Category Archives: media news

Ah, yes, more ‘fake news’ from POTUS

Mr. President, you have put forth yet another lie.

Doggone it, sir! I cannot let this one go.

You keep attaching the pejorative term “fake news” to the media and your political foes, but you have turned fake news into an art form.

The terror attack in Spain prompted another careless, reckless response from you, sir. Let me remind you of what you tweeted: Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Did you say at that hideous press event the other day that you like to “get the facts straight” before you make a statement? Yeah, you did.

The tweet about Gen. Pershing, Mr. President, is a lie. You defamed the memory of one of our great national heroes all in the name of making some sort of stupid and ridiculous point about the nature of the terror attack that killed at least 13 people in Spain.

That fake story you told during the campaign about Gen. Pershing dipping bullets in pig’s blood and then shooting Islamic prisoners to death is a lie. It didn’t happen. So, you told the lie once again today. You put out fake news. You are a habitual, pathological liar. You, Mr. President, disgrace the office to which you were elected.

You not only defamed Gen. Pershing with that hideous story, you accused him of committing a horrific war crime.

I’ll attach how the National Review reported what you said, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s not often that I agree with the National Review, but we’re on the same page on this one, Mr. President. They can’t stomach you as president; neither can I. Nor can the hefty plurality of Americans who voted for Hillary in the 2016 election.

You keep demonstrating time and time again your total unfitness for high political office.

Fake news? You keep blathering that line at any opportunity.

Well, I got my fill of your so-called “fake news” long ago. The Barack Obama birth issue; the Muslims supposedly cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the “millions” of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary; your insistence on voter fraud throughout the nation.

They’re all lies. They’re all “fake news.”

You should be ashamed of yourself. Except that shame requires a conscience. You are sorely lacking in both.

Once more in high praise of the media

The president of the United States has grown annoyingly fond of calling the media that publish and broadcast negative stories about him “fake news.”

The description he uses — and the context in which he utters it — demonstrate that Donald John Trump doesn’t understand what “fake news” really is. “Fake news” are the made up accounts, lies, fabrications … the kind of thing that Trump has done for many years. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

I want to offer another word of high praise for the media for the job they have done in covering the 45th president of the United States.

The world has witnessed a rebirth of sorts of traditional, gumshoe reporting by great print media. The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal — three powerhouse print outlets — all have demonstrated the value of hard-nosed reporting. Were it not for their dogged pursuit of tips the nation wouldn’t know about:

* Russian hacking into our 2016 election process.

* Donald Trump’s presidential campaign’s potential role in that meddling.

* The issues related to the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

* The possible conflicts of interests related to the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution.

That’s just four issues. The media have done their job. They have done what the media always do and what presidents — until the current one — have accepted as part of journalists’ calling.

Donald Trump instead has promoted actual “fake news” all along the way. He has promoted the scurrilous assertion that Barack Obama wasn’t constitutionally qualified to serve as president; he lied about “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; he has lied about “millions of illegal immigrants” voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016; he lies about the size of his electoral victory; his press office has lied about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd.

And this man, then, has the audacity to accuse media outlets of promoting “fake news” that in actuality is merely news that doesn’t slather him in glowing praise.

Mr. President, that’s the way it goes. Every single one of your predecessors has gotten beaten up by the media. Have they blackballed news outlets? Have they called the media “the enemy of the people”? Have they called individual reporters “terrible, dishonest human beings”? No. They understand the value of a free press and have welcomed the media’s efforts to hold all public officials accountable for the words and actions.

They have reacted far more professionally and “presidential” than the thin-skinned weakling who occupies the Big Chair in the Oval Office.

As someone who toiled for nearly four decades as a print journalist, I am damn proud of the job my former colleagues are doing.

GOP turning on its own guy in the White House

Ana Navarro is a well-known Republican “strategist” who makes no secret of her disdain for Donald John Trump Sr., the nation’s top Republican and the president of the United States of America.

