Little Marathon Pundit and I were on vacation earlier this month and our travels brought us to Wisconsin and Michigan. On our final day of that trip we visited the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, just six days prior to the 105th anniversary of the birth of the 38th president.
Of the presidents of my lifetime, Gerald Ford is the obvious choice for the “Most Likely to be Forgotten Award.” That’s partly understandable. His 29 months in office was the shortest term of any president who didn’t die in office. And Ford was the closest thing to a “regular guy” to live in the White House. The media loved Ford for that–delighting on him toasting his own English muffins in the White House kitchen. They loved Ford–yes, he was a Republican–until he pardoned his predecessor, Richard M. Nixon, one month after being sworn in to office.
Immediately Ford became a buffoon and a dope. He now was the media’s enemy and ordinary instances were blown out of proportion. He stumbled and fell from the steps of Air Force One. Have you ever had a misstep on a set of stairs? He sliced a few golf balls into crowds–those onlookers would not have been there if he was still House Minority Leader. Ford was an accomplished skier, but do you know what? Skiers fall. And so did he. Chevy Chase’s impersonations of him on Saturday Night Live portrayed him as dimwitted and yes, a man who could barely remain on his feet.
But Ford was arguably the greatest presidential athlete. He was an All-American football center for the University of Michigan. He was offered contracts by the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Until very late into his long life Ford regularly swam laps, Ford had an outdoor pool built on the White House grounds to replace the indoor one that Nixon converted into a press room so he could remain in shape.
Ford “the dummy” graduated in the top third of his class at Yale law school.
In short, because of the Nixon pardon, Ford was bombarded by, not fake news, but a fake perception from the media.
The museum of course looks back at Ford’s improbable rise from being abandoned by his father two weeks after his birth to becoming an Eagle Scout and a star athlete. After college and law school Ford returned to his hometown of Grand Rapids to practice law. After Pearl Harbor Ford joined the Navy. Shortly after marrying Betty Bloomer in 1948, Ford won his first election as congressman of Michigan’s 5th district. By the mid-1960s Ford was the House minority leader.
The film about Ford’s life, “A Time To Heal,” plays there.
As the Watergate scandal raged. Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, pleaded no contest to tax evasion and resigned. Nixon, under the provisions of the recently enacted 25th Amendment to the Constitution, nominated Ford as Agnew’s replacement, which Congress approved. Thus Ford became the first vice president–and the only president–not elected by the American people.
“I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots,” Ford said in his brief inaugural address, “and so I ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers.” And alluding to Watergate, he added, “Our long national nightmare is over.”
But Ford was president during an unusually eventful 29 months, which the museum documents. What transpired included: His controversial choice of liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president, rampant inflation and the brutal l974-75 recession, the Mayaguez incident, the fall of South Vietnam, a summit meeting with Leonid Brezhnev, his signing of the Helsinki Accords, two assassination attempts–within a month, a general gloom of the American psyche, and his defeat by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election after a hard-fought primary battle with Ronald Reagan.
Quite a bit of bad stuff, to be sure. But the American Bicentennial was celebrated in 1976.
Oh yeah, Ford pardoned Nixon.
The current special exhibit at the museum is centered on his wife, Betty Ford, the centennial of her birth was in April. Her life was a momentous one too. Unlike her recent predecessors as First Lady, Betty was outspoken. Six weeks after moving into the White House she underwent a mastectomy–which brought much needed attention to breast cancer. Two years after her husband’s electoral defeat she was treated for alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. Rather than hiding in shame, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center, America’s best-known substance abuse treatment center.
A major story broke last week, and while the mainstream media dutifully reported on it, there was no blanket coverage, unlike in the case of the guilty plea of Trump campaign hanger-on, George Papadopolous, one of the big catches of Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe.
What was that big breaking news? Recently-retired Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe, who National Review’s Andrew McCarthy calls “a textbook swamp creature,” was arrested for allegedly lying to the FBI. Wolfe worked for the Senate Intelligence Committee for 29 years and he’s suspected of being a longtime leaker of classified information to reporters.
One of those journalists may have been Ali Watkins, 26, a Washington-based New York Times writer. As part of the Wolfe investigation, several years of telephone and email records belonging to Watkins were seized by federal investigators. The Committee to Protect Journalists says it fears the move “could be an opening salvo in an ongoing battle over reporters’ ability to protect their sources.”
