Part 1—Nobody cares about sex: The headline on Colbert King's new column struck us as a provocation, perhaps as an incitement.
It certainly posed a challenge:
"Why the Stormy Daniels Case Matters." In our hard-copy Washington Post, that's what the headline said!
In our view, the so-called "Stormy Daniels case" doesn't matter at all. Indeed, that assessment ginormously understates the nature of the problem. In our view, attention paid to the Daniels matter undermines the future of the republic, if we still maintain any hope for the nation's future at all.
King's column appeared in its regular spot in Saturday morning's Post. We took the headline as an incitement, then began to read.
King doesn't care about the sex! With that shaky claim, he started:
KING (3/10/18): Why the Stormy Daniels Case MattersAccording to King, he doesn't care if Donald J. Trump had an affair in the year 2006.
I couldn’t care less whether in 2006 Donald Trump had a sexual affair with pornographic film actress Stephanie Clifford—known professionally as Stormy Daniels—only months after his wife, Melania, gave birth to their son, Barron.
Trump’s personal lawyer Michael D. Cohen says Trump has denied the affair. But even if it did occur, the relationship would have taken place years before the 2016 presidential election. Thus, it is a private matter between citizen Donald Trump and his wife and none of my business.
As a matter of fact, he "couldn't care less!" Such matters are beneath his notice, the long-time, frequently insightfull columnist says.
King says he regards such matters as being none of his business. Forgive us if we don't necessarily believe his claim. Here's how it looks to us:
If King didn't care about this apparent affair, he maybe possibly wouldn't have rushed to include all those moralizing details about the timing of the event, marriage and childbirth-wise.
He could have skipped the references to Melania Trump altogether. He could have saved himself a few words, starting his column like this:
I couldn’t care less whether Donald Trump had an affair with actress Stephanie Clifford, or with anyone else, way back in 2006.We just saved him fourteen words, just in his opening paragraph!
If King doesn't regard this apparent affair as being any business of his, it seems to us that he could have skipped Melania and and her 12-year-old son altogether. But even as he said he couldn't care less, King decided, in paragraph 1, to make it a family affair.
He also could have skipped the "pornographic" stuff. If he doesn't care about the alleged affair, why distract, or maybe excite, "us the people" with that?
It sounds to us like maybe King does care about this affair! More specifically, it sounds to us like he's concerned with the morality of Donald J. Trump's behavior.
There's nothing automatically "wrong" with a reaction like that! But it seems to us that King is making a type of faux disclaimer—a type of disclaimer which is now being made all over the mainstreeam press.
It almost seems that nobody cares about this apparent affair! At least, that's what's being said by various people who can't stop talking about it.
Who else doesn't care about this affair? One night before King's column appeared, Anderson Cooper made the same high-minded statement of disinterest. Here's the way he started his two-hour block on CNN:
COOPER (3/9/18): Tonight—thanks for joining us—only on this program, Stormy Daniels' attorney speaking out with what he says is one more piece of evidence potentially tying the president to a payoff for porn star Stormy Daniels."Ho-hum," the yawning anchorman said. He doesn't care about the affair. He's just trying to keep them honest!
That's in addition to the evidence he produced this morning. But before we go any further, a quick reminder of something we said on the program last night.
This is about the payoff, not the alleged affair. We're following the money and who knew about it.
Marital infidelity, if it happened, is certainly nothing new, not for millions of Americans, not for presidents and not for Donald Trump, whose love life has been tabloid fodder, some of which he stoked himself as publicist "John Miller" or "John Baron" for decades.
It's not new for Washington, D.C., either. R's do it, D's do it, even educated fleas do it. What most Republicans, Democrats or fleas for that matter do not do is pay to hush it up.
So we begin tonight keeping them honest by continuing to follow the money, or trying to, at least, in examining the claims made by President Trump's go-to fix-it guy, Michael Cohen...
Anderson Cooper couldn't care less about this apparent affair. This explains why Cooper's producer blitzed us with photos of the porn star no one cares about—photos which let us focus on her surprisingly large body parts.
It isn't the consensual conduct, it's the cover-up! Journalists have been making this statement for years.
Cooper had said it the night before; now, on Friday, he said it again. From there, he proceeded to spend roughly two-thirds of his two-hour program discussing the Daniels matter.
(For Coop's second hour, click this.)
Korea conclaves, an incipient trade war, yet another workplace shooting? These topics were shoved aside for the Daniels matter—but it wasn't about the sex!
We're sorry, but we don't exactly believe these disclaimers. In fact, the upper-end mainstream press corps has been licking its chops about (consensual) extramarital sex ever since 1987, when they staked out Democratic front-runner Gary Hart to see if he had perhaps engaged in such thoroughly tedious conduct.
They've been at it ever since, routinely finding ways to say that it isn't about the sex.
Today, we're going to advance a tiny, small countervailing assumption. Our countervailing proposed assumption looks exactly like this:
It has always been about the sex! It's about the sex today!If you're still inclined to doubt that assumption, we'll propose a fact-finding trip. Just click the link to King's column in the Washington Post and spend some time with the sexy-time photo some editor plopped on his piece.
We're going to paraphrase Cooper and King, perhaps a bit unfairly. "It isn't about the sex," we're going to claim they have said.
If it isn't about the sex, then what are we supposed to think it is about? Why did Cooper go on so long on Friday's night's program? Why did King devote his column to the topic the next day?
We've already given you a glimpse of Cooper's answer to that question. Tomorrow, we'll consider what King said.
For today, we'll close with an overview of where we're headed this week, as our leading journalists force themselves to roll in the hay with topics which bore them to death.
There is no claim that Donald J. Trump assaulted Stephanie Clifford. Based on the actress' past accounts, their alleged relationship was completely consensual.
The same was true in 1987 with Hart and Donna Rice. The same was true in 1992, when Gennifer Flowers appeared on the scene and attempted to derail a White House campaign.
Flowers put at least $500,000 in her pocket as she told her colorful story. In this case, her colorful story doesn't seem to have been true—but her story contained no claim that she had been assaulted or harassed.
Flowers told an apparently fanciful tale about a torrid twelve-year love affair. In turn, major male pundits maintained their love for the yellow-haired truth-teller all the way through the end of the decade.
They didn't care about the sex, but they loved the alleged sex partner. To this very day, you aren't allowed to know how shaky her story seems to have been.
Keeping them honest, we aren't sure these flailing lifeforms aren't in love again today. Before we're done, we're even going to revisit what Professor Norman O. Brown once prophetically said.
The professor said the end might be near. Are we sure the professor was wrong?
Tomorrow: MSNBC doesn't care about its new hour-long special!
When Nobby predated Stormy: Norman O. Brown died in 2002. To peruse his lengthy obit in the New York Times, you can just click here.
Thanks to his initials, the professor's nickname was Nobby. As we've watched the mainstream press corps' growing excitement concerning Stormy, we've found ourselves thinking, once again, about something Brown once prophetically said.