As the lights come up, a member of MSNBC’s audience sits down to watch some news. Almost immediately, the audience member is incensed. And… fade in —
MSNBC: Donald Trump said ‘this’ today.
Audience: But ‘this’ is a lie and you know it is. Nicolle Wallace spent a whole half hour reporting on it extensively.
MSNBC: But, what if what Trump said is true?
Audience: How can it be true? Rachel Maddow presented hard evidence on your air that it can’t possibly be true. Doesn’t anyone at your news network ever watch Rachel?
MSNBC: Republicans are treating the coronavirus pandemic politically – but so are Democrats!
Audience: What are you talking about? Democrats aren’t withholding aid from blue states because the governors refuse to lick Trump’s nutsack. Democrats aren’t refusing to stay at home, socially distance or even wear masks.
MSNBC: Both sides do it.
Audience: Do WHAT? Consort with hostile foreign powers to win elections? Do both sides do that? Do both sides actively work to suppress the other sides voters? Do both sides gerrymander states so perversely (in Wisconsin, for instance), that though Democrats won 53 percent of the vote, they got only 36 percent of the seats?
MSNBC: You’re just being political!
Audience: No, no, I’m not. I’m simply reporting facts – like you’re supposed to do! When Republicans violate the Constitution or the Rule Of Law, they’re doing it for political reasons, right?
MSNBC: Ummmmmm… yeah…
Audience: But, when Democrats respond to what Republicans are doing, that’s them reacting to violations of law – they’re pointing out a fact: Republicans are actively violating the law. They should do that regardless of political party. You understand, right – when Democrats do that—
MSNBC: They’re playing politics.
Audience: But- didn’t we just- does anyone at your network ever watch Rachel Maddow or Nicolle Wallace. Ali Velshi even – he’s good! And Lawrence! Chris Hayes used to be good – but he sucked down the Tara Reade koolaid like a champ. And don’t get us started on Chuck Todd!
MSNBC: Chuck is a respected—
Audience: Oh shut up. Every time Chuck opens MTP, Tim Russert begins spinning so fast in his grave that if they hooked him to the power grid, he could supply a small city with electricity.
MSNBC: It’s not up to us to voice our opinions. We just report facts.
Audience: Do you report all the facts?
MSNBC: All of them? Well– we try–
Audience: Does, say, Kris Jenner report everything learned during Joy Reid’s show? We’ve heard interviews Kris has done — immediately following Joy’s show — where Kris acts as if everything learned during Joy’s show never existed. That’s a neat trick. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the network kept track of the story it’s telling — and the characters — and how they evolve every day — and, you know, the way stories are supposed to work — the storyteller keeps updating the story with new information. That way, all your lesser on-air talent could benefit from (and tell the same story as) your topline talent. Imagine that — consistency!
MSNBC: If you hate us so much, go watch CNN.
Audience: We do when necessary. They’re no better. But we hold out hope for you. We see great hires like Nicolle and Joy and Rachel and Lawrence and we get hopeful. You have it in you to deliver great TV journalism. You do it almost every day already — we just want you to do it more. Look — why give credence to people whose announced intent is to dismantle everything? Who call YOU “fake news”? Are you “fake news”?
MSNBC: No – of course not—
Audience: Are you the “enemy of the people”?
MSNBC: Actually, we are “the people”. That’s all we are – people trying to do our jobs and get the truth out. But it’s hard because—
Audience: We know. We get it. Never mind the coronavirus pandemic – the Trump-Russia story is massively huge and virtually impossible for anyone to fully grasp because there are so many moving parts. It takes a team to connect all the dots. But, it’s incumbent on you to do the connecting.
MSNBC: We’re trying—
Audience: Try harder. Better yet – sit down and watch Nicolle Wallace. Watch Rachel Maddow. Watch Ali Velshi. If they can do it, so can everyone else on your air.
MSNBC: Hmmmmmm, ya suppose?
Audience: Well, not everyone, of course—
MSNBC: Chuck’s a non-starter—
Audience: Careful – did you not realize your mic was still on?
Every TV show now begins with two words: “Previously On”.
On the one hand, it’s a nod to any newbies who might be watching. These are the basic story threads you need to know about. But, on the other hand, the “Previously On” part of a show is where the storytellers get to remind the whole audience about certain important, key details from the story’s past that are about to become very important to the story’s future.
