The Widdershins


Posted on: November 30, 2016


Let’s face it, it’s not as if The Media has ever really been entirely a responsible being. Yellow Journalism has always existed and often some of it has been controlled by the rotten likes of William Randolph Hearst. But today’s public trust of The Media (“Lamestream!” and otherwise) is down to 32%. This is down from its highest rating of 72% in 1976. Frankly, I’m surprised the current number is as high as 32%. We have watched The Media descend into a bloody feeding frenzy of click-bait headlines (BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation) and ratings-grabbing reality TV style programming. Everything on CNN is BREAKING NEWS! All the time!!!!!! Even when all they’re showing is a bear that broke into some lady’s fridge and ate all her fish or a Trump rally without any editing or commentary. BREAKING NEWS! I suppose it’s possible that at any moment the bear will start singing “Hallelujah!” and Trump will say something reasonable, which would indeed be Breaking News!  Alas, the headlines often turn out to be false (no, half of those Clinton met did not give money to Clinton Foundation) and the coverage lacking in integrity (Trump never did say anything reasonable), and all we have is a broken news media to show for it.


While HRC’s relationship with the media is known to be controversial, it’s Trump’s relationship with the media that they should have been worried about. They allowed themselves get locked up in pens at Trump’s rallies, listened to Trump taunt them from the stage, especially female reporters (NBC’s Katy Tur received multiple public shellackings and at one point needed Secret Service to escort her to her car from a rally because she no longer felt safe from Trump’s supporters,) got physically assaulted at Trump rallies and heard Trump’s constant threats that he will sue one media outlet or another for coverage he doesn’t like by expanding libel laws. But all they worried about were Hillary Clinton’s press conferences. This was big big news for weeks, yuuuge news.  Even though Clinton always travelled with the full press pool and spoke to them daily and gave individual interviews, they were really worried about press conferences.  It was Breaking News for weeks! Well, fast forward and Trump hasn’t held a press conference since July. And he dodges the press pool altogether as President-Elect (vomit) when he wants to because, well, why wouldn’t he! The Media is annoyed now. Maybe Trump doesn’t like them as much as they thought? SAD!

Trump’s two years worth of attacks on the press and their integrity should have given them a clue that perhaps Trump was not their friend. But they only seem to have gotten a clue when the President-Elect (barf) invited them to an off-the-record meeting at Isengard Trump Tower. The brightest stars of TV news came out. George Stephanopoulos and Wolf Blitzer were there, and there’s David Muir and Charlie Rose! And look, it’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt! And head of CNN Jeff Zucker, the man who was head of NBC when Trump started firing people for ratings. They ran to this thing like it was an orgy.  And then it turned into an execution. “It was like a fucking firing squad!” was how one person inside characterized it.  (There’s shooting at both orgies and executions, so I can see how everybody got their signals mixed.)


Does my suit match the gold decor?

Trump apparently said: “’We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,’” This is all allegedly because the meeting was off-the-record. So The Media isn’t commenting. But you can bet your pattootie Trump’s people were the ones who leaked this to the NY Post within minutes. The headlines from Breitbart and Drudge were appropriately gleeful. “Baghdad Kellyanne” Conway, everybody’s favorite contrarian, argued things weren’t as intense as all that. “… no he did not explode in anger. He’s the president-elect. He won … winning solves a lot of problems. Winning makes a lot of statements.” (Yes, yes it does Baghdad Kellyanne. Lots of statements have been made, though I wonder what Baghdad Kellyanne thinks the statements are when HRC is winning the popular vote by 2,000,000 and counting. What statement does that make Baghdad Kellyanne? Kellyanne? Bueller?)


Just 3 best buds hanging out, nothing to see here, ok bye!

I wonder what the hallowed names of TV news like Rose, Blitzer and Holt think when the President-Elect (vomit) of the United States calls them liars to their face when they’ve tried to use every word except “liar” when covering Drumpf’s lies.When Trump tells Zucker in person “I hate your network. Everyone at CNN is a liar, and you should be ashamed.” What does Zucker, who employed journalist-assaulting Corey Lewandowski as a commentator while Lewandowski remained on Trump’s payroll, what does Zucker think? (He doesn’t think anything of it, actually). Did Zucker know Lewandowski and Kellyanne Conway were still working together throughout the campaign? Conway tweeted a photo of herself, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks and Lewandowski, 4 days before the election with the tag: “Team Work.” Hmm…. Jeffrey, Jeffrey, Jeffrey. What does Jeffrey think? I think we have two options. Either Zucker is an idiot or he knows exactly what is happening and is ok with it because CNN is making big boatloads of money off their Trump coverage. About a billion dollars worth. CBS head honcho Les Moonves said: “”It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS…The money’s rolling in and this is fun.”  I hope everybody is having as much fun as Zucker and Moonves!


