Our tribe hasn't been told: How broken is our American journalism in this era of The Chase?
It's broken, badly broken. Consider the way Anderson Cooper began his program on CNN on Friday, July 27.
That morning, his network had rocked the world with an exciting BREAKING NEWS report. That evening, Cooper adopted his standard sardonic tone as he shared the bogus but exciting new tale:
COOPER (7/27/18): Good evening.This has become Cooper's style. At any rate, according to the sardonic pseudo-journalist, Cohen was saying that Candidate Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting in advance!
It says something about the kind of week we've seen, or month, or year—three, for that matter—that the big question tonight is, "Who are you going to believe? Someone not known for telling the truth or someone on record having made more than 3,000 false or misleading statements since becoming president?"
It says even more that this entirely deeply offensive notion also seems to be the president's entire defensive strategy tonight.
As CNN was first to report, sources tell us that Michael Cohen is prepared to tell Russia Special Counsel Robert Mueller that Candidate Trump had advance knowledge of the new infamous June 2016 meeting between his son, son-in-law, campaign chairman and Russians promising Kremlin intelligence on Hillary Clinton. In short, if Mr. Cohen is to believed, everything that the candidate and later president, his son, the president's lawyers have been saying ever since has been false.
And the defense, that's pretty rich. It boils down to this: "Don't believe him. He's a liar."
Pot, meet kettle.
And not only that! CNN had been the first to report it!
By now, of course, everyone knows that this exciting report was bogus, false, inaccurate. Everyone except viewers of MSNBC, whose evening hosts have been careful not to tell viewers about this.
Back to Coop! As he continued that night, he snarked about a tweet by Donald J. Trump—a tweet which turns out to have been somewhat prescient.
Cohen had "even retained Bill and Crooked Hillary's lawyer," the fiery president had tweeted that day, referring to Lanny Davis. "Gee, I wonder if they helped him make the choice."
As it turns out, Davis seems to have been the original source for CNN's false report. Yesterday, the story got worse (and a bit more complicated), with CNN trying to explain why they said, in their original report, that Davis had "declined to comment," knowing, as they did, that he had actually been the off-the-record source.
At any rate, Cooper continued to snark as he continued his sardonic presentation that night. As he dropped L-bombs on Rudy Giuliani for issuing denials, Cooper sardonically offered this:
"Maybe it's like truthful hyperbole or something. Or maybe, like so much else these days, is yet another thing that would be funny if it weren't so serious."
Sad! In this case, it was CNN's report which turned out to be bogus, wrong, false. Indeed, as of last night, the CNN report also seems to have been perhaps dishonest.
To see the original CNN report, you can just click here. It bears the name of three major CNN stars, including Carl Bernstein.
Perhaps there's actually some explanation for the way CNN said that Davis had "declined to comment" when it seems that Davis actually was the original anonymous source. But if you want to see your nation's broken discourse in action, this is the place to look.
For New York magazine's new account of this fandango, click here. To read last night's account in Buzzfeed, click this.
We'll leave you to sort out the confusion. For today, we'll stress the good news here:
If you watch MSNBC, you don't have to fret about this. They sold you the thrilling story in real time. They haven't bothered telling you that the story has fallen apart.
This is the way the corporate stars act. They get paid millions to do this.
One example: CNN was the first to report the bombshell story. On that evening's Maddow Show, legal expert Joyce Vance said this to guest host Ari Melber:
MELBER (7/27/18): I turn now to former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance who has much experience here.Vance voiced a few words of caution, then advanced to "bombshell"/"collusion." Speculation ran wild all night, with cable stars occasionally inserting the words which should probably be the corporate motto:
I don't think there's any doubt that Donald Trump is not taking Michael Cohen's advice and counsel anymore. How do you view the significance of this rupture and the types of leaking and backbiting that we're seeing tonight?
VANCE: This is potentially very significant, Ari. You know, prosecutors are hardwired to be cautious, so it's important to say that we haven't heard this story in Cohen'S own words yet. That will matter. It will also matter if he has any evidence, text messages or e-mails that were sent contemporarily that back him up. So far, the reporting we've heard is there is no evidence of that nature.
But this really is a bombshell. This idea that the president knew about this meeting before it happened, and signed off on it, places him squarely inside of collusion with Russia.
We'll likely offer more detail tomorrow. Last night, Lanny's name wasn't mentioned, not once, on The One True Channel. Thanks to our very best cable news friends, our team still hasn't heard.
