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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The press forfeited its power

The media has gone bonkers with Impeachment Fever following a week in which the Washington Post thought it got away with the falsehood that the president gave away state secrets, and the equally detestable New York Times created out of thin air an imaginary memo by the fired James Comey.

The Washington Post story on secrets was as hypocritical as it was phony because Obama had done the same thing Trump did in trying to work with Russia to defeat the Islamic State.

On June 30, 2016, the Post reported:
U.S. offers to share Syria intelligence on terrorists with Russia
The Obama administration has offered to help Russia improve its targeting of terrorist groups in Syria if Moscow will stop bombing civilians and opposition fighters who have signed on to a cease-fire and use its influence to force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to do the same.
The offer early this week of what one administration official called “enhanced information sharing” does not include joint military planning, targeting or coordination with U.S. airstrikes or other operations in Syria.
But it would expand cooperation beyond the “deconfliction” talks the U.S. and Russian militaries began last year to ensure their planes do not run into each other in Syria’s increasingly crowded airspace.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, who has long opposed any additional cooperation, said Thursday that if Russia would “do the right thing in Syria — that’s an important condition — as in all cases with Russia, we’re willing to work with them.”
“The Russians got off on the wrong foot in Syria,” Carter said. The stated purpose of airstrikes Russia began last fall was “to fight ISIL and . . . assist the political transition in Syria towards a post-Assad government.”
“They haven’t done either of those things,” he said. ISIL, along with ISIS and Daesh, is an alternative term for the Islamic State. Senior administration officials declined to discuss details of the proposal, saying that publicizing the content of diplomatic talks would undermine their possible success.
“We’ve made no bones about the fact that if the Russians, with their military presence in Syria, proved to be willing to focus those efforts against Daesh, then that’s a conversation we would be willing to have,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.
“There have been proposals offered by multiple parties,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to start laying those out publicly.”
When Trump did the same thing, the newspaper went bonkers.

On May 15, the Post reported:
Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador
President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.
The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.
“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.
For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.
The Post story was a lie.

Three-star General H.R. McMaster, national security adviser, said so within an hour of its posting online:
 I have a brief statement for the record. There is nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. 
At no time, at no time, where intelligent sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of the State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on the record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn't happen.
Undaunted, the circus played on.

From the New York Times on May 16:
Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation
President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.
The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.
There was no memo. That was a lie. The Times did not show the memo. All it had was the word of a third-party who somehow quoted a memo that Comey supposed wrote months earlier.

The alleged memo contradicted Comey's testimony to Congress that President Trump did not interfere with the investigation of Flynn. Such a memo would have made Comey a perjurer, a fact conveniently ignored.

But the echo chamber of the dullards in the press in Washington took the lies as the truth because they truly wanted to believe President Trump was Hitler or a clown or a baboon or a child or any of those other terrible things they called him during the campaign.

And a study did show the press was stupid.

"Journalists' brains show a lower-than-average level of executive functioning, according to a new study, which means they have a below-average ability to regulate their emotions, suppress biases, solve complex problems, switch between tasks, and show creative and flexible thinking," Lindsay Dodgson of Business Insider reported on May 19.

"The study, led by Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and leadership coach, analyzed 40 journalists from newspapers, magazines, broadcast, and online platforms over seven months. The participants took part in tests related to their lifestyle, health, and behavior."

That study than had no more credibility than reports on President Trump in the Washington Post or the New York Times. But typical of the press, one study of 40 journalists in Britain was all it took Business Insider to run the headline, "Journalists drink too much, are bad at managing emotions, and operate at a lower level than average, according to a new study."

Makes you wonder about the rest of the stories in that publication.

But what I do know is they follow the leader. The headlines following the Post story were disturbingly naive as the press blindly trusted a newspaper that had gotten so many stories wrong  in the campaign and presidency.

The New York Times headline said, "Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intelligence to Russia, in Break With Ally."

The Wall Street Journal headline said, "Trump Shared Intelligence Secrets With Russians in Oval Office Meeting."

The CNN headline said, "Why the latest White House crisis is a really big deal."

None of them independently verified the Post's claim. Likewise, despite no showing of a memo by the Times, the press believed a newspaper that also frequently published Fake News about President Trump.

The Post headline said, "Notes made by former FBI Director Comey say Trump pressured him to end Flynn probe."

The CNN headline said, "The James Comey memo is an existential threat to Donald Trump's presidency."

The Bloomberg headline said, "Trump Should Worry: Comey Memo Describes a High Crime."

No one in the press had seen the memo, and yet everyone was an expert on the alleged memo who could debate impeaching Trump as president less than six months in office.

The constant barrage of about President Trump were changing public opinion, about the press. The bedrock of cable news audiences and newspaper subscribers was the very people who elected Trump president. While the Times and Post -- serving more establishment types -- boasted a rise in subscribers online, the rest of the printed press continued its slide, which coincided with the slide in credibility.