The point is, “Previously On” begins with a very clear concept: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW.
This is what the story — and its characters — have revealed and revealed about themselves so far. This is our accumulated, aggregated knowledge. This is our STARTING POINT going forward.
Why, I’d like to know, can’t journalists — well, our most of our video journalists for sure — do this simple, storytelling thing? Why can’t they aggregate a story before reporting on it? Why can’t they start from what we know so far instead of what we knew back then (whenever “then” was)?
It’s like watching a TV show where the audience is always miles ahead of the storytellers because the audience has been keeping track of the story while the tellers keep going back to “fade in”.
If America’s journalists had been keeping track of Donald Trump — adding to what we know about him and then basing all new reporting off of that — Donald Trump would never have been president in the first place. That is, he would never have gotten close enough for his pal Vladimir to vote suppress & cheat “wins” out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016. That’s because even before Trump ran, we knew — meaning the information was available in the public domain if only one went looking for it (journalistically) — that Donald Trump was a criminal.
What motivated Fusion to sub-contract out to Christopher Steele, was the question. Steele had been The Guy running the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had the best sources inside Russia of anyone outside Russia. Steele’s rep was solid top to bottom. When the FBI went after FIFA’s Sep Blatter for corruption, they hired Chris Steele to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. He’s good.
But, WHY did Fusion feel the need to sub-contract anything out to Chris Steele? Simpson testified that, upon the hire, Fusion did what they always did — what any reputable research company would do: their due diligence. In Fusion’s case, it got its hands on every PUBLICLY AVAILABLE newspaper article, magazine piece, radio interview, TV appearance — anything and everything about Donald Trump. They researched online. They bought things from Amazon. They listened to Howard Stern. They went to old book stores and combed the shelves. They even went to the public library.
Simpson testified that what Fusion found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was very possibly a criminal. A shitload of evidence pointed to Trump laundering Russian mob money through the buying and selling of condos in Trump properties and (especially) through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. Regardless of whether Trump humiliated himself sexually with Russian hookers on video or humiliated himself by being overtly racist (on video) while Russian hookers pissed all over the bed in Moscow where the Obamas slept, Trump laundered Russian mob money. As much as Trump and those around him insist that “Trump’s a germaphone! He would never consort with hookers!” no one has yet asserted “And he would never launder money for Russian mobsters”.
Strange that, don’tcha think?
You’d think, in the story we’re all bingeing on because it’s our lives, that THAT kind of detail — that no one denies Trump’s a money launderer for the Russian mob — would make it onto the “Previously On” somewhere somehow. And yet, between CNN & MSNBC, no one seems to grasp how stories and storytelling works. They certainly don’t grasp that, in a sense, ALL stories begin with a collective sense of “Previously On”.
If our MSM had “Previously On-ed” this story from the beginning, here’s (a little of) what that “Previously On” would contain…
Mitch McConnell refused to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump POTUS. At the September “Gang Of 8 Meeting” in the White House, McConnell told Obama that if he made that fact public, McConnell would accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. In point of fact, Obama was trying to tell America the truth.
His political party openly broke every established norm that allowed for bi-partisan governance. Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing was a Constitutional crisis all by itself because one branch of govt was denying another its Constitutionally mandated role. We The People voted for Barack Obama. THAT was his authority to nominate judges.
The Trump Era keeps proving — it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball when there are fifty balls flying at you. Trump’s coronavirus response has been everything you’d expect it to be — a chaotic, self-centered act of corruption. It’s been such a massive failure that it’s even managed to make everyone forget this essential fact: Donald Trump is a traitor who would not be POTUS if not for Russia MAKING him POTUS.
Imagine losing sight of that fact — but we have. The press — even with Trump lying daily about pretty much everything — they’ve reverted to treating Trump as a legitimate president whose every utterance about the crisis they must cover. The hue and cry to stop covering Trump’s daily campaign rallies has come from all over. it’s a puzzlement why MSNBC & CNN can’t treat it the way they treat Trump’s impromptu WH lawn news pressers. They regularly put some lag time between Trump lying and their broadcasts of his lies. Occasionally they even contextualize Trump’s bullshit — imagine!
