The Widdershins

Activist Monday: The Media Awakens

Posted on: May 22, 2017

Happy Monday all! Our blithering idiot of a Presnit is off making an *ss of himself over yonder in those parts out there which are not ‘Murca. We’re so very proud, aren’t we?

While the Mango Meerkat bobbles along brainlessly, shedding havoc and treason like orange lint from his head, perhaps it’s now time for the media to admit something we always knew at TW: that the President is supposed to be…well, boring.

Our Hillary is inspiring, brilliant and and amazing, and would have been a great President – perhaps the greatest since FDR. What she isn’t, is a relentless tweeter of nonsense, a boundless gaffe machine, a man who loses his way on a one-way street. She also isn’t in Putin’s pocket, surrounded by sycophants, white supremacists and Children of the Corn. Despite decades of media creating faux scandals around Hillary, Our Girl has only ever been guilty of having a cheating husband, and a private email server.

But the headlines with Drumpf! The eyes, oh, the eyes on their shows and their newsprint and their podcasts and their Twitter accounts! They made so much money in the run-up to the election…so very, very much money. This is a great article from November 14, 2016 on how the media enabled and empowered him to rise.

In 1968 Roger Ailes, the future boss of Fox News, had a problem: how to get Richard Nixon on television without it being controlled and filtered by what he felt was a hostile media.

His solution was to create his own staged Nixon TV specials and offer them to TV stations. Forty-eight years later, CNN was effectively doing the same for Trump – free of charge.

The enthusiasm for Trump at CNN was simple: ratings. Jeff Zucker, the boss of CNN, is also the man who employed him to present The Apprentice when he worked at NBC.

Zucker, perhaps more than anyone else, turned Trump into a TV star.

Nope, there’s nothing to see here! These are not the droids you’re looking for.

And then they make this point:

The need for headlines that bring clicks and stories that get shared has changed everything. Dull, balanced articles (like this one) don’t provoke fury, laughter or much in the way of emotion.

Trump was simply more entertaining and generating more passion. In a news environment moving from a world of subscriptions and long-term appointments-to-view to the vagaries of clicks, friends’ recommendations and Facebook news streams, that makes him a winner.

I do disagree with that last sentence. The Donald has never been a winner. He managed to lose almost a billion dollars on casinos, which are basically like cash registers that are always full. He’s clearly an awful deal maker – so far he hasn’t done a single thing he’s said he was going to do. The arms deal with the Saudis, I’m sure, will turn out to be a disaster, just like the health care bill, “tax reform,” renegotiating NAFTA, and countless other campaign promises I don’t need to elaborate on here.

The media has a great deal of self-examination to do. It’s developed a clear preference for candidates who perpetually campaign and entertain; unfortunately, as we’ve seen, this type of candidate is singularly unsuited to governing. A yelling, lying, treasonous Cheeto in a bad wig does not have the gravitas, intelligence and temperament to do the hardest job in the world. This should have been the message the teevee and print media gave us. But instead, they equivalated this creature’s malfeasance and genuine danger to the Republic, with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while SOS…even though this was neither against the law, nor unprecedented, nor a threat to national security in itself. (It did give the Republicans a chance to investigate a Clinton, though – something they much prefer to the odious task of doing the people’s business.)

As the media continues to awaken, let’s hope that looking at Drumpf with a more objective eye will lead the media to start looking at themselves. Some are already doing so.

This is an open thread.


48 Responses to "Activist Monday: The Media Awakens"

Loved your post MB, the orange hamsters, the SNL skit and especially the info on why CNN has been so in-the-tank for the tangerine man.

Shadow!!! We missed you yesterday.

Thanks Fredster, my only time off work is on the weekends…so often they are packed full of activity and time outdoors with family & friends.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser under President Trump, will not comply with a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena for documents related to the panel’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, invoking the Fifth Amendment and his right against self-incrimination.

“The context in which the Committee has called for General Flynn’s testimonial production of documents makes it clear that he has more than a reasonable apprehension that any testimony he provides could be used against him,” Flynn’s attorneys wrote in a letter they sent to the committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), its top Democrat, on Monday.

In the letter, they also cited the Justice Department’s recent appointment of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, arguing it raises new dangers for Flynn and gives “rise to a constitutional right not to testify.”

