Tag Archives: fake news

Trump sure to ramp up his war against ‘fake news media’

Donald Trump sought Monday to turn a White House “briefing” on the coronavirus pandemic into a campaign pitch for his re-election.

To their credit, two major cable news networks — CNN and MSNBC — decided that viewers did not need to see a propaganda video in place of what was supposed to be an analysis of the federal government’s response to the worldwide health crisis.

Fox News, of course, stayed with it, no doubt to Trump’s pleasure. That’s their call.

I want to applaud CNN and MSBNC for exhibiting sound news judgment in deciding that Trump’s self-aggrandization should not be part of a sober assessment of a health crisis that has killed more than 20,000 Americans and sickened more than a half-million of us; and be sure, those numbers might be far fewer than the reality, given the shocking shortage of testing equipment to determine the actual infection rate.

You can take this to the bank as well: Donald Trump is going to ramp up his war against what he labels falsely the “fake news media” outlets that refuse to pander to his every wish.

He doesn’t grasp — or refuses to grasp — the principle behind a “free press.” The principle that he ignores is that the media do not work for him; they work for the public.

That likely won’t stop the Imbecile in Chief from going ballistic against the media who, I hasten to add one more time, are just doing their job.

Trump uses health crisis as re-election campaign forum … disgusting

I caught a few minutes today of one of Donald Trump’s frequent White House press briefing/campaign rallies.

As before, I came away shaking my head wondering how in the world this guy gets away with this idiotic charade.

I watched Trump chide Joe Biden over a statement that came from the former vice president, who’s become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. I was astounded to listen to Trump actually question whether Biden wrote the statement, suggesting the text came from his campaign staff, which Trump managed to suggest comprised some “very smart” aides.

As usual, the president’s rambling was at best semi-coherent.

And this occurred before Trump opened the floor for questions from the media gathered in the White House press briefing room. I turned away from the Trump Show to take care of some household chores.

The more I see of Trump’s daily “briefings” on the coronavirus pandemic the more convinced I am that he performs not a scintilla of public service when he stands in front of the nation in this fashion.

You know what Trump needs to do … but he won’t. He needs to stand down and leave the actual information conveyance to the experts who comprise the White House pandemic response team headed by Vice President Mike Pence; for that matter, Pence should step into the shadows, too, for I am sickened by the sucking up he demonstrates whenever he talks about the “outstanding leadership” that Trump provides to deal with this crisis.

However, these so-called “briefings” become only a platform for Trump to campaign for re-election. He uses this venue to criticize the media, Democrats, previous presidents (and chiefly just his immediate predecessor) and everyone else not associated with his administration.

He keeps insisting he is unifying the nation. He accuses congressional Democrats of “politicizing” this national emergency while doing the very same thing himself. He calls out media for reporting “fake news” without ever recognizing the extreme irony that he — the “kind of fake news” — would accuse anyone else of doing the very thing he has turned into something of an art form.

Therein lies the reason I refuse to listen to what this clown has to say. I want to rely on the scientists, the doctors and assorted other emergency response experts to provide me with information I can use.

If only Donald Trump would shut his mouth.

What took so long to build has collapsed in virtually no time at all

It took print journalism, chiefly newspapers, nearly two centuries to attain what used to be a virtually exalted status among their consumers.

And yet, the craft has all but collapsed in virtually no time.

What took years to erect has all but vanished in the blink of an eye.

That observation came from a dear friend of mine with whom I used to have a professional relationship when I worked in Amarillo as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. My friend was a freelance columnist; he had a regular day job, but wrote for us because he was good at it. Our professional relationship ended when I left the newspaper in August 2012. Happily, our personal friendship remains intact.

We were visiting the other evening when he made that stunning observation. His point is that newspapers climbed for a long time up a proverbial mountain to attain an important status in people’s homes. Readers of newspapers depended on them for news of their community, of their state, nation and the world around them. If you wanted to know what was happening in the world, you collected your newspaper off the porch, opened it up and spent a good deal of time reading what it reported to you.

We believed what we read. I mean, if it’s in the daily newspaper then it had to be true. As my friend noted, it took a long time for newspapers to achieve that status.

Then it all changed. Rapidly! Dramatically! Newspapers fell with a loud thud!

The Internet arrived. I can’t remember when it happened, but suffice to say it was the equivalent to the “day before yesterday.” Cable TV exploded. Social media burst forth, too.

All of that media took huge bites out of newspapers’ influence in people’s lives. Has print journalism become less reliable, less believable, less credible than before? I do not believe that is the case. Americans are still reading some first-class reporting from major newspapers that remain important purveyors of vital information.