I’ve written here often how I think we got here — not so much the coronavirus crisis (though it’s intimately connected) as the underlying political crisis that comes from having the intelligence asset of a hostile foreign government running OUR government. Hillary Clinton did not “lose” election 2016, the correct result was stolen from We The People — which would have made HRC POTUS.
The leadership of the Republican Party has always known what’s going on here. Kevin McCarthy “knew” back when he told a meeting of the Republican Party’s muckety-mucks during the 2016 GOP convention: “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”. Then Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — third most powerful politician in the country — told now GOP leader McCarthy: “Let’s keep that ‘in the family’.”
“In the family” — like a bunch of stinking mafioso.
The GOP’s extreme deference to Trump is way beyond tribalism. It’s criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason. That’s why the Republicans can’t stop this train from going off the cliff. The instant Trump stops being president, shit will get real for Trump and everyone sporting that “R” next to their names.
Whether he likes it or not — whether he knows it or not — on January 20, 2021 regardless of whether Trump cancels the election — his term expires. So does Mike Pence’s. On that day, if no election has happened, the presidency will default to the third in line — the Speaker of the House. It is now and will be then Nancy Pelosi.
This is why Mitch McConnell is begging every older conservative judge to retire now. Mitch hopes like hell that the old rules — the ones he violated regularly — will hold and his corrupt hijacking of the judiciary will stand. Mitch is going to be sorely disappointed. I’m with former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner (his Twitter feed is here): when this is all done & said, we must address the fact that everything that flowed from election 2016 — every bit of Republican legislation & chaos, every American Enterprise Institute-approved lifetime judge named while President Obama was denied the appointments — must be considered in the light of treason — of the entire Republican Party knowingly conspiring with Russia to not only seize control of the government but to maintain that control forever: permanent minority rule.
Bill Barr has come damned close to corrupting the Department of Justice beyond repair. Mike Pompeo has nearly destroyed the Department of State. Mitch McConnell, of course, has broken the Senate — with the purpose of hijacking the judiciary for all time.
And then coronavirus screwed up their plans.
For starters, shutting down the govt has already made voting by mail for every American a very real possibility now. Coronavirus has pushed a lot of ideas into the foreground that have struggled for attention up till now. That horrifies Republicans more than anything. The economic chaos — lots of it exacerbated by the damage done by crony capitalism — can only be cured by progressive, social democracy type solutions.
When a version of universal basic income works in ways austerity never could (because it’s always austerity for everyone BUT the rich) — when everyone infected by the coronavirus or kovid-19 finds relief through our socialized medicine response (you won’t get billed for your care or bankrupted by it) — when more Americans realize that the whole point of government is to create an environment where as many people as possible have the education, training and opportunity they need to succeed, they’ll stop seeing it as “the enemy”. If Americans got things for their tax dollars that they could point at — like, say, good health CARE that can’t bankrupt them if they get sick — they’d stop seeing taxes as a black hole.
This is not to say the Republicans won’t still do everything they can to hold onto power. Consider their motivation. They know they could all end up like Paul Manafort — eating prison dinner every night. And Trump knows that the moment he stops being POTUS, he becomes private citizen Don Trump — an INDICTED co-conspirator to election fraud. He could well lose every building he owns to confiscation. Sad, no?
Make no mistake — Neither Trump nor the Republicans “won” election 2016. Without heavy cheating and Russian involvement there’s no way they win election 2020 either.
As of today, Vladimir Putin insists the Russia alone conquered coronavirus. Oh, the things authoritarian shitheads say out loud. That’s just not true — and regardless of what Putin allows the disease sweeping through Russia to be called (a rash of pneumonia), it will clear out people with brutal efficiency. If Russia were suddenly stricken and found itself consumed by not dying instead of poking around in our political system, what would Trump do then?
Imagine Trump & the GOP having to run a “fair” campaign. They couldn’t do it on principle.
Maybe this is another fatal flaw in “both sides do it” journalism. The problem with “neutrality” is that in refusing to judge anything (“just here to report the facts”), you end up giving everything you report equal weight. Because you won’t call out a lie, you give it equal validity with the Truth. How can a news audience discern what “is” from what “isn’t” when the reporters on the ground refuse to differentiate between the two?
