Tag Archives: fake news

Is this one of ‘the best people’?

Remember this name: Heather Nauert.

She is Donald J. Trump’s latest incarnation of the “best people” he has vowed to hire to help him “make America great again.”

Oh, but who is she? She is the president’s nominee to be our nation’s ambassador to the United Nations. Nauert will succeed Nikki Haley, who is leaving government at the end of the year, possibly to pursue other political ambitions.

OK, what about her credentials to speak for the United States of America in the body aimed at keeping the worldwide peace and working around the globe?

She has zero foreign policy experience. Nauert has limited government experience of any kind; she joined the Trump administration in April 2017, becoming a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who then slammed the door shut on Nauert. Tillerson managed to get fired and his successor, Mike Pompeo, has welcomed Nauert into State’s inner circle.

But . . . this must be what put Nauert into the hunt for the UN job: She was a top news correspondent for Fox News and served for a time as a co-host on the president’s favorite “news” and gab show, “Fox & Friends.” These are the folks who never ask him tough questions, fearing, I suppose, that they would be lumped in with those other “fake news” outlets. We can’t have it, right, ladies and gents?

So, there you have it. The president of the United States has handed the UN envoy job to someone who has not a single thing to show her fellow diplomats that she knows anything about the world around us. Indeed, she has only a little less government experience than the man who nominated her, Donald Trump.

Hey, she appears to be the perfect pick for the president, who defines “best people” in ways I cannot possibly fathom.

Return the press pass to CNN’s White House reporter

I’ll concede that Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, is a show-off who brims with misplaced self-importance.

He also is a journalist who works for a legitimate news-gathering organization — who has been singled out unfairly by the president of the United States.

The White House yanked Acosta’s press credentials. Why? It said initially he put his hands on a young intern who sought to grab a microphone out of Acosta’s hands while he was asking the president a question.

I watch the incident live as it happened. Then I saw it again, and again. He didn’t do anything of the sort. Now the White House is yammering a different line, that Acosta was too persistent in his questioning.

Give me a break!

The White House, let alone the president of the United States, cannot put government pressure on a media organization by this kind of bullying. That’s what they’re doing in the White House. They are trying to bully and intimidate the media, which seek to get answers on all manner of government policy.

CNN has sued the White House, protesting the decision to rescind the reporter’s press pass.

Acosta is known as an aggressive reporter. He is far from the first or even the worst. Do you remember how Sam Donaldson would tangle with President Reagan? Or how about when Dan Rather would get under President Nixon’s thin skin? Did either of those presidents yank their press credentials? No. They sucked it up. They answered their questions and let the reporters and their employers chronicle their answers.

Trump talks like some kind of tough guy. He isn’t. He demonstrates profound weakness by banishing an aggressive reporter, whose job is to ask difficult questions.

The president’s job requires him to provide answers.

By all means, purge ‘fake news’

Our nation’s “liar in chief” has asked whether a Facebook plan to purge itself of “fake news” means that CNN could be going out of business.

Donald John Trump asked this on Twitter: Facebook has just stated that they are setting up a system to “purge” themselves of Fake News. Does that mean CNN will finally be put out of business?

The president of the United States just cannot help himself, he cannot stop tossing around “fake news” epithets at media outlets whose only “sin” is to report news he deems to be “negative.”

More galling than that, of course, is that the president himself is the nation’s — if not the world’s — most egregious purveyor of actual fake news.

I mean, he makes things up. He pulls assertions out of thin air — or perhaps out of a certain body orifice — and blurts ’em out. He flings accusations at foes without any evidence; he makes claims of fraud where none exist; he foments falsehoods  (such as the birther lies regarding his immediate presidential predecessor).

And then he has the temerity to assert that media outlets — except for his “friends” at Fox News — spread fake news all around the world.

He stands behind campaign rally lecterns and bellows this and that about “fake news” and his faithful believers cheer him on.

Every single mention of “fake news” that flies out of this president’s pie hole only ratifies what millions of Americans know already.

Donald Trump is unfit for the office he holds.

Trump keeps playing to his rabid, er, fervent base

Call him whatever you like — or maybe whatever I like.

Liar in Chief. Purveryor of Fake News in Chief. Prevaricator in Chief.

Donald J. Trump is continuing a sustained attack on the media, calling them — and yes, this man has some stones — merchants of “fake news.” This, coming from the man who promoted the lie that Barack Obama was not qualified to serve as president because, according to Trump, he was born abroad.

As The Hill reported: “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Trump believes this attack-the-media strategy is a winner. He is mistaken.

He comes off in my mind — and in the minds of millions of other patriotic Americans — as a goon seeking to intimidate those who work in a craft protected specifically by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Trump has gone after CNN and NBC. Occasionally he rails against The New York Times and The Washington Post. Damn, I wish he would say something about High Plains Blogger … but I fear he doesn’t see this blog from little ol’ me way out here in the heartland.

Oh, well.

But the president is treading on some dangerous turf as he continues to disparage the media, whose function includes a duty to hold government accountable. That means those who run the government, and that means the president of the United States.

Every one of Trump’s presidential predecessors has understood that necessity; some understood it more fully than others, to be sure.

