FAKE NEWS vs. REAL JOURNALISM

Trump’s Attempt to Muddy the Waters

Back in February, 2017 Trump tweeted: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Then he deleted that tweet and posted something similar, but took ABC off his enemies list. Trump, obviously not a student of history, missed this fact: Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin used the term “enemy of the nation/people” to refer to those who disagreed with the Bolshevik government. Did you write that one, Steve Bannon?

Trump went on a rant July 1, 2017, after receiving heavy criticism from both sides of the political spectrum due to his attacks on MSNBC talk show hosts, “The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media – but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN!”

And on that same day, Mr. President continued, “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”  Along with his jingoistic rhetoric, Donald Trump, like so many other power-hungry leaders around the world, wants to control the media. He attempts to distort whatever truth is left and brands his lies as official doctrine. And the term Modern Day rings like “Modern Day Prophet” for those following along in church.

For those of us who were schooled in the trade of journalism, we take the responsibility of our craft seriously. The Fourth Estate is usually reserved for the printed press and credible broadcast news teams. The Fifth Estate, the newer term, stands for groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, such as bloggers and journalists publishing in non-mainstream media outlets and social media. The right of center to Alt-Right people use the term “mainstream media” as a pejorative term, whereas, Breitbart represents what was called “Yellow Journalism” in the 1950s.

The “fourth estate” comes from the European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The Press was supposed to hold the three other estates to a standard with information gathering, storytelling based on truth and distribution to everyone equally. Yes, the King could read that he had no pants.

We know that Donald Trump has tapped into a raw exposed nerve in the disadvantaged and struggling middle class. With much of America moving away from reading the newspaper and getting their news from the internet, the line of what is credible or legit has become extremely blurred.

The price of entry into the newspaper business in most cities is so great that even large companies attempting to bring a new paper to market have an uphill, if not impossible, climb. With the internet providing more outlets than needles on a porcupine’s back there are plenty of free opinions and micro-targeted sites that can sanction what consumers think.

This tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories even has its own term: Confirmation Bias. It is so important to be right in today’s society that many people spend hours of every day watching a news channel that corroborates their baseline beliefs. Fox News leans to the right, while MSNBC leans to the left. That is their branding positions and, depending on who is in power, they will have better ratings.

CNN, the new Trump target, has decided like many channels and programs that there are millions of people who don’t like Trump, so that is a built-in audience. The sad part of all of this is that I haven’t mentioned journalistic integrity or award-winning writing. Those are less important in this instant gratification world. Trump produces ratings and it doesn’t seem to make a difference if you are building him up or beating him down.

THE LATE SHOW with STEPHEN COLBERT on CBS-TV has increased almost 30% according to TV News Desk (7-6-2017) and you can chart his increases with his direct aim at Trump. The Donald, whether he likes it or not, is easy to parody because of what he says and how his administration attempts to govern. Writing jokes and monologues about Trump has a built-in benefit, because if you manage to get under his thin skin he mentions you. Better yet, if he attacks you, your ratings go up even more.

I may be in the minority but I think the “news” that the President maligns is less news than fake. To our great Orange Leader, when confronted with anything that makes fun of him, or puts him down, or (can I say this?) bullies him, he launches into an overly emotional rebuttal.

The people doing the real investigative journalism are at the newspapers. Think about it, every major break or leak has come from the newspapers. The Michael Flynn lies came from the newspapers. The Comey meetings with Trump came from the newspapers. And the ethics conflicts of Kushner and the Trumps all come from the print medium.

The TV journalists at CNN are hampered by the overload of trying fit real journalism into a small box of endless talking heads and opinionated “experts” who, at times, do more harm than good. Stop and think about it, do we need Rick Santorum giving his opinion on what the news means?  He’s a failed neo-conservative right-winged politician spewing nothing by RNC talking points. What about Sean Hannity? Well he couldn’t write a lead to save his life.  Then, of course, we know what happened to poor old Brian Williams. These are the people most Americans would say represent the “news” business.? Really?

The one investigative reporter I want to hear from isn’t a journalist at all. His name is Robert Mueller. I would like to hear his story, in fact, now that would be BREAKING NEWS!


PLAYING THE TRUMP CARD

The Jester at the World Leader Table

If you play a trump card during a game of Spades, you take the whole trick, or in non-card terms, you get to pick up every card on the table. That makes you the winner. The trump card sounds like the strong member of the deck, but the name has slightly different roots. From old English(1500s), trump meant to “deceive, cheat” and then from Middle English trumpen. The old French tromper also meant “to deceive.”