"Stick to the reporting," Woodward advised reporters on MSNBC on May 19. "One of the realities we have here is we have a good, old newspaper war going, the New York Times and the Washington Post and some very powerful stories. At the same time, I think it's time to dial back a little bit about because there are people around who are kind of binge drinking the anti-Trump Kool-Aid. And that is not going to work in journalism. Let the politicians have that binge drinking."

On May 19, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal wrote, "Democracy Is Not Your Plaything." While loyalty to her colleagues had her aim her fire at "everybody," her true target was the very establishment she and her newspaper kowtowed to.

"Mr. Trump’s longtime foes, especially Democrats and progressives, are in the throes of a kind of obsessive delight. Every new blunder, every suggestion of an illegality, gives them pleasure. “He’ll be gone by autumn,” Noonan wrote

"But he was duly and legally elected by tens of millions of Americans who had legitimate reasons to support him, who knew they were throwing the long ball, and who, polls suggest, continue to support him. They believe the press is trying to kill him. “He’s new, not a politician, give him a chance.

"What would it do to them, what would it say to them, to have him brusquely removed by his enemies after so little time? Would it tell them democracy is a con, the swamp always wins, you nobodies can make your little choices but we’re in control? What will that do to their faith in our institutions, in democracy itself?”

As good as that last paragraph was, her son, Will Rahn of CBS, had written the most blistering and accurate appraisal of journalists in his column two days after the election.

"The mood in the Washington press corps is bleak, and deservedly so," Rahn wrote.

"It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, with a few exceptions, we were all tacitly or explicitly #WithHer, which has led to a certain anguish in the face of Donald Trump’s victory. More than that and more importantly, we also missed the story, after having spent months mocking the people who had a better sense of what was going on.

"This is all symptomatic of modern journalism’s great moral and intellectual failing: its unbearable smugness. Had Hillary Clinton won, there’d be a winking 'we did it' feeling in the press, a sense that we were brave and called Trump a liar and saved the republic.

"So much for that. The audience for our glib analysis and contempt for much of the electorate, it turned out, was rather limited. This was particularly true when it came to voters, the ones who turned out by the millions to deliver not only a rebuke to the political system but also the people who cover it. Trump knew what he was doing when he invited his crowds to jeer and hiss the reporters covering him. They hate us, and have for some time.

"And can you blame them? Journalists love mocking Trump supporters. We insult their appearances. We dismiss them as racists and sexists. We emote on Twitter about how this or that comment or policy makes us feel one way or the other, and yet we reject their feelings as invalid."

The power of the press exists as long as it is credible as all power does.

When the people of Eastern Europe no longer feared retribution from the Soviets, thousands began walking West to freedom. Guards in Hungary assisted them, fearing no retribution from their superiors who feared no retribution from their superiors.

The only thing the press had going for it was the truth.

By ignoring the truth, the press forfeited its power.

As Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson used to sing, "I'm walking, yes indeed."

On November 8, 2016, the American people said, "Trump the Establishment!"

Now read the book that explains how and why the press missed this historic the election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

And then read the original, "Trump the Press," which chronicled and mocked how the media missed Trump's nomination.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback

Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at

Please follow me on Twitter.

Friend me on Facebook.


  1. My take on the media lies.

    1. That is an excellent, well-written column. I recommend it to others!

  2. Read w/ mild amusement the WSJ thingy by Noonan. It can only be tagged as a thingy because this schoolmarm never seems to get to flyover country, although she swears she has and swears she understand us'ns.

    We are engaged in a cultural uprising here...the leather-chair types are always the last to recognize it. Noonan, BTW was for Obama before she had second thoughts...some six years later.

    The media lives in the Duranty style fantasy based on ideology, nothing else. Ergo, they have joined the leather chair elites in failing to see what is happening. It's so much easier to write what one thinks one knows as opposed to critically analyzing what is two inches farther away from one's nose.

    Myopia is a terrible thing to waste.

    What few media types recognize is that this moment, this interlude in history is a treasure trove of opportunity to find and to discuss what the underlying truths of the revolution are.

    These people have been gulled into the politics of personality for six decades, and can't be expected to report anything but party line and pap.

    1. The elites think they have been to flyover country because they shop at LL Bean and have several flannel shirts they read Billionaire Carlos Sims' New Yahk Slimes in

  3. "By ignoring the truth, the press forfeited its power." They didn't ignore it, Don; they shot it, dismembered it, burned it, scattered it to the four winds and the deep seas, and then made up lies.
    Will I ever trust the media again? I asked my Magic 8-Ball; it said, "AIN'T NO WAY". Shook it again, and got "NOT GONNA HAPPEN".

  4. Good piece, Don. The media has devolved into nothing more than a pack of high-school mean girls -- the ones who constantly make themselves the center of attention and rule the school through the ruthless spreading of rumors and full-blown lies. Know how my friends and I handled the mean girls in high school? We learned to ignore them. We shut them out. We quit looking at them when they tried to be the center of attention. That is exactly what is happening to the media. They are the mean girls who have lost their power.

