Tag Archives: CNN

Facts are facts, period, Mr. Mayor … really!

Rudy Giuliani seems to have swilled Kellyanne Conway’s potion that allows for the belief in “alternative facts.”

Conway is the White House senior policy adviser to coined the “alternative facts” gem while responding to questions about then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s various assertions about this and that.

Now we have Donald Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “nowadays … facts are the eyes of the beholder.”

Whoa! Hold on, Mr. Mayor.

From where I come from, facts are facts. There can be disputing the nature of facts. You either tell the truth or you lie.

Giuliani was responding to questions from Cuomo about the president’s harsh words about another former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Giuliani made the “eye of the beholder” crack, to which Cuomo reminded him that there’s no such qualifier involved with “facts.”

As USA Today reported: Whether intended in humor or not, the former New York mayor’s remark feeds into a perception among critics that the Trump administration often rejects objective facts and tries to confuse the public about what is true. 

Trump’s rejection of facts dates back at least to his refusal to accept that former President Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen despite being presented with conclusive evidence.

If all this idiocy didn’t involve the very credibility of our head of state, I would be laughing my behind off.

I’m not laughing now … any more than I laughed at Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” nonsense.

POTUS seeks to taint a criminal proceeding

Imagine the President’s former campaign chairman is on trial for various felonies. Imagine the jury is in middle of deliberations. Imagine the President publicly calls the case unfair & praises the defendant There was a time when that kind of thing was considered inappropriate

— Jake Tapper, CNN news anchor

Jake Tapper’s tweet — posted above — actually understates how one should consider a president who seeks to prejudice a jury that is considering whether to convict or acquit someone of a major felony.

It is far worse than “inappropriate” for a president to rail against a trial involving a former top campaign official. I would call it something more akin to reprehensible, contemptible, disgraceful.

Yet this president sees nothing at all wrong with saying that a trial involving his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is “unfair” and that the court is trying to railroad him. He tells us that Manafort is an upstanding individual and a “good man.”

Manafort’s fate now is in the jury’s hands. He was indicted and brought to trial on charges involving tax evasion and money laundering. He faces a possible life term in prison. Manafort’s indictment was brought by the grand jury that received a complaint from special counsel Robert Mueller.

The prosecution presented witnesses. Manafort’s defense team was allowed to cross examine them, which did with vigor.

Normal presidential protocol would dictate that a president keeps his trap shut on a criminal proceeding. This one now is headed for a verdict. Yet Donald Trump keeps yapping, he keeps seeking to influence the outcome from the peanut gallery.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe we shouldn’t be appalled. I mean, this kind of ignorant approach to what I would call a form of jury tampering is part and parcel of Trump’s utter lack of understanding of presidential protocol, let alone of judicial conduct.

This individual, the president, is completely out of control.

Trump-McCain feud goes on and on

Oh, my goodness. Donald John Trump spent a lot of time today thanking damn near every veteran in politics for their service to the country. His thank-a-thon preceded his signing a $717 billion defense spending bill.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one veteran did not receive a presidential thank you.

That would be U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I’ll add, too, that Congress voted to name the defense bill in McCain’s honor.

Still, Donald Trump ignored the Arizona Republican while tossing all those bouquets.

There’s much more. Sen. McCain spent more than five years during the Vietnam War as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese after his Navy jet fighter was shot down over Hanoi in 1967. He was beaten, kept in solitary confinement, denied proper medical treatment for his wounds.

However, he and the president don’t exactly get along.

McCain has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. And, I should add, he cast a decisive vote against a Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which torpedoed Trump’s effort to remove former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation.

I’ll add, finally, that presidential candidate Trump said in 2016 that Sen. McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured.”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper today took a moment to thank Sen. McCain for his service to the country. He said: “One person who wasn’t on that list of people that he thanked? Outspoken Trump critic and the namesake of the bill, Sen. John McCain,” Tapper said. “You know, the decorated war hero who was a prisoner of war and continues to serve as a United States senator, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Tapper said, “Since President Trump would not do it, let us here on ‘The Lead’ congratulate Sen. John McCain and his family, and thank him for his service to the country.”

Good for Jake Tapper.

Shame on Donald Trump.

Feast or famine with Trump team

I’m tellin’ ya, it’s feast or famine with the people Donald Trump has chosen to surround him in the inner circles of government’s executive branch.

He picks some turkeys and sprinkles in a few soaring birds just to keep it, um, oh so interesting.

Sadly for the nation — and I don’t include the president in this analysis — he has picked far more turkeys than otherwise.

