accepted what they’ve been seeing all along: Sarah Kendzior, David Corn, Seth Abramson. Even the former Wall Street Journal journalists at Fusion GPS — the research firm hired by Republican-owned Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump during the 2016 primary season accepted what they saw (after doing their due diligence): that Trump was almost certainly a criminal who’d been laundering Russian mob money through his failed Atlantic City casinos. Some journalists have accepted that Trump is every bit the rapist all the brave women who’ve come forward SAY he is.

Some journalists have accepted that Trump is the rapist he himself says he is.

And then there’s the rest…

The ones who “reset” every day to a bizarre “Square One” where Trump is a “normal POTUS” who ran a normal campaign in 2016, not at all touched by a hostile foreign power actively engaged in an undeclared cyber war against us. That Trump “strategizes”. He’s a brilliant businessman and a master negotiator. He’s a good father and husband. He was a great student. He’s well read. He’s loved and he’s made us more respected.

All because he says so.

This liar.

There’s a traditional English entertainment that plays at Christmastime called pantomimes.

These theatrical pieces are almost always based on some old chestnut — Cinderella or Puss In Boots. The story’s just a framework on which to hang a somewhat improvised game of call and response with the audience. At some point in almost every pantomime, the bad guy will end up standing behind the Good Guy who’s downstage center talking to the audience.

The audience — since their participation is expected — will tell the Good Guy with increasing desperation that the Bad Guy is behind him. The Good Guy — finally getting the message — turns one way but misses seeing the Bad Guy. He turns the other way — misses seeing the Bad Guy again. It’s maddening of course. That’s the point.

In a panto, it’s also part of the fun. Here in reality though, watching Trump and the GOP stand behind the news media while We The People shout “Look out behind you!” has become part of the tragedy. The news media has become part of the story. That is, their inability to tell the story has become part of the story.

Bullshit and truth are not the same thing. When a reporter, attempting to be “neutral” asks a “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” kind of question, they’re giving credence to bullshit. Regular bullshit is bad. Bullshit given the credence of Truth? Oy.

Is it really a wonder why at least a third of America doesn’t know what the Truth is anymore? It’s understood that political actors — Fox News — have made it their purpose to undermine everyone’s journalist credibility including their own. They need “truth” to flow from the top, truth being whatever the criminals running the kleptocracy say it is. Orwell knew what he was talking about. Control the past, you control the future.

The “truth” is, Donald Trump sucks at messaging. That is, he sucks at messaging anything other than what he is — a traitor and a criminal. The bulk of our news media also sucks — at storytelling.

It’s a fixable problem. All they have to do? Open their eyes. Accept what they know and make it part of the story.

Neutrality toward the Truth is not neutrality. It’s journalistic malpractice.

What Are All Those “Trump Won 2016” Journalists Going To Say When We Establish That, No, Trump STOLE The Election?

Spoiler alert — that IS where this story is going: Donald Trump did not “win” the 2016 election in any sense of the word. He stole it. Literally. Go look up the two words — “win” & “steal”. They’re not the same thing.

To have legitimately won the 2016 presidential election (and this applies to the races up and down the ballot), Trump and the Republicans would have had to have sold Americans on the superiority of their ideas. They didn’t. They sold America the idea that Hillary Clinton was less trustworthy than Trump — a message they sold in collaboration with Russia. Stone cold facts — Wikileaks equals Russian Military Intelligence and Trump’s campaign was actively engaged with not only Wikileaks but multiple Russian intel officers. Paul Manafort — the convict — handed Konstantin Kilimnik proprietary polling data concerning four states: Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

We don’t know what did or didn’t happen in Minnesota. We know what happened in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It’s not just the fact that Trump pulled off “surprise victories” in three blue states — it’s the margin by which he pulled off those three victories. He won them by a combined 77,000 votes. Between three states.

That’s just over 25,000 votes PER STATE.

