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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Press should not go "all for one" over the cliff for CNN

Of course the press was wrong about President Trump and the Russians.

When in the past two years has the press gotten anything right about Donald Trump?

These dodos said his hair was a toupee!

On Tuesday, in a news story, CNN implied that President Trump is an agent of a foreign government. It did so without one scintilla of evidence that Russia is blackmailing the duly elected president.

Shep Smith at Fox News defended CNN. He should be cashiered. Anyone who defends CNN should be let go because what it did was not journalism, but rather disinformation.

Don't worry about CNN. President Trump just kicked it to the curb along with the Washington Post. Oh, they will survive. There is a niche market for craziness. Info Wars, for example.

Michael Goodwin of the New York Post said the press declared war on President Trump:
BuzzFeed, a liberal Web site, published the 35 pages of memos Tuesday evening that accuse Trump of numerous misdeeds even as its editor said, “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.”
Nonetheless, in an instant, The New York Times, The Washington Post and others released stories describing the content of the memos without actually publishing them. Those and other large organizations said they had received the memos months ago and had withheld making them public because they could not verify the allegations. Yet because BuzzFeed went ahead, the others felt obliged to do their own stories lest they be scooped.
Once upon a time, it was a good thing to be scooped on a bad story. And ask yourself this: Would the Times and Washington Post make the same decision if the unverified allegations were about President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Of course not, so their rabid anti-Trump agenda still distorts their decision-making.
Meanwhile, S.E. Cupp at the New York Daily News, said the press must band together from Trump's attacks:
In 2010, when the Obama administration refused Fox News’ White House pool reporter an interview with “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg, pool reporters from other networks banded together and refused to interview him.
As CBS’ White House correspondent put it, “All the networks said, that’s it, you’ve crossed the line.” Another bureau chief said, “It’s all for one and one for all.”
It worked. Fox got the interview.
The difference being Fox News did not call the president a foreign agent. There was no Fake News reported by Fox News.

CNN did report Fake News.

A commentator at CNN, Cupp wrote:
But Trump also blamed CNN for pushing “fake news.” That’s a total falsehood. CNN published a report about the documents being shown to President Obama and Trump, but didn’t include any of the unflattering allegations about Trump, precisely because they were unverified.
That is the spin.

Here are the facts. Four reporters, including Carl Bernstein filed the inflammatory report, which was aimed not at disseminating the truth, but at attacking the legitimacy of President Trump's presidency.

They reported without giving President Trump a chance to respond.

They should have held the story another day or two -- or even a week -- to allow the president to respond.

Instead, CNN reported:
Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.
The network reported this false alarm as if it were a ten-alarm fire.

CNN had its chance to get President Trump's side of the story before publication. It chose not to. Instead CNN wrote, "The Trump transition team declined repeated requests for comment."

That is not good enough. The president is a busy man whose staff is assembling a government in very short fashion.

The story was too important -- the stakes too high -- to go without any comment. That is bad journalism.

Would they have done this to Barack Obama?

Treat Trump the same, then.

President Trump rightly penalized CNN at his press conference.

CNN should apologize. Its staff won't. Its staff is under the delusion that CNN did nothing wrong, even though the story bombed in the face of CNN like an Acme Rocket in the hands of Wile E. Coyote.

That is the network's problem.

Our problem as a nation is we do not have a free press. We have one that goes out of its way to destroy Republicans. The conservative Media Research Center said 91% of the new stories on Trump were negative last year.

I will let you in on a little secret: the same would have been true no matter whom Republicans nominated. The jackalope candidate Jebbio McCruzney would have played defense 24/7 and instinctively apologized at every turn.

As I said in "Trump the Press," President Trump played bigger rooms than the DC media. He wrestled Steinbrenner for the sports front pages of the New York tabloids for years, often winning.

Did anyone in Washington read "The Art of the Deal"?

As Sun Tzu said, "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."

Everybody, Trump was Sun Tzu fighting. He won, then entered the race. The press never caught up.

The national press suffered a collective mental collapse in the early morning hours of November 9, when all the anchors and pundits read the results and realized that all their efforts to stop Trump were in vain.

His election proved that the press is neither as powerful as it thinks it is, nor should it be.

Rather than do any introspection, these bums who sold out journalism to a socialist cause are doubling down on stupid, grasping at everything and anything in desperation, as they want to bring President Trump down.

And so we have CNN implying the president-elect is a Russian agent.

Never mind that the House of Saud put up $10 million to $25 million -- illegally -- laundered through a fake charity -- to prop up the "Weekend at Bernie's" candidate Clinton.

CNN's staff has convinced itself that Trump is an evil puppet of Putin.

