Tag Archives: the media

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.

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.

Is POTUS launching a re-election effort based on revenge?

Is Donald J. Trump crafting a re-election strategy based on exacting revenge against those who insisted that he colluded with Russians or that he obstructed justice?

What are we to discern from the president’s response to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings that (a) the president didn’t collude with Russians and (b) the obstruction of justice allegation remains an open question?

Trump has won a significant victory with Mueller’s conclusion that his campaign team did not conspire to collude with Russians who had invaded our electoral system in 2016. He should be grateful for Mueller’s service, dust himself off and get back to governing . . . isn’t that right?

I guess not! He is enraged at his foes. Of course he includes the media among those he intends to inflict retribution.

The media reported the special counsel’s arduous trek through the morass that lay before him. The media did their job. The so-called “fake news” constituted all the information that Trump and his team saw as negative. So . . . fu***** what? That goes with the territory. It goes with the job of becoming leader of the world’s most powerful and influential nation.

So now the president, who should be crafting a message of what he intends to do in a second term as president, appears to be spending an inordinate amount of effort looking for ways to stick it to his foes.

He’s already in full re-election campaign mode. That’s been obvious for some time. Yes, he deserves to have his message heard. I just am becoming more baffled by what the message is going to tell us.

In the immediate aftermath of the special counsel concluding his investigation into The Russia Thing, I am believing the president is much more intent on revenge than on governance.

Pain in the ass? Yes! Proudly!

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has delivered a stunning rebuke to Donald Trump’s bogus and idiotic assertion that the media are “the enemy of the people.” Thus, I hereby nominate the South Carolina Republican’s retort as “Quote of the Year.”

Graham was talking to reporters today in South Carolina when he said the following, according to The Hill:

“I think the press in America is a check and balance on power,” Graham said Monday afternoon in South Carolina. “I think sometimes you get tribal like the rest of the country. Sometimes you can be a pain in the ass, but you’re not the enemy of the people. As a matter of fact, without a free press, I wouldn’t want to live in that country.”

“But you can be a pain in the ass,” he reiterated while laughing. “But you’re supposed to be.”

The president repeated his view of the press on Sunday morning, tweeting to his 53.5 million followers that he is “providing a great service” by explaining to Americans that the “fake news” media is the enemy of the people, adding that the Fourth Estate “can cause war” without specifying what he meant.

There you have it: “Sometimes you can be a pain in the ass.”

That’s the media’s role. To put it another way, as many in the media say about the mission of their craft: Their role is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Presidents and other politicians of both political parties have known all along that the media’s role isn’t to glorify politicians. It is to hold them accountable on behalf of the public they take an oath to serve.

The most notable exception, of course, happens to be the current president of the United States.

Frightening.

Trump keeps firing at the wrong targets

Donald Trump launched yet another Twitter tirade this weekend.

He went after Democrats, the media (including CNN in particular), President Obama and — this is extraordinary — his national security adviser and the FBI. The reason for the tirade? Russian meddling in our most recent presidential election.

Who did the president leave out of his barrage of criticism? Let me think. Oh, yes! The Russians!

Trump didn’t tweet a single word about the Russian meddling. He didn’t convey a single tiny bit of anger — let alone profound outrage — that the Russians launched an attack on our electoral system. He didn’t say anything about whether he would take measures to punish the Russians for their meddling and their attempt to sway the results in his favor.

The tweet storm came in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians for their role in the meddling. National security adviser H.R. McMaster said the indictments provide “incontrovertible proof” that the Russians did what the intelligence experts say they did. The FBI got pounded because it is spending “too much time” on Russia and too little time following up leads such as those it got about the Parkland, Fla., shooter. CNN got trashed because it reported on the indictments. Barack Obama got pounded because the meddling occurred while he was president. Democrats in general were pounded because, as Trump has asserted, they have cooked up this “Russia thing” because they lost a presidential election they were supposed to win.

The president of the United States once again has demonstrated that he doesn’t understand his fundamental duty, which is to protect our nation against our adversaries.

What is up with this man? I’m beginning to believe he has a serious man-crush on Vladimir Putin, the Russian president/strongman/former KGB boss.

That man-crush is allowing Putin to laugh out loud inside the Kremlin walls at the president of the United States, who promised to “make America great again.” He has succeeded in making America an international punch line.

Free press: enemy of dictators, not the ‘people’

John McCain speaks with authority when he discusses freedom, the media, authoritarian regimes and liberty.

He lost more than five years of freedom at the hands of captors who held him in bondage during the Vietnam War.

He came home and stayed in service to his country, entering politics. He now serves in the U.S. Senate; he ran twice unsuccessfully for president of the United States. He now is held in high regard for his wartime heroism, his principled public service and his brave battle against cancer.

Comments he made earlier this year were rebroadcast today. He told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd that Donald Trump’s assaults on the media are destructive to our democratic system and they undermine one of the principles on which this country was founded.

Sen. McCain noted that the president’s bullying of the media and his habit of calling out individual journalists is counterproductive in the extreme.

He joked with Todd that he might “hate you,” but the country needs the media to be free of intimidation and it must be allowed to do its job without the kind of bullying that’s coming repeatedly from the president and his White House team.

Yet, the president insists on attacking the media. He continues to curry favor with the Fox News Channel while condemning the work being done by other media. Why? It’s obvious that Fox tilts toward the president and declines to ascribe much critical analysis of his policies. The network appears to many eyes — mine included — to be fulfilling Trump’s insatiable desire to be complimented, to be admired.

That’s not the role the media are supposed to play. The nation’s founders said a “free press” must not be controlled by the government in any fashion. They wrote it down, codifying it in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This independence enables the media to do their job. It allows them to hold public officials at all levels accountable. If they speak untruths, the media are compelled to call them on it.

