A lot of us anticipated the bad horror movie the Trump
presidency would be. It wasn’t exactly rocket science.
Trump was a fraud who was given the maximum benefit of the
doubt by a press both in love with Trump’s fraudulent audacity and in fear of
his retribution. Their inability to
cover this story – from Trump’s overt racism (FFS, they still want to debate
whether or not he even IS a racist) to his overt treason (they still want to go
along with Bill Barr’s lie that the only thing in the Mueller Report are empty
pages) should be a warning to us. We
see, hear and feel our country literally shrinking.
Trump has never run anything bigger or more complex than a
Mom ‘n Pop Money Laundering Shop for the Russian mob. There’s a reason Trump keeps everything crime
Fusion GPS noticed this fact while doing their due diligence
after The Washington Free Beacon hired them to do oppo research on Trump (the
Free Beacon’s owner liked Jeb Bush). Fusion’s
Glenn Simpson testified before Congress that what they uncovered about Trump – getting
ahold of books, magazines, newspapers videos from everyplace thy could including
the public library – motivated them to hire Christopher Steele, former head of
the MI6’s Russia desk.
I remember not so long ago when our constant harping about
Russia got annoyed looks even from friends.
It’s hard to get one’s mind around the enormity of this crime.
I bet the folks living at Pearl Harbor felt kinda the same
way as bombs exploded all around them.
How do you get your mind around being the unfortunate place where the
spear tip punctures the body? They went
to sleep at peace, woke up at war.
Even now – with a shitload of solid evidence staring at us,
we STILL refuse to call Trump the traitor he is. Our news media will give him the benefit of
the doubt till there’s no more left to give.
Then they’ll wonder which Democrat is the most “electable” against him. FFS – a bucket of vomit with a D sharpie’d
onto its side could beat Donald Trump. The
problem is, it’s Russia they’re running against. Take Russia out of the 2016 equation and
Trump never makes it past the primaries.
But Russia did make Trump the winner in 2016. They made a lot of Republicans winners,
too. Those Republicans took a sledgehammer
to the Rule Of Law. That was my blind
spot – the degree to which the whole GOP was well and truly complicit. The Republican Party saw demographic
extinction ahead of them. They’ve had to
steal the last two republican presidencies (W’s and Trump’s). Without gerrymandering, the Republicans would
lose the Congress, too. The only co-equal
branch available to them? The
judiciary. Provided they stole it.
Which (Merrick Garland anyone?) Moscow Mitch McConnell absolutely
did. All those highly rated Obama judges
held up and denied hearings, all those Trump Judges shoved down America’s
The result has been chaotic – of course. But even chaos has advantages over what we’re
being forced to endure. I never saw
children in cages coming. I never saw such blatant lying to Congress
coming. I never saw the love of
I never saw the attrition coming – the way Trump’s constant
lying (now compounded because EVERY Republican now lies) would wear us all down
– and undermine our collective will.
Living in Trumpian times is exhausting.
I’ll answer my own question (it’s why I asked): NADA.
The overwhelming bulk (the perfect word) of the American News Media is happily zooming down the same idiotic, Democracy-destroying path THIS election as they did in 2016. Despite whole mountain ranges of evidence, most of our MSM still refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility for their piss poor 2016 performance.
They still think Donald Trump is just a “different” kind of president.
On their talking head panels, the MSM Talking Heads worry themselves sick about how the Democratic nominee will handle Trump’s bully-in-the-schoolyard tactics. If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton stood up to it. The MSM, on the other hand, not so much.
Trump’s campaign should have been over the instant “Mexicans are rapists” tumbled from his bloated, orange lie hole. How in hell’s name did Trump’s campaign survive that? It wasn’t because Mexicans accepted it — or Democrats. It was because the MSM accepted it. Donald Trump moved past it — and so did they. They stopped asking Trump about it which, to him, meant they’d accepted it as part of “the deal”. That was just who Trump was — a, you know, “different” sort of presidential candidate.
The correct answer remains: “No, he’s not a ‘different’ sort of presidential candidate (there’s no such thing), he’s a RACIST, BIGOTED kind of candidate”.
Since 2016, has the American press gotten better? No — they still ask out loud if Donald Trump is a racist. Like it’s a question.
