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Trump Continues His Unacceptable Attacks On The News Media

newsman

The Trump Administration continued its war on the media yesterday, both rhetorically and in deeds and action:

WASHINGTON — President Trump turned the power of the White House against the news media on Friday, escalating his attacks on journalists as “the enemy of the people” and berating members of his own F.B.I. as “leakers” who he said were putting the nation at risk.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump criticized as “fake news” organizations that publish anonymously sourced reports that reflect poorly on him. And in a series of Twitter posts, he assailed the F.B.I. as a dangerously porous agency, condemning unauthorized revelations of classified information from within its ranks and calling for an immediate hunt for leakers.

Hours after the speech, as if to demonstrate Mr. Trump’s determination to punish reporters whose coverage he dislikes, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, barred journalists from The New York Times and several other news organizations from attending his daily briefing, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.

Mr. Trump’s barrage against the news media continued well into Friday night. “FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth,” he wrote on Twitter shortly after 10 p.m., singling out The Times and CNN. “A great danger to our country.”

The moves underscored the degree to which Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle are eager to use the prerogatives of the presidency to undercut those who scrutinize him, dismissing negative stories as lies and confining press access at the White House to a few chosen news organizations considered friendly. The Trump White House has also vowed new efforts to punish leakers.

Mr. Trump’s attacks on the press came as the White House pushed back on a report by CNN on Thursday night that a White House official had asked the F.B.I. to rebut a New York Times article last week detailing contacts between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russian intelligence officials. The report asserted that a senior White House official had called top leaders at the F.B.I. to request that they contact reporters to dispute the Times’s account.

“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” Mr. Trump said to the delight of the conservatives packed into the main ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just south of Washington. “It doesn’t represent the people, it doesn’t and never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it.”

“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” Mr. Trump said to the delight of the conservatives packed into the main ballroom at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just south of Washington. “It doesn’t represent the people, it doesn’t and never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it.”

In the West Wing less than three hours later, the consequences were becoming clear. Mr. Spicer told a handpicked group of reporters in a briefing in his spacious office that the White House would relentlessly counter coverage it considered inaccurate.

“We’re going to aggressively push back,” he said, according to a recording of the session provided by a reporter who was allowed to attend. “We’re just not going to sit back and let, you know, false narratives, false stories, inaccurate facts get out there.”

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, the BBC and The Huffington Post were among those shut out of the briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer admitted only reporters from a group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from The Associated Press and Time magazine, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions. The Washington Post did not send a reporter to the session.

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”

Marty Baron, the Post’s editor, called Mr. Spicer’s decision to exclude some news organizations from a scheduled briefing “appalling.”

“This is an undemocratic path that the administration is traveling,” Mr. Baron said. “There is nothing to be gained from the White House restricting the public’s access to information.”

The White House played down the drama surrounding Friday’s briefing.

“We invited the pool, so everyone was represented,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy White House press secretary, said in an email Friday afternoon, referring to the small group of reporters on hand at the White House each day to follow the president and send reports to the broader press corps. “We decided to add a couple of additional people beyond the pool. Nothing more than that.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association, which represents the press corps, also protested the decision. But Jeff Mason, the organization’s president, pointed out that the White House had provided near-daily briefings and accepted questions from a variety of news outlets since Mr. Trump took office.

“We’re not happy with how things went today,” Mr. Mason said in an interview. “But it’s important to keep in mind the context of how things have gone up until now.” He added: “I don’t think that people should rush to judgment to suggest that this is the start of a big crackdown on media access.”

Still, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which typically advocates press rights in countries with despotic regimes, issued an alarmed statement on Friday about Mr. Trump’s escalating language.

“It is not the job of political leaders to determine how journalists should conduct their work, and sets a terrible example for the rest of the world,” said the group’s executive director, Joel Simon. “The U.S. should be promoting press freedom and access to information.”

Mr. Trump, in his attack on the news media at the conservative gathering, complained at length about the use of anonymous sources in news stories, charging that some reporters were fabricating unnamed sources to level unfair charges against him.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” Mr. Trump said. “Let their name be put out there.”

At another point, he said, “A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people because they have no sources — they just make it up.” He added that his “enemy of the people” label applied only to “dishonest” reporters and editors.

