Posted tagged ‘Media and Obama’

The New Civil War

August 19, 2017

The New Civil War, American ThinkerTom Trinko, August 19, 2017

(Please see also, Anti-Israel Academics Launch Campus Antifa Group for Faculty. — DM)

The first “shots” in our new civil war were fired after Charlottesville when many Democratic leaders claimed that they had the right to use physical force against anyone they didn’t like.

While cowardly leftist leaders are trying to portray themselves as fighting Hitler they are really fighting anyone they don’t agree with. Remember that some Democrats said that Rep. Steve Scalise had it coming since he opposed gun control and that Democrats have been silent when left-wing violence was used to prevent Republicans marching in a parade in Portland.

Facing a continued loss of power because their radical agenda is toxic to most Americans, the Democrat leadership — which includes the MSM — have decided that they have the right to physically attack anyone who stands in their way.

Like their Nazi and Communist forefathers, today’s Democrat leaders are comfortable sending swarms of Brownshirts out to beat into submission anyone who stands between them and power.

Under Obama, Democrats renounced the rule of law by declaring that they could choose to not enforce laws they didn’t like and make up laws that Congress never passed. Now they’re saying that they have the right to attack anyone who dares speak out in disagreement.  Rep. Scalise wasn’t a Nazi or white nationalist, nor were the Republicans in Portland, or the speakers that Democrats forcibly prevented from speaking in Berkeley. Yet the Democratic leadership’s condemnation of all of those events has been muted at best.

While the first American Civil War was fought to protect that particularly Democrat institution slavery, the new civil war Democrat elites are starting to wage is about transferring power from the people to the rich white oligarchs, judges, and government bureaucrats.

As then, Republicans stand for freedom and Democrats stand for slavery.

The Democratic elite has issued a call to war by supporting and endorsing violence against people who don’t agree with them.

The left has gone from endorsing Nazis marching in a neighborhood full of Holocaust survivors to endorsing attacks on Nazis wherever they might appear. We all hate Nazis, but as Americans, Republicans believe in freedom of even odious speech, which is why we’re not tearing down the statues of that mass murderer Lenin that exist in America or the statues of Democrat Robert Byrd, who was a senior official in the KKK.

Republicans have uniformly, including President Trump, condemned Nazis and white nationalists. Yet Democrats are attacking us for not being sufficiently “woke.”

The time for pretending that Democrat leadership is patriotic is over.  It’s time to shout from the rooftops that the Democratic leadership is a fascist cabal intent on overthrowing democracy.

It’s unclear how many of those who voted for Hillary support the clear fascist policies of the Democratic party.  We know that those people tend to be low-information voters who get their “news” from the MSM. Hence, they live in a bubble of lies which make Democrat policies look semi-reasonable.

Even intelligent people fall victim to the Democrat Big Lies. A liberal physicist, for example, was shocked to learn that Osama greenlighted 9/11 because Clinton’s fleeing from Somalia taught Osama that Americans were cowards. He’d never heard that.

Similarly, today many Americans believe that Trump was defending Nazis because the MSM is lying about what he really said.

That’s why we need to be careful and not condemn all Democrats; many of them are honestly unaware of the facts just as the citizens of Nazi Germany didn’t have a clue about how WWII was actually progressing or how the citizens of North Korea thought for decades that though they were starving, they had it better than those poor capitalist South Koreans.

It’s clear that not all of those who voted for Hillary were actually voting for her agenda of taking power from the people and giving it to the elites.

Unlike the average Hillary voter who never heard most of the negative news about her, the Democratic leadership has sinister motives. For decades, they’ve been waging war against America. It started with FDR, a big fan of fascist dictator Mussolini, who began moving this country down the path to socialism with his failed big government policies. Few people remember that those policies didn’t work; it took WWII for the U.S. to recover economically from the Depression.

The next big step was disempowering Americans by giving near absolute power to the unelected Supreme Court. That court overthrew the laws of all 50 states by legalizing abortion for any reason at any time in pregnancy based on a “right to privacy” which is nowhere in the Constitution.

The Supreme Court also created numerous rights for criminals and redefined marriage over the votes of 55,000,000 Americans.

In parallel, the Democrats increased the power of unelected government bureaucrats to the point that they felt empowered to demand that Catholic nuns pay for abortions. To Democrats the 1st Amendment only applies to causes they, the Democrats, support.

Trump’s election was a visceral scream from America saying that we want our power back. That we don’t want to be ruled by pretentious, stupid, elitist fascists like Pelosi and the Clintons, or by RINOs whose first loyalty is to the state, not the people.

The Democratic leadership is now following Mao, who said that political power grows from the barrel of a gun, while Americans are being forced to defend the core American belief that power flows from the people.

Just as the original Democrats repudiated Lincoln for opposing slavery, modern Democratic leaders are repudiating his belief that the government is of the people, for the people, by the people.