It isn’t, of course. Which bring me to my next giant bone in need of picking — because it’s another way the press is repeating its past mistakes to our collective detriment. The nature of storytelling is simple. Every scene should add information. Each following scene then builds on the new information — and adds new information of its own. Voila! Storytelling!
The whole mechanism breaks down however when you don’t add the new information to the mix — you kinda toss it aside — and keep returning to Square One as if the new information never existed. It’s a bit like a flat earther seeing irrefutable proof that the world is round — and agreeing with it — then going back to the flat earth way of seeing things as if the proof never existed.
In point of fact, our Main Stream Media has been so damnably lazy about covering Trump, it’s enough to make one a conspiracy theorist. The Truth about who Donald Trump really is is not a mystery. When Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS testified before Congress (one of the earlier hearings where the Republicans were trying to undermine the integrity of ‘The Steele Dossier’), he described Fusions process. Fusion had been hired first b6y the Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. The Beacon’s owners liked them some Jeb Bush.
Step one, Simpson testified, due diligence. Fusion got its hands on every book, magazine article, radio interview, TV show — everything they could — finding it online, in book and video stores — even at the public library. All publicly available material. What Fusion found in that publicly available material that ANYONE (any member of the press could have found themselves) convinced them that Trump had been part of numerous criminal enterprises involving his Atlantic City casinos and the Russian mob.
That was why Fusion GPS hired Chris Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia Desk. His deep background on Russia and Russians was unmatched.
Just wondering: Has anyone in the MSM done even the same due diligence since then?
Has the MSM fully embraced the idea that without Russia, Donald Trump wouldn’t be POTUS? If they haven’t they’re going to have a helluva time making sense of what Russia does in 2020.
To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope for the MSM. I’m not even sure their hearts are all in the right place. I know that with too many of them, their heads are right up their asses.
Failure of imagination is a very real thing. We’re living in its shadow so it must be real.
Remember the fable about the ant and the grasshopper? The Grasshopper’s happy because there’s food
aplenty right now so why not hang out?
Why work like the Ant is — gathering food for the winter? The Grasshopper’s problem isn’t
laziness. When he needs to eat, he’ll go
His problem is he can’t imagine that there’ll be a tomorrow
— and tomorrow, he might NOT have all the food he has now. The Ant almost can’t deal with what
“is” he’s so obsessed with what might be or could be his future.
When the talking heads on pretty much any American cable
news show start yammering away at each other — wondering why, say, Donald
Trump has such a beta dog relationship with Vlad Putin — they’ll entertain the
possibility that they don’t know why it is.
They’ll also entertain the possibility that it’s completely innocent —
so they’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.
But there’s a third very distinct possibility in the mix
that keeps getting short shrift or NO shrift:
Trump kowtows relentlessly to Vladimir Putin because Putin owns him
outright. Though Lawrence O’Donnell was
forced to retract his single-sourced story last night that Trump hides his tax
returns to hide the fact that Russian oligarchs co-signed his Deutsche Bank
loans — it was too soon to report it (that’s what we’ll have to live with
until it’s fully proven) — no one is saying or thinking “Gosh, I wonder
if that means the whole story is screwed up!”
When Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson testified before Congress
(remember when the GOP was trying to undermine every bit of the Steele
Dossier’s integrity?), he described how Fusion, upon being hired to do the oppo
research on Donald Trump (hired, remember by the conservative Washington Free
Beacon, Jeb Bush supporters), they first did their due diligence. They got ahold of everything they could that
even just mentioned Donald Trump in passing.
They got & read every magazine article, newspaper article, saw or
listened to every radio and TV interview.
To find that material, Fusion did what any ONE of us could do all by
ourselves — they bought, rented, borrowed from the library.
What Fusion found, doing its due diligence, convinced them
that Trump had been mixed up with Russian mobsters for years. And, being good journalists by training,
Fusion grokked that if Trump was messing with Russian mobsters, he was likely
dirty as hell.
So, Glenn Simpson testified, they hired Chris Steele to do
the deep dive because no one had the Russian bona fides that Chris Steele had
— he was the Russia desk at MI6.