Donny Drumpf and CNN’s Jeff Zucker, just a coupla buds LOLing

So with our illustrious TV news anchors and executives executed neutered by the President-Elect (vomit) – what do we have left? I’d say we can expect nothing from the boob tube, it has truly been boobified beyond repair, Lamestream to infinity. I’m afraid print journalism is our only hope. The NY Times, so flawed in so many ways (it’s hard to like a newspaper that continued to employ Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd… though they also still employ Paul Krugman.) Anyway, the Times also met with Drumpf, but they insisted that the meeting be on-the-record. Drumpf, still fresh off the TV Media massacre of 2016, attacked the “failing NY Times” on Twitter, cancelled the meeting, then re-scheduled it again. All in a matter of hours. Classic Trump! (Does anyone else think he’ll order the launch of a nuke, then change his mind? Will he change it quickly enough to cancel the nuke? Can a nuke be cancelled after it’s been launched? Stay tuned, it will be covered on Breaking News!) Then when Drumpf finally met with the failing NY Times, he said: “I just appreciate the meeting and I have great respect for The New York Times. Tremendous respect. It’s very special. Always has been very special.” He then called them “a jewel.” (Charles Blow was having none of it.  He refused to attend the meeting with Drumpf and then wrote in an op-ed: “You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.”  Anybody care to guess what Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd thinks?) I wonder if the Times meeting being recorded had anything to do with Drumpf’s fawning tone vs. the off-the-record TV luminaries meeting where he told them all to just go ahead and die? All I know is Drumpf is already up to #7 of this handy “Despots and the Media” Guide. He’s already making his own videos, bypassing the media altogether. Kind of like those videos Osama bin Laden used to make. In the meantime I can’t wait for Trump’s next Tweet about the failing NY Times. It will be tremendous.


# 1 – 7:  Done

Christiane Amanpour, accepting the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at the Committee To Protect Journalists ceremony, delivered a blistering speech directed at fellow journalists. She had a lot of great things to say about The Media, its failures in the 2016 election, and what it must do to redeem itself.

So I feel that right now we face an existential crisis. A real threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession. Now, more than ever, I genuinely believe that we need to recommit to real reporting across a real nation and a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril….

Never equate victim and aggressor. Never create a false moral or factual equivalence. Because then, if you do, particularly in situations like that, you are party and accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

So I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth. We have to be prepared to fight, especially hard, right now, for the truth, because this is a world where the Oxford English dictionary just last week announced its word for 2016, and that is, ‘post-truth’.

What’s on your mind Widdershins?  Do you love The Media as much as it loves you?  This is an open thread.


31 Responses to "BREAKING (BROKEN) NEWS"

Very interesting article from Yglesias. He says something we already knew: many Trump supporters know he’s a corrupt liar – they just don’t care. So Yglesias offers advice on how to deal with him, using Berlusconi as an example. Is he right?

Yes, the media has failed us but so has our citizenry. Social networking is their be all and end all. They don’t question or analyze or compare facts or opinions. Is it truth or lies, who cares? if you don’t entertain me or excite me or shock me or hurt someone who is not me, I’m bored. I really see little hope at this point. To me, Hillary was our last chance at redemption as a nation and even then it would have been a long shot. If it weren’t for sites like this one, I probably wouldn’t get out of bed! So please rage on….

Great posts DYB!

Excellent post DYB!!

I’ll be back later to comment further.

Congrats on your first post. 🙂

@1: I loved this from the Vox/Yglesias piece discussing CNN:

a cable network that sidelined its regular stable of conservative pundits during the 2016 campaign in favor of a new crop of Trump-boosting specialists that including a former Trump campaign manager who was literally still cashing Trump’s checks during most of his tenure as a political commentator.

And that, in a nutshell is why I basically stopped watching any cable news, whether CNN, MSNBC (esp. Schmoe), or even the former Big 3 network news shows. They have nothing to say that I’m interested in hearing.

Great post DYB.

I’m gonna have to steal Baghdad Kellyanne and Maureen “Rita Skeeter” Dowd. Great takedowns!

I’m so over the media. I can’t even begin to explain. The white male privilege that is so evident now tells us we just don’t understand the poor, under-represented, under-educated, put upon, ever virtuous, working class MALES. Give me a effing break!

If our world, going forward, is going to continue to be designed to ignore women, the ascendant classes, the creatives, and the tolerant, count me OUT. I want no part of it.

@1, I had that Yglesias article bookmarked. It is excellent. What he says is correct — when it comes to policy the Trumpanzee will be lost and unable to answer the needs of the many.

What Dems need to be prepared to do is surreptitiously remind the pitchfork brigade that the Yam is backing away from his promises and landscaping the swamp instead of draining it.

I’m planning on writing about this on Friday.

Was just on the subway with Rachel Madcow, I mean Maddow. She looks really mean.