The committee issued a subpoena for documents from Flynn earlier this month, after he failed to voluntarily produce records of contacts he had with Russian officials. It is the only subpoena that the committee has issued in the course of its investigation into Russia’s purported involvement in the 2016 elections, a probe that includes delving into contacts between the Trump campaign and transition teams and Kremlin officials.

John Podesta Unloads on Trump
The former chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign says the president is ‘absolutely crazy’ and Republicans are stuck to him like ‘Velcro.’

(audio interview)

Yipes, driving home I had CNN on and another shit storm has hit in the past couple of hours…

@7: If you mean Manchester, yes it’s awful. UK police are saying 19 killed at least 50 injured at the Ariana Grande concert there. Just horrible.

Yes, before the Manchester bombing, Washington Post put out a lot more big stuff against Rump.

Thanks Shadow! Wow, what a terrible night. I feel so bad for those kids in Manchester, all their family and friends.

Agree MB, and young preteens. They are freakin’ monsters.

@11 – Yes! I will never ever understand.

Such awful news out of Manchester. It sounds like it was a suicide bomber with a nail bomb. And they found a second, undetonated bomb. Fact is, the evil motherfuckers responsible for this KNEW they would be targeting children. It’s times like these that I really want to believe in hell because these fuckers are evil and they deserve to burn in it for all eternity.

Trump asked intelligence chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Trump’s conversation with Rogers was documented contemporaneously in an internal memo written by a senior NSA official, according to the officials. It is unclear if a similar memo was prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to document Trump’s conversation with Coats. Officials said such memos could be made available to both the special counsel now overseeing the Russia investigation and congressional investigators, who might explore whether Trump sought to impede the FBI’s work.

Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests VIEW GRAPHIC
[Flynn takes the Fifth, declines to comply with Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena]

White House officials say Comey’s testimony about the scope of the FBI investigation upset Trump, who has dismissed the FBI and congressional investigations as a “witch hunt.” The president has repeatedly said there was no collusion.

Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation.

A senior intelligence official said Trump’s goal was to “muddy the waters” about the scope of the FBI probe at a time when Democrats were ramping up their calls for the Justice Department to appoint a special counsel, a step announced last week.

Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.

“The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of the request to Coats.

The NSA and Brian Hale, a spokesman for Coats, declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

Play Video 6:10
The key moments leading up to Comey’s dismissal
The turmoil surrounding former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump started long before Comey was fired on May 9. Here are the pivotal moments in Comey’s time as head of the agency. (Jenny Starrs,Julio Negron/The Washington Post)
“The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on illegal leaks from anonymous individuals,” a White House spokesman said. “The president will continue to focus on his agenda that he was elected to pursue by the American people.”

In addition to the requests to Coats and Rogers, senior White House officials sounded out top intelligence officials about the possibility of intervening directly with Comey to encourage the FBI to drop its probe of Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. The officials said the White House appeared uncertain about its power to influence the FBI.

“Can we ask him to shut down the investigation? Are you able to assist in this matter?” one official said of the line of questioning from the White House.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said the report is “yet another disturbing allegation that the President was interfering in the FBI probe.” Schiff said in a statement that Congress “will need to bring the relevant officials back to testify on these matters, and obtain any memoranda that reflect such conversations.”

The new revelations add to a growing body of evidence that Trump sought to co-opt and then undermine Comey before he fired him May 9. According to notes kept by Comey, Trump first asked for his loyalty at a dinner in January and then, at a meeting the next month, asked him to drop the probe into Flynn. Trump disputes those accounts.

Current and former officials said that Trump either lacks an understanding of the FBI’s role as an independent law enforcement agency or does not care about maintaining such boundaries.

Trump’s effort to use the director of national intelligence and the NSA director to dispute Comey’s statement and to say there was no evidence of collusion echoes President Richard Nixon’s “unsuccessful efforts to use the CIA to shut down the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-in on national security grounds,” said Jeffrey H. Smith, a former general counsel at the CIA. Smith called Trump’s actions “an appalling abuse of power.”

Trump made his appeal to Coats days after Comey’s testimony, according to officials.

That same week, Trump telephoned Rogers to make a similar appeal.