Ah, about that source: In an article about the mainstream media uproar about the seizure, The Times, in the seventh paragraph of that piece, admitted about Watkins, “She and Mr. Wolfe had been in a three-year relationship, which drew the attention of prosecutors who were investigating unauthorized leaks from the Senate Intelligence Committee, including articles that Ms. Watkins had written for two previous employers, Politico and BuzzFeed News.” Yes, Little Red Watkins was inappropriately involved with the Big Bad Wolfe.
Oh, Wolfe is 57.
The Old Gray Lady also disclosed in that article that Watkins was informed in February that those electronic records of hers had been seized. After speaking to her attorney, Watkins decided not to tell the Times. Left undiscussed is whether she told anyone at the Times that she was involved in a relationship with Wolfe. Buzzfeed and Politico knew.
The mainstream media is comprised of phonies and frauds. Had Watkins been an FBI agent investigating Wolfe, they’d be calling for her dismissal. But Watkins is still on the job–on the same beat–which is federal law enforcement. No suspension, no transfer to the sports department or local school coverage for the Times for her.
Here’s the big question: Did the New York Times know that Watkins and Wolfe had that “relationship,” which I assume was of a sexual nature, before she was hired? Did they know before Wolfe’s indictment?
The media plays tough when it discovers blood in the water surrounding political figures, particularly ones it despises, such as President Donald Trump. But when a member their club is caught acting unethically it just circles the wagons and moves into protection mode.
Trump is right. The swamp needs to be drained. The Deep State needs to be dethroned.
Around this time yesterday during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia one woman was killed and 19 others were injured when they were rammed and run over by a person driving a Dodge Challenger.
James Alex Fields Jr, 20, was allegedly the behind the wheel of that muscle car. He’s been arrested on numerous charges and presumably the case against him is very strong. According to multiple media reports Fields is a white supremacist and an admirer of Adolf Hitler. He was also prescribed anti-psychotic drugs. But that doesn’t mean Fields doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong.
In my opinion Fields is the archetypal contemporary member of the Ku Klux Klan or the American Nazi Party–a disturbed, and yes, dangerous person who has, as the British say, “toys in the attic.”
Multiple media sources are calling the racist rally, formally known as Unite the Right, a white nationalist event.
Every year, however, the Nation of Islam, which espouses black separatism, holds a Saviour’s Day event, usually in Chicago, to celebrate the birthday of the NOI’s founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, who claimed that black people are divine and whites are wicked. According to Muhammad, whites were created by an evil scientist named Yakub. But because blacks are part of the victim class, according to establishment media mores, Saviour’s Day can never be a black nationalist rally. You can laugh off the Nation of Islam, which has about 50,000 followers, but one of its members, the since-executed John Allen Muhammad, was one of the Beltway Snipers who murdered 17 people–whites and blacks–in 2002. The other killer was John Lee Malvo, a teenaged illegal immigrant from Jamaica. One of the duo’s motives for the murders was to extort money in order to open a community for homeless black youths to be trained as terrorists in Canada.
Despite his surname, John Muhammad’s NOI membership was downplayed, even ignored by the mainstream media in its coverage of the attacks and the subsequent trials. He was not labeled a black nationalist. In 1995 Muhammad was part of the security of the Nation of Islam’s Million Man March, although the NOI leader, Louis Farrakhan, denies it.
None of us is all good–the potential to commit evil exists in all of us in different degrees. And of course no race or ethnic group is all good or all evil.
Yet here we are, well within the 21st century, and I have to point that out. Sad.
There’s no hole on Earth deep enough for me to hide from the shame my former profession has brought me.
Other than a short stint in public relations, I spent 34 years as a newspaper reporter and editor. For the last 25 years of my career, I worked at a mid-size daily, where we did an admirable job covering the stories of the day: the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, the fall of Communism, the start of the Gulf War, Bill Clinton’s Balkan conflicts and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
On Sept. 11, 2001, we published our first edition, as usual, at 9 a.m. By 3:30 p.m. — hours after our shift normally ended — we put out our 11th and last edition of the day. Knowing that our readers depended on us for deeper coverage than TV or the young Internet could supply, we updated the paper constantly as developments occurred. I was as gut-punched as any other American after the towers fell, but it was the proudest day in my career.
That’s why I got into journalism. Not to “educate” readers. Not to push an angle. Not to weave a narrative. My goal was to tell people what was happening in their community, their state, the country and the world.
Unfortunately, I soon found out not all of my peers shared my intentions.
As far back as high school, my dream was to work for a newspaper. Well, I actually dreamed of becoming a bestselling author, but I realized early that I’d never be a productive writer unless I faced a hard deadline. And no deadlines are more rigid than at a newspaper, where the consequences are drastic if the presses don’t start on time.