Steele’s integrity as an investigator was well known to American
investigators including the FBI. The FBI
had hired Steele when they after FIFA’s Sepp Blatter for corruption. They knew Steele was a pro. Everyone did.
That America’s news media still can’t handle the Steele
Dossier — most don’t get how different the intelligence world is from the
“real” world. The idea of
“raw intel” freaks them out because it’s so grey and their world is
so black and white. Intelligence
analysis requires Big Picture thinking.
You have to see what’s there knowing a whole lot of the picture is
missing. You’ll never “see it”
but you’ll need to know what it probably is; you’ll have to IMAGINE IT.
That’s the leap most American journalists can’t seem to
make. Maybe their Normalcy Bias Blinders
are bolted on too tightly.
More likely they simply lack the imagination to think of it
— until it’s already happened or happening.
Then, what a coincidence, it’s the most natural thing in the world to
Our news media’s lack of imagination (best expressed by the
question “What do YOU make of this?”) has metastasized into an
outright cancer. The preponderance of
the evidence says Trump’s a liar — our news media still faithfully report
every word he says without prefacing it with “This is probably a lie but
the POTUS said it so we’re telling YOU what he said”. The preponderance of the evidence says
Trump’s a racist — yet our News Media still asks if Trump is a racist; they’ll
even report him insisting he’s the least racist human on the planet with a
The preponderance of the evidence says Trump’s a rapist and
a thief and a fraud. The preponderance
of the evidence says Trump owes Vlad Putin big.
The preponderance of the evidence says Trump and his whole corrupt
family are traitors.
We will get there — to the Big Reveals. One way or another, we’ll get there. And each time, huge swaths of our News Media
will be shocked to their socks by the revelations. They shouldn’t be shocked.
Dear CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post Et Al — You seem to have a persistent problem reporting on Donald Trump. After all this time and bullshit, you STILL don’t know who he is. Maybe if you pulled back the lens you use to look at him, you’d see that the various different Trumps you report on are all parts of the same “Uber-Trump” where all the horrible Trumps pool into one giant cess pit of corruption.
You can’t seem to grasp that the ludicrous Donald Trump who wants to buy Greenland is the SAME Donald Trump named as an Unindicted Co-Conspirator in court documents for having committed ELECTION FRAUD.
It’s the same Donald Trump who the Mueller Report accuses of persistent Obstruction Of Justice — and whose obstruction didn’t permit a thorough investigation into possible conspiracy (within the narrow scope of stolen data, it’s passage to Wikileaks and Wikileaks’ transmission of said data out into the world as part of a GRU (Russian military intelligence) active measures campaign.
It’s the same Donald Trump who we KNOW had a deep, abiding friendship with pederast Jeffrey Epstein.
It’s the same Donald Trump who — on day one of his campaign — announced his overt racism to the world: “Mexicans are rapists”.
It’s the same Donald Trump who PROUDLY confided in another privileged male that HE was so privileged that he could grab any woman’s pussy — and she’d let him do it.
It’s the same Donald Trump who insisted after a white supremacist mowed down anti-hate protester Heather Heyer that “both sides had good people”.
It’s the same Trump who shared OUR SECRETS with the Russian Ambassador in OUR WHITE HOUSE.
It’s the same Trump who meets privately with Vladimir Putin because he knows — if WE THE PEOPLE knew what HE was saying out of our earshot, we would have him on trial right this second for TREASON.
It’s the same Donald Trump who puts brown children into cages after kidnapping them from their parents — the whole point of the exercising being to dehumanize, brutalize and dis incentivize asylum seekers (many of whom are seeking asylum because of violence caused in their home countries by American drug gangs).
It’s the same Donald Trump who bragged about walking in on GIRLS in their dressing room at a beauty pageant he owned.
It’s the same Donald Trump who cheated on his wife just after she’d given birth to his child.
It’s the same Donald Trump whose own WIFE accused him of raping her.
It’s the same Donald Trump who has lied over 10,000 times (by a conservative count) since literally STEALING the presidency.
It’s the same Donald Trump who would not be POTUS if not for Russia MAKING him POTUS.
These aren’t “different” Donald Trumps (no more than Trump is a “different kind of POTUS” — there’s no such thing. All these Trumps are one and the same with THE Donald Trump — the bloated orange jackal turd who literally STOLE the presidency.