In his call with Rogers, Trump urged the NSA director to speak out publicly if there was no evidence of collusion, according to officials briefed on the exchange.

Rogers was taken aback but tried to respectfully explain why he could not do so, the officials said. For one thing, he could not comment on an ongoing investigation. Rogers added that he would not talk about classified matters in public.


@13 – Yes. To watch and hear those poor kids running and screaming in terror…somehow this makes their twisted hearts beat with dark joy. I heard there is a huge celebration tonight in ISIS and Al Qaeda chat rooms. Sick and perverse people.

Shadow – ALL the secrets are coming out. Washington is leaking like John Boehner’s eyes. Yet today, CNN still dared to ask the ridiculous question: “Will Donald Trump be the one to broker Middle East peace?”

Uh, no. Will he survive another two months as Presnit? That is the real question.

@9: Washington Post put out a lot more big stuff against Rump.

I’m coming to believe that will be a given every day now.

MB, great post. Agree with each and every sentence although I’m not sure I can be as optimistic when it comes to the press. I hope the press awakens to the orange phlegm-bot they have bequeathed us.

The 1968 election analysis was a part of just about every political science textbook in college. The men, and they were all white men who were antisocial outcasts, were all paranoid and angry. They were the canaries in the coal mines of the creation of “the others” — they weren’t even clever about the vocabulary.

1968 was cutting edge. Ailes and his ilk created a need and then had a ready-made cure to fulfill the need they created. It was a Madison Avenue campaign of “Mad Men” gone berserk. We’ve come full circle.

On the original post – my fear is that the media will never do a full self-analysis. I’ve posted the CNN interview with Soledad O’Brien in September of 2016 before. A NYTimes reporter (Rosenberg?) was complaining repeatedly about Hillary not having done a press conference. O’Brien and another guest were discussing how the media has normalized white supremacy. (The Times reporter literally kept going back to Clinton and press conferences… White Supremacists! Clinton press conferences!) Anyway, the 3rd guest said that one day soon there will be a reckoning for the media. And O’Brien said: No there won’t be, ever. The media will never do that kind of self-reflection.

Remember, the NY Times never did that kind of self-reflection after WMDs and Judith Miller catastrophe. Now the 2016 election. Our paper of record has been front row center in two of the most astonishing failings of our nation. And if you read any message from their public editor or their star reporters (The Times Twins), there is no self-awareness. Nothing is their fault. It’s all Clinton’s fault. They just say it out loud.

It’s not just the Times. A handful of op-ed writers (and Nate Silver) have called the media to account. But they remain lone voices. The media at large will never look at themselves in the mirror.

Remember when the White House Correspondets’ Association and their president Jeff Mason published an op-ed saying that Clinton and Trump were equal threats to the 1st Amendment? Yeah… about that….

MB, beautifully written post.

@13, Yes, agree. I also wish there was a hell for these most horrible of all humans. Targeting children. Unspeakably evil.

Shadow & Fredster, thanks for all the info.

I’m too bummed out to think of anything to write. I saw this on twitter today though, and got a little smirk out of watching it. I can’t imagine why she stays with him. He obviously treats her like shit. Who cares if presidents don’t normally divorce, there is nothing even remotely normal about this nightmare of a presidency.

Did you guys see that weird ritual with the orb that dump participated in over the weekend?

Look at the stupid look on Dump’s face (orb pic). And like the author writes, Saruman looks normal. What the bloody fuck? This country is spiraling down the toilet.

@23: annie, we had some tweets with photoshops of the orb and tRump and the gang in yesterday’s post. You can check them out. Some are pretty funny.

I don’t understand that orb thing. What is this orb? What are they doing? Why would he agree to participate? Why didn’t anyone stop him? ‘t’s completely bananas!

That video of Melania slapping away his hand is hilarious. She clearly hates him, yet she stays – in a different city.

And what is this photo??? What is wrong with this whole damned family??

@25, the Orb was the ceremonial “flip switch” for the Saudi anti-terrorist cyber headquarters. They literally have hundreds of people sitting at consoles monitoring Twitter and social media. Why Dolt did it is another issue altogether. No one appropriately vetted the whole shooting match. This is a Kushner production. And what baby wants, baby gets.