Finally, they cannot be coerced into shying away from their responsibility because politicians — even the president — like to label them as “fake news.”

John McCain is far from the only contemporary politician who understands this tenet. The problem is that the country’s most powerful politician — the president — is poisoning the political process by trying to intimidate the media, which must remain free of such pressure.

As Sen. McCain told Todd: Trump’s bullying of the media is the conduct of a dictator.

Trump: ‘Unfit for command’

Douglas Brinkley and I are on the same page, we’re singing off the same song sheet, we are of like minds.

There. I don’t intend to cast myself as a knowledgeable presidential historian in the mold of Brinkley, but he has said out loud what many of us across the land have believed all along.

It is that Donald John Trump Sr. is “unfit for command.” He is not fit to hold the office he occupies. The president of the United States is in hopelessly over his head, out of his depth.

The basis for Brinkley’s harsh analysis lies in the “chaos” that pervades the White House. Brinkley points specifically to Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci, the newly named White House communications director. Mooch has managed to accentuate the chaos by virtue of that hideous, profane interview he gave to The New Yorker in which he described former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus — and I hate using this terminology — as a “f*****g schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

I must point out that Priebus was still the chief of staff when Mooch made that ghastly assessment. The president booted Priebus out of his job a few days later.

What kind of head of state and head of government allows an underling to use that kind of language in public to describe a fellow federal staff member? What kind of man tolerates that kind of behavior?

Oh, wait! It’s the kind of man who said years ago that he has grabbed women by their genitals; he has said Sen. John McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured” by the enemy during the Vietnam War; he is the individual who mocked a disabled journalist; he is the candidate who thinks nothing of lying and of defaming political opponents; he is a president who calls the media “the enemy of the American people.”

Many of us have believed all along that Trump is “unfit for command.”

Welcome aboard, Professor Brinkley.

POTUS meddling with media?

Try for a moment to process what MSBNC “Morning Joe” co-hosts — Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough — said today about their relationship with the president of the United States.

According to Scarborough, Donald J. Trump’s White House called Scarborough and asked him to apologize for the “negative coverage” he and Brzezinski have done on the president. In return, again according to Scarborough, the president would call his good friend who runs the National Enquirer and spike a story that the publication is going to run about Scarborough and Brzezinski.

See the story here.

So, if I have this right — and if Scarborough is telling the truth — the president of the United States is now taking time away from matters of state to engage even further in a petty and petulant quarrel with the media over “negative coverage.”

Are there any more examples needed to demonstrate that Donald J. Trump is categorically unfit to hold the office of president?

That’s not how you ‘unify’ the nation, Mr. President

A roomful of journalists and other luminaries gathered in Washington last night while the president of the United States — who usually attends this event — was up the coast a bit in Harrisburg, Pa.

The White House Correspondent Dinner was spiced with lots of criticism of the president. For his part, Donald Trump decided to unload on the media, his political foes and virtually every American who voted for someone else during the 2016 presidential election.

Who bears the greater responsibility to set aside the bitterness? I believe it ought to be the president. He’s the one who represents the entire country.

The president’s Harrisburg speech could have been lifted directly from one of his campaign speeches. He is talking directly to his base. He is speaking to those who continue to support him despite all the questions, controversy and potential scandal that threaten to swallow the presidency.

Trump vowed to unify the country. The speech last night suggested he is doing precisely the opposite. He wants to keep fomenting the anger that propelled him to power.

Divisiveness is alive and well

We all understand that the 2016 campaign will go down as among the most rancorous in U.S. political history. Do the wounds need to continue festering? I don’t think so.

When the president calls the media “the enemy of the American people” and when he continues to hold campaign-style rallies — while exhorting security personnel to “get them out!” when protesters show up — that does nothing to bring Americans together.

The divisions run deep. The wounds still hurt. The president of the United States holds the key to bridge the divide and heal the wounds. When will he step up?

It’s the temperament, man … the temperamant

I’ve been trying to determine when I’ve ever seen a president of the United States treat the media in the manner being displayed by the current one.

I cannot remember a single time. Not even during President Richard Nixon’s time in the White House.

Donald Trump has shown utter contempt and disrespect for the men and women assigned to cover the White House for their various news organizations.

It manifests itself when he gets a question he dislikes. He tells reporters to “sit down, that’s enough” when they seek to elaborate on their question, to fill in a blank or two. No, the president will have none of it.

Forget for a moment that he calls them “dishonest” out loud, in public, to their face … and then expects these fellow human beings to treat him with kid gloves.

The disrespect — as I’ve witnessed it — is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed, even from afar.

If we march back through time — starting from Barack Obama and going backward — I cannot remember a president acting the way this one does in front of the media.

There was one memorable, testy exchange in the 1970s between then-CBS News correspondent Dan Rather and President Nixon. The president was getting entangled in the Watergate scandal and Rather asked him a pointed question. Some members of the press gallery chuckled, some even clapped. Nixon asked Rather, “Are you running for something?” Rather responded, “No, Mr. President, are you?”

Presidents usually have strained relations with the media. They dislike negative coverage, as does any politician — no matter what they might say. As I’ve watched presidential/media relationships from a distance over the years, I have noticed a sometimes cool cordiality between the Big Man and the media that cover him.

What we’re getting now is open hostility and an exhibition of extremely bad manners from the guy who needs the media as least as much as they need him.

I’m trying to imagine what will occur if and/or when the crap really hits the fan at the White House. I fear the president will go berserk.

Didn’t someone mention temperament as a quality we look for in a president of the United States of America?