I was already a journalism major when the Watergate break-in occurred in 1972 and was working at my hometown weekly when the burglary grew into the scandal that destroyed Richard Nixon’s presidency. Like most of my friends, I despised Nixon, but my loathing was based on reasons very different than theirs.
The Left had been after Nixon since the late 1940s, when he led the charge to take down Alger Hiss, the Democrats’ favorite Soviet spy. (Read your history, kids.) Meanwhile I was disgusted by Nixon’s first term, when he expanded Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program instead of dismantling it, and dismayed that the uproar over the stupid break-in was tarring the conservative cause.
In any case, Watergate was a turning point in American journalism. Reporters traditionally have been left of center, but now the media was credited with tossing a president out of the White House. Such power! It’s no wonder lefties of all stripes descended on journalism schools like flies on a pile of manure.
Ever since, j-schools have been churning out a stream of Ahabs hoping to harpoon every Great White Republican Male Whale that crosses their paths. In collaboration with their Democrat allies, the mainstream media have devoted a good portion of their attention to undermining GOP leaders.
While it seemed like the media went off the rails when reporters, editors and TV news personalities became afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome in W’s second term, we hadn’t seen or heard anything yet.
Now comes Donald Trump. On a scale of 1 to 10, the media have been operating at 15 since the start of the presidential campaign when it comes to Trump. Since his surprise victory, reporters have trashed the principles they claim to hold dear in order in order to smear and pound a man they consider unfit for office.
All the so-called “news” stories based on unnamed sources, speculation and innuendo embarrass me to no end. Instead of destroying Trump, the media are acting like suicide bombers. Their credibility in the minds of half the nation’s people has been in shreds for years; now it’s on its way to the compost heap.
I know you hate the media, but this is bad for everyone. Without fair and honest reporting, the public will wallow in ignorance and rely on rumors and half-truths for information. Even worse is the political polarization that will only increase when conservatives and progressive depend on entirely separate news sources.
It’s hard to believe — and I have my own doubts — but the media crisis could be corrected. I operated in the belly of the beast for most of my career and emerged unscathed. As an editor, I made sure unbalanced and unfair stories were fixed before they appeared in print.
And I wasn’t alone. Believe it or not, other conservatives were in the newsroom, and even liberal editors would throw up their hands over articles that tilted too far to the left. Then again, we weren’t the New York Times or Washington Post; we were just a bunch of simple Midwesterners serving a working-class readership. Maybe the elite operations are beyond redemption.
In any case, if you still have a hometown paper, give it as much support as you can. If it’s on the wrong track editorially, gather some friends, meet with the boss and share your concerns. If you get a cold reception, the paper might be a lost cause and deserve your wrath. But you might be pleasantly surprised.
As all of you who read this blog know I’ve always liked Jake Tapper, both personally and professionally. In our encounters both online and in person he never treated me with any less respect because I was a blogger and was kind enough to come on my show when invited.
Furthermore during the Obama years he was practically alone in questioning the administration and democrat leaders when the rest of the press gave them a pass. I’ll never forget watching during the election season when the story of Hillary having to be helped into the van broke. When “reliable sources” was one the whole story was treated as if it was a plot from Fox meaning that his was something completely to be ignored, at Noontime Jake came on live and suddenly it was treated as the serious news story that it was, right up until the moment that he went off the air and CNN went back to Clinton defense mode.
Many times I’ve said that Tapper’s conservative fans had better get ready because once the GOP was back in the White House they would find themselves unable to tell the difference between him and the rest of the MSM because he would be just as tough on our side as he was on their.
All that being said Tapper’s statement “…I did fact checks about Barack Obama, too, not at the same rate, nor was there a need for them at the same rate,” was a self-inflicted wound. It suggests that he is deliberately being harder on Trump than the very dishonest and dishonorable Obama administration.
There are two reasons why I suspect this is the case:
1. Literally but not seriously vs Seriously but not Literally
Donald Trump is the completely opposite of this. He tends to talk like a normal person because his background is not political. Because he is less exact about what he says the political press has a field day fact checking words while missing the valid points he is constantly making. As Salena Zito put it
“The press takes Trump literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”
If you spend your career looking for falsehoods in carefully parsed words a guy like President Trump is going to completely overturn the standards by which you judge what a pol says.
That’s just life as it is.
2. The fat pitch that was missed.
The second reason has to do with the infamous interview with candidate Trump before Super Tuesday when Jake gave him the “Denounce David Duke” question.
