Tag Archives: CNN

Sen. McCain ‘tells it like it is’

U.S. Sen. John McCain received a great and much-deserved award today and said this:

“To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century,” the Arizona Republican said, “to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

Sen. McCain received the Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center. The person who gave him the medal was former Vice President Joe Biden, a former Senate colleague and longtime McCain friend.

The Liberty Medal was given to McCain to honor him for his career in public service, which included heroic service as a Navy aviator and more than five years in captivity as a Vietnam War prisoner.

McCain speaks with profound knowledge and understanding of this nation’s role as the world’s remaining military superpower and the world’s leading economic power.

McCain stands tall

I saw the remarks and understood immediately to whom he was directing his remarks about “scapegoats” and “spurious nationalism.”

Listen up, Donald John Trump Sr. The senator, the man you disparaged disgracefully during your presidential campaign, is talking about you.

Biden paid tribute to McCain’s service during his remarks. According to CNN: “John, you have broken many times, physically and otherwise, and you have always grown stronger, but what you don’t really understand in my humble opinion is how much courage you give the rest of us looking at you,” Biden said. 

If only one prominent American, the president of the United States, could grasp the message this brave man is delivering.

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.”

Violence against reporters? Hmm … you be the judge

The hits just keep on comin’.

The president of the United States — the man with the itchy Twitter finger — has done it again. He has tweeted a video depicting him punching out someone from CNN.

Is Donald John Trump promoting violence against the media?

Take a look right here.

Trump has failed to keep a number of campaign promises. He said he would act more “presidential” were he elected to the office. He promised to unify a nation divided badly by a rancorous political campaign. He vowed to “make America great again.”

The first two pledges have been abject failures; the third one, the “make America great” pledge was empty, as the nation already is great.

He has vented repeatedly on Twitter. He is using the social medium to — in effect — articulate presidential policy. It’s coming to us in the form we are witnessing now with the then-entertainer tackling an individual who he has portrayed as a member of a cable television news network.

What will happen if someone actually acts on what he or she has just seen on Twitter? Is it right to hold the president responsible for such action?

You be the judge.

This individual is a disgrace.

‘Fake news,’ Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump keeps yammering about “fake news” media outlets.

OK, let’s try this one on for a moment.

The president has been displaying some fake Time magazine covers at his golf and country clubs. The covers tease those who see them about how his reality TV show is a rating smash.

Except that the magazine cover is fake. It’s phony. It’s made up, courtesy of Photoshop.

The White House doesn’t deny they’re fake. Time executives have asked that the covers be taken down. The Washington Post reports as well that Time didn’t even publish an issue on the date posted on those bogus covers.

Trump’s fake news mantra is getting tiresome in the extreme. It also long ago ceased being effective, given the president’s own record as a perpetrator of “fake news.” Indeed, the president is an expert at fake news, as he kept alive his own lie about President Barack Obama supposedly being ineligible to hold office because, according to Trump, he was born in Africa.

Fake news? There you have it. Now this bit about the phony Time magazine cover. More fake news? You bet.

And this president will keep yammering about the media and his political base will lap it up.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza writes: “Truth, in Trump’s world, is what he believes. So, even if he wasn’t on the cover of that specific Time magazine, he should have been. What difference does it make then if he puts himself on there and passes it off as real?”

Cillizza clearly asks a rhetorical question. It makes a lot of difference to those who place value in truth. To those who are habitual liars — such as the president of the United States — well, not so much.

CNN does that rare deed: retracts a story

CNN officials don’t need me to take up the cudgel for them, but I’ll do so anyway.

The news outlet has just done something quite rare in journalism. It has retracted a story it broadcast. There was no mere “correction” or “clarification.” CNN took it all back. Moreover, the principals involved in the bogus story have resigned; they well likely would have been fired by the network.

I mention this because of the Twitter tirade that Donald John Trump has launched against the network. The president calls CNN “fake news”; he says the network’s ratings are plummeting; he is castigating CNN for the story that was broadcast.

Trump unloads on CNN

The president is an angry man! Then again, he’s always angry when the media are involved. Am I right?