The elite bicoastal ruling class is nearly all white and racist to the core, but they use lies about Republicans, spread by the fawning liberal media, to justify violence.

Today Democrats have crossed the Rubicon.  By saying that it’s okay for Antifa to shut down speakers they don’t like and physically assault anyone they don’t happen to agree with Democrats have renounced the rule of law and summoned the whirlwind of civil war.

Why have Democrats once again started a civil war to achieve their ends?

They thought they had everything sewed up. When Hillary won she’d pack the Supreme Court with fascists who believed that they could make up whatever laws they liked. Hillary would, like Obama, ignore the Constitution and further strengthen the administrative state while waging a war against non-Democratic whites and Asians and ensuring that Blacks stayed uneducated so they couldn’t see how Democrats were exploiting them.

But contrary to their expectations, the American people said no. We don’t want to be ruled, we want to be represented — which is why the Republican failure to get rid of ObamaCare is so offensive.

Even with the lying media spreading Democratic talking points 24/7 the majority of Americans want to be free, not enslaved — not told how much soda they can drink or what type of entertainment they can like — Democrats support violent misogynistic rap music while condemning Americans for liking NASCAR. The Democratic message calling on Americans to accept slavery because, according to Democrats, Americans can’t manage their own lives — the same line Democrats used to justify slavery– can’t win elections because American’s aren’t that stupid. As a result, the Democrat leadership has decided that their only way to power is violence.

If they can’t win in the battlefield of ideas, they’ve decided that they need to silence, by the use of force, any voices they don’t like.

The Democrat leaders have turned to the communists they so admire — remember Obama wishing he could rule like the dictator of China does? — and decided that what they can’t win by the ballot they can win with the baseball bat.

Unless we all take a stand now, this spiral of violence initiated by Democrats will lead to a truly horrible future, just as the Democrat’s violent defense of slavery was the cause of the greatest tragedy in American history. If Democrats had voluntarily abandoned slavery, we could have avoided America’s most costly war. Instead we had to fight to end the scourge of slavery.

Contact the Republican leadership and make it clear that instead of condemning Trump for his stand against all violence, they need to attack the Democrat’s support of violence.

There is still time to avoid a massive escalation of violence but if we fail to take a stand against the Democrat’s use of force we will see our streets running with blood.  We know Democrats don’t care about that, because they don’t care about the thousands of Blacks shot in Chicago each year, but we do because we care about all Americans.

Take action and pray that we are not forced to relive the Civil War in order to prevent Democrats from destroying our democracy.

Right Angle – Are There Any Honest Reporters Left?

July 22, 2017

Right Angle – Are There Any Honest Reporters Left? Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, July 21, 2017

 

According to the blurb beneath the video,

Buzzfeed claims Trump’s was on the media is viewed by his Republican Confederate, as a fake war, and they refuse to join the fight. In fact, some think they are caught in the middle and are being harmed as collateral damage.

Are President Trump’s broad attacks against the media helpful?

Bill Whittle, Scott Ott, and Stephen Green ask: Is there any honest reporters left?

The Left Media’s Extraordinary Popular Delusion

July 13, 2017

The Left Media’s Extraordinary Popular Delusion, American ThinkerPatricia McCarthy, July 13, 2017

…and the madness of their crowd. “Collective obsessional behavior” is defined as a “condition in which a large group of people exhibit similar physical or emotional symptoms, such as anxiety or extreme excitement. Also called epidemic hysteria.”

There is no longer any doubt that the American left, especially those who dominate our media and academia, are indeed suffering from the above disorder.  Since their candidate lost the election that they were so terribly confident she would win in a landslide, they have descended deeper and deeper into psychosis.  The Clinton campaign came up with their Trump-colluded-with-Russia meme about twenty-four hours after the election results were verified. It was nonsense then as it is today, but the left’s mental distress has become so grievous that they no longer can be called rational or even sane. After eight months of wild speculation and various investigations, absolutely nothing has been unearthed that indicates in any way that the Trump campaign, least of all Trump himself, colluded with Russia to affect the outcome of the election. The media’s obsession with somehow proving such collusion has rendered them disordered and incoherent.  The media spend their days and nights ignoring the many news stories the public should be learning about: North Korea’s nuclear program, compliments of Bill Clinton, ISIS, Iran’s nuclear program compliments of Obama, the determination of some states and cities to protect illegal immigrant criminals rather than their own citizens, the domestic terrorism of groups like Black Lives Matter and Antifa, etc. Eight years of Obama gave rise to much of these plagues upon our nation and now Trump must deal with the consequences of Obama’s radicalism, economic destruction and importation of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and the systemic meltdown of the national media, both print and electronic.

