Tag Archives: enemy of the people

Russia, not the media, is the ‘enemy of people’

I already have stated my regret at dismissing Mitt Romney’s assertion in 2012 that Russia was this nation’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” He was right; those of us who criticized him were wrong.

Moreover, I also have stated — and restated countless times — my belief that Donald Trump should accept that reality and start treating the Russian government as the “enemy” it is.

I’m going to do so yet again. It likely won’t be the final time, either.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, in a talk before the Council on Foreign Relations this past week, said the Russians are working 24/7/365 at trying to undermine our electoral system. They did it in 2016, he said, and again in 2018. They are hard at work setting the table for what he called “the big show,” which would be the 2020 presidential election.

Where is the president on all of this? He’s nowhere, man.

Instead, he is attacking the media, Democrats, special counsel Robert Mueller, climate change advocates, abortion-rights activists. Political foes are fair game.

Russian President Vladimir Putin remains somehow protected from the same level of outrage that Trump levels at his domestic opponents. Why in the world is that the case?

Perhaps that is the question that the 2020 campaign will flesh out over time.

Trump stood before the media in Helsinki and trashed his intelligence and counterterrorism experts and accepted Putin’s denial that the Russians interfered in our election. He has continued to denigrate the intelligence community and continued to go soft on Putin, who — I hasten to add — is a former Soviet spy master.

Donald Trump is unloading his barrages on the wrong targets. The media aren’t the “enemy of the people.” Nor are Democrats. The FBI comprises professional law enforcement and legal professionals dedicated to protecting this nation from its enemies.

One of those enemies happens to function inside the Kremlin. That enemy is seeking to continue the work it started upon the 2016 Republican presidential candidate’s invitation to look for Hillary Clinton’s “missing e-mails.” That candidate, of course, was Donald John Trump.

The candidate-turned-president must cease his attacks on the media and focus them instead on the real No. 1 enemy of this nation and its citizens.

POTUS demands Fox bring back the judge . . . imagine that

You would think the president of the United States would have a plate that overflows with crises that demand his undivided attention, that he would have no time to burst out Twitter tirades railing against the “fake news” media and other imagined enemies.

But no-o-o-o!

Not this guy.

Donald J. Trump fires off a Twitter message that reads, in part:

Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro. The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well.

Fox condemned Pirro for remarks she made about Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim elected to Congress in 2018 from Minnesota. Pirro said Omar favors teaching Sharia law in classrooms. Why? Because she wears a hijab.

Fox issued a strongly worded statement condemning Pirro’s utterance. She’s been off the air for about a week.

So then Donald Trump enters the fray, demanding that Fox return Pirro to the air.

C’mon, Mr. President! Focus your attention — to the extent that are able — on issues that matter. A media outlet’s personnel decision is its to make.

You, sir, have matters of state that should concern you.

Trump keeps making media the ‘story’

I long have considered it a terrible journalistic sin for the media to become part of the story they are covering.

I worked in the media for nearly four decades and I managed over that span of time to steer clear of any discussion of an issue I was covering. Occasionally an organization that employed me would get entangled in the story; they would manage to wriggle themselves free.

The Age of Trump has produced an entirely different dynamic.

He labels the media the “enemy of the people.” His followers buy into it. They demonstrate in front of cable, broadcast and print reporters seeking only to do their job.

It’s getting weird to watch the news these days and hear all these references to cable networks involved so deeply in the covering of current events. For instance:

  • Fox News Channel has been banned from Democratic primary presidential debates because it has become a virtual arm of the Trump administration. Its commentators are known to be in constant communication with Donald Trump, reportedly offering policy advice to the president.
  • CNN, MSNBC are on the other end of the spectrum. Their commentators take great delight in chastising their colleagues at Fox. Meanwhile, Fox fires back at their competitors/colleagues. Oh, and the president hangs “fake news” labels on all media that report news that he finds disagreeable.

It all reminds of an athletic event where the attention turns to the referee. You want to concentrate on the athletes, not the individuals who discern whether they’re breaking the rules.

We’re concentrating increasingly on the media reporting of the issues at hand, and less so on the actual issues that are being discussed.

It’s a distressing trend that appears — to my way of thinking — to have no possible exit for the media.

Mitt takes up cudgel for a ‘free press’

U.S. Sen.-elect Mitt Romney is filling me with hope that he might become a Republican who actually is willing to challenge the nation’s demonizer in chief.

The media, according to Mitt, aren’t the “enemy of the people.” Even a “biased” media, the new senator from Utah writes in an op-ed for USA Today, are essential to the nation.

I agree with him. So do all of Donald J. Trump’s predecessors. So should most of the congressional Republicans who will take office in January along with their Democratic colleagues.