This clown, this carnival barker, this unethical and corrupt-to-the-core wanna-be tyrant doesn’t get it.

He is a disgrace to his office.

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.

‘What wars have we started?’

Allow me to throw a bouquet at Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” who this morning asked national security adviser John Bolton a most pertinent question.

“What wars have we (the media) started,” Wallace asked Bolton, who — quite expectedly — dodged the question, avoided giving a direct answer.

The question came from a tweet fired off this morning by Donald J. Trump, who said the following:

The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!

The danger and sickness, allow me to respond, are coming from the president of the United States, whose Twitter messages are sounding increasingly hysterical and detached from reality.

According to The Hill: “That’s the president’s view, based on the attacks the media has made,” Bolton responded, citing past administrations that have clashed with the media.

“I think this kind of adversarial relationship is typical,” he added.

What is not typical is for the president of the United States to accuse the media of potentially causing “war” by offering critical analysis and commentary of public policy.

Scary, man!

Trump lacks any semblance of decency

When a conservative columnist writes that Donald John Trump will have blood on his hands if more harm comes to journalists, then you might be able to start thinking that the president is on the verge of losing his mind.

Bret Stephens writes for the New York Times. He states: “Donald Trump’s more sophisticated defenders have long since mastered the art of pretending that the only thing that matters with his presidency is what it does, not what he says. But not all of the president’s defenders are quite as sophisticated. Some of them didn’t get the memo about taking Trump seriously but not literally. A few hear the phrase ‘enemy of the people’ and are prepared to take the words to their logical conclusion.”

Read Stephens’s column here

Let’s ponder something for just a moment.

Trump stood before a rally in Pennsylvania this week and hollered hysterically yet again about the “fake, disgusting” media.

I don’t believe the 70-something president suffers from short-term memory loss or dementia. Surely he must remember the recent massacre that killed five people at the Annapolis, Md., newspaper. Certainly he must recall that he sent his “thoughts and prayers” to the victims’ families.

Can he not connect the dots that tie his fiery anti-media rhetoric to the actions of the shooter in Maryland? Sure, the shooter had a specific beef with the Capital Gazette. Would he have acted so violently without the kind of vitriol that’s been flying out of the president’s mouth for the past couple of years? I’m just wondering out loud, man.

I think it’s time I resurrect the time-honored question: Have you no sense of decency, Mr. President?

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.

‘Very unpatriotic’ media? Really, Mr. President?

Donald J. Trump fired off a series of tweets in which he tears into the media, the so-called “enemy of the people.”

They say in part:

When the media – driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome – reveals internal deliberations of our government, it truly puts the lives of many, not just journalists, at risk! Very unpatriotic! Freedom of the press also comes with a responsibility to report the news … accurately. 90% of media coverage of my Administration is negative, despite the tremendously positive results we are achieving, it’s no surprise that confidence in the media is at an all time low! I will not allow our great country to be sold out by anti-Trump haters …”

I want to focus briefly on the “very unpatriotic” label he has hung on the media.

It is quite “patriotic,” actually, for the media to report fully, critically and analytically about the government. For the president, moreover, to suggest that the media doing their job jeopardizes the lives and safety of Americans is an absolutely insane — not to mention idiotic — assertion.

The jeopardy stems from the president’s incessant attack on a “free press” that constitutes bullying and coercion in the extreme of the only private business offered specific protection from government interference in the U.S. Constitution.

The only “enemy of the people” I can find in this context occupies the chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office. Yes, I know that millions of Americans bristle at the criticism launched at Trump. Millions of other Americans, however, remain committed to understanding what the government is doing to us — or for us.

Those Americans depend on an unfettered and patriotic “free press” to tell them.

Liar in Chief: the real enemy of the people

Of all the hypocritical utterances that have poured out of Donald J. Trump’s mouth since he became a politician, the one that continues to gall me in the extreme is his ongoing epithet that the media comprise “fake news” and are the “enemy of the people.”

The very idea that the president of the United States, one of the godfathers of the “birther” movement, would use the term “fake news” to reporters who are doing their job.

And for the president to describe the media as the “enemy of the people” is dangerous on its face, and not just to individual reporters, but to one of the bedrocks of our democratic system.

Trump and the New York Times’s publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, met recently to talk about the president’s ongoing bullying of the media. Trump tweeted out yet another irrational tirade against “fake news.”

My goodness. How in the world does this individual look at himself in the mirror?

He has lied continually. The birther movement was intended to question whether Barack Obama was born in the United States; he was, but that didn’t stop Trump from continuing the lie. Fake news? There you have it.

He lied about witnessing “thousands of Muslims cheering” the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Trump lied about Obama ordering the bugging of his campaign office in 2016. He lied about millions of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary Clinton, giving her the 3 million popular vote margin over Trump.

He lies and lies some more.

To think that this individual has the unmitigated gall, therefore, to accuse the media of promulgating “fake news.”

Just who, I must ask, is the real “enemy of the people”?

It’s someone in power who would promote the lies that we have heard repeatedly since he began seeking the nation’s highest office.

Donald Trump is the enemy of the people he was elected to lead.