Tag Archives: Bernstein

ICYMI – Part 2

In the most stunning revelations to date regarding Trump’s unfitness for office, see this must-read article by Carl Bernstein of Watergate reporting fame: From pandering to Putin to abusing allies and ignoring his own advisers, Trump’s phone calls alarm US officials https://cnn.it/2NQ1CeU I won’t do spoilers here. You really need to read this one.

Trump was elected with Russian help and wants more of it. It’s therefore no surprise that the Republican-controlled Senate strips provision from intelligence bill requiring campaigns to report foreign election help https://cnn.it/3dRpZn2 Republicans forced the removal in order to include the intelligence bill in the “must pass” defense policy legislation, another clear indication that Republicans will sacrifice anything to re-elect Trump, including the nation’s defense.

In a move as rare as discovering life on another planet, it appears that a Trump nominee to head the imperiled Consumer Product Safety Commission is too in-the-pocket of the chemical industry even for a few, very few, Republicans. The nominee is reportedly a “former chemical industry lobbyist named to a high-level post at the Environmental Protection Agency under Trump” who “has been rewriting chemical safety rules to make them less protective of consumers and more friendly to businesses.” Seems like she’s right up the Republicans’ alley of indifference (at best) to the environment but the nomination may not make it out of committee. https://bit.ly/2D0IEAl  Go figure. Maybe they have a “better” nominee lined up in the shadows.

In the “no surprise to anyone paying attention” category, we are reminded yet again that the president of the United States does not read the President’s Daily Briefing Book, a departure from practice going back at least seven administrations. https://wapo.st/2C1yleD The same story reports that oral briefings are often limited because the president doesn’t want to hear certain information that conflicts with his personal agenda, particularly matters involving Russia. Do we have a traitor sitting at the head of our government? Or just a fragile, incompetent, egomaniacal man-child who thinks he’s a king?

Trump’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis has left the U.S. in a condition of economic peril, notwithstanding Trump’s endless excitement (on the up-days) about the stock market. The stock market marches to a different drummer, often going up when the health news is the worst, as it is now. You need look no further than the European Union’s decision to bar Americans when it reopened today. https://bit.ly/2NKL4VE The United States’ banishment is shared by the likes of Russia and Brazil. Another “well done” for the Trump administration whose leader only today repeated his earlier claim that the virus would just “disappear” one of these fine days. https://wapo.st/2NLZDbB

If you want a good shorthand picture of why the U.S. is in such COVID trouble, look at Bloomberg.com, specifically at this article: https://bloom.bg/31yBr4y  which shows the problem graphically in five charts.

Some Advice for CNN

Ah, the ironies. CNN helped make Donald Trump’s candidacy by broadcasting every minute of everything he said or did during the campaign, including having Trump’s campaign shills as constant participants on “panels of political experts” to discuss endlessly every detail of Trump’s behavior. CNN became, in effect, the carnival barkers for the Trump sideshow.

Now, Trump is President-Elect and he is demonstrating that he is exactly the same person and personality that was kept in the public eye by CNN during the campaign. This should come as no surprise. Now he no longer needs to “make nice” and so he refused, in his first press conference in seven months to let the CNN reporter in attendance ask a question. He accused CNN of being “fake news” and indicated, yet again, that he will brook no unwelcome questioning of himself from the press, no matter how prominent.

Then CNN gave another opportunity for KellyAnne Conway, Trump’s shill-in-chief, to bumble and fumble her way through more demonstrably false accusations about the way CNN reported the latest Trump “news.” The CNN team, led by Anderson Cooper, a day later still trying to find a way to do its job, showed how stung they were by the Trump rejection and the Trump/Conway claims that CNN reported something that it demonstrably did not report.

Helpfully, Carl Bernstein, one of the contributors to the CNN reports and who knows a thing or two about reporting and politics, defined “reporting” as the “best available version of the truth.”

Here, then, is some advice for CNN about how it can develop a more constructive relationship with the soon-to-be President and his team of fact-deniers:

  1. Just report the damn news! You know, what happened today that is of interest to the American people?
  1. Eliminate the endless panels of “experts” arguing endlessly over every statement that Trump makes. Just report what he says, what others say, what happens (with as much verification as possible) and let the viewers/readers decide without having to listen to Trump shills like Jeffrey Lord and Conway re-write and re-interpret what Trump said into gibberish. Continuing what you have been doing adds credence to the Trump mode of operation and helps raise doubts about the accuracy and legitimacy of your own reporting. If you’re going to continue to claim that CNN is about journalism, then just report the news as truthfully and accurately as possible and move on. Let the Trump machine finds its own outlets (it will always have Fox and Breitbart) to make its case.
  1. For guidance, review some of the tapes of Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid of CBS News in the 1960s. If you want to add interpretation and analysis to the facts, have your “experts” appear alone to state what they believe. Make them own the analysis.

That’s it. Do yourselves and America a favor and remove yourselves as the one of the “usual suspects” Trump wants to paint with a bias brush. Report the news!