Okay, here we go – the next 4 years in media

Story 1:  No, Billo, if celebrities do not want to perform in Trump’s inauguration it’s not McCarthyism.  Yes, there was great controversy over the 2000 election and many people were very upset for very good reason (hard feelings that were proven to have been very justifiable over the next 8 years).  But Bush didn’t admit to groping women, didn’t call everyone losers, didn’t insult more than half the country, was (arguably) actually qualified to be president and didn’t nominate a Suicide Squad of cabinet officers (to name a partial list of his asshole bonafides).  It’s this simple:  people do not want to be identified with Trump and “respect the office” doesn’t work when the individual in the office, and his henchmen, keeps shitting all over it themselves.

Story 2: The GOP Congress set their first priority on Day One as closing the ethics office that has oversight over their shenanigans.  Firstly, let’s be clear that while most of us think self-dealers, dishonest brokers and thieves when we hear the phrase “drain the swamp” what Trump and his followers hear is drain it of Democrats.  We think this is the kind of shit an ethics office needs to be empowered to look at – when a Congressman flies his rabbit for $600 on the taxpayer dime it’s not harassing the Congressman.  If you think that’s harassment, get another job.

That said, when news broke on Monday night phone banks in Congress lit up.  People who had fax machines in their attics got them out, dusted them off and fired off faxes to their congressmen.  Predictably these clueless GOP Congressmen saw that their constituents weren’t going to give them a pass on this and they reversed course.

What the media reported was this:

If Trump’s tweet, which mostly expressed an issue with the timing of the ethics office gut job, had any effect, then fine.  But for the media to give him the bulk of the credit is pretty galling.

This is not an accurate summation of what Trump said. Again, he did not question the move to weaken OCE — he actually sympathized with the House GOP’s gripes about the “unfair” agency. Trump’s only complaint was that the House GOP leapfrogged other policy concerns. This was later confirmed by his incoming White House press secretary, who said Trump’s issue was one of “priorities.”

Even still, the press immediately ran with this nonsense idea that Trump and the House GOP were at odds over gutting the OCE. And it got worse once word came down that House Republicans had backtracked and stripped the proposed change from the rules package. The press scrambled to give credit for the shift to Trump, who hadn’t actually opposed the initial change in any meaningful way.

Story 3.  The editor-in-chief of the Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal laid out why his paper will not call Donald Trump’s lies lies.  It’s pretty generous to allow people to say whatever they want and let the reader decide whether it’s a lie or not. In an earlier time somebody may have said it was “mighty white of you” to be so generous.  So if Trump, or anyone, says something  that is a misstatement of fact one time, it would be unfair to infer that it was a deliberate attempt to mislead.  Okay, fair enough.  However, when someone keeps saying things that are demonstrably untrue after the media has repeatedly said what the facts are, do you think at that point you could call it a lie?  Dan Rather was alarmed because the implication is they won’t even then call a lie a lie.   Which means that Trump can just keep saying things and it’s all up to the public to decide, it’s just caveat emptor.

It’s the rhetorical equivalent of not calling a product that kills people “dangerous” and allowing it to stay on the market because people can decide for themselves whether the product is “dangerous” or whether to purchase that product.  That seems pretty absurd, huh?  And it’s all so that the WSJ seems objective.  It’s the kind of objectivity we’ve become accustomed to in the last 30 years where in the age of extremist talk radio the very reasonable people in the Beltway media have tried to locate the middle ground in every political debate between provable facts and statistics on one side and lies contrived for propaganda purposes on the other.  Such “objectivity” is a dereliction of journalistic duty.

Welcome to the next 4 years.

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