And yet, we hear the president of the United States refer to the media as “the enemy of the people.” Right-wingers blast what they call the “mainstream media.” They accuse newspapers and other legitimate media organizations of peddling “fake news.” The attacks have exacted a terrible toll on newspapers.

The smaller papers, those that tell us about our communities? They are struggling. Many of them — if not most of them — are losing the struggle. The Amarillo Globe-News, my final stop in a career that I loved pursuing, has been decimated by competing media forces and — in my view — by incompetence at the top of its management chain of command.

My friend’s analysis, though, rings so true. It saddens me beyond measure to realize that it has taken so little time for it all come crashing down.

Trump’s Twitter rampages are expanding … imagine that

Donald John “Tweeter in Chief” Trump keeps setting unofficial records via the Twitter device that he must sleep with at night.

He reportedly launched 60 or so tweets in a three-hour span to complain about impeachment, Democrats, the “fake news,” Time’s teenage “Person of the Year,” and whatever else got under his orange-tinted skin.

Think about this for a moment. This is the president of the United States. He vows to “make America great again.” He says that “I, alone” can cure the ills of the nation.

How does someone with all that heavy-duty responsibility find the time to pound out misspelled, mangled-syntax, incoherent messages via Twitter?

Oh, I get it. He’s not actually working as president of the United States. That explains it.

‘Fake News’ becomes part of the political vernacular

Donald Trump has done it. He has turned a ridiculous epithet into part of our national vernacular.

I refer to “Fake News,” the term he uses to describe any coverage he deems to be negative. He calls it “fake,” continuing the incessant mantra he began about the time he entered political life in June 2015.

He announced his presidential campaign and not long afterward began hurling the “Fake News” around.

It has stuck. Who knew?

You see, what makes this label so remarkable is its source. Donald Trump once called himself the “king of debt.” He’s actually the “king of fake news.”

He has lied so often, on so many levels that for this individual to accuse anyone in the media of peddling “fake” information simply defies logic.

However, he has gotten away with it!

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. I mean, this carnival barker/huckster/charlatan/serial liar managed to get elected president of the United States in the first place.

He has defied every political norm known to most of us. Why, then, should it surprise anyone that he could turn “Fake News” into something ingrained in our national political vocabulary?

I offer a tip of the proverbial hat to a most unlikely recipient of this salute. You’ve done it, Mr. President. You have created a monster in your own image.

Fox to POTUS: We don’t work for you!

I’m in a shout-out frame of mind.

Thus, I want to say “good show!” to some of Fox News Channel’s top guns for firing back at Donald Trump’s bitching about what he seems to suggest is a growing “disloyalty” among Fox News’s talking heads.

Longtime journalist Brit Hume brusquely told Trump: “We don’t work for you.” Indeed, the network does not work for Trump, although a few of its commentators occasionally act as if they do.

Trump, though, is griping about the news coverage that Fox is providing.

As The Daily Beast reported about Trump’s recent Twitter-tantrum: The president concluded by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time channel “isn’t working for us anymore!”

Fox does have some hard-nosed reporters and news anchors on its staff. I continue to hold up Chris Wallace, host of “Fox News Sunday.” It also has Shep Smith and Brett Baier on anchor desks during the week day.

I won’t offer any commentary on the alleged “work” done by, oh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts, or Laura Ingraham. They all are full of opinions and express them regularly. They are entitled, certainly.

However, for Trump to suggest that a major news and opinion outlet should be “loyal” to him is disgusting and disgraceful beyond belief.

The pros at Fox are doing their job.

If only Donald Trump would realize the fundamental truth about Fox. The network might produce more “friendly” or “favorable” coverage than other news outlets, but it does not work for the president of the United States.

I’m glad to hear the Fox superstars pushing back on Donald Trump.

Bill Maher is a not-too-funny comic, not a member of the media

I posited a notion in an earlier blog post today that Donald Trump’s assertion that the media are trying to destroy the economy is a typically absurd effort to avoid taking any responsibility for the economic woe his own policies might bring to American.

Then a post from a couple of days ago came to my attention. It’s of Bill Maher saying he wishes the economy tanks so that Donald Trump is denied re-election next year.

Is there a parallel here? I don’t see it.

Maher is a comic and sometime-political commentator who’s got a talk show that I never watch, although I’ve heard Maher’s shtick over the years. I don’t think he’s very funny. His “comedy” occasionally crosses a line or two of good taste and decorum.

