26 Comments
Jul 8, 2020Liked by Eric Boehlert

The press continues to show why they have failed as the Fourth Estate. The Founders knew that the checks and balances of the three branches of government might not be enough and that an unofficial branch of the government, the press, would be necessary to help protect the Republic. We've already know that two branches of government, the administration and half of congress, has not done their duty to protect the Constitution. Senate Republics had the chance to remove this president but chose to enable him instead. The media's inability to continually report that the president is a psychopathic liar (fact), corrupt criminal (fact), or even suffering from dementia (perhaps a fact) demonstrates the failure of the press's responsibility. Democracy is hanging by a thread. Will "We the People" come to the rescue in November with voter suppression and other right wing cheating tactics ready to thwart our ability to overthrow this corrupt regime? Let's not count on any help from the media.

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You're absolutely right. The media has been terrible about truth telling long before Trump became ascendant in the political world. They've never reported on years of voter suppression. They glossed over the truth of the 2000 election - that Gore actually won. They shrugged their shoulders while Russians undermined the electoral process in 2016. Democracy doesn't seem to be their "thing".

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Jul 8, 2020Liked by Eric Boehlert

They should just ask questions, but bully tactics work in school,in church, in work and in the Rose Garden ...

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This is yet one more reason to feel an incredible frustration with the press. I again have to wonder how much of this has to do with decisions linked to the ad sales department, but I suspect it's simply cultural. Not everyone is the late great Wayne Barrett.

As for Trump's racism, I don't think there is any question remaining for people who are honest about it. Trump is a racist - a real life Archie Bunker. Of course, the latter was a fictional character based on reality and Trump IS the reality. He simply thinks that Black people are lesser than whites which plays directly into his love of the Confederacy.

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author

indeed, there zero doubt abt Trump’s racist ways at this point

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Archie Bunker had a heart.

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That question can be answered in one word: Access.

Why the press is so concerned about having access to this administration is beyond me. The press, America and the world would be better off if they just treat Trump as irrelevant, because he is, and moved on, and ignored him from here on out, focusing on electing Joe Biden, and the efforts governors and Democrats in the House are making to minimize and overturn Trump’s damage.

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author

It’s baffling: why obsession for access to a President polling at 35%?

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founding

They are intimidated by the Bully Boy Party and have been for years.

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Yet they treat their Rethuglican Bully Daddies with deference tinged with adoration.

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I think deep down the press are masochists and love the drama.

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founding

I think a lot of them are actually impressed by Republicans who bully, swagger and pretend to be manly. The media was clearly impressed by Bush and Cheney, both of whom were chickenhawks who had gone out of the way to avoid serving in a war they supported. For years the media has bowed down to Trump with his pathetic posturing as a manly man.

In contrast the media saddled Bush I - a man who volunteered to be a fighter pilot in WWII - with the “wimp factor” meme. Both Gore and Kerry served in Vietnam but Gore was actually accused by Maureen Dowd of being so “feminized” that he was “practically lactating”! Purple Heart recipient John Kerry was given the “effete” treatment which is code for effeminate.

Shortly before he got the ax Chris Matthews told a guest that his job was to search for heroes (not inform his viewers). For men like him women rarely qualify.

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So true. That is an excellent point.

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Masochists with a soupcon of narcissism. Not all of them, but enough.

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I'm much more cynical. I think they agree with him.

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I think it's a combo of fear and relating to him. Trump reminds them of their grandpa, father, uncle, etc.

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Lies are lies. Racism is racism.

It is essential for reporters to call these truths what they are in order to inform the public what is really going on. ~ tweet from Dan Rather (@danrather) July 6, 2020. Journalism is this simple; it's not marketing or advertising but many outlets are conflating the two.

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author

Truth telling should be the first job of journalism

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Thanks again Eric for your hard work.

There are many news outlets calling things what they are, see above, and these all need our support. That said there are many outlets who don't even acknowledge facts, and these all need our repeated condemnation. And then there are the outlets I can best describe as some kind of blend. These are the ones that both win prizes for top-notch long-term investigative journalism yet also too often rely on euphemisms. But let's not lose track of the obvious-soft peddling beats lying or propaganda 10 out of 10 times. There are too many outlets doing both.

For starters, I believe it is time to just stop covering the administration, and the distractions. Report what happens, not what they say. If the Secy of State is giving a press conference, cover something else. When Peter Navarro speaks ignore him. And for @#@# sake stop covering trump live. Of course what is happening IS different from what the administration said is happening. Calling them liars does not inform, educate, or assist decision-making.

I am not frustrated with all the press; every person, organization and institution has limits and flaws. And some of these institutions need work. For example when the WH moves chairs next to each other during a pandemic move them back. Don't be stupid.

There's 118 days to go. On November 3 we will know what the future holds. But it will be years, if not decades, before we understand what happened to us--to the press, and the major institutions in this country.

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I thought you might have some nice things to say about Jennifer Rubin's marvelous commentary.

Today's Times has a story about Tucker Carlson's "nativist smearing" of Senator Duckworth. I found it interesting that The Times called it what it was, though they might have added misogynistic--but I can see the point: Carlson lies about anyone, anyway. Still, it was good to see The Times do that, and now maybe they could apply the standard to politicians instead of just the Goebbels network.

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author

nativist a good first step...they could’ve also opted for “racist”

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I still remember Jennifer Rubin from four years ago & don’t trust her.

It’s the whole issue of the “Never Trumpers”. How far should I trust today the George Conway who was instrumental in creating the Monica Lewinsky “scandal”?

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I don't trust her, either. I'll quote someone who doesn't get enough "credit" for contributing to republican treason and bigotry, Ronald Reagan: Trust but verify.

That said, if they want to help my side win, great. Just don't be amazed when you don't get more than thanks afterward.

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Definitely. And some interesting trivia to consider: What is the first time the word "racist" appeared in a U.S. Supreme Court opinion. Now close your eyes to think about it, and then I'll put the answer below.

In the Korematsu case, Justice Frank Murphy called it racist. So might The New York Times.

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founding

I just read this Salon article by Dan Froomkin about NYT editor Dean Baquet’s obsession with objectivity. It sounds like Baquet expects reporters to approach stories as if they have no prior knowledge that could “bias” them:

“So the question is whether reporters should use their brains to interpret what they see in the context of what they know to be true and what they have themselves written before or whether they should, as Baquet evidently requires, be diligent note-takers in a brand-new notebook, "empathetic" to "every current viewpoint." “

https://www.salon.com/2020/07/08/nyt-editor-dean-baquet-wants-his-reporters-to-keep-an-open-mind--or-maybe-an-empty-one/

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author

agreed, just wish it didn't take 4 yrs.

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