Those comments came shortly after his own aides had held a briefing for the White House press pool on the condition of anonymity to deny CNN’s story suggesting there had been improper contact between the White House and the F.B.I. regarding the Times article on Russian contacts.

As noted, the White House’s action in barring CNN and other news organizations from Friday afternoon’s press gaggle while allowing in partisan news sources such as Breitbart drew widespread criticism from members of the media as well as a sharp rebuke from CNN’s Jake Tapper:

As did Shepherd Smith on Fox News Channel:

Beyond the commentary that yesterday’s afternoon generated, there is talk of further action if the White House continues this derisive treatment of the news media. Some news organizations have already said that they would not attend this year’s White House Correspondents Association Dinner in April, and others have gone so far as to suggest that the entire event should be canceled or that they WHCA should take the extraordinary step of declining to invite the President. Additionally, many reporters at the White House itself have spoken out against the Press Secretary’s actions, just as they did during the Obama Administration when it appears that officials were blocking Fox News from having access to certain events or certain guests for their Sunday morning news show. Ultimately, of course, the Obama Administration relented and treated Fox the same way it treated all the other media organizations. At this point, it’s unclear whether the Trump Administration will do the same thing, but the signs point toward all of this continuing and getting worse long before it gets better.

None of this should be a surprise, of course. As I’ve noted before, Trump’s war with the media began long ago. In terms of the Presidential campaign, it started virtually from the day he entered the race and continued at rallies where he would accuse the media of not covering him even as he was appearing, usually via telephone from his Trump Tower office, on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News on a daily basis and all three networks were giving almost universally wall-to-wall coverage of speeches during which he rountinely denounced the reporters who were covering him and effectively encouraged supporters in attendance to verbally attack and intimidate them to the point where many reporters were being escorted out of venues by Secret Service agents and local law enforcement for their own safety. He made fun of a disabled reporter for The New York Times who disputed his discredited claim that “thousands” of Muslim-Americans were cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. And the crowds ate it up. So, it really isn’t a surprise that it would continue now that he’s President.

There’s a huge difference, of course, between Trump’s rhetoric as a candidate and his rhetoric and actions as a candidate. In the former case, it’s easy to dismiss what he said as campaign fluff and the ranting of a guy who was appealing to a crowd already disposed to believing that the entire media system is biased against them. Now that he’s President, though, he’s turning that rhetoric into action in a way that even someone as critical of the media as Richard Nixon did not do during their time in office. Because of that it’s essential that other members of the media, and the public as a whole, speak out against what the Administration is doing. The alternative is to remain silent while a President of the United States continues to wage war on freedom of the press in a way that no other President has done before, and that’s simply unacceptable.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Hmmmm. How often have we heard Trump use the locution “many people say” when he’s about to fling a spurious accusation at someone? Who are these “many people”? Are they the same “many people” he claimed told him he’d make a great president? Why no names, Donny?

    And it’s terribly amusing that one who decries the use of anonymous sources himself relied totally on anonymous sources (cited by The National Enquirer) when he accused Ted Cruz’s father of being JFK’s assassin? Or Cruz himself of being a serial adulterer?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  2. Me says:

    The First Amendment does not shield the press from criticism by anyone — even a rather thoughtless president. The press does not have special privileges.

    If Trump does not want to answer questions from CNN or the New York Times, he has no obligation to do so, just as the Obama administration did not violate the First Amendment by occasionally excluding Fox News

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 19

  3. MBunge says:

    It’s kind of amazing how you miss the point even as you specifically highlight it.

    The Beltway media rallied to the defense of Fox News when the Obama Adminstration tried to make an example of it. They did so even though every damn one of them knows Fox is not only biased but deliberately so. Fox News has even spent most of its existence implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, attacking the credibility of the rest of the media.

    Why? Because the very people who are supposedly concerned with normalizing Trump normalized Fox News years ago. They became part of a club whose first rule is that no one can be held responsible for anything because then all of them might be held responsible.

    As for the folks shut out of the briefing, let’s consider three examples.

    The New York Times wrote a story about Rick Perry not knowing the Energy Department dealt with nuclear weapons which was 100% BS and which the Times refused to alter or correct.

    The Huffington Post arrogantly decided to add a tag attacking Trump’s character to every story they did on him, something which they quite pointedly refused to do in the case of proven liar and alleged rapist Bill Clinton.

