BREAKING: New nothingburger appears in the Post!

SATURDAY, MARCH 10, 2018

Unnamed cable star reels:
Every evening, cable news is selling you The Chase.

At present, The Chase is the principal product these corporate entities are selling. Smiling hosts are paid massive sums to get you to buy the nightly iterations of this exciting product.

Last night was no exception. Our story starts with a nothingburger in today's Washington Post.

The nothingburger appears below the fold on page one of tODAY's hard-copy editions. It bears the byline of three Post reporters.

Headline included, the burger starts like this:
HELDERMAN ET AL (3/10/18): Trump wrote Putin to invite him to '13 pageant

Donald Trump was so eager to have Vladi­mir Putin attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that he wrote a personal letter to the Russian president inviting him to the event, according to multiple people familiar with the document.

At the bottom of the typed letter, Trump scrawled a postscript adding that he looked forward to seeing “beautiful” women during his trip.
The burger started like that. Just for the record:

The report was sourced to "multiple people." Is the Post allergic to number words? "Multiple" could mean "two!"

Whatever! This front-page report is the farthest thing from being "a bombshell," or even from being "explosive," two attributes cable news stars dearly love.

That said, it did qualify as "breaking news" when it appeared on line last night—and a certain massive cable news star quickly built an intriguing framework around the report.

In the opening minute or her show, she seemed to suggest that a letter like this could only have been sent to Mueller by Vladimir Putin himself, given that it was "typewritten."

This made the Post report seem exciting, intriguing. In seeming to adopt this framework, the star ignored the report's fourth paragraph, in which the reporters wrote this:
"It is unclear whether Trump’s missive was ever delivered to the Russian president."
Doggone it! But why mention a disclaimer like that when you have excitement to sell?

At any rate:

Midway through last evening's show, the major star interviewed Rosalind Helderman. She led with her intriguing premise about Trump's letter to Putin, which Helderman quickly shot down.

Almost anyone could have been the source of the typewritten letter, Helderman basically said, giving an explanation for this deflating deduction. She conveyed information which doesn't appear in the actual Post report—a report the Post reporters had padded out to feature length in alternate ways.

Doggone it! The cable star's exciting premise had turned out to be bunk. Still, for one brief shining half hour, her viewers enjoyed Camelot!

This type of bullshit occurs every night of the week as we're sold The Chase. The children want exciting new angles to sell you each night. They're skillful at dreaming them up.

So it was this past Wednesday night when the children promoted the latest New York Times report about Donald J. Trump and McGahn. For one brief shining evening on cable, this report by the routinely slippery Haberman/Schmidt was treated as a version of Camelot.

By last night, that thrilling report was largely forgotten—for good reason, we'd say.

The Wednesday night New York Times report appeared in Thursday's hard-copy editions. It didn't make the Times front page—it was buried rather deep in the National section—but it helped our cable news tars make it through Wednesday night.

That report weas largely a nothingburger too; it left a wide array of facts unresolved. Still, everyone expressed excitement on cable that night. They were selling us The Chase, and this was the latest nightly product.

That Times report continued the saga of Trump and Don McGahn. We've decided to push it back again, in deference to last night's version of The Chase.

After reading the Times report, we have little clear idea what actually happened between Trump and McGahn. Nor do we feel real clear about why we're supposed to care.

That said, it helped the gang on cable news sell us The Chase that night. On Monday, barring some other intrusion, we'll plan to walk you through this latest murky report.

Concerning this morning's nothingburger, the burger has been swollen in size with plenty of mustard and lettuce. The actual burger is very small, but one star skillfully found a way to serve it last night.

24 comments:

  1. "After reading the Times report, we have little clear idea what actually happened between Trump and McGahn. Nor do we feel real clear about why we're supposed to care."

    Somerby doesn't feel real clear about why he should care....about what happened between McGahn and Trump.

    Somerby isn't stupid. It seems entirely possible that he is deliberately missing the point of both stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “Somerby isn't stupid. It seems entirely possible that he is deliberately missing the point of both stories.”