Over in Never Trump Land, Jonah Goldberg orgasmed when he read the preposterous account in BuzzFeed of golden showers and the like. People need to quit reading Internet porn.

From Goldberg:
A few very quick responses in no particular order: 
1) It could all be entirely false. I am sure some of it is.
Some of it is untrue? Let's not jump to conclusions. We must assume it is all true. I mean, liberal news organizations are always right, right?
2) I think Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the memo without confirming it is questionable at the very least. 
Oh, don't be silly. Verification is a 20th century concept. The 1980s called. It wants its ethics back.
3) Even when it’s a (potentially) horrible news story for Trump, you have to admire his ability to steal the oxygen from everyone else, in this case Barack Obama who is giving his Farewell Address tonight. I suspect even Obama’s biggest fans in the media will be struggling to pay attention, given the Trump buzz. 
Yes, Trump just stole that by being blind-sided by CNN and BuzzFeed.
4) If Trump cancels his press conference tomorrow, he will look like he’s hiding. If he holds his press conference tomorrow as scheduled, we will be in uncharted waters.
5) Substantively, I think the best quick reaction to the explosive — and unverified — allegations about the Russians having compromising information about Donald Trump is from the Lawfare Blog. You should definitely read the whole thing. But I think this point is particularly important:
Fourth, it is significant that the document contains highly specific allegations, many of which are the kind of facts it should be possible to prove or disprove. This is a document about meetings that either took place or did not take place, stays in hotels that either happened or didn’t, travel that either happened or did not happen. It should be possible to know whether at least some of these allegations are true or false.
Um, Goldberg, shouldn't those things have been checked out first, you know before implying the President of the United States is being blackmailed?
5a) I think the above is important for two reasons. First it highlights why Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the report is going to be second-guessed by a lot of people and may bring legal action. There are a lot of facts that could have been corroborated before publication.
Corroboration is a sweet old-fashioned notion.
5b) If Trump can disprove some/any of the specific allegations in the report, it will likely do more to inoculate him than cripple him. If he can’t disprove any of the specific allegations, his presidency will be wounded, perhaps more mortally.
The presumption of guilt is the standard when dealing with Republicans. Little did we realize that Goldberg's book, "Liberal Fascism" was a How To book.
6) Even if this whole thing is a complete fabrication, there’s still the vexing question: Why is admiration for Putin and his government the only issue Trump has never wavered, equivocated, or flip-flopped on? If these allegations are false, that question still remains.
Proving one's innocence is never good enough in Never Trump Land.

Hatred of Trump drove Jonah Goldberg and his mates at National Review insane. They now defend the Fake News media. This is what years of living in a swamp will do.

Many of the rest of the Washington press corps and pundits are in the same boat. For the first time in their lives, they lost. They need a safe place.

Thus they grasped this hare-brained story and hung on to it for dear life.

They are corrupt, insular, and oh so wrong.

They have fallen for The Lie Too Big To Fail.

The press treats President Trump as an enemy -- and recoil and wave the Constitution when he treats them as such. How can he do this, they ask.

Easy. The Constitution protects his right to free speech, too.

Every Democratic president receives a honeymoon from the press. Obama's lasted eight years. Bush 43 and Trump received none.

That is to the detriment of a highly partisan and juvenile press. Americans have a long history of respecting the president regardless of who he is or how he got there.

The press mistakes Hillary's plurality in the popular for a mandate.

Most Americans may not have wanted Trump to be president, but it also is true that most Americans did not want her.

President Trump must prove himself worthy of the title. The press must regain its credibility.

Appointing good men and women to the Cabinet, moving on the economy, and pushing Obamacare reform helps Trump.

Falsely implying the president is a pawn of Putin helps no one.

But if Cupp wants to go over that cliff, I cannot stop her.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel.

For an autographed copy, email me at

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  1. What a great post.

    Also, thank you for doing the work most Americans won't - reading and explaining Goldberg's article. I refuse to give National Review a click.

  2. I bought another edition of the Athenian Constitution attributed to Aristotle that has extensive commentary on the text. Reading that and seeing everything that has gone on has helped me to understand why the Athenians elected as many of their officials by lot as was possible and practical. Doing so meant that at the lower levels of government it was impossible for parties to form. Granted, the political hegemony of the naval community versus the hoplites was established before this, leading to some taking themselves into exile, but it is easy to see how they used this mechanism to avoid further partisanship. One thing they were unable to avoid, however, was the establishment of a deep state. Having higher level offices restricted to certain classes meant a constant circulation of the same individuals and families at the top and a hardened, sclerotic administration below that level. This meant that the same interests were being represented at that level throughout. This led to a lack of flexibility in policy and less ability to adjust as needed in times of crisis.
    What we are seeing in Washington now is the result of thinking that qualified experts are required for certain things and establishing rules to decide who these people are----with the people already in charge deciding who these people are going to be and the rules for their advancement.
    Speaking in terms of markets what we have is a cartel running things.
    The oligarchs loved having elections while the democrats in Athens loved appointment by lot. This is the chief distinction noted by the ancient historians themselves. Yet we have this vision of hoards of Greeks voting on every damn issue imaginable in a chaotic mob. Because this vision of things is convenient to the visions of both the right and left these days.
    The oligarchs wanted elections because they could be bought. Anyone who won an election without being bought and paid for was called a demagogue. Same thing happening now.