    And BuzzFeed? The people who took a big steaming dump on generations of established journalistic ethics? I guess we can now see how serious everyone was in condemning that irresponsible and malicious behavior. *Spolier Alert* Not serious at all.

    It is not a defense of Donald Trump to want it understood that this has nothing to do with press freedom. It’s about a political and cultural establishment trying to assert authority while remaining in denial about how that authority has been undermined by its own actions and attitudes.

    I mean, are we supposed to fear the loss of the White House Crrespondents Dinner? The place where George W. Bush joked about looking for WMDs after thousand of American warriors died for supposedly the same reason? That Stephen Colbert proved is nothing more than a decadent exercise in self-flattery?

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 27

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Jesus Christ, you’re getting dumber by the day. Yes, the media occasionally make errors – which they correct. Trump and his administration spew a fire hose of lies every single damn day. There is no moral equivalency here.

    Trump is discrediting the media because he has so much to hide. He knows the Russia story is ticking like a time bomb. He knows he’s taken pay-offs from the Chinese. He knows he’s a crook, and he doesn’t want you knowing it. You are collaborating in that attempt to shield Trump from the truth.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3

  5. Pch101 says:

    @MBunge:

    So many words, so little to say.

    And just in case you hadn’t noticed, Stephen Colbert is a comedian. To say that you are a dumbass would be an insult to stupid people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  6. teve tory says:

    @michael reynolds: Trump’s biggest demonstrable skill is taking advantage of suckers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  7. Gustopher says:

    Is it really that bad to be disinvited to an event where you must listen to someone repeatedly lie to your face? The Mango Mussolini’s war with truth is far more disturbing that his war with the press.

    Also, in a battle between the press and the Presidency, I think the press will win — reporting on all policies will become relentlessly negative, pushing public opinion further against him, and putting more pressure on the congress-critters to not support the administration’s policies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  8. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Me: Trump took and oath to protect and defend the Constitution. That means defending a free press. He is not doing that. In fact, he is attacking a free press.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  9. Terrye Cravens says:

    @MBunge: Trump is hiding something. It is obvious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  10. Lit3Bolt says:

    You know it’s bad when admirals and generals are speaking out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. CSK says:

    Trump is calling for his supporters to hold “the biggest rally ever” in order to demonstrate their fealty toward him.

    He’s very, very angry that the press hasn’t credited him with reducing the debt. He didn’t, of course–but so what?

    Have any of his handlers told him about Darrell Issa wanting to put the matter of the Trump-Russia connection in the hands of a special prosecutor, or are they afraid to do so?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  12. bill says:

    the daily “what did trump do today” freak out.
    well played to, the idea that anyone’s being “left out” is ludicrous. media member’s were well rep’d and it wasn’t even a major presser…..yawn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  13. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Me:

    The First Amendment does not shield the press from criticism by anyone

    Agreed.

    The press does not have special privileges.

    No, in fact the press does enjoy the “special privilege” of Congress’s ability to enact laws that would restrict the press.

    However, the post by Doug never mentions the first amendment, so I’m unsure of why you are expounding on it.

    Certainly Trump has no duty to answer questions from a specific news agency, and I suspect that he has no duty to answer any questions from any agency (short of a legal subpoena). Having said that, the Trump administration’s game with the press poses significant risk to his ability to govern the people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  14. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Me:

    The First Amendment does not shield the press from criticism by anyone

    Agreed.

    The press does not have special privileges.

    No, in fact the press does enjoy the “special privilege” of Congress’s ability to enact laws that would restrict the press.

    However, the post by Doug never mentions the first amendment, so I’m unsure of why you are expounding on it.

    Certainly Trump has no duty to answer questions from a specific news agency, and I suspect that he has no duty to answer any questions from any agency (short of a legal subpoena). Having said that, the Trump administration’s game with the press poses significant risk to his ability to govern the people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. James Pearce says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    Trump is hiding something. It is obvious.

    “What is Trump Hiding?” should be a running segment in the Times, on CNN, on the BBC.