Navarro is a frequent guest on TV news shows. She said on CNN this morning that Trump needs to stop lying, stop tweeting and start acting like a president. He demeans the office and disrespects the majesty of the position he holds, according to Navarro.

Why is this noteworthy? It’s because Navarro appears to be echoing a growing number of Republicans who are fed up to here with the president’s antics, his petulance and his constant harangues against the media and his political opposition.

Read more about Navarro’s rant here.

Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard is another prominent Republican who simply cannot stomach the president’s behavior. Other notable GOP stalwarts — such as columnist George Will and former congressman/turned TV host Joe Scarborough — have abandoned their party because of Trump.

What do these individuals have in common with each other and with millions of other Americans? They’re all political conservatives who seek to adhere to the principles they’ve believed in. Trump has no guiding principle. All he wants is to “win.”

The fight over replacing the Affordable Care Act provides a sparkling example. The president didn’t know what was in the GOP plan to replace. He never discussed its details. He couldn’t parse the differences between the ACA and whatever it was the GOP wanted to enact in its place. All he wanted was a bill sent to his desk; Trump said he had “pen in hand” to sign it.

When it wasn’t forthcoming, he tore into Congress. He eviscerated the Republican leadership for its failure to enact a law. Did he take ownership of his own failure? Not in the least!

Now he is facing growing hostility among his “base.” Polls show his support among his most loyal supporters is shrinking. Trump won’t acknowledge those survey results, though, because they portray him in a negative light. He calls them “fake news,” as if he has any understanding of his own role in promoting real-life fake news at every turn.

GOP “strategists” and other party activists seem to have had their fill. As Ana Navarro has said: “Start telling the truth. Start taking your job seriously. Stop exaggerating, stop outright lying and then repeating it.”

End of cyber bullying? Yes, it starts at ‘home’

Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law.

— U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, responding via Twitter to social media attacks from the president of the United States

There you have it. The president is using Twitter to “bully” a member of the U.S. Senate.

Donald Trump tweeted some intensely personal criticism of Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, over the senator’s remarks this past weekend regarding the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our 2016 election.

Trump responded by calling Blumenthal a Vietnam War con man, referring to when Blumenthal was caught in 2010 fabricating stories about how he served “in Vietnam” during the war. He didn’t and apologized for the misleading statements he made saying that he had served “in country.”

Cyber bullying anyone? There it is.

Which brings me back to another point I’ve made already. First lady Melania Trump wants to make cyber bullying her signature effort as long as she and her husband occupy their respective titles. It’s a noble cause and I’ve applauded the first lady for bringing attention to the issue of cyber bullying, particularly among children.

However, Melania, you do need to start the campaign right at home, in the “dump” where you live part time with your husband, the White House.

Seriously, Mme. First Lady. Take your husband aside, reprimand him sternly and get him to stop using social media as a weapon with which he insults and bullies his political opponents.

Lesson learned about marketing a blog

I have just received a valuable lesson in marketing and (if you’ll pardon the expression) self-promotion.

It was delivered to me in the lobby of a movie theater by a woman who had a kind word about the work I used to do.

I purchased a ticket to a film I went to see with my son. When I stepped away from the ticket counter, a nice lady said, “I love your work at the paper, John.” I turned to see who made the remark.

The woman said she “I love what you write,” and gave me a thumbs-up. I thought for an instant: How do I handle this?

“Well, thank you, but I’ve been gone (from the Amarillo Globe-News) for five years now,” I said. The lady looked surprised. “You have?” she asked. “Yes, nearly five years now,” I said.

“Well, I’m embarrassed,” she said. “It’s OK, no worries,” I said.

Then she pivoted. “Well, I miss you.” I thanked her again and went on my way.

OK, where’s the lesson? I should’ve been carrying my business-card wallet with cards identifying me as the author of High Plains Blogger. You see, that way I could have just handed her a card and said, “I’m still writing. This is what I’m doing now.”

Simple, yes? Of course it is! That’s going to be my standard operating procedure from this day forward.

