• Corruption in Journalism

    September 30, 2019

    Tags: , , , , , , ,
    Posted in: 2020, Democracy, Trump


     

    Columnist Max Boot in the Washington Post put into writing what we have all known for some time: real journalism, Jefferson’s informed citizenry and all that, is dead. The job has shifted to aspirational writing, using manipulated droplets of facts and just plain made-up stuff to drive events.
     

    Boot (pictured) writes to drive Trump from office and overturn the 2016 election. Max: “Much of my journalism for the past four years has been devoted to critiquing President Trump and opposing the spread of Trumpism. But no matter how many columns or sound bites I produce, he remains in office… I am left to ask if all my work has made any difference.”

    Boot has spent the last years creating and circle-supporting others who create false narratives. They manufacture reasons for Trump to resign, to press Democrats to impeach, or at last resort, to influence voters they otherwise hold in contempt for not knowing what’s good enough for them. We kind of figured this out after senior staff at the New York Times had to remind reporters they were “not part of the f*cking resistance,” but it is helpful to see it in daylight. After all, democracy dies in the darkness.

     

    The uber-false narrative Max and others Frankensteined into existence was Russiagate. Trump wasn’t the Manchurian Candidate and there was no quid pro quo for Russian election help. Yet the media literally accused the president of treason by melding together otherwise unrelated truthlets — Trump wanted a hotel in Moscow, some ads were run on Facebook — that could be spun into a narrative to bring Trump down. Correlation was made into causation in a purposeful freshman Logic 101 fail. What was true was of little consequence; what mattered was whether the media could collectively create a story the rubes would believe, and then pile on.

    The critical flaw in Russiagate (other than it didn’t happen) was the media creating an end-point they could not control. Robert Mueller was magic-wanded into the Last Honest Man, the Savior of Democracy, as the narrative first unfolded and then fell apart like a cardboard box in the rain. After his dismal testimony there was nowhere for the story to go.
     
    This autumn’s empty box of a narrative is upgraded to play out without end: Trump is manipulating domestic and foreign policy for personal gain via… hotel fees.

    At first glance it seems like a non-starter. Trump’s hotels are as much a part of him as the extra pounds he carries. He campaigned as a CEO and announced early on he was not going to divest. But with the first cold slap of Trump’s election victory a narrative was being shaped: Trump could not become president because of his business conflicts of interest; it was danged unconstitutional.

    Early proponents of this dreck dug around in the Constitution’s closet and found the Emoluments Clause, a handful of lines intended to bar office holders from accepting gifts from foreign sovereigns, kings, and princes to prevent influence buying. Pre-Trump, the last time the issue was in actual contention was with President Martin Van Buren (no relation) over gifts from the Imam of Muscat.

    The media ran with it. They imagined out of whole cloth any foreign government official getting a room at any Trump hotel was a “gift.” Then they imagined whatever tiny percentage of that room profit which actually went to Trump himself represented a bribe. Then they imagined despite the vast complexity of U.S. relations, Trump would alter course because some guy rented a room. It was Joker-like in its diabolicalness, the presidency itself merely a prank to hide an international crime spree. Pow!

    It was also ridiculous on its face, but they made it happen. The now-defunct leftist site Think Progress ran what might be Story Zero before Trump even took office. An anonymous source claimed the Kuwaiti Ambassador canceled a major event at one hotel to switch to Trump’s own DC hotel under pressure. It all turned out to be untrue. “Do you think a reception of two hours in the Trump hotel is going to curry favors with the administration when we host thousands of U.S. troops in Kuwait? When we have in the past and still do support American operations in Afghanistan and Iraq?” the Kuwait ambassador asked when someone got around to his side of the story. But no matter, the narrative was set.

    Then it grew. Though the Emoluments Clause is quite specific, the media decided every time anyone stayed at a Trump property it was corruption. Even when Trump visited one of his own homes it was corruption because the Secret Service paid Trump for the privilege. Of course the Secret Service has always paid for the facilities used in their work because the government cannot commandeer private property or accept free rooms (which, ironically, could be seen as a bribe), not from Marriott and not from the Trump Organization. Even Joe Biden still has to charge the Secret Service rent on a cottage he owns, so they can protect him when he’s home in Delaware.