    “Me” and MBunge don’t seem to want to consider the possibility that even if these outlets were dishonest, partisan, and mistake-prone, Trump should still talk to them. He’s POTUS and he’s afraid of newspapers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  16. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Jesus Christ, you’re getting dumber by the day. Yes, the media occasionally make errors – which they correct”

    You’re missing MBunge’s point. Which is “I am morally and intellectually superior to everyone on every side and I will use that superiority for its highest purpose — to tell people I am better than them.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  17. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Trump is saying that the FBI is leaking classified infomation, putting the nation’s safety at risk.
    I would agree that classified information being released is a potential risk to the nation. HOWEVER, have any of the leaks under Donald’s presidency been classified?
    Or is this just Donald’s fake news?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  18. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    Bunge is vying for a leadership position within the Dunning Kruger chapter of Toastmasters. So far, so good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. Dumb Brit says:

    Amazing that proper news organisations like BBC, CNN, NYT, LA Times get banned, but the Daily Mail (Right Wing British tabloid, beloved of the blue-rinse brigade because of its strong support of Brexit, love of UKIP/Farage & severely anti immigration and frequently xenophobic) that takes the biscuit! Here is an example of their news today, giving Trump some support for his Sweden faux pas:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Also:

    The Huffington Post arrogantly decided to add a tag attacking Trump’s character to every story they did on him, something which they quite pointedly refused to do in the case of proven liar and alleged rapist Bill Clinton.

    Clinton leaves office: 2001.
    Huffington Post founded: 2005

    You really need to stop regurgitating Trumpanzee memes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  21. @wr:

    You’re missing MBunge’s point

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. @wr:

    You’re missing MBunge’s point

    Indeed. For a while I made an honest effort to figure out what his point is, but I have stopped. He clearly wants to be Elijah, declaring the truth from the wilderness. However, I have never been able to discern what that truth is.

    Also: he claims to criticize Trump, yet ultimately comes across as on Trump’s side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  23. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Bunge is fixated on detesting the Clintons. Combine that with his pesky Dunning Kruger problem, and everything goes downhill from there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Also: he claims to criticize Trump, yet ultimately comes across as on Trump’s side.

    I pegged him a while back as a Trumpist masquerading (poorly) as a concern troll.

    That laughable bit about HuffPo “arrogantly” tagging their Trump stories just proves my point. Here’s the tag in question:

    Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly
    incites
    political violence
    and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe,
    racist, misogynist and birther who has
    repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from
    entering the U.S.

    Wholly and indisputably true, sourced from Trump’s own words and actions. But to the sycophantic Trumpist, it’s an attack on Trump’s character.

    Bunge is a Trumpist. QED.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  25. Mikey says:

    I guess six links was too many for the moderation filter. Can someone please release my comment from purgatory?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Pch101 says:

    @Mikey:

    Not that it’s worth worrying about, but Bunge appears to be a disaffected Bernie Bro who hates the Clintons so much that he defends Trump in order to indirectly attack the Clintons. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. @Pch101: I have never gotten the sense that he was a Bernie Bro, to be honest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Terrye Cravens says:

    @bill: If it is no big deal, why bother excluding them? Trump could have just refused to call on those people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @MBunge:

    The Huffington Post arrogantly decided to add a tag attacking Trump’s character to every story they did on him, something which they quite pointedly refused to do in the case of proven liar and alleged rapist Bill Clinton.

    And BuzzFeed? The people who took a big steaming dump on generations of established journalistic ethics? I guess we can now see how serious everyone was in condemning that irresponsible and malicious behavior. *Spolier Alert* Not serious at all.

    Wait a minute: Are you saying that the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed are the same as the New York Times or the Washington Post?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. @MBunge:

    The Huffington Post arrogantly decided to add a tag attacking Trump’s character to every story they did on him, something which they quite pointedly refused to do in the case of proven liar and alleged rapist Bill Clinton.

    When Clinton was President, a “tag” was something wore one’s McDonald’s uniform or was used to identify which piece of luggage was yours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  31. teve tory says:

    proven liar and alleged rapist Bill Clinton.

    I wish you could see, from the outside, what an angry numbskull you look like when you say that sort of thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. teve tory says:

    We should probly just go ahead and rename this the MBunge Thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Lit3Bolt says:

    @MBunge:

    I am good American. I am blue collar worker scientist. I Make good amount paying from government, space sceince NASA. Neutral Democrat but big fan of Trump for America! Keep Muslim out for ever because ISIS. Russians laugh much at bad stories from fake news about Great Person Trump. Democrats weak and Republicans strong and loyals. Trump has great politician skills.

