Donald Trump, like virtually every president before him, is upset that there have been leaks to the news media (and heaven knows who else) from his administration. In his Thursday press conference, Trump emphasized that leaks of classified information or matters relating to national security are "criminal" acts — because they are — and promised to pursue the leakers. That, and Trump's Friday afternoon tweet — that "The FAKE NEWS media ... is the enemy of the American People!" — was apparently enough to send the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan scurrying under her bed, shaking in fear. Spare me the hysteria.
Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog, BizzyBlog.com, since 2005, and has been with NewsBusters since December 2005. Along the way, he's had a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development.
Opening his program on Monday, Rush Limbaugh referred to a Politico item by Hanna Trudo, who reported on his appearance on the February 19 edition of Fox News Sunday. Trudo opened by claiming that "Rush Limbaugh says he doesn’t buy the notion that Russia influenced the election of President Donald Trump." Rush observed on the air that this isn't what he said. Then Trudo doubled down and incorrectly "quote," using quotation marks, what Rush allegedly said. Both the video and the show's transcript demonstrate that Rush did not say what Trudo claimed. Her misquote distorts what he said. And the establishment press wonders why the average American distrusts and despises them.
On Friday at CNN, a clearly upset Don Lemon, covering a topic that almost no one in the press cared about for eight years during the Obama administration, abruptly ended a segment about the costs of protecting President Donald Trump and the First Family, and began to walk away from the set before the next commercial break began. Why? One of his panelists called the obsession with these costs "fake news." The panelist who set Lemon off, Paris Dennard, who describes himself as "a GOP political commentator and consultant," got Lemon's goat when he stood his ground despite pressure from Lemon and ridicule from two of the other three panelists.
Friday morning, Garance Burke at the Associated Press's "Investigative" unit broke what the wire service must have believed was an earth-shaking story that "The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants." 30 hours later, you couldn't find that story, or its "Trump administration denies" follow-up, at any of its "Big Story" site's key pages.
Meg Kinnard at the Associated Press betrayed quite a bit of unhappiness Wednesday evening and Thursday morning in her coverage of workers' decisive rejection of a union organizing effort at Boeing Corp.'s 787-10 production plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. In two very similar reports found at the wire service's Big Story site, Kinnard solely blamed "Southern reluctance toward unionization" for the rejection. Though that was clearly a factor, it is hardly the only reason for the overwhelming 74 percent to 26 percent rejection. Kinnard "somehow" forgot to report that this is the very same plant whose opening former President Barack Obama's National Labor Relations Board deliberately delayed in 2011.
Searches at the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post for stories in English on "monarca," the Spanish term for the monarch butterfly, currently come up empty. (There is a Post story in Spanish originating with the Associated Press, but it's about a drop in the number of those butterflies present in Mexico.) This absence isn't due to a lack of interest in the butterfly. It's because there's a lack of interest in telling the American people about a concerted effort by Mexico, codenamed Monarca, to slow or halt deportations of its citizens here in the U.S. illegally to a crawl by funding efforts to clog the U.S. court system to the point where it "break(s) down."
In his opening monologue and first guest conversation Monday evening, Fox News's Bill O'Reilly sharply criticized the national and local press coverage of the past week's immigration raids. In his Talking Points Memo opener, O'Reilly observed the press's utter failure to headline the fact that the raids targeted criminal illegal aliens, describing that failure not as press bias, but as "blatant dishonesty." The host's first guest then accused the press of deliberately drumming up uncalled-for "mass hysteria," and described the operation as "the same kind of operation they did conduct under President Obama."
One of the more amusing yet pathetic spectacles of the Trump administration’s early weeks — the ongoing establishment press fury at the richly deserved lack of respect it is getting from the President and his press secretary — neared meltdown yesterday. This occurred because Donald Trump wasn't asked a question everyone knew he wouldn't answer if asked about Michael Flynn at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Monday, Scott Whitlock at NewsBusters covered the joint temper tantrum/pity party at MSNBC in which Brian Williams — that's right, "Mr. Madeup Stories" himself — and Katy Tur engaged. CNN, CNN.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Associated Press and others joined the roster of not so fine whiners.
The New York Post, though usually perceived as a right-leaning newspaper, has room for columnists from the "other side" — including selective and truth-challenged ones like Jennifer Wright. Wright's February 11 column covers "some of the most gruesome plagues" in human history, in the process promoting a new book that is quite a departure from her previous ventures "covering sex and dating." Much of her work may be fine, but two of her topics, the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak and AIDS, are clearly marred by her political blinders.
Elizabeth Warren has become a heroine of the establishment press and the left — but I repeat myself — after deliberately violating Senate Rule 19 against "imput(ing) to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator" Tuesday evening in criticizing Trump administration Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. The Massachusetts Democrat's bitter, ugly tweetstorm shortly after Sessions was confirmed demonstrates the wisdom of Republican Senate's move to bar her from continuing to speak. Naturally, establishment press outlets have mostly ignored the tweets or mischaracterized them.