Most, if not all, of the media hysteria about a Trump/Russia collusion is the result of countless illegal leaks to said media in which unnamed sources are the order of the day. No longer do the NYT or the WaPo fact-check their sources or adhere to even minimal journalistic ethics. Like too many airhead celebrities who think people care what they think about anything, mainstream journalists are of one mind:  get rid of Trump by any means, the ends will be justifiable. So what if good people are maligned, their careers ruined, their jobs lost? So what if the stories they print are mere speculation meant to fuel a few days of scandal. One day, they hope. something will stick. They are counting on Robert Mueller to make their day. Why else would he hire a host of far-left attorneys, known Hillary supporters, to “investigate”?  No one yet knows if Mueller is a decent man who reveres the Constitution or if he’s a partisan political hatchetman sent to do the left’s bidding. He was chosen because he’s Comey’s best pal, which does not bode well for a fair outcome. It would be enormously reassuring if he was actually investigating the many known crimes of the Clintons, their foundation, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign’s dirty tricks, but that is, as every conservative knows, highly unlikely.  It is more probable that he and his pals are the fix the left hopes will lead to Trump’s removal from office.

That the left is suffering from a psychic break is clearer than ever these past few days. Three unnamed sources leaked to the NYT that Donald Trump Jr. had a twenty-minute meeting with a Russian woman who wanted to talk about adoptions and the Magnitsky Act. Trump had agreed to the meeting because he was told the person had incriminating evidence of Hillary’s dealings with Russia. She did not. The meeting was over. Sounds like a setup, perhaps by part of the deep state determined to destroy Trump or maybe by an Obama/Clinton team of subversives. There is abundant evidence that Natalia Veselnitskaya is anti-Trump.

The media has responded as though proof of Trump committing an ISIS-like murder just fell into their laps. The leftist media and their willing guests are falling all over themselves to be on camera calling for prosecution and, of course, impeachment. They are now exhibiting signs of a full-fledged psychosis, a “severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with reality.” Tim Kaine, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, called the meeting “treason.” Adam Schiff, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, embarrasses himself on an almost daily basis droning on and on as though Trump is some sort of Benedict Arnold or Aldrich Ames. A paragon of intelligence he is not. Does anyone believe that if Kaine or Schiff were offered incriminating evidence of Trump wrongdoing, they would not trample over their own children to take that meeting? The same is true of every anchor on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, NYT, WaPo, LAT, and every other leftist outlet in the country. Fox News has fallen hard for the story as well. Epidemic hysteria and psychosis is what they spew day after day. Now these organizations have just become thoroughly and consistently boring. We are tuning them out and turning them off. Check CNN’s ratings: #13 in prime time!

The Clintons were the most corrupt people to ever reach the White House and managed to remain there for eight years.  Hillary was the most incompetent and corrupt person to ever be Secretary of State (John Kerry being a close second). Obama was the most anti-American, anti-Constitution president to ever hold the office.  While in power, these people intervened in the elections of other nations, illegally took millions of dollars from nefarious people and countries, lied and cheated.  “No one colluded with Russia more than Obama.” Had the mainstream media for one moment reported on these people’s many, many crimes against this nation,  perhaps they would have some credibility.  But they did not, so they have none. To this day, they purposefully refuse to report news unfavorable to the left, like Comey leaking classified memos. To this day, Susan Rice has not testified about her unmasking of private citizens for political purposes. Nor has Ben Rhodes, Obama’s master of sleaze and trickery. HRC was never put under oath when interviewed by the FBI about her illegal server. The last eight and a half years have proven to the American people that the Democrat left and the media are two parts of the same criminal enterprise that feed each other’s addiction to power. While their mass hysteria is infuriating, it proves their absolute lust for political dominance over any concern for people. They have become self-important, hate-filled snobs deluded by illusions of their own grandeur.

“We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.”  — Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, 1841.

Doin’ the CNN Two-Step

July 7, 2017

Doin’ the CNN Two-Step, PJ MediaAndrew Klavan, July 6, 2017

There is little in the news today quite as delightful as watching the mainstream media do the CNN Two-Step. The CNN Two-Step is a simple dance. Step One: Put your foot in your mouth. Step Two: Shoot yourself in the foot. The results are bloody but hilarious.

The latest iteration comes from CNN’s own Jim Acosta. Acosta seems to have modeled himself on the Grandfather of Fake News, Dan Rather. Rather made his name by shouting biased and hostile questions at a president despised of the elite. Acosta has made a fool of himself doing the same thing. Acosta beclowned himself most recently (as of this writing; it’s hard to keep up) filing a sneering, unprofessional report on the president’s press conference in Poland. Acosta scornfully called it a “fake news conference“:

The other thing that was fake news coming from President Trump is he said, “Well, I keep hearing it is 17 intelligence agencies who said Russia interfered in the election. I think it is only three or four.” Where does that number come from? Where does this three or four number come from?