One of the now accepted reasons for Clinton’s loss in those three states was the weaker than expected turnout of Black voters. Those same voters were the focus of Facebook ads delivered to their individual computers — saying that Hillary Clinton was a closet racist so why bother voting for her? Where were those messages originating? At Russian Military Intelligence. They were using all that proprietary polling data Trump’s campaign manager had illegally given them.

This isn’t just bad behavior, it’s flat out illegal. It’s a crime. It’s a flagrant violation of the rule of law.

That’s the bottomest line there is: it violated the rule of law. The rule of law says you cannot cheat in order to win. The act of cheating disqualifies the win. And if you didn’t legitimately win, then you never had the authority that would have flowed from that win. Donald Trump — as he’s been telling us since he “won” — has never been the legitimate President of the United States. It’s a stone cold fact. He’s never had the authority to do anything. None of it can stand — not “none of it should stand” — none of it can stand. That is, if we really and truly intend to enforce the rule of law.

Quick reminder: the rule of law has never stopped being in force. We have stopped enforcing it (having never enforced it properly to begin with). That does not mean it wasn’t in effect. The rule of law didn’t let us down, we let it down. Not the same thing. But, fortunately, we have a chance to fix that. Hell, we have in front of us a golden opportunity to do even better: we can create structures that guarantee (or do a better job of guaranteeing at least) that we follow the rule of law to the letter.

If we don’t enforce the rule of law — the founding principle of our republic — then the rule of law will eventually break down. Can we please learn this lesson?

When we finally factor in how Russia didn’t just “influence” the election on Trump’s behalf, but physically weighed in on its outcome — literally changing it from how We The People actually voted (or intended to vote) to what Don & Vladimir wanted — we’ll face a difficult Day of Reckoning. First in line for that day of reckoning will be Trump and every single Republican who allowed this to happen.

That will be every single Republican. “See something, say something” is part of the rule of law. When we even suspect anyone is violating the rule of law, the rule of law obligates us to say something to the authorities charged with enforcing it. That’s how it gets enforced. We The People actually work to maintain it. Self government isn’t automatic. To virtually a person, the Republican Party, though aware (even vaguely) that something was amiss, have not met their obligation as citizens following the rule of law.

This isn’t some “conspiracy theory” conspiracy, it’s a nuts & bolts conspiracy. A conspiracy of silence because… well, that will be what comes out at trial. The “why” each and every single Republican failed to uphold their oath of office. Most of their excuses will be the same. A few Republicans have indeed been compromised (Lindsey Graham, I bet… Dana Rohrbacher, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell for sure!) but most will have been willing participants who had little idea where the treason bus was headed. They didn’t care whether it was a treason bus or not.

We know — because the press reported it — that the Republicans knew for sure as early as the 2016 convention that Trump was owned by Moscow. No one called the FBI.

See something, say nothing? That’s how conspiracy works.

The case will be made — and made emphatically: Donald Trump did not win the presidency in 2016. Moscow won it for him — as an act of Cyber War. Trump — and everyone conspiring with him — are literal (not hyperbolic) traitors. He did not “win” the 2016 election in any way, shape or form.

What a relief that will be because finally, We The People will be off the hook.

The news media hammers away at us how “Yeah, but Trump won the election” or “But America voted for Trump!” No, he didn’t and we didn’t.

The question will land on our heads: “So, now that you know for a fact that Trump didn’t win the presidency and has never been legitimate POTUS, what do you intend to do about it?” Do we let an illegitimate president keep what he stole from us — OUR CHOICE? Would we let a car thief — caught inside our vehicle, pissing all over the nice leather seats — keep our car after we’ve caught him? I wouldn’t. You probably wouldn’t either.

Well, neither would the rule of law.

Judges were stolen from us. Judges and the lifetime of sitting on the federal bench that each (now doctrinaire conservative) judge will spend judging. Those judges should represent the majority’s choice and choices, not some treasonous minority’s.