It is the brown M&M theory. If they can’t vet a nine day trip with a maximum of three public events a day, what are they going to do to one-fifth of the economy when they wreck health care? To call these people rank amateurs is to insult amateurs.

His massive intelligence faux pas yesterday saying, “I didn’t say Israel to the Russians,” just demonstrates what the White House leaker said the other day, “We can’t tell him what not to say because that would be the first thing he would say.” The man is corrupt soulless fool.

25 | DYB
May 23, 2017 at 11:37 am
I don’t understand that orb thing. What is this orb?

Looking at the orb, it looks like it could represent our planet…I see a few small black shapes on it that could be countries? If so, it might be that their hands on the orb are symbolic of their control over parts of the world???

Yip, that photo of Melania with her hands on her son’s thighs…is super creepy sexual. (That is her youngest son, isn’t it?)

26, sorry Prolix, I didn’t see your explanation of the orb before I posted.

@27 Shadowfax> Yes, that’s young Barron Trump. Is he straddling Melania? And she’s doing whatever that is? Like the poster said, why can’t these people just take a normal family photo!!!

Also: Out of Georgia.

Trump releases budget hitting his own voters hardest

The president’s proposal for next year’s federal spending calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, including farm aid.

How do ya like dem apples? – Bernie supporters that voted for BigRump

Besides his blunder saying he “didn’t say Israel to the Russians” he also told a room full of Israelis that he “just got back from the Middle East.” Doesn’t the fool even know that Israel is *in* the Middle East? What an embarrassment he is!

@32 Branjor: did you see this hilarious video of Trump saying that? Watch the man sitting on the right:

@31 Shadowfax> You know what that means? 99 more articles on the Trump voters and how much they still love him.

hilarious video of Trump saying that? Watch the man sitting on the right:

The ‘hair sweep’ – translation: “Oh my God, this guy is too dumb for words”.

34 DYB

Yup, but if it goes through and they lose their income, healthcare and foodstamps…they are going to get no damn sympathy from me. I will pitch in and share what little I have with Dems, but Trump supporters need to suffer somewhat until they get their butts to the polls and make up for their ignorance.

Shadowfax, I completely agree with you! If only we could separate Dump voters from non-Dump voters to get the special Dump treatment.

@32 & 33, I believe the “hair swoop” guy is Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Now, if you look up pieces of toilet paper that become dislodged in the personal hygiene of people experiencing abnormally high volumes of defecation, those pieces of toilet paper would be little Ronnies, appropriately named for Mr. Dermer. Dermer was an American who married the daughter of the President of the Bank of Jerusalem. That captured the attention of Netanyhu. Sadly, Dermer’s wife died within two years of their marriage. Dermer gave up his American citizenship in order to take the ambassadorial post. He was the one who was sent to undermine Obama on the Iranian deal. He is a glorified henchman who seems to be little more than a fluffer for wayward dusty old Republican Cialis pocket rockets.

@38 Prolix, the amount of connections is stunning. These family trees are more complicated than any royal family!

Even the whole Comey to Muller, Comey to Bill Clinton and Chris Christie. Christie to Giuliani and the Kushners. I forget how Eric Holder figures in there… It’s like Knots Landing in there.

Mr. Pundit has a good post on tRump’s excellent adventure of his road trip.

@33 DYB, yep, I saw it. I thought his reaction was rather restrained.

@40, I thought it was hilarious that he referred to it as the “Rainbow Tour.” At the bottom, he points out the connection to Evita for non-theater goers. He’s a funny guy.

@39, I think Eric Holder worked for Comey when Comey was Deputy Attorney General under Ashcroft. All these twists and turns are as confusing as an eastern KY PTA meeting when they ask, “Whose parent are you?”

Agree with all of you that that pic of Melania and Barron is tres creepy. WTF is it with these people. They are inappropriate in virtually every single thing they do. I pray that they just go the hell away.

Oh, btw, Melania slapped the douche’s hand away again today (or yesterday, now), when they were exiting their plane, and then he put his hand on her ass!?! I thought it was a total dominance move on his part, like he’s showing her who she belongs to. I really don’t get this woman at all. No amount of money or fame would be worth living with a jerk like that.

@46: He’s got something on her – either her immigration was phony when she came into the country or something like that.


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