Thursday, November 14, 2019

Last Call For Trump State TV, Con't

Zandardad texted me yesterday about the impeachment hearings and mentioned he thought that the case against Trump was going to be distorted into sound bites of Republicans yelling and claiming victory over the "dismantled" Democratic argument.

On Fox News Trump State TV, he was right.  CNN's Brian Stetler waded into the crazy weeds.

I wanted to know what President Trump was hearing about day one of the televised impeachment hearings. So I decided to mute all my other TVs and just watch Fox News on Wednesday night. 
I heard White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham say that "today was a joke." I heard Donald Trump Jr. say "it's insanity." I heard Jeff Sessions ask, "Where's the beef?" 
Here's how I would sum up everything I heard from Fox's prime time hosts: Wednesday's hearing was a bust. It was all just hearsay. It was a "disaster" for the Democrats and a "great day" for the Republicans. Impeachment is "stupid." Impeachment is "fake." There's nothing impeachable here. There's no reason to hold hearings. This inquiry needs to stop right now. 
The message was one-sided and overwhelming. Every host and practically every guest said the Republican tribe is winning and the Democrat tribe is losing. I'm sure the president loved watching every minute of it. That's one of the reasons why this right-wing rhetoric matters so much -- because it is reassuring and emboldening Trump. 
I decided to write it all down because of something that CNN's Oliver Darcy wrote earlier in the day. "Don't expect viewers, listeners, and readers of right-wing media to walk away from Wednesday's impeachment hearings with a different opinion of President Trump's behavior," Darcy said. "In fact, it's possible they might be more convinced than ever that Trump did nothing wrong. Why? Because right-wing media has largely -- and unsurprisingly -- focused on the moments in the hearing favorable to its preferred narrative." 
He was right.

If Fox News had existed during Watergate, Nixon would have been re-elected in 1976 in a landslide.

Oliver Darcy writes: All day long, pro-Trump websites hyped clips of GOP stars like Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes "eviscerating" or "destroying" their opponents. THOSE were the moments that generated focus -- not the instances when Taylor or Kent shed new light on the Ukraine scandal. And after the hearings wrapped, Trump's defenders in media dismissed the hearings as "boring" and a bust for the Democrats. If you were watching the hearing through the lens of the right-wing media, you probably didn't see a case against the president being built. You probably walked away thinking the Democrats' case collapsed... 

Which is the point.  Fox News is the last line of defense for Donald Trump's ongoing years of criminality.  He would have never been elected without them, let alone survived the last three years in office without being tossed out on his ass.  Meanwhile the rest of our media was just as broken, as Alternet's Joshua Holland observes.

Yes, the first day of testimony was “consequential.” There was “substance”–new evidence that the President of the United States* personally directed that security aid to a vulnerable ally in the middle of a war be blocked in order to coerce them to pursue widely debunked conspiracy theories about his political rivals–but where was the pizzazz?

Impeachment week featured no sharks whatsoever. No nubile young women bared their breasts during the hearing and nobody in the chamber was injured in an amusing accident like on America’s Funniest Home Videos. No Republican was forced by the overwhelming weight of the evidence to halt his questioning and concede that the leader of their party really is a narcissistic charlatan. Jim Jordan didn’t have a sudden epiphany and tearfully apologize for turning his back on the abused wrestlers he used to coach. It was just some more boring details of high crimes in the Oval Office revealed during the fourth presidential impeachment process in the nation’s history. At least Clinton’s impeachment had some sex to spice up the proceedings.

These kinds of analyses are born of a deep cynicism that pervades so much of the media (I’m often guilty of it myself). It stems from the sense that, in a society as polarized as ours, nothing really matters. Opinions are locked in. Motivated reasoning leads readers and viewers to reject reporting that doesn’t support their worldviews.

The Republican base won’t abandon Trump and Senate Republicans fear primaries more than they do a slide into authoritarianism. Trump isn’t going to be escorted kicking and screaming from the Oval Office by the Marshal of the Supreme Court, so what’s the point? Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Secretary of State George Kent offered gripping some really testimony–there was substance–but we all knew how Tucker Carlson would cover it at 8 pm. Same shit, different day when you really think about it.