    America Made Great Again work well for us. We thank field agents Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald. They loyal long time as Alfa bank checks cash. They work cheep thouh.

    More disloyal traitors to kill. Potassium injections are undetectable if done right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Jim T. says:

    From the White House Historical Association’s history of presidential press relations, discussing Teddy Roosevelt, everyone’s favorite Progressive president:

    “Aside from the Press Room itself, Roosevelt’s major innovation in the press-president relationship was that he would often meet with correspondents directly in addition to daily briefings by his secretary. These meetings were not in the same realm as the later press conferences, for he ‘courted’ particular reporters and ‘played to their egos’ during meetings with small groups in an effort to shape favorable stories; if the result was not acceptable, Roosevelt denied future access.”

    So I think it is not entirely correct to argue that “a President of the United States continues to wage war on freedom of the press in a way that no other President has done before.” The SCALE of the war may be larger, but there is nothing particularly unique about what Trump did here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Mr. Bluster says:

    Trump’s biggest demonstrable skill is taking advantage of suckers.

    We enter parliament in order to supply ourselves, in the arsenal of democracy, with it’s own weapons. If democracy is so stupid to give us free tickets and salaries for this bears work, that is its affair. We do not come as friends, nor even as neutrals. We come as enemies. As the wolf bursts into the flock, so we come.
    Joseph Goebbels

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. Barry says:

    @MBunge: “And BuzzFeed? The people who took a big steaming dump on generations of established journalistic ethics? I guess we can now see how serious everyone was in condemning that irresponsible and malicious behavior. *Spolier Alert* Not serious at all.”

    You mean the journalistic ethics upheld by Fox News?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Mr. Bluster says:

    Trump says he will not attend White House Correspondents’ Association dinner

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-white-house-correspondents-dinner-235397

    President Pud is a PUSSY!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. wr says:

    @Pch101: “Bunge is vying for a leadership position within the Dunning Kruger chapter of Toastmasters.”

    Am I crazy or didn’t both he and Pearce once seem like interesting people with a lot to add to a discussion and then chose to specialize in this weird form of concern trolling where they explain that everyone else is wrong on every issue and everything would be good if we just took their advice, and then they never actually offer a solution? Do you think it could be a virus?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  39. wr says:

    @Jim T.: Here’s a hint, Jim. If you have to go back a century to find an example to prove that something is a common occurrence, you might want to rethink your argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  40. Jim T. says:

    @wr:

    and if you think that’s the only time that has happened in the last 100 years, I don’t know what to say to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    If there was a golden age for either one of them, then I must have missed it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    didn’t both he and Pearce once seem like interesting people

    I may not be interesting, but, boy, am I good looking, eh? ——>

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  43. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: @Pch101: @Mikey: @wr: MBunge has been posting here for several years, long before Trump’s rise, and it is definitely accurate that he has a bizarre fixation on the Clintons without seeming particularly right-wing. I got in a little row with him a while back (actually, I was entirely civil toward him the whole time, he just decided to personally attack me after losing the argument), where he argued that Bill Clinton was a terrible politician because his party lost so many seats in Congress while he was president and because he couldn’t get Al Gore elected during a big economic boom. I pointed out the flaws in this logic. (That’s when he started getting nasty, but he never bothered to rebut any of my points. In fact, that’s a constant with him: he never addresses any challenges to his arguments, he just drops bombs in here and then promptly am-scrays.)

    As I said in a couple of other threads, “There are no Donald Trump fans, just people who say, ‘Yes, Trump is terrible, but…'” The Trumpistas are practically an entire movement of concern trolls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. @Kylopod:

    That’s when he started getting nasty, but he never bothered to rebut any of my points. In fact, that’s a constant with him: he never addresses any challenges to his arguments, he just drops bombs in here and then promptly am-scrays.

    Yes, it was after several rounds of that that I decided to stop engaging him. At one point I was hopeful that he was interested in an actual conversation.

    There are no Donald Trump fans, just people who say,..

    Perhaps. I will say that a number of people have at least talk themselves into being Trump fans for the moment.

