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.