Sen.-elect Romney says categorically that Trump is wrong to vilify the media. He writes: America is indebted as a democratic nation to the free press for truths it has uncovered, for truth it has disseminated, and for falsehoods it has repudiated. The press uncovered the government’s lies about the war in Vietnam; it exposed Watergate; it opened our eyes to the sexual abuse of children by priests; and, most recently, it shed a light on the sexual assault by numerous men in power. The free press dispelled the false conspiracies about the 9/11 attacks, President Obama’s birth, and Joe McCarthy’s lurking communists. The work of a free press is essential.

The president doesn’t see it that way. He says the media that report on issues he deems critical are disseminating “fake news,” which of course is the ultimate irony given his own lying about so many issues, so many individuals. He has defamed seemingly countless public figures with lies.

But I’ll leave it to Mitt Romney and perhaps a few other brave souls in public life to try to hold the president accountable for his continuing attacks on the media.

Donald Trump could not be more wrong. Mitt Romney couldn’t be more correct.

Media have become part of the story? Sad

Jim Acosta is now a household name.

He is known to many Americans who by all rights shouldn’t really know — or really give a hoot — about someone who is just doing his job.

Acosta is chief White House correspondent for CNN, the cable news outlet that has been demonized by the president of the United States. Donald Trump has singled Acosta out as a “rude, terrible person” who conveys “fake news” for a network that should be “ashamed” to employ him.

This is not supposed to happen. Journalists get paid to report the news, not to become part of the news. It’s a trend that has been developing and evolving for some time, even pre-dating Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

Trump, though, has elevated this phenomenon to a level that many of us don’t understand or even recognize.

The White House has yanked Acosta’s press pass because he allegedly put his hands on a young intern who tried to grab a microphone from him Wednesday during a combative presidential news conference. I watched the incident as it happened; I didn’t see Acosta do anything of the sort.

Acosta isn’t the only reporter to be singled out by the president. April Ryan, a veteran political reporter, got roughed up by Trump on Wednesday. So did PBS correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

There have been others. CNN’s Jake Tapper has felt the wrath of the president, who routinely blasts “failing” media outlets that publish or broadcast news reports the president deems to be “too negative.” Reporters for other broadcast and cable networks have been tagged as openly hostile. He calls them false, fake, a hoax.

Who’s to blame for this ridiculous turn of events? I lay this at the president’s feet. He has chosen to declare open rhetorical warfare on the media, the constitutionally protected profession he has labeled the “enemy of the American people.”

The president’s continuing hostility against the media only feeds the beast, if you will. He can end this idiotic feud simply by accepting that the media are going to report the news without regard to whether their reporting is favorable or unfavorable.

The media shouldn’t be part of the story.

Reporters, furthermore, shouldn’t become household names.

Media are doing their job

The media — broadcast and print — have been vilified and pilloried by the president of the United States and those who adhere to his dangerous view of the media’s role in protecting our democratic system.

Indeed, CNN was targeted by someone or some group that has been assembling pipe bombs. It’s been the talk of the nation, if not the world.

Here, though, is something I want to share briefly regarding the media. They are doing their job in informing the public about what is happening in this investigation and hunt for whoever is responsible for terrorizing various political figures and the media.

I salute them as always for the job they are doing.

I’ve actually learned a great deal from reading and listening to the media coverage of this ongoing crisis.

For instance, I have learned more about the U.S. Postal Services investigative arm and how efficient it is in looking for those who use the USPS to deliver instruments of terror.

I also have learned more about the tremendous capability of the New York Police Department. New York City is where many of the initial packages were discovered; thus, the NYPD has been unleashed in the search for the perpetrator.

Also, I have gotten a keener understanding and appreciation of how the FBI cannot reveal too much to the public while it searches; the FBI doesn’t want to “educate” the bad guy(s) on how to continue their mission of terror.

This is a clear and obvious instance where the public needs an independent media to perform its service to the public, which is to inform us and chronicle the events of the day.

The media aren’t the “enemy of the people.” They are our allies.

POTUS’s call for ‘unity’ falls a bit short

Well, the president had a chance to make some serious amends for his contribution to the poisonous rhetoric that has infected our political discourse.

As usual, he fell short of the mark.

Donald Trump opened a political rally in Wisconsin tonight by calling for “peace and harmony.” He decried the discovery of bombs sent to the offices of Democratic officeholders, a key activist, and the CNN offices in New York City. That’s all good. I applaud the president’s effort on that score.

But then he failed to acknowledge his own role in creating the political toxicity. He didn’t mention how he has applauded the violence of a Montana congressman on a reporter, or how he has endorsed numerous other acts of physical intimidation.

Nope. He didn’t go there.