Turns out the number comes from corrections filed by the New York Times and the Associated Press, after weeks of complaints about the error from conservative websites.

But, of course, this is only the latest example. Over at MSNBC, they were doing the CNN Two-Step last week after Trump tweeted some nasty remarks about Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. This came after months of Mika and her fiance Joe Scarborough attacking Trump as a “thug,” a “goon,” “mentally ill,” and so forth. When Trump finally gave them the smack they deserved, their over-the-top whining and crying were absurd enough to make a statue laugh.

And we mustn’t forget how CNN extorted an apology out of a private citizen after Trump retweeted an anti-CNN .gif that the citizen may or may not have made. Alisyn Camerota reported this act of sinister thuggery by the network as if it were some kind of happy ending. And the entire CNN staff seemed surprised when Trump supporters responded in kind by releasing staffers’ personal info along with a blizzard of anti-CNN memes.

The media might use this opportunity to stop dancing the CNN Two-Step — to stop blowing their own heads off in other words — and take stock. They might ignore Donald Trump’s manners and ask themselves whether perhaps he has a point, whether perhaps their industry is desperately in need of reform.

After sixteen years of listening to CNN and the networks and WaPo and the New York Times attack the honest George W. Bush relentlessly, then coddle the corrupt Barack Obama; after listening to Middle-American values disdained and the Tea Party movement denigrated; after being told their opinions were only a backlash to the progressive genius of the elites; after being told they must not say what was right in front of their eyes whether it was Islamic terrorism or that boys aren’t girls or that cops make black neighborhoods safer… after sixteen years of snarling contempt from the fancy-pants mouthpieces of large media corporations, the American people elected Donald Trump, in part at least, to send the media a message.

The message is: Go to hell. It’s about time the press received it loud and clear.

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press

June 11, 2017

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press, PJ Media, Andrew Klacan, June 11, 2017

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

******************************

It now seems clear that Barack Obama was a corrupt machine politician in the worst Chicago mold. He used the IRS to silence his enemies, and the Justice Department to protect his friends. His two major “achievements” — a health care law that doesn’t work and a deal that increased the power and prestige of the terrorist state of Iran — were built on lies to the public and manipulation of the press. And that’s according to his own allies! Only the leftist bias and racial pathology of the media kept his administration from being destroyed by scandal, as it surely would have been had he been a white Republican.

I don’t mention this to bring up old grudges, but for what it says about the current moment and the week just passed. Here’s some of what we recently learned:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony concerning former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s corruption confirmed our worst suspicions about the Obama DOJ. In an apparent attempt to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Lynch told Comey to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified material as “a matter” rather than an investigation. And, as we already knew but Comey confirmed, Lynch’s secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton so underscored Comey’s sense of her crookedness that the self-serving drama queen Comey actually went around her to publicly declare Hillary guilty-but-not-guilty.

“It won’t get much attention, but that was pretty damning,” said CNN’s John King of Comey’s testimony about Lynch. You can translate “it won’t get much attention” into “we won’t give it much attention.”

But all that was nothing compared to the brutal, nearly 300-page report released last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a report absolutely blasting the previous Obama AG, Eric Holder. The report details how Holder and the Obama administration labored to cover up the details of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal — a scandal which, unlike the non-collusion-with-Russia non-scandal, was implicated in the murder of an American law officer. Even the mom of the slain officer couldn’t get the truth out of Holder and his cronies. The report says Holder considered the officer’s family a “nuisance” because they were trying to get him to tell them how exactly the lawman died at the hands of gangsters who were wielding guns Obama’s DOJ had allowed them to buy.

We’ve heard a lot from Comey and the press this week about the precious independence of the Justice Department. And yet Attorney General Holder once said, “I’m still the president’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy.” Holder was also the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents relating to Fast and Furious. And, speaking of obstruction of justice — we were speaking of obstruction of justice, weren’t we? — President Obama asserted executive privilege to make it easier for Holder to keep those docs in the dark. Hey, nothing’s too good for the president’s wingman!

What a sleazy bunch they were! Hiding their corruption behind the color of their skin. Criticized for Fast and Furious in 2011, Holder said: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” What a sleazy bunch.

So let’s remember. Obama is the nefarious machine pol who appointed James Comey to head the FBI in the first place. This is the Comey who took no notes when he spoke with Obama, no notes when he questioned Hillary about her emails, no notes, apparently, during the cover-up conversation with Lynch that left him with “a queasy feeling,” but who suddenly began documenting his exchanges with Trump — exchanges that Trump says never happened. This is the Comey who let Hillary off the hook because he somehow knew she didn’t intend to share classified information (a matter that doesn’t exist in the relevant law), but who cannot comment on whether Donald Trump intended to obstruct justice when Trump expressed his hopes about an investigation.