We should remind our readers that Trump’s last name is not the original version of his name. His family were Drumpf’s in Germany and they changed their name to Trump. Another deception in play here, but either way, the word Trump doesn’t always have positive connotations.

The leaders of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union will gather at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. The meetings will begin on Friday, July 7, 2017.

In an interview in the German weekly, Die Zeit, Angela Merkel said, “While we are looking at the possibilities of cooperation to benefit everyone, globalization is seen by the American administration more as a process that is not about a win-win situation but about winners and losers.”  It was clear that she was taking the first shot across the bow of the USS Donald Trump.

This is a great lesson in the destructive power of over-statement. In the hours and hours of titillating campaign tirades and over-modulated microphones, the Donald made it very clear that it was going to be “America First!” In his bombast, he belittled the whole notion of globalization.

His raspy bleating convinced many voters that the rest of the world was ripping America off and they were the reason for the torment of our middle class. Guiltless, in Trump’s accusations, were the rich Wall Street oligarchy, who Trump relates to more than the common man.

The President’s conundrum was produced by his own reckless mouth. He talks about how it would be good to befriend Russia so that they can help us beat ISIS, without any apparent regard that Russia is an ally of Iran and will only go so far in the Middle East quagmire. Can Donald Trump not comprehend that Putin likes Assad and wants him to stay on top of Syria? You know, the guy who gassed the kids.

Trump probably forgot that Russia (Then, the USSR) spent nine years of direct involvement and occupation in Afghanistan. They may fly some sorties and drop some bombs, but they certainly aren’t going to bomb Damascus. They don’t even believe that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. What Trump wants from them, they have no intention giving him. It’s what THEY WANT that should make us nervous.

As far as China goes, why would they want to thwart Kim Jong Un now? Trump tweeted this morning (7-5-2017): “Trade between China and North Korea grew almost 40% in the first quarter. So much for China working with us – but we had to give it a try!” This tweet comes right before the dealer is ready to split the deck, so Trump farts at the table.

Why would the G20 nations think that Trump can be trusted after not even restating the commitment to Article 5 at the NATO meetings? Yes, he finally said he would, but what a dud not uniting the NATO group when they were all face-to-face.

When the bully is being attacked by another bigger bully from another playground, why does the home bully think that he can rally the tormented to help him thump the invader? Merkel wants to make sure the EU is protected and that means keeping Russia in its own borders and off line. Russia wants only to disrupt America. China wants to make sure Trump thinks he’s in charge. And the other kids on the playground just want to make sure that a global unity helps them maintain stability in their own homes.

What Donald Trump thought he needed to say to get elected has isolated him from those who really listen and want America to be successful. Trump sacrificed his credibility with all the players around the table with lies, exaggerations and ludicrous statements about how things work.

When everyone else shows their strong face cards, Trump will be left with the cards he pilfered from the deck before the other people arrived. Trump has continually played the isolation card and sadly, he’s been showing the Joker more than any other card at the world table. Someone needs to tell our great “Orange Leader” that the Joker has no value at this table.

 


FAKE NEWS OR FAKE PRESIDENT?

Trump’s War on the Constitution

Occasionally I see, hear or read a journalist saying that Donald Trump has some grand strategy. And when pressed, the author says that this latest move was pure genius, or the tweet did exactly what he designed it to do, as if the Donald is some intelligent media designer.

There’s not much difference between Trump and a 9-year-old boy grapping the microphone at Walmart and yelling stupid kid-things into the store’s PA system. The kid’s grand plan is to get attention, same as the “leader” of the free world.

In the President’s latest tweet (7-2-2017), he proclaimed, “The FAKE & FRAUDULENT NEWS MEDIA is working hard to convince Republicans and others I should not use social media – but remember, I won the 2016 election with interviews, speeches and social media. I had to beat #FakeNews, and did. We will continue to WIN! My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”

When I read this my mind heard a spoiled 9-year-old brat saying, “Mommy made me president. I’m the president. I get to be president and do whatever I want!”

This over complaining and endless whining about news coverage in the media isn’t new to presidents. Trump has decided, however, that anyone who disagrees with him, critiques him or attempts to cover his achievements or lack of them, is the enemy. One could change the term “Fake News” to “People who hate me” and it would fit perfectly in all contexts.