      It is also entirely possible that he simply views these issues from such a different perspective from yours that things that make you shrug, raise his hackles and vice versa. You know, two different people having different life experiences might view things very differently. Admittedly, it often seems like his is a very odd perspective, to be sure.

      Delete
    2. Ignoring that people have ulterior motives doesn't seem smart to me.

      Delete

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  2. "But why mention a disclaimer like that when you have excitement to sell?"

    What difference does it make if the letter was or wasn't delivered? If it was, I don't see how it adds anything to the nothingness.

    Yeah, Goebbels would be proud. But then, it's quite unremarkable and predictable these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So is your trolling, Comrade.

      Delete
  3. It seems disingenuous to pretend that the relationship between Trump and the Russians, before and after his election, is a "nothingburger".

    Somerby dismissively refers to the investigation of such matters as "The Chase." In that analogy, hunters can't chase if the prey doesn't run. People don't dash around in the woods after nothing. Trump is guilty as hell and the so-called chase is about proving it. Letters, delivered or not, constitute one kind of proof. Trump's statements to McGahn about firing Mueller constitute another kind of proof, of a different crime. But we all care about these small bits of evidence because they nail down the big picture and constitute proof of what everyone knows was done.

    Somerby pretends to be obtuse about this. He apparently thinks disbelief is required until the complete jigsaw is presented to the public in its fully assembled state. Investigations have never worked like that in the history of crime fighting.

    Somerby takes these single instances of information and examines them entirely separately from the bigger picture and separate from other pieces of evidence, and then dismisses them as if they meant nothing -- were nothingburgers.

    This letter to Putin follows the disclosures before it about his meeting in Las Vegas to set up the Moscow pageant. The people he met with are the same ones who have funded his ventures in ways that suggest money-laundering. One of them was the person who set up that Trump Tower meeting to discuss dirt on Hillary. This stuff all ties together. It is not nothing.

    Somerby may be too old these days to invest the energy in following all the threads, too old to synthesize facts into a bigger picture, too lacking in energy to "follow the money" or even keep up with the in-depth reporting on Trump's malfeasance. He can call all this "The Chase" and dismiss it as political Otherness, but I think that is an excuse for intellectual laziness. This chase is about justice for the American people who have been conned by an enemy foreign government who colluded with dishonest American businessmen to subvert our government. There is nothing burgerish about that.

    I am giving Somerby the benefit of the doubt in calling him old and mentally lazy. If he supports Trump or agrees with Bernie that our government should be wiped out so we can start over, he is a worse person than I have given him credit for. Every day he reveals himself to be worse and that is distressing given his former important work on previous campaigns. But people change and they can be turned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Trump's statements to McGahn about firing Mueller constitute another kind of proof, of a different crime."

      That's the point. There is no proof Trump made any statements to McGahn about firing Mueller. The New York Times report is not proof. You know that right?

      I understand it's fun to follow it and yes, you want desperately to take him down. You say that he's guilty as hell but you don't have any proof. You say that Trump's statements to McGahn are proof of something but you don't have any proof that that even happened at all!

      You are proving Bob's point if you think that there is proof that there was any nefariousness between McGahn and Trump.

      They sold you some bullshit and you based an assumption on it that was wrong if you really think there's proof that that happened.

      I would wait to get the proof. But I realize it is fun.

      Delete
    2. He convicts himself with his own tweets. You know that don’t you?

      Delete
  4. That Trump admires strongmen, like Putin, Kim, and Duarte is hardly "breaking news". Who's mind was blown open by that obviousness?
    I agree with Bob, that the prime real estate on the front page of the Post would be better used to describe the lowlifes bribed by the financial industry to ease Dodd-Frank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby didn't mention Dodd-Frank anywhere in this post. He didn't make any suggestion about what he thought should have been on the Post's front page instead of this story.
      Did he adequately explain why the story about the letter was a "nothingburger?"

      Delete
    2. @1:13: Did Bob tell you what else was on the front page of his Post?