And the Obama administration — this crooked gang of liars and colluders — this is the gang that was deemed “scandal free” by virtually every “mainstream” news outlet. Indeed, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson had to leave CBS News in large part because CBS would not run her work on Fast and Furious.

My point is not to excuse Trump for any of his inappropriate and sometimes boorish behavior. I hope he learns better. My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

Off Topic | Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press

February 23, 2017

Wayne Barrett, Donald Trump, and the Death of the American Press, Tablet MagazineLee Smith, February 23, 2017

(Please see also, Off Topic:  A Purblind Press, Unable To Admit Error, Boycotts the President. — DM)

How did we get from ‘Village Voice’ reporters digging up everything there is to know about a flashy New York real estate salesman to not knowing anything about the President of the United States and his ties to Russia?

So when does the other shoe drop? Who’s going to break the story proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the president of the United States is so deeply connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the White House has become a Muscovite colony in all but name?

Time to use some common sense—it’s not going to happen, there is no story. The narrative that Donald Trump is effectively Putin’s prison wife is an information operation orchestrated by Democratic hands, many of whom served in the Obama administration, sectors of the intelligence community, and much of the American press. The purpose of the campaign is to delegitimize Trump’s presidency by continuing to hit on themes drawn from the narrative that Russia “hacked” the election and stole it away from Clinton.

The narrative is contorted because it’s not journalism. It’s a story that could only make sense in a profoundly corrupted public sphere, one in which, for instance, Graydon Carter is celebrated for speaking truth to power with an editor’s letter critical of Trump in a magazine that has no other ontological ground in the universe except to celebrate power.

Oh, sure, there are regular hints that there’s still more to come on Trump and his staff’s ties to Russia—the big one is about to hit. But the steady sound of drip-drip-drip is the telltale sign of a political campaign, where items are leaked bit by bit to paralyze the target. Journalists, on the other hand, have to get their story out there as quickly, and as fully, as possible because they’re always worried the competition is going to beat them to it.

No, if Trump really was in bed with the Russians, the story would already be out there, and I’m pretty sure it would have had a Wayne Barrett byline.

When I worked at the Village Voice in the mid-1990s, my office was right around the corner from Barrett’s and his bullpen of interns, a team that kept the heat on local politicians like Rudy Giuliani, Ed Koch, and others. Barrett was the first journalist who wrote at length about Trump, starting in the mid-1970s. His biography, Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, was published in 1992, and reissued in 2016 as Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention.

When Trump won the nomination and the pace of Trump stories picked up, Barrett became something of an official archivist, with reporters visiting his Brooklyn house to go through his files in the basement. Anyone who wanted to know what Trump’s deal with Russia was, for instance, would want to talk to Barrett because either he or his team of interns, 40 years’ worth, would have it. After all, New York City is the world capital for information on Russians, even better than Israel—because even though the city got a smaller number of post-Cold War immigrants, New York got a higher percentage of mobsters.

Let’s compare the institution of Wayne Barrett, a subset of the institution of journalism, to the so-called Russia dossier, the document placing Trump in a shady underworld governed by Putin and other Russian thugs. The former includes not only Barrett’s body of work over nearly half a century, but that of the hundreds of journalists he trained, and many thousands of sources whose information is, therefore, able to be cross-checked.

The latter, a congeries of preadolescent pornographic fantasy and spy tales, was authored by a British intelligence officer who has gone to ground since the dossier was made public. The dossier started as work made for hire, first paid for by Republican opponents of Trump and then the Clinton camp, and is sourced to Russian “contacts” who are clearly using the document as an opportunity to proliferate an information operation for perhaps various and as yet unknown purposes. The former is journalism. The latter, part oppo research and part intelligence dump, is garbage. Clearly, it is also the new standard in the field, which is why journalists on both sides of the political spectrum are boasting about their willingness to let their bylines be used as bulletin boards for spy services and call it a “scoop.”

Barrett had Trump on a whole variety of issues, but check the records yourself—up until the day of his death, the day before Trump’s inauguration, there’s nothing on Trump and Putin. Does this mean Trump is totally clean? Who knows? But the journalists now clamoring like maniacs about Trump’s ties sure aren’t going to find it. They’re thin-skinned hacks outraged that Trump dared violate the inherent dignity of that most important of American political institutions, the presidential press conference. And as we all know, this is the apex of real journalism, where esteemed members of the press sit side by side with other masters of the craft to see who gets their question televised.

Does Trump really believe the media are “an enemy of the people”? Please. Let’s remember how he rode his wave to fame on the back of the New York Post’s Page Six (and Graydon Carter’s Spy magazine). He still speaks regularly to the head of CNN (aka “Fake News”), Jeff Zucker, who put him on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice at NBC, where Trump sat atop the Nielsens for 13 years. Trump uses his Twitter feed to boost his replacement Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ratings because the president still has a credit as executive producer. No, Trump, doesn’t hate the media. Like Howard Stern, he sees himself as the king of all media. What he’s doing here is playing gladiator in front of an audience that wants to see the lions slain.

