BOMBSHELLS AWAY: Invention of the latest blockbuster!

MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018

Part 1—Watching a bombshell be born:
The New York Times' latest "bombshell report" entered the world as a case of BREAKING NEWS.

Guillermo del Toro could hardly have done it better! The journalistic Gill-man swam to the surface last Thursday night, on CNN, at 8:21 PM Eastern.

Anderson Cooper sat in the anchor chair when the monster swam into view. Let's review the chronology:

At 8:18 PM, Cooper returned from break. At home, on your TV screen, a chyron announced the segment's first BREAKING NEWS:
BREAKING NEWS
PRESIDENT TRUMP PROPOSES PATH TO "CITIZENSHIP" FOR DREAMERS IN RETURN FOR BORDER WALL AND AN IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN
Sunlen Serfaty reported this first bit of breaking news. To review the transcript, click here.

At 8:21, the chyron changed, as did the reporter. The new chyron announced a second piece of "breaking news:"
BREAKING NEWS
PRESIDENT'S LAWYER SAYS HE'LL DECIDE ON ANY MUELLER INTERVIEW
Gloria Borger came on to report this second piece of "breaking news."

And then, good lord! At 8:22 PM, the Gill-man swam into view.

Suddenly, Borger's report was old hat. A new chyron reported a third piece of breaking news:
BREAKING NEWS
NY TIMES: PRESIDENT TRUMP ORDERED MUELLER FIRED, BUT BACKED OFF WHEN WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL THREATENED TO QUIT
That's what the third chyron said. Shoving Borger to the curb, Cooper turned to this newer breaking news. He started by telling us this:
COOPER (1/25/18): Right, Gloria. There's actually more breaking news happening right now. I believe we have Maggie Haberman on the phone. Do we have Maggie?

HABERMAN: Hi.

COOPER: Maggie Haberman for the New York Times is on the phone. Maggie, what's this breaking story that's just breaking now?
There was actually more breaking news! This breaking news was a breaking story that was just breaking now!

If we might borrow from our Homer, such was the birth of the New York Times' latest "bombshell report." Recalling Moses in the rushes, it came to life last Thursday night as a humble piece of BREAKING NEWS.

At this point, we offer a small observation. Almost everything on cable news is now called "breaking news."

Under this industry rubruc, a news report isn't really important if it's just breaking news. A news report becomes important if it's called a "bombshell report," or perhaps if it's called "explosive."

At 8:22 last Thursday night, the new report by the New York Times was moving toward that status, but the status had not yet been conferred.

It wasn't yet a bombshell report. Already, though, in Cooper's assessment, it was "really huge:"
HABERMAN (continuing directly): Sure. My colleague Mike Schmidt and I—and thanks for having me—just reported that the president last June ordered the White House counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn protested and threatened to quit if he was ordered to go through with this. The president ultimately backed down.

This is the first time that we know of, Anderson, of the president actually engaging in this and doing what has been seen as an option he was keeping open, and he was very consciously keeping it open last July in an interview at The Times in the Oval Office. He has since said, "No, I'm not thinking of firing Robert Mueller." Obviously, it would have created a massive earthquake had he done so.

COOPER: So, I mean, let's just repeat this, because this is, this is really huge.
Haberman told the air-filled story almost exactly as it was told in the newly-posted news report at the New York Times site. But it was still just BREAKING NEWS. No one had called it a bombshell yet, though Cooper was leaning that way by calling it "really huge."

Long story short! The BREAKING NEWS wasn't deemed a "bombshell" until Thursday's 10 PM hour. During the rest of Cooper's hour, he brought forth a panel of pundits to discuss the report, which no one had really had time to read, digest or analyze.

That may explain a pair of illogical comments by Cooper's fearless panel—first by the highly experienced Carl Bernstein, then by the 25-year-old Kaitlan Collins, whose youth and good looks (by conventional norms) have nothing to with the fact that she is CNN's White House correspondent, despite her fairly remarkable lack of experience. (Five months as The Daily Caller's White House correspondent, or so the leading authority says.)