      Delete
  5. "In the opening minute or her show, she seemed to suggest that a letter like this could only have been sent to Mueller by Vladimir Putin himself, given that it was "typewritten.""

    Maddow, in that opening minute, wonders aloud and expresses surprise that Mueller has the letter; she says "I don't know why Mueller's team has been able to" obtain this letter. Also, note that the letter contained a handwritten postscript from Trump, something Somerby forgot to mention, but Maddow did.

    In the interview with Helderman, Maddow asks the perfectly sensible question: "How did they [Mueller's team] obtain this?"
    And Helderman suggests a possibility without knowing the answer definitively. Maddow lets Helderman's answer stand as the last word on the subject. Maddow does not spend hours trying to gin up some conspiracy theory about how Mueller obtained the letter.

    I thought Maddow did a reasonable job of handling the story. She devoted a total of 6 or 7 minutes tops to it.

    By the way, what was the next story right after the opening minute of her show? The corruption scandal of the Malaysian prime minister, involving global investigations, including by the FBI. Maddow spent more than one minute on that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems more likely Mueller got it from Hope Hicks and it wasn't ever sent. Given the P.S., someone might have talked him out of it.

      The oddness here is the story yesterday about Putin skipping the pageant and giving Trump a fake excuse that Trump supposedly didn't recognize as phony. If Trump had sent such a letter to Putin, it may explain why he avoided the pageant. He might interpret the remark about beautiful girls as an invitation to a honey trap, like the one he may have set for Trump (as described in the Steele dossier).

      But this is what I mean about Somerby not putting things together. Nothing is happening in isolation and nothing holds meaning in isolation either.

      I'm glad to hear that Maddow didn't spend time on a ridiculous theory as Somerby accuses her of doing. He also accuses her of padding her show and wasting time. I'm glad to hear she covers many other topics, even if she doesn't talk about Khan-Cullors book, NAEP scores, or the other stuff Somerby thinks she should be discussing.

      Delete
    2. Seems more likely you are full of shit.

      "Hicks' first brush with the Trumps came in 2012 when she was at the public-relations firm Hiltzik Strategies working on Ivanka Trump's fashion line. Trump's eldest daughter hired Hicks away in 2014 and she became an employee of the Trump Organization."

      http://www.businessinsider.com/hope-hicks-bio-trump-spokeswoman-2017-2?r=UK&IR=T

      Seems unlikely Hope would have a letter written in the year before she began working for the Donald's daughter.

      Delete
  6. I would call this a too tired pickle slice picked a thick and meaty burger which, weather Bob wants to admit it or not, is all too real.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Rachel really did hype this nothing letter in the first minute of her show. So tantalizing, keep watching! If it was so important, why open your show with this URGENT BREAKING NEWS, and then shunt it to, "I'll tell you all later. But first..". Well, it really wasn't any news at all. Shameful how she suckered her viewers that way. Promising dirt, failing to deliver.

    (For what it's worth, I'm an East Coast liberal and I often find Somerby to be crackpot and unfair. But he definitely has a point about Rachel Maddow, someone I like and respect, but wow, lots of flaws too. Many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. East Coast of the Baltic. Check your Dragonspeak.

      Delete
  8. So Trump may or may not have invited Putin to attend a function Trump was conducting in Moscow. Why is it a scandal? It's perfectly reasonable to invited the head of a country to a major function to be held in that country. Even if that head of state doesn't attend, nothing is lost. And, if he does attend, the function's prestige is enhanced.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who decided to hold the pageant in Moscow? Trump? Why would any decent human being want to get close to Putin, a murdering despot?

      Trump’s mistaken impression of Agalarov seems to have given him an exaggerated expectation of meeting Putin, which was one of his goals in taking Miss Universe to Moscow. On June 18, 2013, just after Trump announced that the Miss Universe pageant would take place in Russia, he tweeted, with a kind of desperate giddiness, “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow—if so, will he become my new best friend?”

      Delete


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