We now see reporters in the WH Press Pool asking Trump harder (but still not hard enough), direct questions — then getting flummoxed as, like yesterday, Trump responded to NBC News’ Peter Alexander’s question about helping to quell peoples’ fear by telling Peter Alexander what a terrible journalist he was. When Trump went on to the next reporter, that reporter asked THEIR question — letting Trump GET AWAY with what he did to Peter Alexander. And the Coronavirus update went on — filled with even more misinformation, disinformation and…
Let’s be real. Trump’s now using these daily updates to replace his rallies. It’s not a coincidence that, as Trump tries to lay the blame for his failures on China (by calling the virus Chinese), Bill Barr is grabbing for more unrestrained power — asking Congress to approve new, sweeping powers to arrest and hold people indefinitely. Donald Trump intends to remain in power past January 20, 2021 — the day on which his term expires. In point of fact, Donald Trump will LOSE ALL PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY on that date. He won’t have the Constitution on his side — at all. It will treat him as of that date — and everyone in his administration — as ordinary citizens, subject to the same rules. There will be no executive power to hide behind.
Trump may try to. His followers may try to. The chain of command will not respond. It better not. It sure sounds like it absolutely won’t. It’s just not set up to work the way Trump ultimately wants it to. And while coronavirus & Covid-19 will make responding to Trump harder — Trump has already set in motion so much misery, economic ruin and death that no one will be untouched. No one except the hardest hard core Trumpanistas will even think about going along with him.
This can only end one way. Coronavirus will do what the truth could not: it will destroy Donald Trump.
But, in the meantime, it is incumbent on every one of us — the press especially — to mitigate that as much as we possibly can. Every time Trump gets to use the news media — and a crisis — as a campaign event, we are doing ourselves great harm and making the inevitable more catastrophic and bloody. We KNOW for a fact that Trump is lying to us daily. We have to ask why.
That is — our news media has to ask. They’re the ones with the microphones & the cameras. They’re the ones in the room. They have to be us more than ever — and, as of now, they are letting us down.
CNN & MSNBC run “Breaking News” banners all day for news that broke hours before. It ain’t breaking all day. The same logic should apply to Trump’s daily lie-athons. If Trump says something that’s “breaking news” now, it will still be “breaking news” five minutes from now. Between Trump’s utterance & broadcast though, there needs to be fact-checking so that either Trump’s lies are cut out or they’re marked in real broadcast time with some clear, visible, unmistakable disclaimer that what Trump is saying to America is 100% certified bullshit.
The press pool needs to take all attention off of Trump. Washington Post columnist (and former Republican) Jennifer Ruben had a great suggestion this morning on AMJoy — the pool reporters need to stop asking Trump anything. Direct all questions to the experts. When Trump jumps in, ignore him and direct the question back to the expert. The adults in the room need to stop treating the infant like one of them.
But, ya see, that’s when “both sides do it” bites even the most intrepid reporter on the ass. “Both sides do it”, ya see. How can they treat an infant like an infant? That would be “judging” & they’re all just there to report the facts.
I stopped drinking alcohol about two years ago. I didn’t have to but the mood stabilizer I’m on gives alcohol a terrible aftertaste. It was an unexpected side effect — and, frankly, I’m grateful for it.
When I say I didn’t “have to” stop drinking, what I mean is, I didn’t stop because I perceived I had an alcohol problem. I did — I just didn’t perceive it. Ironically, alcohol (and my denial that I had a problem with it) contributed significantly to the depression that drove me to within literal inches of killing myself. Alcohol’s pretty powerful that way. It gives bullshit crazy power over you.
Not drinking, I’m cut out of a big part of what we think of as a “social life’. I go out with my wife and friends to bars or parties — where nearly everyone but me drinks. Over the course of an evening, conversation goes from crisp and sparkling to… well, a little less crisp. A lot less sparkling. The irony (there’s loads of irony) — when you’re drinking, you’re convinced that the alcohol is making everything crisper and more sparkling.
That’s alcohol lying to you.
Over this past weekend — just before California and Washington State and lots of other places started calling states of emergency because of the coronavirus — alcohol turned a casual conversation about masks into an argument that nearly ended a friendship.
A friend was talking to their college-going son about masks. He was relating how he’d told his son to run to CVS to buy masks.
“Don’t bother,” I said. They’re sold out. Everyone’s sold out. CVS, Target, Amazon… “And anyway,” I said, “The masks in question won’t do anything to stop the virus”.