The CNN story alleged that a close Trump ally was tied to a Russian investment fund that the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating. The story is false. CNN admitted its mistake, took it off its website, accepted the resignations of the reporter, editor and producer involved in the story.

My experience in journalism — which totaled nearly four decades — tells me that CNN acted responsibly in reaction to the mistake it made. Do I know whether the story was published with a willful intent to do harm to the president? No I don’t.

I do know, though, that for a media organization to retract a story means that it has acknowledged an egregious error. And, yes, by golly, journalists — those fallible human beings — do make mistakes.

That won’t stop conservatives, though, from unloading on the “mainstream media,” a term that has become a four-letter word among those who detest the media.

The simple truth, though, is that CNN acted responsibly and with integrity in taking back a report it learned to be untrue.

Griffin gets canned; ‘Madman’ gets a pass

David Axelrod, one of Barack Obama’s political gurus, poses an interesting thought on social media.

It concerns “comedian” Kathy Griffin’s disgraceful video showing her holding a “decapitated head” purporting to be that of Donald J. Trump.

CNN fired Griffin for her utterly crass stunt, which she initially thought of as an “artsy fartsy statement.” So long, kid. Don’t let the door hit in your backside.

But then, Axelrod wonders, how does Ted “Motor City Madman” Nugent get a pass for the endless string of grotesque statements he has made about, oh, Barack H. Obama. You know, things like calling him a “subhuman mongrel” and a litany of other vile epithets.

The president even invited Nugent to the White House for an intimate dinner, along with Sarah Palin and Kid Rock.

Well, Mr. President? Is there just a touch of a double standard here?
I’ll weigh in. I believe there is.

‘Most divisive speech ever’ by a president

David Gergen is no squishy liberal. The CNN political analyst has worked — in order — for Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton.

Three of the four are Republicans. I believe Gergen calls himself a member of the GOP.

But then he said something about Donald J. Trump’s speech Saturday night in Harrisburg, Pa. While commenting on the speech in a CNN interview, Gergen called it the “most divisive speech” he’d ever heard from a sitting U.S. president.

Pay attention, Mr. President. One of your own has called you out.

Campaign rhetoric doesn’t fly

The speech was full of red meat for Trump’s political base. He made the trip to Harrisburg after deciding he wouldn’t attend the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, becoming the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to skip the event. Then again, President Reagan had a good reason: He was recovering from a gunshot wound in 1981 after John Hinckley tried to assassinate him.

One can expect criticism of Trump’s speech from Democrats. They’re still steamed that Trump beat their candidate in 2016. I share their outrage, truth be told, which is why I spend so much of my energy on this blog with criticism of the president. I doubt I’ll let up any time soon — if ever!

That such criticism comes from a longstanding Republican — and a former key adviser to three GOP presidents, including the revered godfather of political conservatives, Reagan — gives it even more punch.

Trump surely will dismiss it. He’ll say that Gergen doesn’t matter. Neither does CNN, in Trump’s view.

So the war against the media and — everyone who disagrees with the president — will go on … and on … and on.

Why the Ivanka criticism? Because she’s a player

Howard Kurtz, Fox News’s media critic and analyst, asks a perfectly valid question: Why are the media beating up on first daughter Ivanka Trump?

I believe I have an answer. Not the answer, mind you.

It’s because Ivanka has become part of her father’s key advisory team, along with husband Jared Kushner. She’s no longer just a charming, poised entrepreneur who stood by Dad while he campaigned for the presidency. She’s now part of the team, part of the inner circle, one of the president’s key advisers.

Kurtz seems a bit alarmed at the apparently sudden turn by the political media. Hmm. Why should it surprise him?

The media have done this many times in the past — and for reasons that have nothing to do with presidential children’s role in shaping public policy.

George W. Bush’s twins — Barbara and Jenna — became media fodder after they got into some trouble in college; conservative critics of Bill and Hillary Clinton turned their guns on Chelsea during their time in the White House over the teen’s awkward appearance; Malia Obama got her share of snark from media critics, too, after she enrolled at Harvard.