    1. How the Athenian Constitution played out in practice is seen only in Thucydides who wrote before A. A himself rejected unrestricted democracy. Jefferson read T and I cannot help but think his view of democracy unrestricted had much to do with how the Constitution evolved to protect us from its excesses. Buying elections is well documented in Roman times.

    2. The whole point of what I wrote is that it was not unrestricted democracy and that that impression us unfounded. Did you even read what I wrote? You will never see that in a textbook because I've read many of them and it simply isn't there. Time to get your head out of the box.

    3. I understood what you were driving at but for me it is just too tidy. Thucydides wrote one the greatest books of all time. His views are not so black and white as yours. Or try reading The Knights by Aristophanes. Cleon as demagogue and the problem he presented to the voters of Athens is layed out in comic terms. Manipulation of people was not just a matter of money. The most egregious example I can think of is Clodius Caesar's tool in Republican Rome.

    4. Been there, read that. There is a big difference between reading primary sources and looking beyond what the authors are saying. I suppose that's too "tidy" for you, too.

    5. Well it is more fun to make stuff up. I passed on becoming an ancient historian myself and don't regret it. The sources are weak but to each his own.

    6. Nice to know that reading with understanding is making things up, while regurgitation is real thinking.

  3. DT handled his presser well. CNN looked childish. The NYT even backed him up in a way. The liberals who had cry ins will forever believe the Russians did in their wheezing monster. It will be their grassy knoll. Goldberg and his clot will never quit either, but they are now like astroids in the Oort cloud, cold and far away, so worrying about them is wasted heat. Trump will get almost all his cabinet nominees. If they make progress towards a vibrant economy and some semblance of world safety he will have heavy momentum by 2018 when he nuclear option will become a reality. This is the source of fear for his enemies: success. Soros lost a billion dollars in a few days betting against his effect on the stock market. Even he will need to satisfy his investors. Personally I think things are looking good for DT.

  4. Kind of a minor point, but he's still the President-ELECT, and not THE President, who is still Obama, more's the pity. I do think this hoo-hah will be seen as what it is: the Media as co-conspirators with the Left.

    1. That's right. All the toilets still say "This genderless crap was brought to you by President Obama."

  5. Let them band together, let them perish together. Once they are gone, we can get real reporting, real journalism, and real news instead of the garbage they deign to feed us.
    They can lock arms, all for one, one for all and sally forth, over the cliffs just like lemmings. They are lemmings, they blindly follow their masters, and when Darth Soros says fall on your sword, they dutifully obey.

  6. I can't imagine any "news" organization being so rude to Obama as that jerk from CNN was yesterday.

  7. FDR was the first president to regularly hold press conferences and be quoted. Once when the NY Slimes correspondent started nodding off, he yelled at him "You're here on my sufferance and when you're here you will take notes!!"
    Of course, in those days men didn't get butthurt and try and use the 1st Amendment as a shield for their booshwah....

  8. So are we now supposed to believe the absurd conspiracy being fabricated by Dimocrats that the Russians hacked the DNC and John Podesta so that their man Trump would win the election because they had compromising information about him that they could use against him for blackmail? Are any of us THAT crazy? I don't think so.

  9. Sing it, Don!

    Everybody, Trump was Sun Tzu fighting
    Those kicks were fast as lightning
    In fact it was a little bit frightening
    But they fought with expert timing

  10. I said it somewhere else, but in might tolerate being said again here.

    What Mr. Trump should do is construct a sound-proof room, with a big glass wall looking into the Press Conference Room. (Churches I have attended sometimes called they Bawl Rooms, and equipped them with bottle-warmer, diaper table with supplies, and nursing-mother-compatible chairs. Oh, and a loudspeaker on the sound system.)

    The Sergeant-At-Arms should have a standing order to remove disruptive people to the Bawl Room with minimal fanfare.

  11. Outstanding post. I think Acosta went beyond aggressive and disrespected the office of the presidency by refusing to shut up when Trump told him he wouldn't be called on.

    In a dog bites man addendum, American Thinker has a piece that shows Ben Smith's hypocrisy in choosing to publish this unvetted tripe.