That wasn’t the point to my friend — who was halfway through his third glass of wine. The point was his kid had anxiety issues and wearing the mask would help them.
I started to tell him that — just for clarity’s sake — the mask was only useful if you had the virus and wanted to minimize the chances of infecting others. BUT — this was the crux of my point — there were more PRO-ACTIVE things even someone feeling anxious could do…
I never got there. My drunk friend had grabbed onto “MASKS” with both hands and was not going to let go. For the next ten minutes, we argued about masks and the relative value of thinking you’re protected when, in fact, you are not. I pointed out that not telling his son the stone cold truth about masks could reverberate negatively when his son learned the truth — and also learned that he’d been lied to about the masks’ efficacy. By his dad.
My friend got louder because louder means more right when you’re drunk. That’s alcohol lying to the drinker again.
Alcohol convinces you that the emotion you’re feeling right that second is the most intense, most valid feeling you’ve ever experienced. That’s why people who’ve been drinking argue like obsessives. They can see their one point and literally nothing else. The truth is, they can’t even “see” their one point. They can repeat the point endlessly — their form of “arguing”, but they can’t actually articulate it.
When I caught myself pitching deeper into the rabbit hole, I bailed. I told my friend three times that I was not going to continue arguing with someone who’d had too much to drink. Like a cliched person who had too much to drink, my friend got all insulted about my calling out their drinking. They insisted — slurring their words — that they were not, in fact, slurring their words.
It got heated and then it ended. My friend said he didn’t want to talk about it any more — and maybe he didn’t want to talk about anything with me ever again.
That stung. But I knew one thing — and, the next morning, when my friend called to apologize, I brought it up immediately. The first thing he said as we started talking was “I think I’ve had too much to drink…”.
“I agree with you,” I told my friend. “You had too much to drink”. As far as I was concerned, nothing else happened after that. Nothing that mattered — not to me anyway. My friend needed to look closely at their drinking. That was my takeaway.
By the end of the day, my friend had come around. They were still pissed at me (no one likes to be called out for drinking too much; I know this from experience) but they didn’t drink that evening. The next morning, we talked it through. I wasn’t calling my friend an “alcoholic”. I was simply telling him that when he drank too much, it altered his personality in troubling ways. What he did about that was his deal, not mine.
And then my friend and I “kissed and made up”. It seemed ludicrous to let an argument begun while one of the two arguers was drinking to undo a good, solid friendship. Irony? Within 36 hours, it was common knowledge that wearing a mask would protect you from nothing. My friend’s whole reason for now questioning our friendship was blown up by a news cycle.
In the same way that it’s madness to chase an alcoholic’s argument down a rabbit hole, it’s equally mad to chase a liar’s argument. It’s hard to throw facts at something that has no basis in reality. Watching our news media chase Donald Trump down HIS rabbit holes is especially depressing. They’re so obviously bullshit, concocted on the fly in order to deal with the crisis of the moment. That’s a crisis of Trump’s own making.
To argue with bullshit & bullshitters is to give bullshit & bullshitter credence. “Okay,” you’re saying, “What if bullshit “WERE” true?
Problem is, bullshit is NEVER true. It’s a nonsensical question but — because you asked it — you gave credence to something that did not earn it or deserve it. You engaged with bullshit on its terms — and nothing good can ever come of that.
The time has come (it passed eons ago actually) to stop accepting a liar’s words as true first. No, liars should be told to back up everything they say — or it’s bullshit. The press needs to stop respecting a POTUS who has no respect for them, the office of the president, the rule of law, the Constitution — any of it. They need to refuse to accept anything he says without his providing receipts.
No receipts? YOU DON’T REPEAT IT. Who cares if “the president said it’? The president is a LIAR.
Imagine that first time journalists refused to engage with Trump’s lies. What if instead of repeating it verbatim they shook their heads and said “No. Not going to report that. It’s bullshit”? What if the White House Press Corps demanded truth from the White House — and if they don’t get it? THEY DON’T REPORT WHAT POTUS SAYS.
Trust me, CNN & MSNBC, Donald Trump needs YOU waaaaaaaaaay more than you need him. You just need to trust that fact — it’s true.
It’s time for all of sane Washington to hold an intervention for Trump & the whole GOP. Drinking and lying aren’t that far apart as vices go.