Trump and the GOP will get their day of reckoning inside a court room (and then a federal prison). The news media — who kept hawking a story they knew (but couldn’t convince themselves) was true — will get their day of reckoning in the court of public opinion and the marketplace. Just like we can’t let a single Republican get away with what they’ve done, the same goes for every journalist who failed to meet their First Amendment obligation to be the final check on power.

Every journalist who repeated Trump’s bile context-free (looking at YOU, NBC News’ Kelly O’Donnell) as if truth and bullshit had equal weight must confess their journalistic sins and atone.

Every journalist who asked “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” questions (looking at YOU, NBC News’ Stephanie Ruhl!) needs to acknowledge that they were directly responsible for giving bullshit the credence of Truth to the Truth’s detriment. The whole “fake news” meme stems from asking “Yeah, but what if bullshit was true?” Bullshit is never true. Ever.

So stop asking.

Finally, all those journalists will have to answer for their inability to aggregate the story of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. They will have to answer for why they couldn’t pry the normalcy bias blinders from their heads. They will have to answer for why — in spite of the mountains of evidence produced often by their own reporting — they couldn’t manage to build the narrative past a “square one” where Donald Trump was merely “a different kind of president”.

When Paul Manafort was convicted — when Roger Stone and Michael Cohen and every other Trumpanista was convicted — that wasn’t the starting point for their criminality. It was (we hope) the end point. Up until that moment though, they were actively engaged in committing the crime they were sentenced for. In Manafort’s case — it went back to the 2016 campaign. That means everything he did was criminal in real time. The lag in reporting it is the problem. Same goes for the time it took for us to enforce the rule of law.

We’re stuck in a problematic zone where an active crime is being committed upon us — we know it — the criminals know it — even the people reporting it know it — and yet, we’re strangely limited in our ability to do anything to stop it — in real time. But we must. The criminals here are on a do or die mission. There’s no going back now — look at what they’re all guilty of: treason. That’s still a capital offense. And think of how financially ruinous this will be for every guilty person and their family.

Treason will be a hard brand to shake — personally and universally. I don’t know how the Republican Party will ever stop being the party that nurtured treason in its heart. That went along with treason. That actively aided and abetted it.

The news media will have reported all this in real time — but failed to connect dots it should have connected. That’s for itself but more importantly for its audience — We The People. What damns our news media more than anything is that it wasn’t everyone. There were reporters and news writers and journalists who saw it from the get-go and screamed it as loud as they could with the means they were allowed. The news networks have the Big Megaphone. They decide which of those voices gets heard — and gets credence.

Imagine if MSNBC had swapped each Hugh Hewitt appearance for a Sarah Kendzior appearance. The mind boggles at how much further down the road to stopping this we’d be. Imagine if each and every reporter on staff was as sharp, focused and outraged as Nicolle Wallace, Rachel Maddow or Joy-Ann Reid. Yes, they bring a lot of advocacy to their journalism. But the thing they’re advocating for is the Truth.

I’m not sure what all those journalists will say when their day of reckoning comes but it had damned well better start with “I’m sorry.”

We Need Moral Journalism NOW

Journalists are front line storytellers. While a novelist writes at some remove from whatever time they’re writing about — it takes time to think out then write a novel (never mind the time it takes to get it published) — a journalist works in the right-here, right-now. A novelist writing “morally” has time to line up all that morality — to structure their story so that the moral message gets highlighted just the way they want. That’s a luxury most journalists just don’t have.

Therefore if a journalist wants to write morally (we’ll get to why they’d want to bother momentarily), they need to have their moral way of thinking lined up in advance.

Here’s the trick: EVERY journalist should want to write “morally”. Going forward, if we don’t get turned into a Trump-branded authoritarian shithole, writing morally — meaning writing that’s framed from a moral perspective rather than a neutral amoral one — will be an employment prerequisite.

Somewhere, somehow American journalism got it in its head that journalists are obligated to be utterly neutral in their reporting. If by utterly neutral they mean “apolitical” then yes — by all means — American journalists should be “neutral”. But, if by “neutral” they mean “amoral” then absolutely not. “Apolitical” and “amoral” aren’t the same thing. That’s at the heart of American journalism’s confusion.