When exactly will "time be up" on this fairly obvious, exploitative "cable news" practice? We can't answer your question! Let's return to our tick-tock on the invention of the latest bombshell:

People, whenever BREAKING NEWS occurs, pundits rush to their battle stations to start to blather about it. They haven't had a chance to read, think or analyze the new report. But so what? Quickly, they start to assess it.

Called upon for an instant reaction, here's what the young, inexperienced Collins said. In fairness, it was very much like a peculiar assessment the grizzled old Bernstein had already given:
COOPER: It was interesting though, Kaitlan. Yesterday, in that 15-minute off-camera discussion the president had, answering questions to reporters, he described all the actions, which others might describe as attempts at obstruction, he described it as "fighting back."

COLLINS: Exactly. That's how he saw it, not as tampering or obstruction of justice, but he he saw it as "fighting back." But it's interesting to look at what the president has said privately about Robert Mueller, according to Maggie's reporting, and what he's said publicly, because he's said publicly many times that he was not going to fire him, he had no plans to fire him. His spokesman have also echoed that. And just last night, during that briefing with reporters, he said he was looking forward to sitting down with him, he was happy to testify under oath to wrap all of this up. So it's very interesting to see that publicly he's saying of course he's cooperating, he's happy to sit down, but in private he's threatening to fire him.
You're right! That highlighted assessment doesn't make sense, except as pleasing narrative.

Uh-oh! Collins was comparing things Trump and his lawyers have said in recent months about his intentions to something he (reportedly) did on one occasion last June. She made it sound like what he (reportedly) did last June is something he's repeatedly doing in private right now.

"It's very interesting to see that...in private he's threatening to fire him?" Collins used that obvious misstatement to drew an invidious comparison, relying on an account that isn't what "Maggie's reporting" had said.

Perhaps it was Collins' stunning inexperience which led her to make this groaning error. In fairness, though, Bernstein had already said something quite similar and, on one or two points, it wasn't clear that Haberman knew what her own report said. So it routinely goes in cable news breaking discussions.

When Cooper went off the air at 9 PM, the report still wasn't a bombshell. During the 9 PM hour, Rachel Maddow called it a "blockbuster new report," but it fell to Don Lemon to detonate the industry's most exalted phrase.

At 10 PM sharp, Chris Cuomo threw to Lemon. Bombshell status was quickly conferred:
CUOMO (1/25/18): Our coverage continues right now. CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news!

LEMON: And it is bombshell breaking news on the Russia investigation. Really!

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

And this is hugely significant. The president, President Trump ordered Robert Mueller, the special counsel heading up the Russia investigation, fired this past June and the only thing that stopped him was when his own White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit rather than carry out the order.

This story was first reported by the New York Times, which also reports that Mueller learned about his near firing only in the past few months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials.

It has now been confirmed by at least two other news organizations. We have all of the breaking news for you. But I want to get right to the New York Times Maggie Haberman and CNN as well. And she joins me by phone. Maggie, thank you so much for joining us.

As I said, this is bombshell breaking news.
It was no longer merely "breaking," nor was it merely "hugely significant."

It was now "bombshell breaking news." Status had been conferred.

One hour later, Brian Williams called the report a bombshell on MSNBC. By the next morning, everyone agreed.

At 4 AM, CNN's Early Start came on the air; Christine Rimans called it a bombshell. Two hours later, CNN New Day began like this:
CAMEROTA (1/26/18): This is New Day. It is Friday, January 26, 6 a.m. here in New York. Chris is off. John Berman joins me. Another day, another bombshell.

BERMAN: Yes. We've got new developments just in.

CAMEROTA: We sure do! So we begin with breaking news for you. President Trump is denying the bombshell reports that he tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June.
"Another day, another bombshell." An industry secret may lurk in that remark.