One of the many dumb aspects of the fake Russia collusion story is the idea that Russia is our enemy, as if the Cold War had never ended. We cooperate with Russia on some issues, like the Space Station and Syria policy. For Donald Trump, Jr. to talk to the Russians is no more scandalous than for a Trump representative to talk to the Mexican government during the campaign.ReplyDelete
mm - By "attacked" I guess you mean "meddled in the election". I don't like that word in this context. President Obama attempted to influence the last Israeli election. But, it would sound silly to say, "Obama attacked Israel".Delete
Lots of countries meddle in other countries' elections. Wikipedia says, "One study indicated that the country intervening in most foreign elections is the United States with 81 interventions."
The Russians, aside from stealing emails from the DNC and Podesta, attempted to gain entry to voting systems in various places. That's a little more than "meddling", I would say. Sounds a bit like an attack.
Sorry for going off topic a bit, but I hate the widespread use of the word "attack". It can describe verbally criticizing someone or physically attacking a person or making a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor or dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. That's too wide a spread of meanings.Delete
If you don't mind, David, you fucking ridiculous lying traitor, I'll take the words of our intelligence agencies who do this for a living rather than some fucking ex john bircher retired actuary who seems to have a thing for fascists.Delete
Another commentariat PSA and reminder:Delete
David in Cal is a moral and intellectual idiot. You may safely ignore anything he has to say.
26 Russians and 3 Russian companies have been indicted for breaking US election law. Attack may be too strong a word for a moral and intellectual idiot, but not for anyone who can think clearly.
“I hate the widespread use of the word "attack". It can describe verbally criticizing someone or physically attacking a person or making a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor or dropping a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima. That's too wide a spread of meanings.”Delete
Too bad you’ll never be first lady or this could be your pet cause. I can see the bumper stickers:
“Just say NO to the four-centuries-old usage of the second sense of the transitive verb ‘attack’”
Russia is very friendly. It just invited NATO to observe its largest military exercise since the fall of the Soviet Union.Delete
Here's an example of Russian-American cooperation in Syria:Delete
We warn that we will attack Syria if it uses chemical weapons. They say they west is preparing chemical attacks which it will then blame on Syria as a pretext for an attack.
"This is the way the corporate stars act. They get paid millions to do this."ReplyDelete
Meh, Bob, your "stars" are just doing their jobs.
Why don't you ever talk about the Deep State that's paying all those millions (though it's actually billions)?
"In this case, it was CNN's reportwhich turned out to be bogus, wrong, false"ReplyDelete
It's difficult to conclude precisely that, based on the reporting in NY Mag and Buzzfeed. For example, the Buzzfeed article claims Davis says or admits things without actually quoting everything he said to them. They pick and choose which little snippets of quoted material to provide.
Also, Somerby says "Davis seems to have been the original source for CNN's false report." Except the CNN report credits "sources with knowledge tell CNN", i.e. more than one source. It would be great to see this story clearly and meticulously explained, but Somerby is a little too willing to go the other way and believe that CNN is "lying."
Ala is Latin for wing. You've calling me a wing!Delete
Darn it. You got me. Shorthand has no place here. It should have been à la. And I can't make the excuse that I knew that. Well, I did know it once, but it's amazing what I knew and have since forgotten, wingman. : )Delete
Lanny Davis apparently didn't want to be named as a source but was willing to provide information on background to CNN. The word somehow got out that Davis was CNN's source, so of course he must deny that he said what CNN reported. He didn't want to be quoted and that includes unofficially via rumor. So he had to go on record denying he said what people were attributing to him. That is the only way to unsay what he didn't want to be sourced as saying in the first place.ReplyDelete
Those maneuverings don't mean the information was untrue or that anyone lied. It means someone leaked that Davis was a source and he wanted to walk it back. There may be legal reasons involved or he may have put Cohen in a difficult position. But you cannot draw the conclusion that lies were told or that the information is untrue, from any of this. It remains to be seen what Cohen knows and will testify to.
Calling Cohen a liar or Davis a liar makes no sense in this situation. Of course Cohen is tainted. He worked for Trump and his job was to tell lies for Trump. If he lies to a prosecutor after taking a plea deal, his deal goes out the window and he would have to serve an unreduced sentence, he would be charged with everything and prosecuted vigorously, etc. So there is a way to motivate a liar (such as Cohen) to tell the truth.
Lanny Davis is an attorney. There are certain kinds of lies he cannot tell and remain a lawyer. It strikes me as reckless for Somerby or anyone else to call him a liar by association with Cohen or any other client, since he is bound by the ethics of his profession. This is going to come to court and lies told will matter then. So I don't believe he is lying.
Note, he isn't denying he said things. He is saying he isn't the source.Delete
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