On Friday's Mornings with Maria, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo interviewed Ezekiel Emanuel, considered one of Obamacare's architects. It was quite contentious, and ended with Bartiromo stopping inches short of laughing sarcastically at her guest's comments and conduct. Her reaction was completely defensible, given Emanuel's ridiculous economic claims, his sophomoric and fact-challenged attempt to drag the Bush 43 administration into the discussion, and his de facto contention that every business and medical critic of Obamacare with whom the FBN host has spoken must be lying, i.e., "Your anecdotes are no good!"
This post was going to be about the establishment press's handling of the story of the mountainous and environmentally dangerous accumulation of trash left behind by Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. When the spring thaw arrives, that waste threatens to seriously pollute the Cannonball River — yes, the very river protesters are claiming they wish to protect from pipeline spills. What's remarkable here, though, is what was found in an initial Google search on the topic. With all the coverage out there, Google has given pictorial prominence to item from an obscure, out-of-nowhere site which is a clear candidate for the "fake news" tag. That site's story bizarrely claims that even more trash is currently being brought into and dumped at the site — "to frame protesters."
What a difference a decade and a different political party make. In November 2005, Ohio GOP Congresswoman Jean Schmidt used the same "I'm just quoting someone else" technique to criticize a fellow Member which Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren employed earlier this week to criticize since-confirmed Donald Trump Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions. Schmidt was vilified to the point where she became the subject of ridicule on Saturday Night Live, while the intemperate Warren has become such an instant heroine on the left that she seems a likely favorably-portrayed subject of a skit this coming weekend, and a future candidate to host the show.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, went off on John McCain in an ill-advised, unhinged Wednesday morning tweet, declaring the decorated Navy veteran and former Vietnam prisoner of war an "armchair warrior." As best can be determined, vandenHeuvel is upset that the Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate has previously stated that if Russia did indeed meddle in the 2016 presidential campaign, he would consider it an act of war.
At the Associated Press, George P. Shultz, James A. Baker III and six other formerly despised Republicans and business leaders have suddenly become "GOP senior statesman." What accounts for this instant transformation? The group is pushing what it calls a "Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends.” In a Tuesday evening Wall Street Journal op-ed, Shultz and Baker advocated "a gradually increasing carbon tax" accompanied by massive redistributions of income. The AP's headline writers and reporters Catherine Lucey and Julie Pace could barely conceal their glee. In the process, they massively misrepresented the results of the Obama administration's efforts to build up "renewable energy from sources like solar."
Given its usual tendencies, I suppose we should be grateful that the Associated Press deigned to fact-check federal judge James Robart at all. The AP's Eric Tucker reported on Monday that the Western Washington District Court judge's claim — that no arrests of foreign nationals have occurred since 9/11 from the seven countries which had been subject to President Trump's temporary travel ban before the judge halted it — was "wrong." So far, so good. But Tucker later seriously watered down that evaluation to "not quite right," and he never genuinely quantified how incredibly wrong Robart really was.
At the Media Research Center, the unhinged infamy of Nina Burleigh, who now toils at Newsweek as its national politics correspondent, goes back to years before NewsBusters began. Burleigh's most recent childish move is something one might expect from an unsupervised freshman writer at a high school newspaper. She has created a "Trump Warning System." It includes four icons, three of which are well-known current and former totalitarian dictators, as shorthand to categorize Donald Trump's presidential actions. It's every bit as pathetic it sounds.
A recent item at The Onion, the online humor site which is now rarely genuinely funny, claimed that "Fearful Americans (Are) Stockpiling Facts Before (the) Federal Government Comes To Take Them Away." Naturally, it was occurring because Americans are "alarmed at the prospect of unconstitutional overreach by the Trump administration." Ha-ha-ha — as if "constitutional overreach" didn't occur at a record pace during Barack Obama's eight years in office (yes, it did). It would appear that those of us who are alarmed at the genuine power-grabbing overreach seen at the titans of tech and at social media companies really need to start stockpiling dictionary entries relating to important words so we can store and retain their real meanings. One alarming example of this need has been delivered by Google's search engine.
As Curtis Houck demonstrated at NewsBusters on Wednesday, the historic step of including four outside-the-DC Beltway journalists at White House press conferences via Skype is not sitting well "with many establishment media types." The aggrieved folks at CNN are particularly upset.
UPDATE, Feb. 7: On Feb. 5, Jake Tapper tweeted that "if you're concerned about things being 'incomplete' maybe consider adding into your post Manchin on same show response to rule." I attempted to find that video, and could not. If it was so important, and in the interest of balance, one would hope it would be part of the CNN video at the web link cited below — and it's not.
As Nicholas Fondacaro noted at NewsBusters Friday morning, CNN had a Thursday afternoon "You can't make this up" moment. While covering Congress's rescission of an Obama administration coal and mining industry rule, the network ran footage from the disastrous government-caused 2015 Animas River spill in Colorado and New Mexico in the background. As pathetic and embarrassing as that element of CNN's report was, government regulation correspondent Rene Marsh's one-sided and incomplete report as the Animas River footage ran behind her and The Lead host Jake Tapper was arguably worse.