Tag Archives: NY Times

Conspiracy? Who’s got the time?

We’re hearing an increase in chatter out there about media “conspiracies,” about how the media conspire against conservative politicians, how the media undermine their policies.

Wow! How cool is that?

The president of the United States has been trumpeting the media conspiracy mantra of late. That’s his view. He’s entitled to it.

I feel the need to respond to it using my own frame of reference.

I worked in print journalism full time for nearly 37 years. I worked for newspapers that occasionally got tagged by readers who thought the paper was conspiring to shade the news in favor of certain segments of the community while ignoring other segments.

My response then was this: We don’t have time at our newspaper to conspire against anyone; conspiracies require time to think and plan such activities. Getting a newspaper assembled and pushed out the back door is damn near a miracle every single day. Who has time for conspiracies?

I believe that rationale works at some level in response to the president’s assertion that the media are conspiring against him.

I have heard the comments from the likes of former New York Times editor Jill Abramson who says her former paper forms its political coverage with a tilt against Donald Trump, that there is an anti-Trump bias in the NYT newsroom.

I just try to put myself in the shoes of the front-line reporters and editors who are concerned chiefly with just getting the paper published every day. Do they sit around and ask: How are we going to shade our coverage in a way that puts the president in the most negative light imaginable? I have trouble making that leap.

So the conspiracy talks continues. Maybe it’s just that I am inherently anti-conspiracy by nature.

My own experience working in regular communities in Oregon and Texas tells me that conspiracies require too much work among journalists who struggle with all their might simply at being good at their craft.

NATO pullout back on the top shelf

In 2018, when Donald J. Trump decided to scold the leaders of our most trustworthy military alliance, he sounded like someone who wanted to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Those leaders need to pay more of their share of the defense of Europe, Trump said, or else face the consequences, which might involve a U.S. pullout.

Now, against that backdrop we have The New York Times report about an alleged investigation by the FBI into whether Trump was an “agent” of Russia.

The connection? Well, Russia wants NATO weakened badly. He would prefer that NATO be destroyed. Why is that? Because NATO came into being after World War II as a military alliance to defend Europe against the Soviet Union’s bloc of satellite nations. Russia, you’ll remember, was known as the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1991, when it collapsed under its own weight.

But NATO remains as a bulwark against Russian aggression. Therefore, Russia wants NATO to go away.

So, what connection is there between Donald Trump’s implied threat and Russia’s stated aim of ensuring that NATO withers away and dies? Is there a connection? Trump says “no!” I do not believe Trump’s declaration on its face. I want to know the truth.

If only I could find where the truth is hiding.

Remember the ‘anonymous’ op-ed in the Times?

One of the fairly unusual aspects of following the Trump administration through its daily trials, tribulations and tumult is that we quickly lose track of the previous set of troubles.

Do you remember that op-ed published in The New York Times that talked about the fear, uncertainty and chaos that permeates Donald Trump’s administration? The president was so incensed he sought to find the author of the piece and then fire him/her on the spot.

Media pundits were all over it. They sought to connect the dots and come up with their own conclusion. All anyone seemed to know with any certainty is that it came from someone within the West Wing inner circle. Indeed, the write of the essay revealed he or she was part of “resistance movement” within the administration that took it upon itself to protect the president from his more dangerous impulses.

What in the world happened to that dire concern over the identity of the writer? What happened to Donald Trump’s dedication to finding out who did it? What happened to the story?

It’s just that with this president and this administration, our attention is taxed to the hilt, stretched beyond its limits to stay focused on any single subject for more than a week — tops!

If it is next week, another crisis is sure to overtake us.

Trump wanted DOJ to prosecute Hillary and Comey? Wow!

Donald J. Trump won’t ever acknowledge it, but he well might owe a huge debt to a guy he managed to get pushed out of the White House, former White House counsel Don McGahn.

The New York Times is reporting that Trump wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey, two Trump political foes.

McGahn, who left the counsel’s office this past month, reportedly said “no.” He then told the president he lacked the authority to initiate such a request. Moreover, he told Trump any such action might prove to be impeachable, if not illegal.

And so … the story gets weirder by the day.

What we have here, according to the NY Times, is a case of supreme abuse of power by the president of the United States against two people he detests. Hillary Clinton is on the president’s sh** list because she opposed him for president in 2016; Comey is there because he was investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system and who declined to agree to a loyalty pledge to the president.

Do you think special counsel Robert Mueller — who took over the “Russia thing” probe after Comey was canned — is interested in this bombshell? I would bet yes. He is. Very interested.

As for McGahn, he might be emerging as a hero in this ongoing drama. He well might have saved Trump’s backside by refusing to knuckle under to his demand to seek a DOJ prosecution of Clinton and Comey. He also might emerge as a hero to those of us who believe he might have a serious story to tell Mueller about how the White House, how it ignores the rule of law, and how the president is driven by impulses he cannot control.

I believe we are witnessing this saga taking a seriously dangerous turn. It likely won’t be pretty.

‘Lock him up, lock him up’?

What in the name of national security is going on here?

The New York Times reports that Donald John Trump is using an unsecured cell phone to talk about, oh, matters involving national security. And … the Chinese and the Russians are eavesdropping on him.

Wait just a doggone minute, will ya?

Weren’t the Republican mobs yelling “Lock her up!” when questions arose about Hillary Rodham Clinton using a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state during the first term of the Obama administration? Didn’t the Republican nominee for president say that “if you’re listening,” the Russians should look for the missing e-mails?

Of course, the president challenges the NYT’s reporting on the story. He said in a tweet: The so-called experts on Trump over at the New York Times wrote a long and boring article on my cellphone usage that is so incorrect I do not have time here to correct it. I only use Government Phones, and have only one seldom used government cell phone. Story is soooo wrong!