To be candid, I’m kicking myself in the backside as I write this brief blog post.

Five years after quitting my job I’m still getting these kinds of greetings from strangers. To be totally honest, I find it gratifying, even when I meet folks who might have disagreed with what I wrote for the Globe-News back in The Day.

***

Spoiler alert: I’m planning to post a blog entry in a few days commemorating the five-year anniversary of my departure from daily print journalism. That event hit me hard in the moment … but life has turned out to be far better than I ever imagined.

To tweet or not to tweet …

William Shakespeare likely wouldn’t ponder that notion if he were around today.

But we’re going to give it a shot here briefly.

Twitter is emerging as the social medium of choice for some high-powered individuals. Members of Congress use it. Journalists, too. Same for assorted entertainment celebrities.

And, of course, the president of the United States. That brings me to the subject of this blog post: Should the president keep using Twitter?

I’m torn by the notion of Donald John Trump Sr. continuing to use Twitter. On one hand, the manner in which he uses it is troubling in the extreme. He fires off these 140-character messages in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t object to him doing so per se. The troubling aspect comes in the consequences of those messages.

Don’t get me wrong. I use Twitter too. This blog is distributed on Twitter, along with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. I use the medium to advance my own commentary on “politics, public policy and life experience.” It helps me expand my audience, which is every blogger’s mission. Twitter has helped me build my daily blog “hits”; while my audience has expanded manifold since I founded High Plains Blogger, it’s still not enough. Hey, it’s never enough!

I also send out tweets that comment by themselves on current policy matters and this and/or that other stuff. I’ve done so more than 16,000 times since signing up on Twitter while I was still working for the Amarillo Globe-News. I got into the game right away and have enjoyed using Twitter to convey pithy comments.

But I’m just a chump former print journalist who lives out here in the middle of Flyover Country. The consequences of my tweets pale in comparison to what occurs when the president of the United States fires them into cyberspace.

Trump on occasion has abused the medium, such as when he tweeted a policy change regarding transgender Americans serving in the military. That is far more than just a comment on news of the day. It signaled a fundamental policy shift: that the president had declared that transgender citizens no longer could serve in the armed forces. What’s more, he sent the tweet without consulting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Department or his senior White House staff.

That’s abuse of social media, dear reader.

Do I wish the president would cease and desist on Twitter? No. If it’s used properly, it can be a useful tool to communicate — even for the president. The trouble with Trump is that he lacks any impulse control and cannot discern prudent use of the medium from imprudent use of it.

I’ve heard many folks say they want Trump to continue using Twitter. I do, too. However, my wish for the president is that he use it with wisdom and discernment.

Is he capable of such a thing? Oh … probably not.

Internet can be addictive … you know?

SALLISAW, Okla. — My name is John and I am addicted to the Internet.

There. I said it. I admitted it. Is that the first step toward a cure? I have no earthly idea if that puts me on my way. I’ll deal with it.

We came to this place near the end of our latest two-week sojourn in our pickup with fifth wheel in tow. We had spent a miserable previous day getting a major repair done to our RV, so we decided to pull up to a municipal park just north of this quaint eastern Oklahoma community.

We wound our way back into the woods, found Brushy Lake Park. Set up our RV site. Paid the fee. Then I sought to open up my laptop to write a blog about, oh, this and/or that.

Oops! No cell phone service. No service means no Internet. No Internet means so surfing the universe of information and opinion for grist upon which to comment.

For the briefest of moments, I felt — how do I say it? — a bit lost. I love writing this blog. I love doing so from different locations where my wife and I end up. I was unable to do so for an entire evening.

I got over my Internet separation anxiety fairly quickly. I figured, “What the hey?” I’ll get back into The Game as soon as we depart and return to within some cell phone service network — and I’ll reconnect with the Big Ol’ World of Internet.

I’m savvy enough about the Internet to know that I should take every single thing I read on it to the proverbial bank. I know a lot of it is merely someone else’s opinion.