If a politician charged with upholding the rule of law violates the rule of law, it does not matter what that politician’s party affiliation is. Every other politician is obligated by the rule of law to report the offending pol’s offense. If they don’t, the rule of law starts to break down because we’re not enforcing it evenly or equally. Therefore — when those other politicians go to the media to describe what the criminal politician is doing, they’re NOT ACTING POLITICALLY.

They’re acting patriotically. They’re FOLLOWING THE RULE OF LAW.

Ah, but… how many times do our journalists frame that reaction to actual criminal behavior as merely “political”? How many times do our journalists ASSUME that the motive behind REPORTING A CRIME isn’t to report the crime but to gain political advantage. Right there — the truth gets distorted by the very people responsible for reporting it. They’ve equated reporting a crime to journalists & the proper authorities as a political act — and thus, “both sides do it”.

That’s really more “both sides get accused of it by a stupid news media who don’t ever seem to do their homework”.

Both sides do it journalism has no sense of perspective or proportionality. To them a crime is a crime is a crime. Bernie Madoff — stealing billions from billionaires — is no different from, say Jean Valjean (the hero of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables) whose whole adventure begins when he steals bread to feed the hungry. Yes, both Bernie Madoff and Jean Valjean are thieves. Both were chased down by the Law. Framed that way, “both sides do it’.

But, really?

Storytelling can NEVER be divorced from morality. The whole point of storytelling is cultural self-analysis. Storytellers, as entertaining as they can be, are also part psychoanalyst. The best peer deeply into the cultural psyche and come away with remarkable observations about who we are and why we do what we do. That’s really why we love storytelling. We love seeing ourselves (however abstract) in the world the storyteller weaves. But, what happens when a culture’s storytellers lie to it? What happens when a culture’s storytellers — the fawning German right wing news media that supported Hitler, say — lies to the public about the politician they support? Lies become the truth.

That is, lies get taken for the Truth.

Nothing good can ever come from that dynamic. Lies are lies, Truth is Truth. There is no middle ground.

To report lies as if they were the truth is absolutely immoral. To report lies as if they “could be” the truth tap dances along the precipice. The only way to report lies as if they could be true is by using full transparency. The news audience needs every last bit of real perspective they can get — especially because the likelihood is that the lies aren’t true and never were.

It’s understood: on the one hand, it’s hard to tell your story when none of the interview subjects you need refuse to speak to you. But on the other — the cost of access to those interviews cannot be your soul or integrity. You’re going to need both of those things in order to conduct the interview. New York Times reporter Judith Miller became notorious for selling out her soul to (then) veep Dick Cheney. She lied in print to protect her source Scooter Libby — Cheney’s chief of staff. That kinda sucks as journalism.

It’s damned immoral, too.

I have a funny feeling America is about to enter a Great Moral Reckoning. Once it begins, it will gather momentum — and the momentum will gather momentum as we learn more and more just how corrupt Donald Trump was. The real momentum will gather when We The People realize just how corrupt and treacherous the entire Republican Party has been.

A reporter telling a story about white supremacists should absolutely do everything in their power to reveal the human being beneath their story. But that doesn’t include touting their vile, racist rhetoric as justifiable in some way just because you’re telling the story “neutrally”.

If you’re telling Evil’s story, you need to point out that it’s Evil. Telling a story about how “Evil is misunderstood” isn’t journalism, it’s you, the journalist, being stupid.

Worse — it’s the journalist being amoral which, in this world, is the exact same as being immoral.

There’s no middle ground in a war between Good and Evil. Similarly, there’s no middle ground in a war between Truth and lies. Both Good and Evil, Truth and lies have a “point of view”. They don’t all have “a side”. That is, they’re point of view cannot be justified.

Reporting that point of view as if it “could” be justified — say, by asking “Yeah, but what if fascism has a few merits?” — is giving credence to it. See, it says, fascism could have merits.

I won’t dignify such immorality with a response.