You cannot report on just “one” Donald Trump because that’s not who he is. It’s like reporting on Voldemort as a guy in need of some rhinoplasty.
There’s so much more to Voldemort of course — just as there’s so much more to Donald Trump. If only you (our MSM) had perspective… then you might see Donald Trump for who & especially WHAT he really is — just like Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson (a former WSJ reporter) did when first hired by the RW Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump.
The real Donald Trump has always hidden in plain sight. That our MSM refuses to see him for what he really is — that’s entirely on them.
It physically hurts watching most of our Main Stream News Media grapple with Donald Trump. He’s so much a creature of their making — his entertainer’s DNA is the same as theirs — that they fail to see their own fatal flaws in him.
It’s days/weeks/months/a presidency like this that make me think about Paddy Chayefsky’s brilliant screenplay Network.
If you haven’t seen it, see it! When you remember that Chayefsky wrote it eons before Fox News flared to life in Roger Ailes’ fetid mind (the feature came out in 1976) — a propaganda tool designed from the ground up to stop a Richard Nixon type president from ever getting caught again (that’s right — Roger Ailes believed that had Fox News been around during Nixon’s time, Nixon would never have had to quit) — Network becomes even more visionary.
Chayefsky anticipated the marriage of news and entertainment — and the birth of their Frankenstein Monster-like love child — a wildly out of control noise machine that gleefully blurs the lines between fact and fiction, reality and bullshit, ordered moral rectitude and total Machiavellian chaos. In one extra-brilliant scene, Ned Beatty — playing the Chairman Of The Board — explains “the rules” to renegade anchor man Howard Beale (Oscar winner Peter Finch). This is a wonderful example of “FRAMING”…””
9A5% of our Main Stream News Media cannot “frame” a story to save their lives. To save OUR lives either. We need to remember — so does our Main Stream News Media — that journalists are storyteller first and foremost. News is just the story of what’s happening now and why. Journalists must follow the same rules fictional storytellers play by — if they’re going to be any good at storytelling.
All storytelling begins with framing. It’s storytelling’s “In the beginning…”. Do we frame Hitler (in a story about him) as a good guy or a bad guy? The overwhelming majority of us would probably frame Hitler as the villain regardless of the piece. But a few — white nationalists for instance — would probably frame Hitler as a hero. Framing equals point of view. Whose point of view does a story represent.
If you go and frame a story from Hitler’s point of view — or, say, Donald Trump’s — then things like Jew hatred to the point of causing a Holocaust or caging Latino babies at our southern border — then outright evil doesn’t seem so… “evil”. Evil gets normalized. Not all at once — but enough so that the next evil act plays to a collective psyche that accepts a certain amount of evil as “just how things are”. No, they’re NOT how things are.
Framing begins with what you know and what you can legitimately believe based on the preponderance of evidence. Donald Trump is a liar. Donald Trump is a money launderer. Donald Trump is a fraud. Donald Trump is a bully. Donald Trump is a racist. Donald Trump is a rapist. Donald Trump is a traitor. One could legitimately frame any story about Donald Trump from any one of these points of view — and successfully tell a NEWS story.
One could NOT (for comparison’s sake) frame a story from the point of view that Donald Trump is an honest actor who believes every word he reads off a teleprompter. That story would be demonstrably false even as you told it. And yet — our Main Stream News Media persists in framing the Donald Trump story from that very perspective: that Donald Trump is a normal person and a normal president. Sorry — I got that slightly wrong: they frame Trump as a “different kind of potus” who “expresses himself directly”.
Allow me to translate from the bullshit — “Trump’s a chaos agent and we have no idea how to report on him”. There’s no such thing as “different”. A journalist reporting that a politician is “different” because he ignores all rules and norms is a lazy journalist. “Why” are they different? “What do you mean exactly by ‘different’?” To call Donald Trump “different” is to frame Trump from the point of view of bullshit. It helps no one — except Donald Trump.
And that — right there — is the problem. When you frame a story from the point of view of, say, a villain — you see the world through the villain’s eyes. You empathize with the villain and see their goals as our goals. You normalize evil and make it not only respectable but desirable.