However … I did experience a bit of withdrawal until I was able to return to what passes in this day and time as The World.

Oh, the park where we spent the night? It was beautiful, quiet and full of peace.

New WH comm director sends chilling message

For those of us who navigate through ideological waters to the left of Breitbart News, the word from new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci makes our skin shiver.

Scaramucci praised Brietbart editor Matt Boyle for “capturing the spirit of what is going on in the country.”

Sure thing, Mr. Communications Director. If you’re a right-wing fanatic who hangs on the words spewed by Breitbart, the outfit once run by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s senior policy adviser who used Breitbart to promote views seen by many Americans as anti-Semitic and anti-minority in its tone.

How might conservatives react if a president would sing the praises of a far left-wing organ? How would GOP watchdogs like to hear a progressive communications director speak well of the work done by The Nation, to cite one example? It would go over like a f**t in a spacesuit.

Scaramucci is setting a frightening tone as he takes over as White House communications chief. He will report directly to the president and not White House chief of staff Reince Priebus; indeed, custom dictates that the chief of staff has oversight on the message coming from the White House.

Not with Scaramucci. He’s getting his marching orders director from the tweeter in chief.

Do you feel better now? I … um … didn’t think so.

Aw, c’mon Sean, those ‘SNL’ skits are funny, man

OK, I’ll stipulate that I’ve never been parodied by a major TV network comedy show, which means I don’t truly understand how former White House press secretary Sean Spicer feels these days.

There. Having made that stipulation, I guess I can say that Spicer needs to lighten up. Melissa McCarthy’s parody of him on “Saturday Night Live” became an instant comedy classic. She had the nation rolling with laughter.

Oh, but Spicer didn’t see it that way. He calls the skits “stupid” and “malicious.”

Well, he’s entitled to his opinion, just as Donald J. Trump is entitled to say that Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of the president is, um, “sad,” “not funny” and “pathetic.”

I’ll just beg to differ with the president, too.

Look, this kind of thing goes with the territory. Did these guys ever see Phil Hartman’s spoof of Bill Clinton wolfing down the Big Mac while jogging? Did they ever catch Dana Carvey’s hilarious mimicking of George H.W. Bush or Jon Lovitz’s equally funny spoof of Michael Dukakis? How about Will Ferrell’s uproarious skits about George W. Bush?

And how can you forget the time the actual Sarah Palin appeared on “SNL” alongside the Tina Fey faux Palin, or the time Hillary Clinton joked with Amy Poehler’s “Hillary”?

This is political humor, Sean. I’m just sad now — in the wake of your resignation as White House press flack — that you’ve taken Melissa McCarthy out of the game.

Spicer quits, chaos continues

The longest-running open secret came to fruition today with the resignation of Sean Spicer as White House press secretary.

Spicer was thought to be on his way out long ago. He sealed the deal today when Donald J. Trump announced that Anthony Scaramucci would become the new White House communications director.

That meant curtains for Spicer, who reportedly disagreed vehemently with the choice.

To be candid, I am left with decidedly mixed feelings about Spicer’s departure. At one level, I had some sympathy for a press flack who was charged with defending presidential policies in front of the White House press corps. The president, though, made that job even more difficult — indeed, damn near impossible — by contradicting his own messages hourly. Spicer then was left to fend for himself as he sought to explain what the president meant to say or do.

At another level, I was dismayed that Spicer — the former press spokesman for the Republican National Committee — continued in the role for as long as he did.

Consider, too, the strange — to my ears, at least — statement by Scaramucci about Spicer’s departure. “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” he said. Huh? What about saluting his service to the country? Or to the president?

Then, of course, this came from the president himself, who said in a statement that Spicer will succeed, adding, “Just look at this ratings.” What the … ?

I suppose we’ll all just wait for Spicer to tell us what really went on behind the scenes in a White House known above and beyond anything else for its confusion and chaos.

Do you expect the new press flack, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the new communications boss, to assuage media concerns about the White House’s ability to administer anything?

Neither do I.