    More? T-Mobile booked nine rooms at a Trump hotel, in media hive minds ostensibly to influence federal approval of a $26 billion merger. Those rooms were worth about $2700. Of course the president, who can influence the Dow with a tweet, prefers to make his illegal money off jacked up hotel bills. Think small has always been a Trump trademark.

    Reuters headlined how foreigners were buying condos from third party owners (i.e., not Trump or his company), but they were in a Trump-managed building and maybe the monthly maintenance fees would qualify as mini-emoluments? Trump was accused of “hiding” foreign government income at his hotels when servers at the bar failed to ask cash customers if they were potentates or princes (the headline: “Trump Organization Says It’s ‘Not Practical’ to Comply With the Emoluments Clause.”)

    And of course that Air Force crew staying at a Trump place in Scotland. No matter that the hotel forged its relationship with a nearby airport long before Trump became president, or that the Air Force had used the airport and hotel hundreds of times before Trump became president (going back to WWII), and or that a decision by the Pentagon to have flights stop more frequently there was made under the Obama administration, nope, none of that stopped the media from proclaiming corruption. One piece speculated the $166 a night the Air Force pays for rooms was always part of Trump’s cornerstone financial plan for the floundering multi-million golf course.
     
    But to see how much the corruption narrative really is a media creation, you have only to compare it to how the MSM covered what might have been a similar question in the past. Imagine if journalists had treated every appearance by Obama as a book promotion. What if each speech was slandered across the channels as corruption, Obama just out there pimping his books? Should he have been impeached for commercializing the office of president?

    Follow the money, as Maddow likes to say. The Trump Organization pays to the Treasury all profits from foreign governments. In the 2018, $191,000. The year before the amount was $151,470. So Trump’s in-pocket profit is zero.

    Meanwhile Obama’s profit as an author during his time in office was $15.6 million (he’s made multiples more since, including a $65 million book advance.) In the two weeks before he was inaugurated, Obama reworked his book deals to take advantage of his new status. He agreed not to publish another non-fiction book during his time in office to keep anticipation high, while signing a $500,000 advance for a young adult version of Dreams From My Father.

    Obama’s books were huge sellers in China, where publishing is largely government controlled, meaning Obama likely received Chicom money in the Oval Office. Obama’s own State Department bought $79,000 worth of his books to distribute as gifts.

    As with Trump, nothing Obama did was illegal. There are no laws per se against a president making money. Yet no one bothered to raise ethical questions about Obama. No one claimed he sought the presidency as a bully ATM machine. No one claimed his frequent messaging about his father was designed to move books. No one held TV hearings on his profits or into how taxpayer funds were used to buy his books. It’s not “everybody does it” or “whataboutism,” it is why does the media treat two very similar situations so very differently?
     
    Max Boot confessed why. The media has created a pitch-and-toss game with Democrats, running false, exaggerated or shallowly-reported stories to generate calls for hearings, which in turn breath life into the corruption stories they live off. Max Boot and his ilk are doing a new job. Journalism to them is for resistance, condemnation, arousal, and regime change. And that’s one way democracy does die.
      

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    Copyright © 2019. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

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  • Recent Comments

    • J.L.Seagull said...

      1

      Impressive article — I will have to link people to this (or the AmCon version) as a good summary of the state of the media in 2019. I really liked your article about Germany as well.

      09/30/19 8:19 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      It is a real shame we can’t trust our MSM. They did an outstanding job in telling US their truth that led to endless wars. Bootlickers, really.

      09/30/19 12:12 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      3

      Wrong To the Max

      “Max is wrong, I mean Guinness World Records wrong. In his first book, “Out of Order,” Boot argued that the Supreme Court erred when it ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that school segregation violated the Constitution (“I am not proud of ‘Out of Order,’” he now says); he was a key proponent of the invasion of Iraq (“Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul,” he proclaimed in 2001); he thought John Bolton was treated unfairly when Democrats opposed his 2005 nomination for ambassador to the United Nations (“He seems like a good choice to help drain the U.N. cesspool of corrupt bureaucrats and self-serving tyrants”); he thought Ahmed Chalabi was “the most unfairly maligned man on the planet” long after the Iraqi exile’s dissembling was apparent to everyone except the staff of Commentary magazine; and as Boot notes in his mea culpa, he totally failed to notice the dark side of the GOP. “It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed,” he squeaks.”