@7: LOL! Lovable Rachel??

Hey DYB, did you get the email I sent you?

@8> Yes I did. I know Julian Edelman, that is enough!

DYB, excellent post! Really enjoyed it and read most of it out loud to the fam. We agree with all of it. I personally blame the rethugs first, but the media a close second. Then Jill Nader and Gary Nader for not telling their nitwits to vote Hillary in the swings, and said nitwits for not voting for Hillary in the swings. Hope that makes sense.

DYB wrote:

I’d say we can expect nothing from the boob tube, it has truly been boobified beyond repair, Lamestream to infinity. I’m afraid print journalism is our only hope.

I would agree except to say I expect very little from the “traditional” print media. I think the NYT and WaPo are just about useless. Perhaps maybe Vox, Mother Jones and similar organizations are about the only ones we can really have much faith in.

Of course, just my opinion on it.

@7, LOL!

@2, well said, Cats!

@9: LOL!!! I enjoy reading Kenneth’s blog. I check it out a couple of times a week.

@10> Yes makes sense!

@11> I think WaPo did some of the best Trump reporting during the election (granted, the pickings are slim). They had one reporter, David Fahrenthold, basically doing the only real investigating of Trump, including breaking the “pussy grabbing” story after NBC stalled it for reasons that only make sense to NBC. And NYTimes published the taxes story and recently had the Trump businesses story. But of course, it’s always balanced by nonsense. So we’re stuck. But we really don’t have many choices. They have the investigative journalists that most other outlets do not have budgets for. And occasionally they still do good work, or at least we can hope they still do good work going forward.

Vox has been doing good work, I agree.

@2> Truer words than “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” have never been spoken about the media. (When Maximus yells it to the crowds in the Colosseum after a particularly brutal fight in “Gladiator.”)

How do people feel about ProPublica? I’m not too familiar with them…

@14: I think Fahrenthold is the exception there.

I dunno…I get that Daily 202 from WaPo in my email and during the campaign it just appeared to be so anti-Hillary. I got to the point I would just look the thing over quickly and delete it.

Oh and I forgot that there’s been some good reporting from The Daily Beast also.

@16: I’ve read some good investigative pieces from ProPublica but they weren’t national politics pieces.

Speaking of WaPo, they published an Op-ed saying that it’s dangerous for Trump to surround himself with as many general as he wants to because having that much brass starts to put into danger the concept of an a-political military… I hadn’t thought of that. There’s something else for us to chew on.

Was extremely disappointed in NYT & Wapo, with the exceptions of Krugman and Fahrenthold. They have always been considered to be the pinnacle of American journalism and I feel that they really failed. I hardly ever click on them. I was surprised that Time & Newsweek seemed more likely to take on Dump, especially that guy at Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald? I enjoy his tweets also. Its been a long time since I took Time & Newsweek seriously; although I read them both religiously when I was young. I like Vox, and Daily Kos also.

Trump makes a “victory tour” to the Carrier a/c plant in Indy to claim credit for saving jobs there. Except, not so much.

In an early victory for Trump before he takes office on Jan. 20, Carrier said this week it agreed to keep more than 1,000 jobs at the plant and at its headquarters, while still planning to move more than 1,000 other U.S. jobs to Mexico

Oh and the reason they are keeping those jobs?

Carrier confirmed that Indiana agreed to give the company $7 million in tax incentives. A source briefed on the matter said the tax incentives are over 10 years and the company has agreed to invest $16 million in the state, which is run by Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s vice president-elect.

And the unmentioned part of the story not covered on MSNBC/Schmoe today:

But Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N),
still plans to move 600 jobs from the plant to Mexico, the Wall Street Journal said. Reuters reported earlier this week Carrier also still intends to close a factory in Huntington, Indiana, that employs 700 people making controls for heating, cooling and refrigeration and move the jobs to Mexico by 2018.

@5 I love the Rita Skeeter moniker for Dowd also, but don’t you think “Mouth of Sauron” is more appropriate for Kellyanne?

but don’t you think “Mouth of Sauron” is more appropriate for Kellyanne?

Oh that’s good!!

@22, Contrask, the similarities between Chatty Kelly and Sauron are uncanny, but if I had my “druthers”, I would go with Sauron.

Mouth of Sauron

Media — well, I’m still waiting for more of them to grow spines. Not holding my breath.

Prolix, laker just said that the mouth of Sauron is better looking than Trump.

That Carrier scheme looks like a rip off of taxpayers.

@27: Oh that’s exactly what it is. Pence wrote a check out from the state of Indiana (not literally) to the tune of $750k for 10 years. And the good part is that Carrier is still going to ship some jobs to Mexico.

This count on the popular vote was from yesterday 2.3 million votes!!

Oh my, I do believe this would fall under cruel and unusual punishment.

@26 Laker must be a pretty smart youngster

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