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.
This shouldn’t be rocket science (yet it is to our MSM): giving a liar the benefit of the doubt tells the liar his lies are working.
For some reason – perhaps because their Normalization Blinders are bolted on too tightly again – our MSM persists in repeating Donald Trump’s words as if they COULD be true. Do they figure that “just because” those words flowed from the bloated orange gob of the shit-gibbon currently occupying the White House that there’s the remote chance they could be true? I guess that “could” be possible – but considering the Washington Post has counted over 12,000 lies so far – it makes giving a liar that obvious the benefit of the doubt look… the word “stupid” shoves its way to the front of the line like Donald Trump at a meeting of world leaders.
And yet, there are STILL “journalists” convinced that at any
second Donald Trump will “pivot” and become “presidential”.
The ache for normalcy is that strong.
The problem is, giving known liars and criminals any benefit
of any doubt 1) encourages them to keep doing what they’re doing and 2) it
normalizes their lies, making it (as so many in the MSM still report “different”
rather than, say corrupt or dishonest or lying.
Asking “But, what if…” may seem like a fair and balanced
question if not for the context. Context is everything. “But what if the Big, Bad Wolf decides he’s not
hungry enough to eat Red Riding Hood right this second, (having already chowed
down on Grandma)?”
Ever meet a guy with 96% of his integrity intact? “Yeah — he’s pretty honest most of the time… it’s that 4% where he’s a goddamned liar that’s the problem” is not a sentence one hears often. There’s a reason.
Integrity either is or it isn’t. There’s no middle ground, no grey area. In fact, there’s no grey area anywhere near Integrity’s zip code.
We’re all born equal where Integrity’s concerned: we all get 100% at birth. It’s entirely up to us what we do with it. Treat people with respect (“Do Unto Others is how Jesus put it) and you’re likely to keep your Integrity at 100% your whole life. Make a habit of screwing people over and people will quickly realize that you’re a dishonest shit not worth their time.
Republicans are people who somehow got it in their heads that there IS an Integrity grey area. This is something they told themselves, being corrupt. Republicans still think (apparently) that their continuing association with every Trumpian abuse of our Republic won’t haunt them when Donald Trump is long in our rear view mirror.
They could not be more wrong.
Having no Integrity, it wasn’t hard for Republicans to bust a cap in The Rule Of Law’s noggin. Just like with Integrity, the Rule Of Law can’t live in any middle ground. The Rule Of Law must either “be” or “not be”.
Our problem started the instant we turned a blind eye to the smallest violation of The Rule Of Law. To not enforce is to move the goal posts. What should have remained illegal has now been granted “don’t bother with it” status. Who made such a decision — and why? The Rule Of Law didn’t make it. It violates The Rule Of Law right on its face.
What really exacerbates our problem is this — our Main Stream News Media have repeatedly normalized behaviors and flat out corruption that should have set their heads ablaze. Instead, they eventually let every last Trumpian outrage (illegal ones included) go. And each time they let go and looked toward Trump’s next sparkly object, they paid for it. More importantly, We The People paid for it.
When — it’s not an “if” — we manage to get The Rule Of Law back up onto its feet, we may be shocked by how cruel The Rule Of Law seems. a Shitload of Republicans will have to be punished — including Republicans who eventually came around (talking to YOU, Joe Walsh). Those Republicans that had so much as an inkling what Trump & the GOP were up to (especially as it concerns quid-pro-quoing sanctions) need to be punished because The Rule Of Law says you report shit like that to the Proper Authorities — the FBI, for instance.
We have to be firm though in seeing that The Rule Of Law is carried out to its very letter even if people we like get swept up in its execution.
If we saw The Rule Of Law any differently, it would mean we had zero Integrity.
A lot of us have eaten through our stomach linings waiting for Nancy Pelosi to come onboard with impeachment.
On the one hand, how many times does Donald Trump have to violate his oath of office to warrant being held accountable for it? On the other, this is virgin territory: a traitor president beholden to a very hostile foreign power and his equally treasonous political party obstructing justice because they’re complicit while the Main Stream News Media gawps at the whole mess, unable to make sense of it because they can’t imagine the very story they’re supposed to be reporting.
For all their years and experience, Nancy Pelosi nor any Democrat can claim to be relying on experience as they deal with the ongoing crisis that is Donald Trump. None of us has been here before. Anyone looking to the past for answers to this is an idiot. I suspect that what’s driven Madame Speaker’s reticence so far isn’t lack of desire to impeach or lack of will, it’s the stone, cold knowledge of what even beginning the impeachment process will unleash on us all.
I bet Speaker Pelosi knows that a significant chunk of this country simply will not accept the truth about Donald Trump. Their fear of losing white cultural hegemony is so strong and so acute that they will almost certainly become openly seditious. It’s entirely possible that, anticipating this, Speaker Pelosi has sought to make her case to all those people in the fuzzy middle who always need extra convincing to do the right thing).