Can we talk? Our cable news channels are in the business of selling us BREAKING NEWS. They're also in the business of selling us "bombshell reports," especially where BREAKING NEWS may seem to support preferred scripts, story-lines and claims.

In this case, they rushed to affirm an air-filled news report, the latest of the many Hostess Twinkies Schmidt and Haberman have baked in recent years.

Alas! For analysts who are able to read, the news report in Friday's Times was very fuzzy and highly imprecise. On Friday night, a major player would speak with Lawrence. This player would offer a whole new take on this fuzzy, air-filled report.

No matter! By Friday night, all other pundits and cable stars agreed. The Times report wasn't just "breaking news," it was a bombshell report! On CNN, they said it all day. On Friday night, at least three MSNBC hosts repeated the characterization.

All over cable, the stars agreed. This was a bombshell report.

No one said the report was fuzzy. No one said it was full of air. Tomorrow, though, we're going to show you what Michael Wolff said to Lawrence last Friday night. On Wednesday, we'll turn to the New York Times' text-in-itself to show you what front-page reporting looks like when it actually isn't real sound.

Meanwhile, is it possible that older, more experienced, more capable women are being kept off the air so CNN can provide us with youthful players like Collins? Have cable bosses decided that, if they're selling us bombshell reports, they should also maybe perhaps have a few "bombshell reporters?"

Collins offered a weak assessment that night, but then again, so did Bernstein before her. It's all a part of the corporate strategy which they sell us BREAKING NEWS, in which pundits go on the air and invent the latest bombshell.

They hadn't had time to read the report. They hadn't had time to think about it, whatever good that might have done.

The report itself was full of air. That said, what else is new?

Tomorrow: Michael Wolff speaks with Lawrence

23 comments:

  1. "Get your red hot franks, right here!"

    --wait, wait, those hot dogs aren't very hot...

    "Get your ice cold soda pop, right here."

    -- wait, wait, that pop isn't very cold...

    What a terrible life Somerby must have led as a child. Yet somehow he managed to gain adulthood without ever encountering sales hype before. I almost feel sorry for him, but he is so unpleasant to all those journalist who, unlike himself, must earn a living in a competitive field.

    "Get your break news right here!"

    Everything Trump has said is so outrageously ridiculously that we've heard it all before and it no longer has the power to shock anyone. How is that these journalists fault? Seems to me the problem lies with Trump, who has made jaded consumers of us all, so that we can no longer be shocked by a President who threatens to fire the FBI Director who is investigating him, but is barely stopped by his own attorney. Been there, heard that. Yawn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stop acting stupid.

      Delete
    2. i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Larry contact him on email: assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com Dr Larry TEMPLE.. or Whats-app +1(424)-261-8520



      i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Larry contact him on email: assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com Dr Larry TEMPLE.. or Whats-app +1(424)-261-8520

      Delete
  2. "It's all a part of the corporate strategy which they sell us BREAKING NEWS, in which pundits go on the air and invent the latest bombshell."

    I see. The latest defense of Trump is that pundits are making up the fact that his behavior is outrageous, inappropriate, out-of-bounds for a sitting president, in order to attract attention.

    It is normal for a president to try to fire the head of the FBI who just happens to be investigating him. Nothing to see here folks.

    It is entirely normal for a president to engage in admitted obstruction of justice and then call it "fighting back." Just business as usual, folks. Nothing to see here.

    It is entirely normal for a president to say one thing one day and something completely different the next, on immigration policy, then contradict himself yet again. Nothing to see here. Just normal presidenting.

    It is entirely normal for a president to be asked for an interview by a special prosecutor and for that president to agree to such an interview without consulting his attorney, he then must contradict that president's statement, less than 24 hrs later. Just business as usual. Nothing to see here folks.

