Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Clueless Media Are Not Our Friends As House Judiciary Meets To Write Articles of Impeachment For Trump The Demagogue

"Trump the demagogue can bully his party into being an instrument of his will, silencing or driving out dissenters. Republican officeholders know that Mr. Trump can take to Twitter or to Fox News or to the podium at rallies — or all of the above — to excoriate them for a weak will or disloyalty.

This is how the Republican Party has become Mr. Trump’s party. It is also why that party will not conceive of its role in impeachment as entailing a constitutional responsibility independent of the president’s political and personal interests.." -  Bob Bauer, 'Trump Is The Founders' Worst Nightmare',     NY Times editorial, Monday

"The two things the founders feared most were a lawless president operating with impunity (a de facto King) and interference from a foreign government."  Frank Tapy, Denver Post letters, p. 3K, Dec.. 1)

"Since the Bill Clinton days, the Republican Party has increasingly resorted to using false narratives, misinformation and outright lies to advance its political agendas....What has been revealed is a president surrounded by characters who, themselves, have been suspected of criminal activity. or convicted of the same.

What is it that the Republican Party doesn't get about Donald J. Trump? Make America Great Again? I don't think so".  Gary E. Goms, Denver Post letters, P. 3K, Dec. 1)

Blogger and media specialist Eric Boehlert is spot on when he observed in a recent post, e.g.

" How does the Beltway media cover a party that has aggressively removed itself from reality? How does the news business describe and treat a political party that routinely echoes the most unbelievable claims from Fox News and the darkest corners of the right-wing media?

The truth is, this is a decades long game of dare that Republicans have been playing with the press, as members of the party uniformly become more radical and more antidemocratic, and basically challenge the press to call them out, knowing full well it won't happen. That's because the Beltway press basically revolves around the central idea that there are two major competing parties in this country and that they are mirror opposites of each other. Republicans are just as conservative as Democrats are liberal. 

Republicans are just as serious as Democrats are. Republicans are just as fact-based and honorable as Democrats are. That false equivalency drives political coverage in this country, and has for decades. "

In a previous post (Nov. 25th) , I had pointed out that if the Senate Republicans make use of  false conspiracy narratives spread by the GRU and ancillary assets- i.e.   in any impeachment trial-   then they are doing Russia's work for them to destroy our own nation. They are  then all traitors and need to be treated as such, no exceptions.    Sadly, the corporate media continue to act as enablers and accessories after the fact by giving credence to the GOP's claims almost every time they air any impeachment report, or the specious "defenses" of Trump.  Including the latest iteration that his blatant quid pro quo was purely apolitical and valid.  Yet, despite knowing the game being played on them, the media willingly play along not only giving this endless rubbish air time, but Trump's further lies and distractions as well.

My beef?  The mainstream corporate media basically treats him - and his GOP enablers and defenders-  way too seriously.  This despite the fact, as Boehlert notes, the Repukes are just playing with the press, having them on - turning them into a de facto  propaganda arm of their morally bankrupt party.    The latest stunt by these trolls is producing a farcical 123-page "prebuttal" - which is basically a farrago of strawmen and red herrings -   insisting the  orange ape fouling the White House "did nothing wrong", absolutely nothing improper.  The House Dems were involved in a "sham" and "witch hunt" to persecute little Donnie Dotard.  They expect 20 million morons (or more) will believe attempted extortion, i.e if you got nothing from it, is just fine and dandy.

Here's the rub.  The "people" (media, the press) who should be condemning his vile behavior,  marginalizing his tweets or at least checking him when he grants them interviews and lies through his teeth, aren't .   You doubt that? Then you missed  former RNC chief Reince Priebus as the guest on CBS' Morning show on November 22nd.   Priebus, as expected, spun the trope there was "no direct evidence" given Trump never said the specific "magic" words ('I hereby order you to do a quid pro quo' for me!') to any of the witnesses. The questions then asked by the 3 CBS hosts were all softball types, so Reince could laugh his way out of it, leaving the CBS trio sucking air.  Given Priebus was never seriously challenged his claims hung in the media 'air' like memetic hobgoblins ready to be imbibed by any viewer not trained to parse political spin or B.S.  

One sole exception I saw on  'Meet the Press' was anchor Chuck Todd finally exposing Sen. John Kennedy (R, LA)  for the asswipe conspiracy monger he really is.  He told the yahoo "You understand the only other person selling this argument outside the U.S. is this man, Vladimir Putin" - showing the image of him on a screen.)

Sadly, such contamination as pushed by Kennedy is piling up even as we approach the end of formal impeachment hearings, with the House Judiciary Committee meeting to begin tomorrow.  But the media landscape has already been polluted by so many GOP lies, diversions, character assassinations, red herrings and misinformation one can barely keep track of it.  It seems every other day the Reeptards change their Trump defense to a new, hitherto unseen cobbling of codswallop.  As Michael Steele, former RNC head put it last night on 'All In':  "Kennedy is simply trying to gum it all up, mix up so much stuff no one will understand anything."  

Maybe. But that's also where the press must come in to fulfill its responsibility to highlight what's valid, and ignore what's not, i.e. the carny barker shouting in the rear to take note of that 2-headed fat lady with the beard, fish scales and flippers.

A first start is to  robustly defend the House Intelligence Committee's report (based on  two months of public and private testimony )    while also  skewering the Reeptards' sham counter report as the laughable bollocks it really is. In other words, refuse to report the latter as serious or remotely justified.