I’ll take the president at his word that the Times is “soooo wrong” when the newspaper retracts or “clarifies” the story.

In the meantime, I’ll refrain from leading any “Lock him up” chant, given that I’ve been highly critical of the GOP mobs’ call to lock up Hillary Clinton without anything approaching due process.

Although this also must be said: Even though Hillary endured “due process” through endless congressional hearings on the e-mail matter, and was found to have committed no crimes, the “Lock her up!” bellowing has persisted.

We’re better than that now, though. Aren’t we?

Why worry now about Trump’s business history?

Someone, somewhere — maybe a lot of folks out here in Trump Country, where I live — may be asking: Why are the media obsessing now about Donald Trump’s business practices when he was a much younger man, an up-and-comer in the real estate development industry?

I think I might have an answer. It’s because Donald Trump sold his presidential candidacy largely on the notion that he is a self-made man, that he had a “little bit of help” from his father, Fred Trump, as he sought to build a business empire.

The New York Times has put the lie to that boast. It has revealed in an exhaustive investigation that Trump received a lot of help from his father and that he well might have used fraudulent tax schemes to benefit his father’s business.

Donald Trump’s status as president of the United States of America makes this a legitimate issue of discussion, particularly as he prepares to campaign for re-election in 2020. The issue of his truthfulness in describing his pre-political business career must be brought up and it must be discussed thoroughly.

I doubt seriously that Trump himself will engage in that serious discussion. He’ll toss out insults at the media and his foes. He will energize his base of supporters. The president isn’t likely to provide forthright answers to direct questions about the Times’s story.

However, the president’s business history and the huge disparity between what a media outlet has uncovered and what he has said about that history demand a full and complete airing.

I hope the president would explain himself. My fear is that he won’t.

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.

Mitt was right: Trump is a first-class ‘fraud’

The next U.S. senator from Utah, Mitt Romney, was absolutely spot on when he delivered that blistering speech two years ago about Republican presidential nominee Donald John Trump Sr.

Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud” in a 17-minute tirade against the man who would become the 45th president of the United States.

I have just read that lengthy New York Times investigative article about how Trump acquired his wealth. It is quite clear, based on some of the most exhaustive reporting I’ve ever seen in a newspaper article, that Trump is the farthest thing possible from a “self-made” billionaire, which is how he presented himself while running for the presidency.

Read the NY Times piece here. Make sure you have a good bit of time to read this piece.

What will happen with this information? Will it change minds? Probably not.

I am an avid Trump critic. This report merely cements my own view of what I and many others have suspected all along about the president, and which comports with Mitt Romney’s view: that the man is a charlatan and a bald-faced liar.

Trump’s “base,” though, will see it differently. They’ll take aim at The New York Times, which they’ll contend is a “mainstream liberal media outlet” that is out to “get” Donald Trump. They will disbelieve the meticulous reporting by a team of journalistic professionals and choose to side with a man known to be a liar.

Such is the state of play on today’s political landscape.

I’ll just declare once again that Mitt Romney had it right in 2016. If only his fellow Republicans would have listened to him.

What? Trump didn’t earn his fortune on his own?

The New York Times has reported something that many of us have suspected all along about Donald John Trump.

The man who would become president of the United States of America has long boasted about his business acumen, how he is a self-made zillionaire, how he is so damn smart.

Many of us out here have known that real business geniuses, real rich individuals, real smart men and women don’t brag openly about all of that.

The Times now reports that young Donald leaned heavily on his late father, Fred Trump, who gave his son lots and lots of money to bankroll his many business ventures.

Oh, and that Donald Trump well might have defrauded the U.S. government out of tax revenue through these questionable schemes.

What a revoltin’ development! I am just shocked, I tell ya, just shocked that Trump well might not be the self-made man he has boasted of being all these years.

Trump had all kinds of help

The Times is reporting that Trump received an estimated $413 million in “today’s dollars” to help build his business empire.

I guess it’s worth asking: Will any of this matter when — or if — the president seeks re-election in 2020? I’ll make a stab at answering it. Probably not, at least not to the base of supporters who continue to support the president.

Trump has bragged about getting a million bucks back when he began his business career. According to the NY Times, he got a lot more than that.

This guts of this story doesn’t really surprise me, although the detail in which the Times has reported it does reveal the amazing scope and depth to which the president sought to manipulate the system in his favor.

Yep, this is the guy who won an Electoral College victory in 2016 in his first-ever quest for any public office of any kind. It happened to be the presidency of the United States.

Gosh, I am so not proud of what we have gotten as a result.

Parlor game continues: Who wrote that op-ed?

Conservative commentator/gadfly/rabble rouser Ann Coulter believes she knows the author of that infamous op-ed published the other day in The New York Times.

She says it’s Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald John Trump. Why did Ivanka’s husband write it? She believes Jared and Ivanka think Daddy Trump will be kicked out of office and want to high-tail it to the Hamptons.

Fine. Whatever.

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, a liberal/progressive/gadfly/rabble rouser, posited a notion that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats did it. He said Coats has nothing to lose; he’s holding his final public office and is miffed that the president keeps undermining him at every turn regarding the Russian attack on our 2016 election.

There you go.

Op-ed mystery deepens

Others have suggested someone on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff wrote it, inserting the “lodestar” term that the VP is fond of using.

Hey, this is all nonsense. I am becoming less concerned with who wrote it than I am with the content of the essay. It’s a devastating critique of the way the president governs. It speaks to the “resistance” within the West Wing that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

We’ll know eventually who wrote it. If the president’s team is allowed to ferret out the ID of the author, the name will come forward. Whoever wrote it will be canned, or he or she will resign.

Meanwhile, the parlor game continues. It does create grist for gossip. That’s all.