    We'll wake you all when the nukes are fired. Until then, nothing to pay attention to. Just the usual ho-hum. Go back to your stupor, populace, no need to pay attention to what your leaders are doing. No need to wonder what Trump is up to. Go back to sleep, safely slumber, the press has no role in waking up the people, no part to play in keeping anyone informed of anything.

    Somerby, what planet have you zoomed off too? The press is doing its job and it is better to call everything breaking news than to report nothing except what dear leader tells it to, or to soothe everyone with pablum while the President loots the country. You asshole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The job of the press isn't to nurture your hyperemotional state caused by Trump Derangement.

      Delete
    2. This raises an interesting point. Shouldn't a progressive or liberal blog attract progressive or liberal commenters? Why does Somerby attract so many conservatives and trolls? Why so many alt-right and outright racists? Why the mens-rights brigade? Why the burnt-out bros?

      Case in point -- no liberal refers to Trump Derangement or calls commenters sophs. Mao is what he is, and so is David, but where did this guy come from and why does Somerby attract these guys lately?

      Delete
    3. Putin sent them, to convert you into Satanism. Plug your ears and start humming a tune to yourself - NOW.

      Delete
    4. Someone unfamiliar with the language might not realize there is a difference between being converted to Satanism and being converted into Satanism.

      Delete
    5. Крайне важноJanuary 29, 2018 at 2:42 PM

      "Putin sent them ...."

      You'd be the one to know, comrade.

      Delete
  3. "LEMON: And it is bombshell breaking news on the Russia investigation. Really!"

    I hear too much nose candy causes this sort of behavior.

    Come to think of it, all those clowns, acting all excited about their own pathetic lies, non-stop, day in and day out -- they must be using a lot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mao and Somerby on the same page...what does that tell you?

      Delete
    2. They both speak fluent Russian?

      Delete
  4. Somerby today is arguing that the press should normalize Trump's odd behavior by pretending that it is not breaking news when the president behaves oddly. On what planet?

    At some point, Somerby is going to have to tell us how much he has been paid to switch from liberal commentary to a conservative stalwart. Hope it was more than the price of his soul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Normalize" is the giveaway for overzealous progressives in their Soph year of college. Last year it was "wrong side of history."

      Delete
    2. The word "nose candy" stinks of troll desperation.

      Delete
  5. "Alas! For analysts who are able to read, the news report in Friday's Times was very fuzzy and highly imprecise."
    What was fuzzy and imprecise about the report? This is the most significant claim in today's Howler post, but receives no justification from Somerby. "For analysts who are able to read...": we can all read, but we can't read minds, especially not Somerby's. He ought to justify the charges he makes here, rather than lazily leaving it open to those non-illiterate analysts.

    The stuff about "breaking news" is hardly incisive analysis. This predilection for calling everything "breaking news" has been going on for years now. All the cable networks do it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Too much going on today to worry about this stuff. McCabe is out, the Repubs released the anti-Rosenstein memo, and the house committee is now investigating the FBI and DOJ (supposedly to give Trump cover to refuse a meeting with Mueller). The whole Republican party is obstructing justice now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, now the corrupt republicans and tower trash trump family have the investigation right where they want it. Trump reviewing evidence in the investigation about himself and the corrupt repub congress investigating the investigation - before it has even concluded. One thing I will bet real money on right now, the chickenshit pussygrabber will not ever sit across the table from Mueller to answer any questions.

      Testosterone my ass. He is the world's biggest pussy.

      Delete
  7. Republicans are doing a fantastic job of showing Osama bin Laden was framed.

    ReplyDelete
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  10. i am ERIC BRUNT by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my wife after three(3) years of marriage just because another Man had a spell on her and she left me and the kid to suffer. one day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how this spell caster on this address assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com have help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a man had a spell on my wife and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that i will have my wife back. i believed him and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because i am now happy with my wife. Thanks for helping me Dr Larry contact him on email: assurancesolutionhome@gmail.com Dr Larry TEMPLE.. or Whats-app +1(424)-261-8520



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    ReplyDelete