Steve Bannon, the administration’s dark, Spiro Agnew evil twin, has said openly that the media is the “opposition party.”  He, along with Trump surrogates, Miller, Conway and that overtly obnoxious, fake intellectual Sebastian Gorka, have crafted a White House position that is obstinate and cantankerous. Any thinking America hearing them speak can clearly see through the pretentious, defensive droning of their propaganda.

Richard M. Nixon did the same thing when he was president, even using the same terms about the media.  However, Trump is no Nixon. The 37th President had to resign in disgrace. This president, when the time comes, will have to be removed from his current residence by the Secret Service, Capitol Hill Police or maybe the Army.

Even Trump’s slogan is not new. It is a total rip-off of Ronald Reagan’s campaign motto, demonstrating that Trump is an even better actor than Ronald Reagan. An actor takes the stage and plays a part while not being the real thing. We now have a fake President and everything he does is directed to making his character likeable, rather than forging policy and decisions that are right and good for the country. #FakePresident

Trump bellyaches that his achievements are not covered in the “fake news” but he broadcasts his tirades on the very same “fake” mainstream media he continually slams. His complaints about not being covered are total lies. The media covers every speech, every signing, every tweet. His “key promises,” such as reforming healthcare, getting a better, fairer, tax code and creating jobs, have become fake, rally fodder rather than reality.

Months ago, President Trump and VP Mike Pence rode their white horses into the Carrier furnace plant in Indianapolis to announce they had convinced the company to abandon a plan to move to Mexico.  They stated publicly that this would save hundreds of jobs.  Update: many employees will soon be losing their jobs at the plant.  CNBC reports (6-22-2017) that Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis is scheduled to lay off about 600 workers by the end of the year. The jobs are going to Mexico. Nice work, little boys.

Donald J. Trump will probably write that off as “FAKE NEWS,” but the road to success for this president has to go through the media. You cannot be a great president in a vacuum. You cannot guard so dearly the Second Amendment and spit in the face of those who employ the First Amendment to keep democracy strong. Without the First Amendment, we don’t need the Second Amendment.

Fake means fraudulent, and the usage of that term by our president in the context of media coverage is troublesome on many levels. When something is fraudulent it is obtained, done by, or has involved deception – especially criminal deception. The American public, the Congress and the courts must be on-guard with this president. There’s a very small step from complaining to outlawing and, in this case, the outlawing would be executed by an elected outlaw.

At this date, the Fake President may not like the Fake Media, but if all the media outlets stopped talking about Trump, he would probably melt into a damp pool of man tan and makeup.  Sad.


THE CYBER BULLY-IN-CHIEF

Trump: Unhappy in His Own Skin

Donald Trump has once again demonstrated his thin skin and relentless mean streak. In a morning tweet, the President of the United States decided to do a silly immature, cruel and misogynistic post deriding MSNBC morning host Mika Brzezinski.

The tweet read as follows:

“I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

Now, I could have simply chalked it up to his M.O. and how Trump shows us his true colors through Twitter, but there is a problem here that is not going to go away. There is no respect for the office of the President of the United States with Trump and all his men and women.

Melania Trump, the first lady of this country, through a spokesperson said, “When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder.” I know that English is not Melania’s first language and I hope we didn’t miss anything in translation, but I have to say, there goes that whole bullshit concept of her being the titular head of some anti-cyber bullying campaign. Now, zero credibility.

If that was not bad enough, the protectors of the drunk uncle president were out in full force today. Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented, “I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attack and doesn’t push back. There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him, but to frankly everyone around him. This is a president who fights fire with fire. And certainly, will not be allowed to be bullied by a liberal media and the liberal elites within the media or Hollywood or anywhere else.”

I’m not sure that the president of a country with a 1st Amendment can allow or disallow what others say about him. We have now seen the real enemy of the state and they are, indeed, those who work for the state. We are all getting burned by Trump’s fire and disregard for human beings.

The people around our president are soulless. They lie and disregard common decency to show their love for this power-hungry tyrant, Donald J. Trump. How do they sleep at night?

Whether you like Joe Scarborough or Mika or not, you have to consider that the imagery battles between the free press and the oppressive regime of Trump are now, in fact, real. The media, be it liberal, conservative, or far right, has a duty to find facts, write stories, conduct broadcasts and inform the American people.

Some talk show hosts do live in glass houses, but this president doesn’t care about anyone but himself. Those who support his abuse of power will be tried not only in the court of public opinion, but perhaps even called to testify in real court about whether they were instructed to lie to the American people. If lying to the citizens is not an impeachable offense, then what is?