Maybe Trump deserves the heat with the fake Russia stories. He backed the Obama birth certificate story, and what goes around comes around. But the American public sure doesn’t deserve a press like this.

Trump adviser Steve Bannon calls the media the opposition party, but that’s misleading. Everyone knows that the press typically tilts left, and no one is surprised, for instance, that The New York Times has not endorsed a Republican candidate since 1956. But that’s not what we’re seeing now—rather, the media has become an instrument in a campaign of political warfare. What was once an American political institution and a central part of the public sphere became something more like state-owned media used to advance the ruling party’s agenda and bully the opposition into silence. Russia’s RT network, the emir of Qatar’s Al Jazeera network—indeed, all of the Arab press—and media typically furnished by Third World regimes became the American press’ new paradigm; not journalism, but information operation.

How did this happen? It’s not about a few journalists, many of whom still do honor to the profession, or a few papers or networks. It’s a structural issue. Much of it is because of the wounds the media inflicted on itself, but it was also partly due to something like a natural catastrophe that no one could have predicted, or controlled.

***

I was at the Voice when the meteor hit. Like many papers back then, dailies and weeklies, the Voice made its money on classified advertising. The New York Times, for instance, had three important classifieds sections—employment, automotive, and housing—but if New Yorkers really wanted to find a great apartment, they’d line up at the newsstand on 42nd Street to get a copy of the Voice hot off the press.

And then the internet came along, and it was all there in one place—for free. The press panicked. The Voice’s publisher at the time, David Schneiderman, announced to the staff that the paper was going free. It made no sense, he argued, to keep charging $1 for what consumers could get on the internet for nothing.

Here’s how the staff heard it: Who would want to pay $1 a week to read Nat Hentoff on civil liberties, Robert Christgau on music, Michael Musto on New York nightlife—or Wayne Barrett on the follies of real-estate mogul Donald Trump? That is, who would want to pay $1 a week to feel themselves a part of what the Village Voice had made them feel part of for decades? But at the time, devaluing content was in fashion—which meant, as few saw back then, the profession was digging its own grave.

The American press’ new paradigm: not journalism, but information operation.

In midtown, Tina Brown had taken The New Yorker, a notoriously sleepy rag that entry-level assistants stacked in a corner of their studio apartments to spend a rainy Saturday with a 10,000-word Ved Mehta article, and turned it into a hot book that everyone from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Harvey and Bob Weinstein was talking about. “Buzz” was Tina’s catchword, and she made her writers stars. But something else was happening on the business side that wasn’t good for the content providers.

Before Brown, The New Yorker made its money by selling the magazine to readers who wanted to feel like a part of the world only The New Yorker made available, a cozy world reflected by the modest, but very profitable, number of subscriptions, which hovered around 340,000. Advertising was an afterthought. It may have been the only magazine in history at which the business side held ads because there wasn’t space for them, or because, well, Mr. Shawn might not like them.

Condé Nast owner Si Newhouse, who bought The New Yorker in 1985, and publisher Steve Florio turned the business model on its head when Brown came on in 1992. Forget about making readers pay for content; instead, bill advertisers for access to your readers—charge them for eyeballs. They slashed the subscription price dramatically and readership swelled by many hundreds of thousands. This enabled the sales team to bump up ad rates to levels on par with other Condé Nast glossies, essentially fashion catalogs, that enjoyed much larger readerships, like Vogue, GQ, and Glamour.

The paradox was that The New Yorker lost money because each of the new subscriptions was costly. Paper, printing, and postage are expensive, and even the new ad rates couldn’t cover the costs now that circulation had grown to something like 800,000—not monthly like Vogue, but weekly.

Instead of paying for the cost of high-level reporting and editing, subscribers now cost The New Yorker money. In Brown’s last year at the magazine, The New Yorker lost $10 million—a giant black hole that her successor would endeavor mightily to fill while retaining the magazine’s new subscribers, who had little knowledge of or attachment to the magazine’s prior mix of literary reporting and sophisticated whimsy. If the subscribers didn’t feel interested and flattered, the magazine was sunk.

With a new media model that devalued content, no one had a very clear picture of the problems ahead. The future was further obscured by what seemed to be an astonishing reflorescence of the press, with tiny internet startups throwing lavish parties in Manhattan bistros and paying writers Condé Nast-level fees. The internet was the messiah, everything was great—until the IT bubble burst and media giants like TimeWarner stopped throwing money at a platform they didn’t understand. So now who was going to pay?

For the next decade, the media couldn’t decide which slogan of the moment carried more weight—“content is king” or “information wants to be free.” Sure, you can give away “information,” but someone has to find some way to cover expenses, and yet no one had figured out how to make internet advertising work. Maybe you really could charge for content. Of course you could—The New Yorker had done it for decades.