When all this is done & dusted, I want us to promise ourselves that we’re going to enshrine in law the illegality of “Both Sides Do It” journalism.
The Chuck Todd-ification of American journalism has not worked out well for us because (Duh!) it’s based on bullshit — and the nincompoop notion that everyone and everything is political. It’s not. If a Republican mugs me, my issue is with him mugging me, not his political affiliation.
Similarly — when a Republican violates the Constitution or commits treason, my objection is entirely to the fact that he’s committing a crime. The fact that the crime is being committed against me — a law abiding registered Democrat who demands that the Constitution be upheld — STILL isn’t political.
Ironically, the Republican has behaved politically at every step along the way.
When a reporter like Chuck Todd gets his hands on a story though — if the Democrat is objecting to the Republican (even the Republican was literally murdering him), Chuck would insist that the Democrat is objecting solely because the guy trying to kill him had a different political affiliation.
I’m watching live right now as Katy Tur debates the idea that we’ve come to see actual RIGHT & WRONG in political terms. That’s insane. The fact that Republicans refuse to even read transcripts — that the press knows (having read them) are filled with actual EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR) should tip them off to that fact. This isn’t about politics.
Both sides do not commit treason as a means to hold onto power.
But one side clearly does. One side continues to defend a president whose ties to Russia are flat out treasonous. I’m old enough to remember when that word could NEVER be uttered on a cable news set without creating a firestorm of controversy.
Now? Who DOESN’T speak the word “treason”?
That’s no because the word suddenly got popular, it’s because treason is actually afoot.
I sure do wish CNN & MSNBC would get this through their thick skulls — only one side commits treason to hold onto power.
Only one side stands between traitors and the end of our Republic.
The worst part of Both Sides Do It journalism is its stupid assumption that everything must be political.
That’s the dopey go-along with “Every argument has two sides”.
People may express two sides but that doesn’t mean there are two sides — and it certainly doesn’t mean that if there are “two sides” that those two sides walk in the door in a 50-50 relationship.
Take climate change and climate denial. Early on, our MSM regularly presented these two arguments in a “Both Sides Do It” framework. Any actual climate science had to be “balanced” with someone willing to voice the “other side’s argument”.
But, in the case of climate change, there IS NO other side’s argument. There’s bullshit and lying and subterfuge and nonsense. But, even bullshit — when presented as a 50-50 possibility — can suddenly seem viable even though it isn’t. Every time CNN or MSNBC or any other news operation put a climate scientist on their air with a climate denier — and framed them in a 50-50 shot (each talking head taking up the exact same amount of screen), they were telling their news audience (even if unintentionally) that climate SCIENCE and absolute bullshit were equally true, equally believable.
Except it’s NOT true.
Both Sides Do It journalism creates false narratives (like Trump “won” election 2016 without Russia’s help). It says that if Republicans cheat to win elections then Democrats must cheat, too.
But, unlike Republicans, Democrats do NOT suppress votes. They don’t jettison names off of voter rolls. They don’t conspire with foreign powers to win elections either. Both sides absolutely do not do this.
What if we take election fraud out of the equation and, instead, make the crime a shooting — on 5th Avenue. Donald Trump, as promised, pulls out a piece and blows the brains out of a supporter right there in front of everyone. If a Democrat dials the FBI on their cell phone to report Trump, it’s not politics motivating them — it’ stone, cold MURDER.
That Democrat isn’t being political, they’re being a good citizen. Only a republican — or an American journalist — can see an act of citizenship in purely political terms.
If I were to mug a journalist — demand their wallet — it’s not politics motivating me, it’ greed. Perhaps if our MSM were to pull its head from its bottom and stop seeing the world in purely political terms they might grasp the larger story they’re reporting on. They might see my intent for what it is and for what it isn’t.
The Democrats in the House aren’t prosecuting Trump because they don’t like him (they don’t) or because he’s a republican while they’re Democrats (Trump isn’t even really a Republican — he’s nothing & nothingness). They’re prosecuting him because he violated his oath of office the literal second he spoke it.
The Rule Of Law either is or it isn’t. There’s no middle ground. If one violates it, one must get punished for it. The whole point is that it ISN’T political and upholding it STANDS OUTSIDE politics.
If I object to Trump shooting people on Fifth Avenue, I object because it’s illegal, immoral and disgusting.