Eric Boehlert in his latest blog post,


"With the House Judiciary Committee poised to take up the impeachment baton and hold a new round of public hearings this month, the Beltway press continues to absorb and echo Republican talking points that claim the inquiry isn't resonating with Americans. Because impeachments aren’t legal proceedings, the messaging wars that surround them take on added importance. And right now, by treating as no big deal the fact that basically half the country supports removing the president of the United States from office, the media is greatly helping Republicans spread their preferred impeachment message: The inquiry isn't resonating." 

By effectively diminishing the import of the Repukes' claims, and minimizing the need for impeachment, the press-media plays directly into the demagogue's hands.    Bob Bauer in his NY Times editorial piece yesterday fired a shot over the bow of every sleepwalking citizen who is blithely ignoring this critical moment in our history.  One in which history will later ask, 'Why didn't these people do something? Why didn't they more aggressively push for Trump's impeachment?'

As Bauer wrote:

"The founders feared the demagogue, who figures prominently in the Federalist Papers as the politician who, possessing “perverted ambition,” pursues relentless self-aggrandizement “by the confusions of their country.” The last of the papers, Federalist No. 85, linked demagogy to its threat to the constitutional order — to the “despotism” that may be expected from the “victorious demagogue.” 

This “despotism” is achieved through systematic lying to the public, vilification of the opposition and, as James Fenimore Cooper wrote in an essay on demagogues, a claimed right to disregard “the Constitution and the laws” in pursuing what the demagogue judges to be the “interests of the people.”

Should the demagogue succeed in winning the presidency, impeachment in theory provides the fail-safe protection. And yet the demagogue’s political tool kit, it turns out, may be his most effective defense. It is a constitutional paradox: The very behaviors that necessitate impeachment supply the means for the demagogue to escape it.

As the self-proclaimed embodiment of the American popular will, the demagogue portrays impeachment deliberations as necessarily a threat to democracy, a facade for powerful interests arrayed against the people that only he represents. Critics and congressional opponents are traitors. Norms and standing institutional interests are fraudulent. President Trump has made full use of the demagogic playbook. He has refused all cooperation with the House. He lies repeatedly about the facts, holds public rallies to spread these falsehoods and attacks the credibility, motives and even patriotism of witnesses. His mode of “argument” is purely assaultive. This is the crux of the Trump defense, and not an argument built on facts in support of a constitutional theory of the case.."

The preceding section of the editorial ought to be read and re-read by all sentient Americans, and processed as to how and why we have reached such a perilous moment in the Republic.  Also, the severe consequences - the unthinkable ones - if this moment for reckoning passes with barely a shrug. Again, also owing to the lackadaisical efforts of much of the media.  

To quote WaPo columnist Margaret Sullivan (Nov. 10):

"The national media’s shortcomings have been all too obvious in recent years as Donald Trump has gleefully thrown the norms of traditional journalism into a tizzy.  They’ve trafficked in false equivalence. Allowed President Trump to play assignment editor. Gotten mired in pointless punditry."
The two other malignant aspects of our time, referenced by Bauer, include:

1)  That we have a fractured media environment in which "it is possible to construct alternative pictures of social realities."

2) We have a weak political party (Republicans) who now fall quickly into line with a demagogue able to bring intense pressure on them if they diverge from his orders.  In the words of Bauer:

"As we have seen with Mr. Trump, the demagogue can bully his party into being an instrument of his will, silencing or driving out dissenters. Republican officeholders know that Mr. Trump can take to Twitter or to Fox News or to the podium at rallies — or all of the above — to excoriate them for a weak will or disloyalty.  This is how the Republican Party has become Mr. Trump’s party. It is also why that party will not conceive of its role in impeachment as entailing a constitutional responsibility independent of the president’s political and personal interests."

This is exactly why  the media  ought to be treating the GOP as a rolling clown car full of trolls, not  a political option.   Their words, claims ought to be relentlessly dismissed, eschewed as opposed to given so much air time.  Ditto with the maggot they seek to protect to try to advance their odious agenda.  On the positive front, we learn from Boelhert:

"Since Democrats announced their intention to hold impeachment hearings, public support for the inquiry has jumped 16 points, according to the tabulation at FiveThirtyEight, with public support for Trump's removal from office increasing by 7 points. That's solid confirmation that Americans are engaged on the issue and support the historic Democratic push to hold Trump accountable."

This is what ought to be emphasized by the media but hasn't been.  In a serious, responsible media environment it would be.  In so doing, the press would be serving the interests of the people as opposed to trying to spike its own profits. But we know today, unlike 40 years ago, too many newspapers  - for example- are owned by hedge funds.  So public service is not at the forefront.

If we fail in this moment then Bauer's other forecast may well be upon us:

"The Trump impeachment is headed toward a very different summation. A demagogue can claim that Congress has forfeited the right to recognition of its impeachment power, then proceed to unleash a barrage of falsehoods and personal attacks to confuse the public, cow legislators and intimidate witnesses. So long as the demagogue’s party controls one of the two chambers of Congress, this strategy seems a sure bet."

This is  all the more reason the 4th estate needs to begin doing its damned job of seeing the REPUKE PARTY for what it is: a personality cult and impediment to the survival of this nation.  A cult of traitors, cowards and despicable demagogue enablers who need to be marginalized. This as opposed to being given immense public 'loudspeakers' and forums- especially which dignify and propagate their batshit crazy conspiracy claims.

See also:

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