Betsy DeVos as education secretary? She knows not a damn thing about public education. Michael Flynn as national security adviser? He lasted 24 days before getting fired for lying to the FBI about Russia matters. Sean Spicer as press flack? His first burst out of the box in January 2017 was to chide the media over their reporting of the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd. Tom Price at health and human services? He’s gone over a spending scandal. Scott Pruitt at Environmental Protection? He’s gone too for the same reason as Price. Reince Priebus as chief of staff? He could organize a bake sale, let alone control the info flow at the White House.

Now is Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant whom Trump “fired” already who’s been canned as a White House special assistant. She’s now revealing some dirty secrets (allegedly) about the president. She broke a serious national security protocol by recording a conversation — in the Situation Room — with chief of staff John Kelly; that’s a serious no-no, Omarosa.

To be fair, the president has picked some legitimately fine public servants. I mentioned Kelly. He’s got James “Mad Dog” Mattis as defense secretary. He has Mike Pompeo at State. I also like Elaine Chao at Transportation. I also believe Gina Haspel at CIA will do well.

Dang! That’s all I can think of at the moment!

But you get the picture. Trump has surrounded himself with a cadre of goofballs, liars, sneaks and cheats.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza says the president’s “best people” boast has cratered. Read his essay here.

I am afraid the quality of his inner circle — some of whom have been indicted by the special counsel looking into the “Russia thing” — speaks as much about the man who hired them as the individuals themselves.

That would be you … Mr. President.

So, so weird.

A new context for ‘America, love it or leave it’?

I cannot quite get past the statement that Laura Ingraham made about immigration and the changing demographics that are being “foisted” on Americans who, like her, don’t like what those changes are bringing.

Ingraham is a noted conservative talk show host and a regular on the Fox News Channel. Her comments have drawn a good bit of criticism from those who accuse her of race-baiting.

Then comes this from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who blasted Ingraham on his own TV program. “To turn a phrase back on our us-versus-them friends — if you don’t like what America is, you leave,” Cuomo said on his show “Prime Time.”

Read The Hill’s story here.

Do you get the irony in that statement?

A couple of generations ago, when Americans were protesting the Vietnam War, political conservatives bellowed to the hippies, yippies and other far-left protesters that they should leave the country if they disliked it so much.

“America, love it or leave it!” they shouted at them.

What I’m hearing now is that the “love it or leave it” mantra now has become the battle cry of those on the left to hurl angrily at those on the right.

Fantastic, man!

Media ‘not supposed to be the story’

CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is a man to whom I can relate. More or less.

He made an appearance last night on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and asserted that the media aren’t supposed to be the story they are covering. Indeed, Acosta has become a media “celebrity” because of his frequent public clashes with White House press officials — notably press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Plus, Donald J. Trump continues to single out Acosta and CNN as purveyors of what he calls “fake news.”

The Hill reports: “Do you worry that the president points at y’all so much and there’s a natural need to respond as a human being that you end up being the story when that’s not really the goal of your journalism?” Colbert asked Acosta on the CBS “Late Show” host Wednesday night.

“We’re not supposed to be the story, you know. That’s not why I’m out there,” Acosta responded. “I get accused of that from time to time, and my attitude is ‘Listen, I’m allowed to care about this country as much as anybody else.'”

I, too, lament the way the media have become part of the story. In a perfect world — and this one has never been perfect — the media would report the news and remain in the shadows. I liken it to the sports referee who no one notices, until the ref does something stupid or otherwise noteworthy.

The president chooses to make the media the story by continuing to hammer them over the way they cover his administration.

He won’t simply allow the media to do their job. He won’t accept that not all news is positive. He doesn’t recognize the media’s role in holding public officials accountable. Therefore, he ratchets up the volume whenever he fires off those tweets accusing the media of being the “enemy of the people.”

That all said, the notion that Acosta would agree to appear on a late-night TV show with a host who has been notably critical of the president suggests that he isn’t exactly walking the walk in terms of seeking anonymity.

His message about the media’s role — as the chronicler of events — is on point. The media mustn’t become “the story,” and that precludes CNN’s chief White House reporter from appearing on a national TV show.

LeBron’s noble act gets lost in the Twitter storm

Seemingly lost in all the hubbub over Donald J. Trump’s tweet about LeBron James and Don Lemon has been the noble act that the pro basketball player has committed on behalf of at-risk children in his hometown.

Sure, Americans are talking about the president’s racist-sounding message in which he calls Lemon the “dumbest man on television” and how the CNN anchor made James “look smart.” I’ll add that both men, Lemon and James, are African-American. Trump’s insult is in keeping his with his history of insulting African-Americans’ intelligence.

The story ought to center on what LeBron James has done for students in Akron, Ohio. He has invested several million dollars of his own immense fortune in establishing a school for those children.