Even if you bring your own glass to a lemonade stand, there is no 8-year-old entrepreneur who is not going to charge you for his product. Why didn’t media grandees get it? When they saw their ad-based business model collapse, why didn’t they do the logical thing and raise the price on consumers? Sure, they’d lose some readers and have to cut some staff and departments, but they’d have established a fundamental defense of the product, the industry, and the institution itself—news is worth paying for.

As the old Chinese saying has it, the first generation builds the business, the second generation expands it, and the third spends it all on Italian shoes, houses in the Hamptons, and divorces. For the most part, the people inheriting these media properties didn’t know what they were doing. It took The New York Times more than a decade to settle on billing consumers for its product—after giving it away, charging for it, giving it away again, then billing for “premium content,” etc. By then, it was too late. Entire papers went under, and even at places that survived, the costliest enterprises, like foreign bureaus and investigative teams, were cut. An entire generation’s worth of expertise, experience, and journalistic ethics evaporated into thin air.

In January, Bannon told the Times that the press doesn’t “understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.” But the Times had already acknowledged its blunder in a letter to its readers after the election. However, neither Bannon nor the Times seemed to grasp the logistical reasons for the failure—it wasn’t because the paper of record slants left, or because it was too caught up in its own narrative. It’s in large part because it had long ago cut the regional bureaus in the South, the Midwest, etc., that would’ve forced reporters to speak to Americans outside the urban bubble and thereby explain to readers what the world looks like once you wander off the F train.

By the time two planes brought down the World Trade Center towers in September of 2001, everyone in the industry knew the media was in big trouble. The Iraq War partially hid and then later amplified that fact. The media spent millions it didn’t have for coverage it gave away free of a war that the press first supported and then turned against. If journalists prided themselves on their courageous about-faces, to much of their audience it further discredited a press whose main brief is not to advocate for or against, but to report facts.

This is the media environment that Barack Obama walked into—where Post columnist David Ignatius was no more important a media figure than Zach Galifianakis, on whose precious and often funny internet show Between Two Ferns the president marketed the Affordable Care Act. I suspect the Obama White House was a little sad that the press we’d all grown up with was basically dead. As Ben Rhodes, former national security adviser for strategic communications, told The New York Times Magazine, “I’d prefer a sober, reasoned public debate, after which members of Congress reflect and take a vote. But that’s impossible.”

He was right. What was once known as the prestige media became indistinguishable from the other stuff that Facebook gives away. Was it The New York Times or BuzzFeed that published that video about cats terrorized by cucumbers? Or was it Fake News because, in fact, cats aren’t scared of vegetables? It doesn’t matter where it came from, because there is no longer any hierarchy in the press. The media, as Thomas Friedman might say, is flat.

Obama didn’t kill journalism, but he took advantage of it in its weakness, because he knew the press would do anything to feel relevant again. All those 27-year-olds at the Times, the Washington Post and others hired as bloggers—“who literally know nothing,” as Rhodes told the Times Magazine—when the foreign and national bureaus were closed, they didn’t know it wasn’t OK to be a journalist and a political operative at the same time. They thought it made them more valuable, even patriotic, to put themselves in the service of a historic presidency. And they’d replaced for pennies on the dollar all the adults who could have taught them otherwise.

That’s the raw material out of which the Obama administration built its echo chamber, the purpose of which was to drown out the few remaining vestiges of journalism in order to sell the president’s policies. And there really were real journalists still putting in the hours, still doing the work, but the echo chamber, a relentless, frenzied chorus of incoherent and nearly illiterate prose, shouted them down.

Yes, it would have been nice if the American public had a chance to discuss a policy of vital importance to our national security, like the Iran nuclear deal, but the press congratulated itself for silencing those who dissented from Obama’s signature foreign-policy initiative. These weren’t simply critics or opponents of the White House, they weren’t just wrong; no, they were warmongers, beholden to donors and moneyed interests and lobbies, they were dual loyalists.

But it was all OK for the press to humiliate and threaten Obama’s opponents in accordance with the talking points provided by Obama administration officials—they were helping the president prevent another senseless war. That’s for history to decide. What everyone saw at the time was that the press had put itself in the service of executive power. This was no longer simply tilting left, rather, it was turning an American political institution against the American public.

Now with Trump in the White House, commentators on the right are critical of those angry with the press for calling out Trump on the same stuff that Obama got away with. Let’s be above it, they argue. Just because Obama did it doesn’t make it OK for Trump to do it. Fine, obviously, call out Trump—but this isn’t about playing gotcha. It’s about a self-aggrandizing press corps gaslighting the electorate. The public is astonished and appalled that the media has now returned after an eight-year absence to arrogate to itself the role of conscience of the nation.

It’s not working out very well.