    1. They are The Plastics, Mom. We saw Mean Girls again last night, and Gawd, the parallels are everywhere. And you'd better believe they have a Burn Book. They prove that out every day. But the yellow school bus is going to hit them. Mr. Trump will be driving.

    2. That's exactly what I thought when Anderson rolled his eyes at Kellyann last week. "That's some junior high Mean Girls s*** right there."

  5. Impeachment Fever, huh? Who knew the BeeGees were singing about the neuroscience of MSM journalists?

    "And now it's all right, it's okay
    And you may look the other way
    We can try to understand
    The New York Times' effect on man"

  6. In college, the dumbest people go into education, the second dumbest go into journalism. Is it any wonder our education system sucks and journalism has been replaced by propaganda? GOC

  7. It's not just the bias, its that they dont know what they are talking about. "As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law." As President, Trump (or Obama, or Bush or just The President) has TOTAL authority to declassify anything and its not "unlikely" he broke the law, its complete nonsense. As far as the memo goes, even if there is a memo and it says what was reported, nothing happened because of it. The director did not stop anything, or resign. If the director took it seriously, he would have done one or the other.

  8. You're on thin ice saying that the memo doesn't exist. Attorneys always do "memos to file"; I wouldn't doubt it exists. But so what if it does? It doesn't implicate Trump in any wrongdoing.

    1. If the memo means what the media says, Trump tried to stop an investigation of Flynn, and it is an impeachable offense, then Comey lied under oath and didn't report the interference as required by law. Oh, but Comey must not have intended to lie, right!
      And on the national security issue, McMaster said the President had not been briefed on that info. Either that is an outright lie or the media lied, period. Media, which is it?!

  9. If it did exist it would be in the hand of our enemy in the media. And Soros would have 100,000 violent thugs burning down the White House.

    It's fake.

  10. The Democrats are no longer a mainstream political party and, if they don't figure that out by 2018, there will be some more soul searching in 2019. Perhaps Tom Perez can tell a few more people they aren't welcome in the Democratic Party.

    As far as the press is concerned, read first paragraph and then recognize you're not warning them, you're participating in their demise, and yours. The disastrous reporting, of the past week, has lowered the credibility of the press even lower than it was, which I thought impossible. You can't change minds if no one believes you and no one will believe you unless you tell the truth. Life is tough that way.

  11. Remember Trump's bimbo eruptions? Although I have no doubt some were telling the truth, I also have no doubt that they also invited the advances. But what about the fakes? The media force fed us accusations they knew were false.

    1. And as with Herman Cain they all disappeared.

  12. * Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: BLOCKQUOTE

    <blockquote>As Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson used to sing, "I'm walking, yes indeed."</blockquote>
    Speaking of walking, had a million Trump fans been walking their own neighborhoods door-to-door and asking everyone who answered to vote for their candidate, the Left would be a lot more cowed today. Instead, the Left knows that Trump doesn't have a popular majority behind him (yeah, yeah polls--but talk is a lot cheaper than getting off one's TV-watching couch and getting out of momma's basement to go cast a vote).

    I'm old enough to remember the Silent Majority and how they got rolled by rioting Democrats in the late 1960s and early '70s. The Democrats got their way in Vietnam, on abortion, on easy divorce, on going soft on crime, on radical feminism's agenda, and on welfare expansion. More recently the Democrats rolled the Silent Majority on the issues of out-of-wedlock child bearing, sham same-sex marriage, the normalization of sexual perversions, the institutionalization of the destruction of our children's innocence, and the defining down of normalcy.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Surber, Trump's fans are lazy. Does your book discuss that, too?

    1. You're fixated on walking. Trump's fans aren't lazy; They just don't want any physical confrontations and they didn't want their property damaged. I loved Trump, but I'm not going to get beat up, spit at or shot because I knocked on someone's door. Not worth it.

    2. Interesting point. My books are critiques of the media, as that is what I know. Perhaps though Trump fans did maximize their resources. He was outspent 2-to-1 and there was a last-minute voting surge. Don't sweat not having a majority. She didn't either.

    3. Uhhh, take out California and New York, Trump wins popular vote. Hillary outperformed on her base, but could not get past that. Trump, on the other hand, took areas that were considered Democrat only.

  13. Both books are worth reading though they do overlap quite a bit.

  14. I used to be a lefty so I do know these people, and they genuinely hate Trump voters and want them all to die. Where can it possibly end?

    1. I am almost at the point where this vet wants some leftist, Antifa Fascist to get in my face. The leftist woman who slugged the big Trump supported got decked, unexpectedly, when she had figured we would not respond in kind. The good guy's days, IMO, are past. The SCOTUS has ruled that law enforcement has no obligation under the Constitution to protect you and they are not in many cases, so self defense has become the new normal.

  15. The left certainly has forfeited their power. I've been saying it for some time: The Left constantly infringes our 2nd Amendment rights. Perhaps it's time that we infringe their 1st Amendment rights and take away their freedoms if they can't show themselves to be neutral.

    We could call it "commonsense" press control that is needed to save lives. After all, I guarantee that their lies have killed vastly larger numbers of people than law-abiding citizens' guns have.