The Trump regime continues to treat the (non-FOX News, non Breitbart state-run) media as mortal foes, and Village just scratches its head, shrugs, and declares it an act for the benefit of Trump's base, because gosh they know that Trump's people are really nice once you get to know them. Surely Trump doesn't mean he'd have the government go after me, they say.
And then NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly gets called into Mike Pompeo's office like he's the Vice-Principal and screams and curses at her.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got into it with an NPR host over her questions about Ukraine.
On Saturday, he issued a statement responding to the flap that exemplifies gaslighting.
To recap what happened Friday: NPR reported that after an interview on Iran that ended with questions about Ukraine — at which point Pompeo grew testy — the secretary unleashed a lengthy, vulgar tirade against the journalist who interviewed him, “All Things Considered” host Mary Louise Kelly.
Kelly, remarkably, said that Pompeo asked her after the interview, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” and asked her to find the country on a blank map, apparently suggesting she didn’t even know. She said she did, and Pompeo concluded the scene by saying, “People will hear about this.”
In Saturday morning’s statement, Pompeo claimed Kelly had told him they were off the record at the time, which NPR denies.
“It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” Pompeo said. “This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.”
The most remarkable portion of Pompeo’s statement, though, came at the end.
“It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine," Pompeo said in it.
The implication is unmistakable: Kelly couldn’t correctly identify the location of Ukraine on the map, and she instead pointed to Bangladesh.
Here’s why there is absolutely no way that happened.
First, Bangladesh is more than 3,000 miles away from Ukraine. It is east of India. Ukraine is in Eastern Europe; Bangladesh is in South Asia. Ukraine is in a border war with Russia; Bangladesh does not border Russia and isn’t even close to it. Ukraine is a large country; Bangladesh is comparatively small. It’s difficult to believe basically any journalist who was asked to locate Ukraine would point to Bangladesh, no matter how inexperienced.
And second, even if there was one, there is no way it would be Kelly. Kelly isn’t just a host of “All Things Considered,” she is also a former national security reporter who has traveled overseas extensively in her reporting. She also literally has a master’s degree — in European studies — from Cambridge University in England, which is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
Mary Louise Kelly is as close to an honest-to-God expert on European foreign policy as the Village has. To think she would confuse Bangladesh with Ukraine is laughable, and yet this is Pompeo gaslighting a woman journalist in front of the world.
And the reason Pompeo did this is extremely simple: he's testing the Village to see how far they are willing to go to protect one of their own when the consequences of doing so will be an even further reduction in access to the White House, while at the same time turning to Trump's base and saying "Geez, look at how stupid these reporters are. They're all dumb liars, and I'm the Secretary of State. Who are you going to believe?
Indeed, the response from the right-wing noise machine is that Kelly broke an agreement to be off the record with Pompeo's tirade, and that the long-time NPR host should immediately be fired.
NPR is fully defending Kelly as they should, but the damage has already been done. The only news conservative Republicans trust are literally Rush and Hannity on AM radio, and FOX and Breitbart.