The “R” next to Trump’s name is irrelevant except as a marker.
No, it’s not true. Both sides do not regularly violate their oaths.
For 3+ years now, we have watched Donald Trump and every Republican in Congress violate their oaths of office. The deal is, you take the oath, you uphold the Constitution. You don’t do it selectively like you do with your religion. Your religion is entirely make-believe.
Our Constitution doesn’t work that way (though, to be fair, we did make it up; we invented the Constitution and we can change it as needed).
When Mitch McConnell announced that he wouldn’t give Merrick Garland so much as a hearing, that was 100% political. It had no basis in the Constitution. When Democrats objected to Brett Kavanaugh, there was ideology at play — absolutely. But Kavanaugh’s political affiliation isn’t what Democrats believe makes Kavanaugh unqualified. It’s his penchant for sexually assaulting women and lying about it.
That’s NOT a political disagreement, it’s a moral disagreement. It’s disagreeing with the idea that a man, reliably and consistently accused of serial sexual assault does not belong on the SCOTUS.
When Republicans stand with Trump in the face of blatant criminality — behaviors and actions so terrible that Republicans can’t even argue facts; they have to argue process — they’re not standing with him out of pure political tribalism. No, when Republicans stand with Donald Trump, there’s something OTHER than politics at play — there’s criminal complicity.
That’s the MSM’s giant, economy-sized blind spot. They’re determined to ascribe the GOP’s rabid defense of Trump as Republicans defending their standard-bearer. Well… kinda yes but mostly no — it’s worse. Donald Trump, though not a lifelong Republican (he may have registered as a Democrat but that was political expedience at play, not political ideology), epitomizes Republican “thinking”. It’s all pig at the trough all the time. It’s a cynical approach to the Constitution.
Violating it is a given. The trick is to insist, when caught violating it, that you were following the letter of the law (even as you were raping it).
Republican “thinking” (such as it is) rests on conservative values. Conservative values — as the name says — want to CONSERVE. But conserve WHAT, you may ask? Conserve the future? That’s a contradiction of terms.
Save the present? Okay, we can freeze right now in place. Why would we want to do that? Why are we freezing now and stopping the future from happening? Hmmmmm… is there something in the past that conservatives actually want to conserve?
Indeed there is — there’s something in the past conservatives want to conserve: THE PAST. Conservatives want to make the past our new present and our eternal future. It’s right there in their name. And the past American conservatives want to conserve is the past where THEY — white, Christian men — were the ones in full, unequivocal control. THAT is what conservatives — and therefore Republicans — want to CONSERVE.
So — normally, for Republicans, it IS always about politics and the Republicans’ need to control even how we talk about politics. “Both Sides Do It” journalism is pure Republicanism. They know they’re intentions are corrupt. If they can paint the opposition with the same brush — even if the opposition’s version of corruption is at a fraction of the scale — then “Both Sides Do It”.
Bernie Madoff’s a mega thief who stole billions. Jean Valjean stole bread because of hunger. To the conservative way of thinking, both men are thieves. Both Sides Do It.
Look at how the Republicans are trying to undermine the investigators of THEIR crimes — “It’s the investigators who are criminals! Both sides do it!” Republicans insist. Oh, the irony (both sides don’t do irony by the way).
Trump’s defense of Putin’s criminal behavior? We do it too — Both sides do it!
Quid pro quo? Both sides do it — get over it!
No — both sides DON’T do it and never did. Both sides do NOT commit TREASON to hold onto political power. Both sides do not stand with a man they KNOW FOR A FACT is a traitor.
Republicans do however. And, for once — it ain’t entirely political. In this instance — it’s because they’re CO-CONSPIRATORS. To a whole host of crimes including election fraud, obstruction of justice and treason.
I’ll say it one more time: It AIN’T about politics.
I had a little back-and-forth this morning (using my Mulligan Jesus Twitter account) with the Washington Post’s Philip Bump. Nothing significant. For some reason my tweet annoyed him enough to respond.
I view Bump the way I view most journalists – he’s a guy doing a job, sometimes well, sometimes not. I hold journalists in no particular regard. I’ve worked in show biz most of my life. I honestly don’t care how famous you are if you not doing your job screws with me doing mine.