I am perplexed enough to ask: Is this guy a member of the media? I suppose one could suggest so, given that he at times appears on left-leaning cable commentary shows to offer his world view on this or that issue. However, his media role is at best something that occurs on its fringe.

If you’re interested, you can see how The Hill reported Maher’s rantings here.

I’ll stand by my earlier post that the president is wrong to blame the media for conspiring to tank the economy. He is trying to divert attention from his policies that threaten to undermine the “greatest economy” in human history.

Plus, the media are for-profit businesses that would suffer mightily with the loss of ad revenue if the economy heads straight into the crapper.

Do the media intend to cut their own throats by seeking to destroy the only thing that Donald Trump could say has earned him a second term in office? I don’t believe so.

Media trying to torpedo economy? Of course!

Donald Trump’s ridiculous thrashing and trashing of the media provides so much grist and so much fodder for comics.

Now comes this from the president: The media are trying to torpedo the economy because it is too strong, too vibrant and provides too much fuel to power the president’s re-election bid in 2020.

This man is out of his mind. He’s nuts. He went around the bend long ago, but still … his goofiness reveals a serious delusional tendency.

Trump wrote this on Twitter: “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election. The problem is that the economy is way too strong and we will be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!” 

The president should know better. But he doesn’t.

POTUS shifts blame

The economy is likely to suffer because of the tariffs he keeps imposing on U.S. importers who purchase goods from China. The tariffs create a de facto tax on those products, inflating their cost, making them less affordable to U.S. consumers.

What role do the media play? Oh, let’s see. They’re reporting on it. That is what the media do! They report on policies enacted by the government, be it from the president, or from Congress. The president is seeking to attach steep tariffs on China, ostensibly to publish that government for what Trump says it has done to steal U.S. intellectual property and other transgressions.

Except that China doesn’t suffer the burden on the tariffs. U.S. consumers take it in their, um, wherever.

So, with Trump seeking to shift blame to the media reveals yet again this man’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything.

He is projecting his own inadequacies on the media organizations that report on them.

Stop shifting the blame, Mr. POTUS

For crying out loud, Mr. President. You deliver a decent talk this morning about the need to condemn “white supremacy” and to battle the scourge of hate across the land.

Then you put something like this out there. The Twitter message blames the media, “fake news,” for contributing “greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.”

C’mon! Knock it the hell off, Mr. President!

The media have reported your words, your fiery rhetoric, your declarations that “Mexicans bring crime” to the United States, your insistence on banning entry into the country from residents of certain Muslim countries, your declaration that Africa and parts of Latin America comprise “sh**hole” countries.

Are you saying the media should ignore these things? That the media shouldn’t do its job and report on what flies out of your mouth, or circulates through the Twitterverse?

Mr. President, you do not appreciate a single thing about what makes America great. One symbol of our nation’s greatness, sir, is the existence of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees a free press should be free of government interference or coercion or, dare I say it … bullying from the president of the United States.

Mueller set to stand on the world’s center stage

Robert S. Mueller III only thought he was heading back into private life after completing his 22-month-long investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian election hackers.

He turned his report in to the Department of Justice, then headed for the tall grass. Mueller came out of proverbial “hiding” to deliver a nine-minute statement on what he concluded.

Now he’s heading back to the world’s center stage. The former special counsel is going to speak to two U.S. House of Representatives committees — Judiciary and Intelligence. He will tell committee members what his 448-page report says.

Now, though, we’re hearing from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who says Mueller is going to produce “substantial evidence” that Trump committed crimes while running for president and while serving in the office. Nadler said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller’s report already has unveiled such evidence.

Mueller will get a chance on Wednesday to tell the world what he’s put in writing.

OK, so no we must wonder: Is this the game changer? Is this moment when the bulb will light up in the skulls of recalcitrant Republicans who have given the president a pass on what Democrats have been yammering all along: that Donald Trump is a criminal and should be removed from office?

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to hold my breath that such an event will occur. It goes back to that weird vise grip that Trump has clamped on the Republican Party, on GOP members of Congress and on that base of supporters who continue to cheer for their political hero.

The show will commence early Wednesday. All the broadcast TV networks are going live with it, along with a number of cable TV outlets. I presume they’ll let Mueller’s words speak for themselves, leaving it to the president himself to label the coverage as “fake news.” I wonder, too, if Trump is going to tell millions of Americans that they didn’t really see and hear what they saw and heard.

Is this going to be Robert Mueller’s last act before actually retiring and returning to the weeds? Hah! Not a chance.

Still, the TV viewing promises to be riveting.