This frankly was pretty much a pro-forma question, a slow pitch over the plate that Candidate Trump should have hit out of the park with no problem. As I said at the time:
Forgetting all the circus that has come since, the bottom line is you don’t get a much fatter pitch in the game of politics than: “Do you denounce the KKK and David Duke?”
It’s doubly confusing given that in the past he had no problem disavowing Duke in his reform party days and even did so on Friday when Chris Christie endorsed him.
Frankly given that past and the fact that Trump isn’t stupid, I presume his performance with Jake Tapper was the ultimate brain fart
However double standards (Where was the Obama denunciation of terrorist Bill Ayers in whose house he started his campaign) bad mics brain farts or whatever it was an unenforced error that not only is still being used to portray Trump as something he’s not made, in my opinion a huge impression on Jake. Look at his face during that exchange and it speaks volumes.
Now you might say that’s unfair, you might say (as I do) that the racism and antisemitism charges against Trump are ridiculous on their face but I’ll not deny Jake the right to make a judgement based on what he himself heard (I don’t know if they actually see each other during such exchanges) at the time during his own interview.
All that being said I think it would be a good idea for Jake to clarify and modify his remarks because what he said doesn’t reflect well on him (I’d say it doesn’t reflect well on mainstream journalism, but mainstream journalism doesn’t reflect well on mainstream journalism so this remark won’t make it any worse). He’s a good guy and a fine journalist and should no more be defined by this mistake that Donald Trump should by is gaffe of last February.
Closing thought. Be aware that if Mr. Tapper is still in the field of journalism the next time a Democrat is either in the White House or Senate Majority Leader or Speaker of the House, rest assured that my conservative friends who are now having a fit will suddenly find themselves warming up to him when he once again becomes the only member of the mainstream press who questions a word they say, unless by some miracle the rest of the media develops ethics by that time.
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Donald J. Trump’s presidential honeymoon with the media lasted sixteen minutes, which was, not coincidentally, the length of his inauguration address.
Since then, the media, with a few exceptions, has been relentlessly attacking the president, and by media, I’ll use the definition Rush Limbaugh gave this morning to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, which is ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today.
I’ll add one more–a big one, CNN, sometimes called the Clinton News Network.
The media is striking back with an assault on the presidency not seen since the height of the Watergate scandal.
And Donald Trump is fighting them–and the media can’t ascertain why much of the public, their public, is siding with the president.
Because conservatives don’t like cheaters.
Among the damning revelations from the John Podesta emails hacked by WikiLeaks was clear evidence of collusion by some of these allegedly neutral outlets during the 2016 presidential campaign, most notoriously when CNN analyst Donna Brazile twice supplied a planned question to the Hillary Clinton campaign prior to a CNN-hosted debate with Bernie Sanders.
Viewers of those two CNN debates were cheated by CNN, which employed Brazile, as they rightly expected the Clinton-Sanders matchups to be, let’s use a popular term from the time when several Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw the 1919 World Series, “on the square.” Sure, Brazile, was fired, but only after she was caught the second time feeding a debate question to the Clinton machine. That says a lot. Oh, where did Brazile learn of these questions? Did they come from a low-level CNN staffer?
Liberals, with the possible exception of the most ardent members of the growing socialist wing of the Democratic Party, dismissed Brazile’s cheating as just the way the game is played, which is not how White Sox fans greeted news of the 1919 fix broke a year later.
Before there was fake news there was a fake World Series.
Here is my conservative-or-liberal litmus test: If you were angry–or still are angry–about media collusion with the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, they you are a conservative. If you are not, they you’re a liberal. It’s that easy.
Which explains why the media, again using the definition I gave earlier, is astounded that Trump not only attacks them millions of Americans are cheering him on.
After dutifully reporting on media collusion immediately after it was revealed, the media promptly ignored the scandal–their scandal–which is not the case with Russian interference, and yes, alleged hacking of the election by Russia of the presidential election, whatever that entails. It probably entails nothing. WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, repeatedly insists that Russia was not the source of the hacked Podesta emails.
Okay, you skeptics out there, you are probably thinking to yourselves that I am citing only two examples of CNN collusion, and that done by an analyst, not a reporter.
When Trump said on the stump “the system is rigged,” the colluders proved him right.
The Forgotten Man and the Forgotten Woman, that is, the people who play by the rules and try to make an honest living under increasingly daunting odds, elected Trump, despite the rigging.
And the cheating media still can’t figure out why most Americans despise them.
You Democratic cynics are probably still thinking, “Everyone does it.” No they don’t. Very few media outlets are conservative ones, so the opportunity simply isn’t there for Republicans to collude. The only instance of GOP collusion in a presidential campaign I can recall is George Will’s vague self-described “inappropriate” role in the 1980 Debategate micro-scandal.