By the way, is it me or do the media take special aim at presidential daughters while looking the other way when presidents are the fathers of sons?

Ivanka Trump is treading down uncharted paths as a presidential child who’s been handed a portfolio that enables her to speak publicly about policy matters. She and Jared aren’t getting paid for their presidential posts, but they still have a big influence on Daddy Donald.

I respect Howard Kurtz and his role as a media critic. He’s done it for some time at the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, CNN and now at Fox.

I’m betting Ivanka Trump knows what’s coming as she exerts greater influence on the policies that emanate from her father’s administration.

I do agree with one element of Kurtz’s questioning of the media. Challenging the advice that Ivanka gives her father is one thing. The insults and innuendo are quite another.

As a brief aside, I’ll note that one of Kurtz’s colleagues at Fox, Jesse Watters, has just announced he is going on “vacation” after he made some ghastly, sexually charged remarks about Ivanka after her appearance in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund chair Christine LeGard.

The president was dialed in to life in the public eye as a successful businessman. Ivanka and her brothers Don and Eric had managed to stay pretty much out of the media glare. Then dear ol’ Dad had to run for — and get himself elected — president of the United States.

That’s when it all changed.

Is a ‘culture change’ in store at cable network?

21st-Century Fox made it official today: Bill O’Reilly, the company’s No. 1 blowhard and ratings juggernaut is gone.

He won’t be returning from his “long-planned vacation,” which commenced suddenly in the middle of this past week.

The reason for O’Reilly’s departure? A steady stream of negative publicity relating to sexual harassment complaints leveled against the veteran TV talk-show host.

O’Reilly paid out millions of bucks to women who had filed the complaints, all the while maintaining his innocence. Interesting, yes? Well, I think so. Fox News Channel coughed up a lot of cash, too, to women who had griped about O’Reilly’s treatment of them.

These media stories usually become the stuff of inter-network gossip. Competing networks — chiefly CNN and MSNBC — have had a field day covering this story for their audiences; Fox, meanwhile, hasn’t done much reporting at all on the difficulties that O’Reilly has brought to the network.

He’s gone now.

For me, it’s no great loss. I quit listening to O’Reilly a couple of Christmas seasons ago when he would allege that some phony “war on Christmas” was being waged by the “mainstream media” and assorted “left-wing pinheads.”

O’Reilly will get a big chunk of cash for, essentially, being fired for cause by Fox. That’s another part of these celebrity stories that baffles me. A big-ticket media talking head screws up, makes a big mistake — in this case, allegedly, several big mistakes — and he’s still able to walk away with a hefty severance package.

Whatever …

See ya in the funny papers, Bill.

As for the network, it lost its news boss — Roger Ailes — over similar accusations. Women have suggested there exists a “culture” of sexual harassment at Fox.

Perhaps we are witnessing a fundamental change in that culture and that female journalists and other “contributors” will feel more welcome and accepted for the talent they bring.

CNN vs. Fox over this O’Reilly matter

There’s little doubt I will tire of this story quickly, but for now I’m kind of chuckling at a media war that’s flaring up over the controversy surrounding a cable news star.

You’ve heard of Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News Channel’s main man who’s been accused by several women of behaving a boorishly, of committing acts of sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, CNN talking heads and commentators have been blazing away rhetorically over the troubles at Fox.

Fox is firing back, accusing CNN of ignoring a story regarding whether former national security adviser Susan Rice outed some Trump campaign officials who might have been monitored by, oh, someone. CNN denies ignoring the story. Fox, meanwhile, is sticking with O’Reilly.

The two main-event combatants appear to be O’Reilly and CNN’s Don Lemon.

I plan to watch this tempest play itself out from the peanut gallery.

Fox is ignoring the O’Reilly matter

CNN has been covering the Rice story. It’s pretty clear, though, that Fox is giving short shrift to the O’Reilly story. I get that the stories aren’t parallel; Rice is a former government official while O’Reilly is employed by one of the feuding cable news networks.

Fight on, cable news guys.