      09/30/19 12:17 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      So why would anyone care what this bootlicker thinks?

      Low hanging fruitcakes are easy targets.

      09/30/19 12:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      5

      Similar but different, like the call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, the discussion with Mr. Morrison shows the president using high-level diplomacy to advance his personal political interests,” The Times added. “President Trump initiated the discussion in recent weeks with Mr. Morrison explicitly for the purpose of requesting Australia’s help in the Justice Department review of the Russia investigation, according to the two people with knowledge of the discussion. Mr. Barr requested that Mr. Trump speak to Mr. Morrison, one of the people said.”

      Trump’s request of Australia was bizarre.

      “In making the request, Mr. Trump was in effect asking the Australian government to investigate itself.”

      So Trumpies strategy is to commit so many corrupt acts, the House will spend all its time just documenting them all.

      09/30/19 5:03 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      6

      Fake News:

      Bill Barr is investigating new line of work as a Jabba the Hutt impersonator. This follows news Barr is up to his fat head in the Australia and Ukraine corruption. Barr has denied any involvement, claiming he has never even met Donald Trump.

      09/30/19 6:09 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      7

      OK, enough of Trump! I’m enjoying the idea that Hillary may run again. She never went down for the count. Hell maybe Obama will endorse her again. Stranger things have happened.

      09/30/19 6:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      Hillary who?

      09/30/19 6:40 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      9

      JP,

      Unless Trumpie bombs Moscow, there is nothing he can do to stop the ticking time bomb that he is sitting on.

      09/30/19 6:42 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      10

      JP,

      Does your boss Putin have any dirt on Pence? Reportedly Pence never is alone with any woman but his mother. Of course, it probably isn’t work blackmail as Pence will be looking for work in a few months, as will Barr, Pompey, Kushner, and the rest of his ilk.

      09/30/19 7:58 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      11

      Most Americans now get their news from late night comedy shows, while the MSM deals in fairy tales. Speaking of:

      “Three Pigs get eaten by the Russian Bear”, a grim Repugnican tale. Barr, Pompeo, and Trump’s straw houses get burnt to the ground. The End.

      09/30/19 10:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      12

      The lesson learned when the three pigs the Max Boot:

      when you get so fat, eventually the fat cells replace the brain cells.

      10/1/19 2:00 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      13

      Bauer- Hillary’s team and fans are still disputing the 2016 TKO. Hell, I might vote for her if she ran again and that scares me. My Anyone But Hillary is now a Anyone But Trump! Strange how pathetic politics has become. Addled times calls for addled voting I guess.

      10/1/19 2:57 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      14

      PVB. I think the problem you bring up is the human capacity for delusion. We want to believe that journalism ( a free press) was an impersonal saintly calling instead of just a regular paycheck vocation with the incumbent pressures to stay employed which always means compromising certain cherished principles.

      10/1/19 3:53 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      15

      JP,

      Sorry, but Russians cant vote in our elections. They can interfere, but still cant vote.

      10/1/19 5:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      16

      Even the MSM cant make this stuff up

      Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.

      Trumpie does not have a GHOST of a chance.

      10/1/19 7:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      17

      Demented: As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!

      God: Jesus, keep me out of this.

      10/1/19 11:15 PM | Comment Link

    • Isabelle said...

      18

      “Boot has spent the last years creating and circle-supporting others who create false narratives”

      No problem, the other side did it too. The entire “alternative media” who were supporting Russia and Trump was/is a scam. Many of them are based in Russia and Hungary and paid by them, especially right wing and neo nazi.
      Russiagate was not a hoax. The investigators just didn’t look where they should have.

      10/4/19 7:15 PM | Comment Link

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