The leftist group MoveOn got its start as Bill Clinton was being impeached. Their initial message was along the lines of, Bubba has done a great job running the country, his affair with Monica Lewinsky was inappropriate, and now it’s time for Americans to, well, move on.
Now if only the cheerleaders in the media for the Democratic Party could do the same.
There’s a book’s worth of material out there for this post, but I’ll zoom in on just a few today. Dahleen Glanton, an African American Chicago Tribune columnist, puts the blame on the Democrats failure to keep the White House on where she feels it belongs. Yes, the headline gives the ending away, “White women, own up to it: You’re the reason Hillary Clinton lost.” Yet the first sentence of that column betrays how foolish she is, “I don’t understand women.” Her dazzling display of ignorance continues for another two dozen paragraphs.
There must be vile fumes from the Chicago River poisoning the minds of Chicago newspaper columnists, as ignorance begets insanity. I had to read Neil Steinberg’s Nazi-drenched column about Donald Trump and his advisor Steven Bannon, who, by the way, is not an anti-Semite, three times before I gave up trying to make sense of it. Well, almost. When I am confronted with Nazis and insanity I do one thing and that is listen to avante-garde rockers the Residents’ masterpiece, “The Third Reich and Roll,” only this time I did so while trying to block out of my memory all of my knowledge of the 1960s garage pop classics that are satirized in this work, as a possible gateway into Steinberg’s rambling mess. That didn’t work either. But hey, I tried.
At the end of his column he all but claims that it will be followers of a religion who have been scapegoated for centuries who will be blamed if Trump’s economy doesn’t take off as he promises it will.
Perhaps what these mainstream media hacks really need is a good cry, which is something the Residents have done as they confide in “Hitler Was a Vegetarian.”
Yes, it’s your party, I know it’s your party
And, you know that you can cry, and, it’s cool
But you have to remember that I too cried my 96 tears
And… it’s just something we all have to go through some time or another.
“Bias has always been a factor in journalism. It’s nearly impossible to remove. Humans have their thoughts, and keeping them out of your work is difficult. But 2016 saw the remaining veneer of credibility, thin as it was, stripped away and set on fire.” Derek Hunter, Townhall, October 23, 2016.
“A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” Albert Camus.
Both men are right.
I’ve known for many years that the mainstream media, consisting mostly of leftists, is biased, but I’ve also long suspected that these leftists have been colluding with the Democrats. Thanks to WikiLeaks we know that to be true.
The 2016 World Series, an intriguing matchup between the Chicago Cubs–of whom Hillary Clinton used to be a fan of–and the Cleveland Indians, begins Tuesday.
Which got me thinking: What if the self-righteous media guardians, umpires you might say, were in charge of baseball’s fall classic?
When the Chicago Clintons come to bat, their batters will earn a walk after three balls, Cleveland, Donald Trump’s team, will need five balls to gain a base on balls, and they’ll strike out after two strikes.
The media umpires, when the Clintons are in trouble, will take out their smartphones during the games and pass on actionable advice to their manager, who will quickly reply and request more pointers. Player after player for the Trumps will be ejected because the umpires will reveal decades-old sexual assault allegations just as the Cleveland team takes the field. Another Cleveland Trumps player will be ejected because he may not have paid federal income taxes. The umpires will claim it was only just then that they learned about about this tax issue.
Meanwhile charges that the Clintons are taking large cash payments from outsiders that could destroy the integrity of Major League Baseball are for the most part ignored–and not acted upon. And even though the umpires know that the Clintons destroyed evidence of their improprieties, they’ll deem it “old news.” The umpires will overlook the lies from the Clintons about their crimes.
When the fans in the ballpark complain, they’ll be rudely dismissed by the umpires as morons who don’t know how the contest is played.
But the truth is the public knows all too well that the game is rigged.
As Walter Cronkrite used to end his CBS Evening News broadcast, “That’s the way it is.”
So yes, Podesta’s emails were hacked. By whom? The Clinton campaign is blaming the Russian government, offering little in proof, although this morning on Fox News Sunday, Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence says “the evidence continues to point in that direction.” The Clinton campaign, outside of Podesta, refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of these emails, claiming that the Russians are trying to sway the results of this autumn’s election, while deflecting findings from those emails, which include Bill Clinton receiving a $1 million birthday check for the Clinton Foundation–the charity is really a slush fund, by the way–from the government of Qatar, which we learn from another email, is funding ISIS, or at least Hillary Clinton believes so.