Consider the Washington Post, whose new motto is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which presumably was OK’d by owner Jeff Bezos, the man who closed virtually every independent bookstore in America. Here’s a recent story about riots in Sweden:

Just two days after President Trump provoked widespread consternation by seeming to imply, incorrectly, that immigrants had perpetrated a recent spate of violence in Sweden, riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in the northern suburbs of the country’s capital, Stockholm.

You’ve probably never seen the phrase “seeming to imply” in the lede of a story in a major American newspaper before—a news story. So did Trump imply, or seem to imply? How are readers supposed to parse “incorrectly” if the story is about the reality of riots in a place where Trump “seemingly” “implied” there was violence? So what’s the point—that Trump is a racist? Or that Trump can see the future?

The press at present is incapable of reconstituting itself because it lacks the muscle memory to do so. Look at the poor New Yorker. During the eight years of the Obama administration, it was best known not for reported stories, but for providing a rostrum for a man to address the class that revered him as a Caesar. Now that the magazine is cut off from the power that made it relevant, is it any wonder that when it surveys the post-Obama landscape it looks like Rome is burning—or is that the Reichstag in flames?

The Russia story is evidence that top reporters are are still feeding from the same trough—political operatives, intelligence agencies, etc.—because they don’t know how to do anything else, and their editors don’t dare let the competition get out ahead. Why would the Post, for instance, let the Times carve out a bigger market share of the anti-Trump resistance? And what’s the alternative? Report the story honestly? Don’t publish questionably sourced innuendo as news?

And still, you ask, how could the Russia story be nonsense? All the major media outlets are on it. Better to cover yourself—maybe it’s true, because the press can’t really be this inept and corrupt, so there’s got to be something to it.

I say this not only out of respect for a late colleague, but in the hope that journalism may once again merit the trust of the American public. Wayne Barrett had this file for 40 years, and if neither he nor the reporters he trained got this story, it’s not a story.

Where was McCain when Obama attacked the free press?

February 19, 2017

Where was McCain when Obama attacked the free press? American ThinkerMonica Showalter, February 19, 2017

Senator John McCain poured it on for the press at a Munich defense conference Saturday, warning in a veiled attack on President Trump that attacks on the press are a leading danger for democracy. “That’s how dictators are made!” he shrieked. It was rich stuff, given that most of his European listeners do not have the same wide press freedoms found in the states. But more to the point, it was McCain up to his old tricks: Ingratiating himself to the anti-Trump press by playing its champion, in a bid to be the media’s darling.

What stands out here is the hypocrisy of his claims. He’s suddenly concerned about press freedoms and dictators?

Where was McCain when President Obama was systematically violating press freedoms every which way to Tuesday?

Seven examples of Obama’s attacks on a free press spring to mind and not one of them drew any significant criticism from McCain.

Where was McCain when Fox News correspondent James Rosen was illegally followed around by Obama’s Department of Justice in 2013 over a story he published on North Korean activities? It was a clear-cut example of reporters just doing their jobs, even as someone in government was leaking the story, but Team Obama went after Rosen with the Espionage Act.

Where was McCain when CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was being taken over and hacked in late 2012 by what were almost certainly Obama agents over her Benghazi scandal reporting? She described the still-unresolved incident in her book Stonewalled (which ought to give another clue about the Obama record on press freedoms) but her story about the computer hacking, which included planting classified documents and keystroke changings, certainly was disturbing. We didn’t hear much from McCain.

Where was McCain when New York Times reporter James Risen was threatened with prosecution if he did not reveal his sources? Risen certainly thought Obama was acting like a dictator in a recent interview. McCain, not so much.

Where was McCain when Obama illegally wiretapped the communications systems of the Associated Press in 2013 bid to find out its sources? Nowhere to be found.

Where was McCain when radio show host Rush Limbaugh was attacked by Obama – in 2009 and 2012 for unfavorable commentary?

Where was McCain when Fox News was singled out for criticism by President Obama? This event was not only a blast at the outfit but highly inappropriate collaboration with Media Matters, which made Fox News its bugbear.

And where was McCain when Obama’s spokesman John Kirby attacked a RT News correspondent at a 2016 White House press conference who asked an uncomfortable question on Syria, questioning its legitimacy as a press outfit? If the Russian state-funded press agency was that illegitimate, explain to us why it had a press pass issued by the White House at all? We heard nothing about it from McCain.

The Obama list is quite long, and that is not surprising. Obama was a socialist and socialists of all stripes have a long record of suppressing freedom of the press, subordinating its expression to the interests of an all-powerful state and its dictator. McCain found nothing wrong with that when Obama was playing that game and undercutting the press in what seemed to be pretty oppressive and downright illegal behavior. Breitbart News has another list of problems here. But when Trump, three or four weeks into his presidency, calls out some fake news on Twitter, suddenly we have a dictator descending.