The Poster Girl for this rancid brand of un-journalism is NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell.
I’m sure Kelly’s a lovely person. I’m sure she’s a wonderful friend — she seems very empathetic. But she lacks critical faculties. She’s no more discerning of the Truth than an open microphone. Kelly happily reports everything Trump says from her White House beat as if Donald Trump was a tower of integrity whose every word was his bond.
FFS, Kelly — when we look back at this period a few years from now (provided we’re not all living in a gulag or a mass grave), we’ll look squarely at the Fourth Estate and their many profound failings. Journalists are the only job mentioned specifically in the Constitution. They are obligated to be our final check on power.
But a check that frames stories from the point of view of the things it’s supposed to be checking cannot check shit. It surrenders the necessary perspective the moment it starts reporting. Any story about Trump that doesn’t immediately frame Trump as a liar is a lie itself — how can it not be? It’s telling the liar’s lie for him. carrying his lying water wherever he wants it carried.
This isn’t hard to fix. Gaining perspective is as easy as stepping back from a story and allowing yourself to see all the great details you’ve uncovered in the largest possible context — so that you can see, evaluate and appreciate how your small cogs work as part of the larger wheel. I think of NBC’s number cruncher Steve Kornacki.
I’m sure Steve’s a lovely person, fun to lunch with. And he’s bright, too. I’ll give him that. But bright without perspective is less bright than it could be. Than it SHOULD BE. Steve Kornacki can tell you everything you want to know about a grain of sand — so long as we’re only talking about that one grain. Does that grain of sand live on the beach at Malibu or smack in the center of the Sahara Desert? Steve can’t tell you that.
He can only frame the grain of sand’s story from the grain of sand’s point of view. That is only part of its story unfortunately.
We need our news media to report the WHOLE Trump story every time out of the gate. We need them to see Donald Trump the way Fusion GPS saw Trump. Fusion, you’ll recall, was the research entity hired by the Washington Free Beacon then (through intermediaries) the Hillary Clinton campaign to learn all the could about Trump — through legitimate means. Fusion (as principle Glenn Simpson testified to Congress), upon being hired, started the job by doing its due diligence. They got ahold of every bit of publicly available material concerning Trump. Books, magazines, video, radio, internet. They bought from Amazon, browsed book stores & magazine racks and even went to the public library. What they found in publicly available material so convinced them that Trump had used his Atlantic City casinos to launder Russian Mob money that they hired former MI6 Russia desk guru Christopher Steele. Steele had the best sources inside Russia.
Fusion, in its report to its clients, framed Trump from the widest possible perspective. That perspective saw Trump as a criminal.
There is nothing whatsoever — still, to this very day — stopping America’s Main Stream News Media from doing the exact same due diligence.
It’s a little late now, of course. CNN & MSNBC (and all the rest) could easily have done this back when Trump was insisting that Mexicans are rapists. Perhaps if our Main Stream News Media HAD done that, there wouldn’t be a pile of dead Mexican bodies right now in El Paso.
When our MSM mis-frames stories, it isn’t just bad storytelling, it’s toxic to our Democracy.
Living inside a slow motion train wreck is wearing us out. We can see the catastrophe we’re heading toward. We can see what’s driving us there. But we can’t seem to find where the brakes are — or how to put our foot on them. A big part of what makes the experience so agonizing is the empty-headed way most of the news media has reported and continues to report this story.
Granted — we’ve never had a president before whose election would never have happened if not for the direct actions of a hostile foreign power — our main nemesis no less. Granted, we’ve never had a political party seemingly without any sort of moral compass whatsoever — whose sole mission is to get and hold power forever regardless of the fact that they are a shrinking minority. Granted we’ve never lived through a cyber war before.
The fact that none of those things have happened before should inform how we see, think of and report TrumpWorld. One way — the way our news media did it — is to shrug it all off with “he’s a different kind of potus”. He “speaks his mind directly”. He “goes with his gut”. That is all bullshit. There’s no such thing as “just different”. There’s a reason under-girding “different”: Donald Trump (like the rest of his family) is a CRIMINAL.