POTUS falls short

He railed against what he said “both sides” and the media are responsible. I agree that partisans on both sides have contributed to the toxic atmosphere. The media? Well, they have done their job, even if it includes publishing or broadcasting “negative” stories about the Trump administration. The president is not having any of the negative coverage, which he calls — in a fit of unfairness — “fake news.”

He ought to retract his statement that the media are “the enemy of the people.” He knows better than that, but he says it anyway, knowing that it fires up his political base.

So, what now? We’ll find out as the president continues to campaign for Republican candidates in this year’s midterm election. He wants them to win, but at what cost? Will he continue to denigrate, disparage and dismiss his foes as unpatriotic? Will he continue to foment fear and anger?

If he means what he says about his quest for “peace and harmony,” he can deliver the goods from any podium behind which he stands while bellowing his political rhetoric.

Divide-and-conquer POTUS is at it again

Leave it to the president of the United States to show us once again how little he cares about civility, collegiality and comity in our public discourse.

Yep, Donald Trump applauded a Montana congressman for — get a load of this — body-slamming a reporter in 2017.

Rep. Greg Gianforte, the state’s lone member of the House, is Trump’s kinda guy. That’s what Trump said at a rally in support of his fellow Republican, who this past year body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs, who had the temerity to ask him a tough question. I mean, the nerve … you know?

Gianforte pleaded guilty to assaulting Jones and performed community service as part of his sentence.

Back to my point … which is that Trump clearly doesn’t give a rat’s rear end about all Americans, no matter what he says. He is talking exclusively to his base of supporters who share his perverted view of the media being “the enemy of the American people.”

Why do you think he got such a holler yesterday in Montana when he declared how Gianforte is his guy? “Any guy that can do a body-slam is my guy,” Trump said. Implied in his low-level praise of Gianforte is that he is especially proud of him for assaulting a reporter.

Trump is seeking to divide the nation and conquer the part of it that agrees with him and his wide range of idiotic notions. The rest of us, those who didn’t vote for him in 2016, those who gave Hillary Clinton that nearly 3 million-ballot cushion in the popular vote?

I believe the president of the United States is telling us to go straight to hell. 

Yep, that’s our president.

Colin Powell: Trump lacks moral authority

I once wished out loud that Colin Powell, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and secretary of state, would run for president of the United States.

He didn’t. His comments this week, though, have revived my interest in this soldier/statesman, who has declared that “We the People” has been replaced by “Me the president” in the mind of Donald J. Trump.

Powell’s bottom line is that Trump lacks the moral authority to be the world’s leader.

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN, Powell touched on a number of key issues, such as Trump’s supposed hatred of the media. “How can a president … get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn’t he read the First Amendment? You’re not supposed to like everything the press says or what anyone says in the First Amendment,” he said.

Powell needs to be heard

I don’t believe the president understands the First Amendment, or the founders’ intent when they protected the press against government interference or coercion … or bullying.

Powell said “the world cannot believe” that the government is separating children from their families as they cross the border into the United States illegally.

Oh, how I wish this man hadn’t taken himself out of the presidential running in the mid-1990s when he was the talk of the nation. But he did and all but declared there could be no way in the world he would run for the nation’s highest office.

Damn!

A tip of the hat to the ‘enemy of the people’

I want to tip my proverbial hat to the media, the institutions labeled by the president as the “enemy of the American people.”

They continue to do their jobs. The men and women who practice their noble craft do it with honor and distinction.

The New York Times has just published an astonishing — and lengthy in the extreme — article that peels the bark off the disguise under which Donald Trump hid while campaigning for the presidency.

He told Americans he is a “self-made business success.” The Times story tells an entire different tale, that Donald Trump relied heavily on the generosity of his late father, Fred, and that he manipulated the tax system to obtain cushy deals all along the way.

Now, to be sure none of this likely will change the political balance. Anti-Trump Americans — such as me — will use the material to criticize the president; pro-Trump Americans will use it to bash the media. Trump himself will bash the media and the Times specifically. That’s his modus operandi. It stinks.

However, the media continue to step up. They continue to do what their professional journalists are trained to do. They are holding government accountable.

Every one of Donald Trump’s predecessors as president has understood the media’s role in building our representative democracy and their contributions to strengthening it.

Exhaustive and meticulous reporting by media outlets such as The New York Times demonstrate for all the world the power of a free press, the only privately held business expressly protected against government interference/bullying/coercion in the U.S. Constitution.

None of this, of course, will dissuade Donald Trump from demonizing the media. He’ll continue to speak of what he calls “fake news,” even though he is the No. 1 purveyor of outright lies and prevarication.

Many of the rest of us know better. The media are standing tall. I am proud to have been a member of the mainstream media.