We're not sure. Is anyone else? Last night, the fun got started all over again on "cable news," in earnest. The new cable year had begun!
The not wholly reliable Michael Wolff had triggered this evening of fun. At any rate, the children got to spend the night indulging such pleasures as this:
WOLFF (1/3/18): As soon as the campaign team had stepped into the White House, [deputy chief of staff Katie] Walsh saw, it had gone from managing Trump to the expectation of being managed by him. Yet the president, while proposing the most radical departure from governing and policy norms in several generations, had few specific ideas about how to turn his themes and vitriol into policy. And making suggestions to him was deeply complicated. Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate.For what it's worth, Walsh seems to have disputed the comments attributed to her by Wolff. That said, hasn't it long been clear that Donald J. Trump may have a reading problem?
Could Trump perhaps be dyslexic? It is now widely asserted that Nelson Rockefeller struggled with some such condition, as described in this New Yorker piece.
Is it possible that Trump is dyslexic, was so afflicted as a boy? We'd assume that the answer is yes, but for purposes of cable news, Trump exists as a figure of tribal pleasure and fun.
Is Trump unable to read? Rather than identify this possibility long ago, the stars of cable indulge themselves in the pleasures of long-running ridicule.
In the real world, Trump is a deeply dangerous figure. On cable, he's entertainment and fun. This brings us to the part of Wolff's new book which our cable stars like best—the part where Bannon says that Donald Trump Junior engaged in "treasonous" conduct.
Bannon, of course, is a world-class nut, but we love that assessment. Cable stars spent the evening pimping that claim without regard to its crackpot source.
This returns us to a question we've pondered here before. Were people at that famous meeting with the Russkie lawyer engaging in treasonous conduct?
The topic was batted around last night. We'd answer the question like this:
First, it seems to us that it all depends on what actually occurred at that meeting. At some point, we may find out, most likely through the work of Robert Mueller.
Eventually, we may know what happened at that meeting. At this point, we pretty much don't.
Second, would it have been treasonous to accept negative information about Candidate Clinton from the Russkies? (As far as we know, there was none.) On cable, we like to say that the answer is yes, and we love the heat of that T-bomb.
That said, what's wrong with "information?" (Note to all stars of cable: in this case, that relatively innocuous term must be changed to "dirt.") It seems that Trump Junior was willing to receive same from the Russkies. But what would be wrong with that?
Suppose the Russkie lawyer released some sort of negative information in an op-ed column. Would Trump Junior be obligated to ignore what she had revealed?
Suppose the Russkie lawyer rented the National Press Club and delivered the information in a speech. Would good Americans be required to ignore what she had said?
Finally, imagine this:
Suppose someone inside the Russkie government had information on gross misconduct by Donald J. Trump—on money laundering, let's say—and wanted to reveal it. Would Candidate Clinton have been committing treason if she had received such information? Would good Americans be required to ignore the information if it was released in some other way?
We've said it for years—information plays almost no role in our national discourse. It seems to us that reactions to the Russkie lawyer have helped establish this point.
One last point about all that cable enjoyment last night:
That fun drives all other topics away. Starting next Monday, we expect to discuss "the missing 48,000."
Nobody cares about those kids! Indeed, given the way our clowning works, no one even knows who we mean!