On November 14, 2017, Glenn Simpson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Republicans — in total control of Congress at the time, remember — were trying to undermine the integrity of The Steele Dossier. They wanted to show that Fusion was biased; after the Washington Free Beacon stopped paying for Fusion’s research (March 2016), the law firm Perkins Coie, on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, retained Fusion to continue digging into Trump. But Simpson’s story didn’t go along with the GOP’s bogus narrative.
Simpson testified that the first thing Fusion did was its due diligence: they got their hands on every bit of publicly available material on Donald Trump. They got ahold of every book, magazine or newspaper article, every radio or TV interview. They went to public libraries, scoured book stores and the internet. They looked at everything they could — and what they saw clearly in that publicly available material convinced them that there was enough evidence of Trumpian criminality (money laundering especially via his failed casinos) that it warranted hiring Christopher Steele to do further research.
Chris Steele’s bona fides were equally rock solid. He ran MI6’s Russia desk because he had rock solid contacts in Russia. No one in this part of the equation was doing anything nefarious. They were concerned professionals who’d stumbled upon some terrible truths — and wanted to know HOW true they were.
Fusion GPS and Chris Steele would both get A’s if we were grading them. Well-deserved A’s.
Everything I just wrote is true. It all exists in the public record. I’m just a guy tapping away on his keyboard. The American news media is supposed to be in the business of doing this as part of its standard operating procedure. Doing research should be as automatic as breathing to a journalist. That’s research on both the micro and macro levels. As much as journalists need to get all the deep-down details they can, they need to contextualize those details.
It’s all very good to know everything about one grain of sand. That knowledge becomes almost useless however if you’ve no idea on what beach — in what country, on what continent — that grain of sand sits. Our news media suffers from that exact lack of perspective. They love to bore in on the poll numbers (as useless as they are this far out) and the horse race even as the race track burns down around them.
The main culprit — no revelation of course — “both sides do it” journalism. When every opinion has to be met with its diametric opposite (regardless of its actual validity), bullshit gets a place on the talking heads panel. Perfect example — climate change. When the MSM puts a climate scientist next to a climate denier on its air — in a 50-50 shot, they are making the false (visual) statement that these two positions are total equals. It doesn’t matter how much bullshit the climate denier spews, it will play as legitimate — because that’s how the visual language works.
When two unequal points of view get reported as equal, a false narrative begins — and begins by completely mis-framing our political debate on the subject. No wonder nothing gets solved. We’re always focused on problems that don’t actually exist.
Instead of informing its audience, our news media continues to obscure the truth. They seem incapable of adding information as they get it — then using that new information to expand our knowledge base — which they should use to continue building the story. But our MSM never adds information to the knowledge base. They keep ignoring what they know in favor of what they knew. They keep going back, in essence, to Square One.
Lack of perspective is one thing — willfulness to avoid having perspective is malpractice. How do you explain a Kelly O’Donnell? NBC’s White House reporter, Kelly’s not an amateur. She’s been working a long time as a journalist. And yet… Watch any of her stand-up — any — and Kelly will demonstrate a shocking lack of perspective. She reports what Donald Trump says as if you could take every word to the bank.
We know that’s not true. But there’s Kelly — steno pooling whatever Trump said as if it formed the basis for how we should think of the world — never mind that it was framed by a liar, a thief, a traitor.
Kelly’s not alone. That’s the massive problem. There are isolated journalists doing yeoman’s work everyday to try and enlighten their own fellow journalists as well as the larger audience. It’s physically painful to watch a Chris Matthews talk over David Corn because Chris can’t see the bigger, darker picture David is talking about. Chris still thinks — all evidence to the contrary — that Trump has a strategy — that he’s every bit the master of industry Mark Burnett says he is.
It physically hurts, I tell ya.
What won’t hurt is giving the MSM the grades it deserves. We’ll accept that the “good ones” will have been filtered out. Joy Reid gets a good grade. Rachel Maddow does and Lawrence O’Donnell. Ari Melber flirts with good grades but he has a bad habit of asking “benefit of the doubt” questions that flirt with absurdity. That only ever gives bullshit credence — it’s a bad habit, Ari. Trust me on this.