Or, maybe, alternatively, Speaker Pelosi — having access to more docs & secrets than we realize — has anticipated that timing how & when the big bombs drop could lead not only to Trump’s impeachment in the House, but actual conviction in the Republican-controlled senate. Either Republicans will have to (finally) do the right thing or stand in the glare of explaining their own treason-y attitudes.
I experienced a proud moment about a year ago. I was visiting the East Coast & got to spend some quality time w a niece who works for the government and has a security clearance. She pitched me an idea — how Nancy Pelosi could become POTUS — which I ten tweeted. That tweet, strangely, found its way onto MSNBC’s air as a nutty but cool “What if…?” tossed in at the end of an hour to close it out on a lighter note.
Pelosi’s path is simple and straightforward. Trump gets impeached & convicted and so does Mike Pence. There is no way in hell that Mike Pence becomes POTUS. Remember — Paul Manafort brought Mike Pence to the VP table. Manafort was a criminal working with Russian criminals in order to circumvent the voting will of the American people. Does anyone with the least bit of critical thinking skill not grasp that the LAST person a criminal like Manafort would want to bring into their very criminal tent would be a goody-two-shoes who’d rat them all out the instant he heard Russia was helping Trump win?
Mike Pence is compromised. Deeply. Madame Speaker already knows that, I bet. She may even be anticipating Pence trying to pardon Trump et al if ever he got to be POTUS. Mike Pence can get no closer to being president than his pecker ever gets to a woman (Mother especially). Any move to impeach Trump will have to also impeach Mike Pence.
As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi is third in line of presidential succession. She knows that. She knows how angry a President Pelosi will make some crazy RW-ers. Angry and dangerous. She knows, too, I bet, that if she gets handed the presidency via impeachment and conviction, there will be a backlash — undeserved but inevitable.
We’ve still only just scratched the surface of this epic shit show. I hope our stomachs can take what’s coming.
Let’s try and make this simple. Love is complex but it should never be complicated because the act of loving, itself, is simple (regardless of how complicated some people make it). Same token — the Trump-Russia story. It’s staggeringly complex with a million moving parts and (by design) lots of layers to make connecting all the dots challenging if not impossible.
But the motivations underlying the Trump-Russia story are NOT complicated. It all comes down to GREED.
Nothing complicated about greed.
Vladimir Putin might just be the richest man in the world. That, apparently , is not good enough. He also carries grudges. Being a former cold warrior, Vlad’s been licking his wounds since his beloved Soviet Union bit the dust. Putin grew up a Soviet but a Russian Nationalist first. His dream — restore Greater Russia to its glory years.
There’s another facet to Putin (because he’s a complex character though a simple man: religion. Though he grew up, in theory, a godless communist, Putin sees the Russian Orthodox Church as an essential component of All Things Russian. As this piece from the Catholic Herald pointed out in 2015, “In his speeches [Putin] presents himself as defender of Christian values abandoned by the degenerate West… More recently the president has presented himself in a new role – as the potential saviour of Middle Eastern Christians.” The man thinks he’s a bloody crusader taking back the Holy Land from the filthy Moor.
So — WHY Putin would attack us — 1) National Pride, 2) Religion, and 3) Greed. See? Simple. Complex but simple.
Putin’s a spy by nature. He understands how to run intelligence ops. He knows you need to layer relationships and targets so as to create as much deniability as possible. The espionage world is extremely complex. But its goals are always very very simple. Uncomplicated.
Donald Trump was born a greedy pig and a sociopath. He grew up unloved by a racist, criminal father and a cold mother. He has no capacity for empathy — none. That makes Trump another complex character with uncomplicated motivations. Greed, lust, more greed. Donald Trump is that simple.
The Trump-Russia story has layers of complexity to it. But each layer is uncomplicated. Trump wants a Trump Tower Moscow. He’s been laundering money for Russian mobsters forever (the whole point of his casinos) because Trump is a criminal on pretty much every level. Simple.
Putin wants revenge. He wants all the sanctions lifted. He wanted them lifted especially while Rex Tillerson was still Secretary of State (the whole point of moving Tillerson from Exxon-Mobil to State was so that America would help Putin get richer by pumping his gas for him.
Mitch McConnell wants power and money. He, too, is owned by Russia (having taken millions from them into his PAC). Mitch is also owned by he big RW donors — especially the Kochs & Mercers. They wanted Mitch to hijack the judiciary from Obama — and he did.
The RW money wants to create permanent minority rule because they see that white, Christian male hegemony is over. If White, Christian men want to hold onto power in America, they’re going to have to cheat to keep it. Hello, voter suppression and gerrymandering — all meant to circumvent the will of the majority.
Nothing here — motive-wise — is complicated — as complex as it is.
And yet — our Main Stream News Media cannot seem to tell this story… can’t seem to figure it out. They can’t even decide for themselves if he’s a racist — they keep asking whether or not he is. Wait till they really have to wonder aloud if Trump is a traitor.
That sound you hear is their heads exploding — in the future.
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.