Like a lot of American journalists — like too, too many of them — Bump refuses to take any responsibility for the way American journalism has covered & still covers Trump. They refuse to see how their relentless normalization of Trump — from “Mexicans are rapists” to “Pussy grabbing” to putting brown children in cages to even claiming the entire Russian investigation is a hoax — has destroyed their ability to report Trump.
Reporters like Bump will insist he’s been objective down the line. Perhaps. But object relative to what? To the actual Truth or to some “truthy” version of Truth?
Bump’s hardly the worst of the worst. Reporters like NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell fill that role. 3+ years in to a president notorious for rarely telling the truth and STILL Kelly O’ reports every word Trump says faithfully — like he was speaking Gospel Truth instead of total, unadulterated bullshit.
I don’t watch the amount of news (mostly MSNBC ) that I do for the “news” (except for “breaking news” — whatever that is), I watch it like a canary in a coal mine, tweeting my head off to warn that the environment is toxic in the extreme. One of the things I tweet about with neurotic intensity is how poorly our press has performed in telling the Trump story.
From the beginning, they’ve treated Trump as if he was a normal candidate and a normal POTUS. He was neither — because Russia was doing everything it could to make Trump POTUS. If we take Russia out of the Trump equation, he would never have made it through the Republican primaries in 2016. Trump is a Russian intel asset. Any discussion or analysis of Trump that doesn’t start there, is nonsense.
What Philip Bump – and most American journalists fail to grasp — is that if i perceive a news source is unreliable, I’m not going to rely on it — or, as with the Washington Post, pay my subscription. Yes, I’m just one customer. But if enough customers like me experience the same failure of faith, the Washington Post will go belly up that much faster.
That I perceive Philip Bump or anyone in our MSM as incompetent or incapable or inept is a problem for them, not me. “Well, you’re wrong,” as Bump tweeted at me (“…thank you for your wise assessment” is how Bump put it), misses the point entirely. My “opinion” is an opinion. It may be mis-informed but it can’t (cos it’s an opinion) be “wrong”.
My opinion is that Philip Bump needs to open his mind to constructive criticism. My opinion is that America’s press has failed to meet its Constitutionally mandated responsibilities. My opinion is that America’s press needs to do better.
It’s bad enough what Donald Trump is doing to the country, the Constitution and the American People. It’s compounded daily by the MSM’s inability to get ahead of this story. Or grasp it at all.
Not only do they report it from behind, they report it from well behind. They’re the clean up crew scraping elephant shit off the street. Literally.
They still have it in their heads that in some way Donald
Trump is a normal president doing normal things. It sounds absurd but our press MUST think
that way because they report him that way.
Take today. Lots and
lots of good, breathless reporting
about the text messages between Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the
European Union, and Kurt Volker, who was until last month the State
Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, to Andriy Yermak, a top aide to
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Those texts are as much a smoking gun
as Nixon’s WH tapes. In this instance
though, the crime goes far beyond a second rate burglary.
This is all about Russia and sanctions and Vladimir Putin’s
hold not only on Trump but the entire Republican Party. It’s all about Trump being a traitor. That word gets used every day now. We all know it’s not hyperbole.
So – as MSNBC and CNN get deeper into this story and its
implications, they put on the table a Donald Trump who clearly, unequivocally
has betrayed his oath of office. But
then – having finished reporting THAT story, they turn to election 2020 – and what
Trump is doing as a candidate for the presidency as if the previous story never
It’s bizarre. One
breath – Trump has betrayed the country and the Constitution so extravagantly
that we’ve just devoted HOURS to report it to you, BUT, next breath – they’re
treating Trump like he was just a guy running for office with all those “guy
running for office” problems. Suddenly,
being a traitor isn’t one of them.
How the hell can that be? Did Trump STOP betraying us all just because the MSM changed story topics? Of course not! Trump travels with all that baggage permanently attached to him. It’s the 900 pound gorilla that though you insist you can’t see is still stinking up the joint.
Voldemort doesn’t stop being Voldemort just because he stops being rotten for two seconds to pay the mortgage.
Bond Villains don’t stop being Bond Villains because
occasionally they need to move their bowels.
Vladimir Putin doesn’t stop wanting to undermine America
just because he makes a joke about it.
Donald Trump doesn’t stop being a traitor just because he
says he isn’t – or the Main Stream News Media goes to commercial break.