The valedictorian of the class — A+ all the way — is Nicolle Wallace. Her show Deadline White House is consistently smart, biting, deeply skeptical and funny. The big irony — Nicolle was a lifelong Republican until the Trump Age. Her fidelity to Truth in the Trump Age gives me hope. It pains me however when Nicolle hands MSNBC’s air over to Chuck Todd.
Then I’m reminded — the whole rest of the class gets an “F”. A giant “F” — for failure… and feckless… and futile… and flawed… and “for what?”
If you want to be journalists, BE JOURNALISTS. If you just like being on television — go away. Let me revise that: Take your “F” and go away.
I should be sympathetic to our over-burdened Mainstream News Media. How do you cover a story that’s always in Breaking News mode? Maybe part of the reason the story’s always IN Breaking News mode is because the American News Media lack the perspective to see the picture their dots are connecting until the very last dot gets joined in. “Oh, hey, look — It’s an elephant!
If CNN or MSNBC (broadcast news media show significantly less perspective than their print journalism) had been able to connect the dots about Donald Trump sooner, the Republic might have been spared this extended moment of Imminent Demise. We literally teeter on the precipice because our News Media 1) accepted and normalized Donald Trump’s racism, sexism and bigotry, 2) refused until it was undeniable that Donald Trump had an unsavory relationship with Russia, 3) remain blind to the possibility that the GOP’s loyalty to Trump has less to do with party & more to do with all the Russian money they’ve taken in (plus the likelihood that there’s blackmail aplenty keeping them in line), and 4) suffer from an extreme case of normalcy bias that blinds the MSM to how much THEY themselves have normalized what should never have been normalized.
It’s not that all the pieces haven’t been there. Fusion GPS was the business intelligence firm (run by former Wall Street Journal writers) that got hired (initially by the conservative Washington Free Beacon) to do opposition research on Donald Trump (the Free Beacon’s owner was a Jeb Bush supporter), the first thing they did, according to Fusion founder Glenn Simpson in his Congressional testimony was their due diligence. They got ahold of every piece of publicly available material on Trump. They went to libraries. Spent money on Amazon. They watched video and listened to radio appearances. What Fusion found — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was a criminal who’d laundered Russian mob money for years. So, Simpson testified, he contacted Chris Steele — the former head of MI6’s Russia desk.
Any of the rest of the American press could have done similar due diligence. Having that info at their fingertips would surely have informed their reporting. Donald Trump was never a “different” president (a ludicrous assertion to begin with; no one – NO ONE – does things because they’re “different”), he was and is a criminal. Criminality and the desire not to get caught were and remain his motivations.
Seen from thirty thousand feet (a favorite media expression), the picture the dots form (should) become apparent. Yet the overwhelming majority of American journalists still seem incapable of imagining such a view. In part, I suspect, it’s because they get so focused in on the story they were covering; that’s a very good thing.
But then they forget that their story isn’t THE story, it’s part of a much larger story — with connections to lots of other stories. Maybe a better analogy would be a mosaic. Journalists like MSNBC’s Ken Dilanian bore in so deeply into their PIECE of the mosaic that they can no longer see that it’s just a piece of a larger picture — and that the unknowns inside his story can be understood IF seen in the context of the larger picture.
The Ken Dilanian’s of the journalistic world won’t commit to anything unless the gun is smoking still. On the one hand, it’s a solid journalistic practice. Ah, but — Ken won’t draw any conclusions until all the dots are connected, i’s dotted, t’s crossed and every last doubt put to bed. What if he’s wrong?
It’s true — sometimes you can never see the actual proof that a thing is — seeing the thing itself. Sometimes you have to discern the truth from the indications being given off by everything around it. Take our first-ever “snapshot” of a black hole…
It’s a remarkable accomplishment — this image. But the thing about it is, we STILL can’t “see” the black hole itself. We can’t because light can’t escape the black hole. All we can see are the particles approaching the black hole’s event horizon. As the particles speed up, they heat up. We’re seeing the light those particles emitted as they flowed to their own destruction 85 million years ago. We’re seeing the black hole’s event horizon — and NOT the black hole itself.
The black hole’s presence has to be inferred from the data surrounding it.
To leap back to earth — Donald Trump’s treason can be inferred from all the data surrounding IT. Or, as I like to think of it —