    I will say that I think that white nationalists are true fans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I will say that a number of people have at least talk themselves into being Trump fans for the moment.

    Of course I was exaggerating…a little. But the tactic of beginning a conversation by proclaiming your alleged distaste for Donald Trump before going on to praise him is widespread. I heard it from many Republican commentators last year, even from some of Trump’s own surrogates.

    I’m convinced that when the history books are written, people in the future will be shaking their heads in disbelief at the bullsh!t rationalizations people came up with to defend this man. Psychologists will be studying the phenomenon, and it will be used as a prime example to illustrate people’s capacity for self-delusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  46. @Kylopod:

    I’m convinced that when the history books are written, people in the future will be shaking their heads in disbelief at the bullsh!t rationalizations people came up with to defend this man. Psychologists will be studying the phenomenon, and it will be used as a prime example to illustrate people’s capacity for self-delusion.

    I can’t disagree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Kylopod:

    Oh Fatherland, Fatherland show us the sign…

    “You still think you can control them?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  48. Steve says:

    The mainstream media deserves everything they get, fake news, the very words fake news have so back fired on them. Real investigative reporting died years ago. Now most of us are getting real news else where.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  49. @Kylopod:

    Psychologists will be studying the phenomenon, and it will be used as a prime example to illustrate people’s capacity for self-delusion.

    This kind of self-delusion is very common among supporters of caudillos/coroneis, among supporters of Far-Right politicians in Europe and among supporters of authoritarian leaders anywhere else.

    The only difference with Trump is that we are seeing intellectuals(both in the media and in the academia and think thanks) falling to this self-delusion. The intellectuals in countries with caudillos are generally smarter than that.

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  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Steve:

    Now most of us are getting real news else where.

    That’s a lot of wrong for one short sentence. (1) It isn’t “most of us”; the deluded are still a minority. (2) What you are getting isn’t “real news” — it’s fabricated propaganda.

    Pop quiz: how do you judge what is real and what is fake? Take your time; this is the crux of the whole thing.

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  51. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Steve: And what passes for “real news” with folks such as yourself? Breitbart? InfoWars? Even Fox is getting uppity on Trump here of late. Chris Wallace and Shep Smith actually sounding like professional journalists. Imagine that.

    The truth is most of the really damning things that have come out about Trump have come out of his own mouth. Now maybe you want to rave about the media for repeating what he said in his own words, but it is not their job to lie, shill and cover for Donald Trump.

    BTW, Trump had no problem with leaks when he was quoting from Wikileaks. He had no problem with unnamed sources when he was using them to claim that Obama was not an American citizen. In fact when the National Enquirer used unnamed sources to go after Cruz and his family, Trump thought they should get a Pulitzer.

    And what exactly is the media supposed to “get” when you say they deserve whatever they get?

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  52. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: I think a lot of those people know better, they just lack the courage to speak their minds. So they fall in line.

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  53. rachel says:

    @DrDaveT:

    @Steve:

    Now most of us are getting real news else where.

    That’s a lot of wrong for one short sentence. (1) It isn’t “most of us”; the deluded are still a minority. (2) What you are getting isn’t “real news” — it’s fabricated propaganda.

    (3) It’s spelled ‘elsewhere’.

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  54. Eric Florack says:

    Does anyone remember Obama Banning Fox News?
    https://libertywritersnews.com/2017/02/liberal-hypocrisy-look-cnn-reacted-president-obama-banned-fox-news/

    Funny, how nobody said that was unacceptable.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack: Do you ever actually bother reading the threads you’re responding to? Here’s Doug in the original post:

    Additionally, many reporters at the White House itself have spoken out against the Press Secretary’s actions, just as they did during the Obama Administration when it appears that officials were blocking Fox News from having access to certain events or certain guests for their Sunday morning news show. Ultimately, of course, the Obama Administration relented and treated Fox the same way it treated all the other media organizations.

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  56. @Kylopod: Indeed. Not only was this noted, but it is also important to understand these events in context.

    Trump has repeatedly called CNN and other sources he doesn’t like as “fake news” and even deemed major media outlets “the enemy of the American people.”

    Such things matter in terms of interpreting and reacting to Trump’s action.

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  57. Pch101 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    In the world of the hard right, false equivalency goes hand-in-hand with disinformation.

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