Trump, who said in his tweet “I like Mike,” drew a response from “Mike,” aka Michael Jordan, the retired NBA great who endorsed LeBron’s efforts on behalf of the kids.

The reality is this: LeBron James has done far more for children in Akron than Trump has done in his entire professional life. I will repeat what I’ve noted already, which is that Trump focused his entire career on self-enrichment. He demonstrated zero interest in public service prior to running for president in 2016 … and I’m convinced that he intended to become president for completely personal reasons.

LeBron James’s act of generosity will long outlive the current dust-up over the president’s Twitter tirade and perhaps even the debate over its racist tone.

WH press flack whiffs a home-run pitch

Sarah Huckabee Sanders was served a pitch that she should have hit out of the park. Instead, she whiffed.

It came from CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, the current chief “enemy of the people,” according to the president and Sanders, his press secretary.

Acosta asked Sanders directly whether she believes as Donald John Trump believes that the media are the “enemy of the people.”

Sanders didn’t take the bait. She didn’t answer the question. She didn’t stand for the right of the media to do their job as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. She didn’t challenge the notion that the media — which no president has ever liked — is the “enemy.”

The White House press secretary today revealed a potentially shameful side of herself.

See the Sanders-Acosta exchange on the link here.

I don’t know whether Sanders actually believes the crap she defends in the White House press briefing room, or whether she feels some sort of blind fealty to the head of state. Perhaps there’s a third option, that she might fear being humiliated by the president if he perceives that she is straying too far off the marked trail.

Whatever the case, the White House press officer could have assuaged many Americans’ fear that the White House has taken its war against the media to a frightening new level.

She didn’t.

Shame.

Media have become part of ‘the story’

I long have hated the notion of the media becoming part of the story they are covering. Yet that’s what is happening in the current tumult involving Donald J. Trump, the “enemy of the people” and those in the media who love taking pot shots at each other.

CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, a frequent target of the president’s barbs, fired off this tweet aimed at competitor Sean Hannity, a commentator at Fox News:

Hannity is a propagandist for profit, peddling lies every night. He says he’s just a talk show host, not a journalist. But he’s injecting poison into the nation’s political bloodstream warping public attitudes about the press. I’m confident in the long run the truth will prevail.

Never mind that I happen to agree with Acosta. Hannity is every bit the “propagandist” that Acosta calls him. He is riddled with conflicts of interest, given his professional relationship with Trump’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, and his continuing personal friendship with the president himself.

But, I digress. No need to rehash what you know to be the obvious, which is that I detest Hannity.

Still, I do not like the notion of the media becoming the story in and of themselves. I am a rather old-fashioned sort of guy. I prefer the media simply cover the story to which they are assigned. Report the news. If the subject of their coverage objects to the tone, the tenor or the timing of the story, let ’em rant. Don’t respond. Don’t fire back.

Of course, Trump has ratcheted up the criticism to an unacceptable level. This idiotic mantra about the media being the “enemy of the people” is unhealthy, unAmerican, unpatriotic and totally unacceptable. And for this president, the purveyor in chief of lies and prevarication, to blame others for reporting “fake news” gives hypocrisy a bad name.

That all said, the nature of the media’s role as watchdogs for the public has evolved to a form that makes me quite uncomfortable.

White House sinks to new level of juvenile petulance

A reporter for CNN has found out she has friends.

Her colleagues are standing with her in the wake of a petulant White House decision to bar her from a press event in the Rose Garden.

What got Kaitlin Collins in trouble with the White House? She asked some tough questions. That’s it, man! She was doing her job.

Well, the White House banishment of her hasn’t gone over well. Get a load of this statement from Fox News, the favorite cable network of Donald John Trump Sr: “We stand in strong solidarity with CNN for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press” Fox President Jay Wallace says in statement.

A “free and unfettered press” needs “full access” to the people in power. Yep, they do. Jay Wallace’s defense of Collins is spot on.

Donald Trump is demonstrating time and again that he possesses the thinnest skin in a president since, oh, Richard M. Nixon. That goes back more than four decades. President Nixon was known to exact revenge against media members, particularly the Washington Post, which led the journalistic investigation into that “third-rate burglary” known as Watergate.

This president, No. 45, is setting a new standard for presidential petulance.

As The Hill reported: “Wannabe tyrant Donald Trump is banning reporters he doesn’t like from official press events,” McGovern tweeted. “Journalists like [CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins] ask questions not just for their news outlet, but on behalf of all Americans.”

“Shutting them out is a slap in the face to our democracy,” he added.

Except that the president shows us damn near daily that he is ignorant of the value that a free press brings to a free society.