That’s not entirely wrong. Investigative reporters sometimes unearth damning stories that bring down a politician or drive an effort for some new legislation, but most reporting doesn’t change people’s minds and won’t change the world. But even if there’s a kernel of truth to it, that cynicism blinds one to the importance of crucial moments in history like the one we’re living through now, and renders one incapable of covering it with the appropriate gravity.
It’s also, at least to a degree, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most people worked yesterday and didn’t catch the hearings live. They rely on the media not only for the facts, but also for cues about how to interpret them. Some of those people woke up this morning to the message that while there was some sort of substance to yesterday’s, nothing interesting happened. There’s nothing to see here. Move along.

Which is exactly what Zandardad feared.

Republicans in the Senate enable Trump.  But Fox News enables them, and it's even more dangerous.  They are going to kill the hearings any way they can for their viewers, and take the country down with them.

But what's worse is our own cynicism about a "doomed" process.

Another Hat Enters The Ring, Con't

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is entering the Democratic primary today, and Steve M. has the right of the situation.

On the subject of Patrick's Bain Capital ties, Axios's Dan Primack writes: 
There is unconfirmed speculation that Patrick was awakened in his suburban Boston home last night, by the sounds of champagne corks popping at Elizabeth Warren's campaign headquarters. 
Really, plutocrats? You're terrified that Warren might be the nominee, so you urge Mike Bloomberg and Deval Patrick to get in the race -- and you're probably among the "many, many, many people" urging Hillary Clinton to jump in as well? 
This is crazy. It reminds me of the streaming wars -- company after company is announcing a big new video streaming service, and while some are going to thrive, others are sure to bomb. (Will there really be a market for Peacock or Quibi?) 
But this is how top executives think: Why not jump into a crowded field? What's the downside of oversaturating the market? If you're the executive responsible for one of the flops, the worst-case scenario is that you'll lose your job and get an eight-figure golden parachute. So why not? 
That kind of thinking seems to be making the fat cats want to urge every business-friendly Democrat into the race. Good luck with that, guys.

There's no real punishment for spending other people's money on ego runs like this, even for people like Bloomberg who have billions of their own to spend.  I know we talk about the right-wing gravy train, but the left version of it exists as well.  Yeah, some people fall off the tracks or get run over completely (talking to you, Moose Lady) but for the most part, politicians go on to sinecures and rake in big money.

The people out there with 10, 11 figures in their net worth?  They make things happen in politics.

BREAKING The Battle For Bevinstan Is Behind Us

After today's recanvass of the votes from last week didn't change voting totals more than a few ticks, Kentucky GOP Gov. Matt Bevin is picking up his ball and going home.

And that's the ball game for Bevinstan.

Governor Andy Beshear, you're up.

A Taxing Explanation, Con't

The Trump tax return fight is now headed for SCOTUS on both the House Democratic subpoena and the New York state fronts.

Congress can seek eight years of President Trump’s tax records, according to a federal appeals court order Wednesday that moves the separation-of-powers conflict one step closer to the Supreme Court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit let stand an earlier ruling against the president that affirmed Congress’s investigative authority on a day when the House was holding its first public impeachment inquiry hearing.

Trump’s lawyers have said they are prepared to ask the Supreme Court to intervene in this case and in several other legal battles between the president and Congress.

The D.C. Circuit was responding Wednesday to Trump’s request to have a full panel of judges rehear a three-judge decision from October that rejected the president’s request to block lawmakers from subpoenaing his longtime accounting firm.

The order does not mean Trump’s taxes will be turned over to Congress immediately. The D.C. Circuit previously said it would put any ruling against the president on hold for seven days to give Trump’s attorneys time to ask the Supreme Court to step in.

Trump’s attorneys also are planning to ask the high court as soon as this week to block a similar subpoena for the president’s tax records from the Manhattan district attorney, who is investigating hush-money payments in the lead-up to the 2016 election. The New York-based appeals court ruled against Trump this month and refused to block the subpoena to his accounting firm, Mazars USA.

The D.C. Circuit case centers on a House Oversight Committee subpoena from March for the president’s accounting firm records — issued months before the beginning of its impeachment inquiry, related to Trump’s alleged efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden.

I'm not 100% sure if SCOTUS will take up both cases, one of the two, or neither.  It's possible SCOTUS will not want to interfere, but I could almost guarantee you that there's four conservative justices who want to take up these cases in order to give Trump blanket immunity, and that means it could be June before we have a decision.

That could be a double-bladed sword however.  Trump's returns would almost certainly be leaked to the press, and Trump would go on a rampage after whoever printed it, right in time for summer campaign season.

Of course, an impeached and removed Trump could make all of this moot, so.


Related Posts with Thumbnails