U.S. Politics

Jake Tapper Burns Trump With Bill Maher: He Is ‘Empirically Indecent’

CAMBRIDGE, MA - DECEMBER 01:  Jake Tapper, of CNN's State of the Union, speaks to a crowd at the Harvard Institute of Politics Forum before Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway and Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook enter the room for an event titled "War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016" on December 1, 2016 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

CNN Screenshot


A lot about America has changed since the rise of Donald Trump. People thought that his coarse language, his clear racism and misogyny, and just generally appalling behavior would render him unacceptable to the American public. Yet, here we are. Donald Trump is president, and his young administration has fundamentally changed how the world views America, its citizens, and its government. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the way some strident and brave media personalities continue to speak truth to power and insist on making sure that Trump’s disgusting ways, his incompetence, and his lies don’t fundamentally change who we are as a people. Perhaps the breakout star in that regard is CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Tapper hosts The Lead during the week, and State of the Union on Sunday mornings. On Friday night, the fiery host stopped by HBO’s Real Time to have a chat with host Bill Maher. Of course, Maher had to ask about the changes Tapper has had to make now that there’s the biggest liar on earth occupying the Oval Office. Tapper responded:

“You’ve been covering politicians for a long time. Politicians lie. It wasn’t invented on Jan. 20.”

“I’ve never seen this level of falsehood, quantitatively.”

Tapper went on to distinguish between what happens with say, falsehoods that happened with the Obama Administration such as, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” He says of the lies coming out of the Trump White House:

“It’s conspiracy theories based on nothing that have members of his own party distancing themselves from him.”

Then the conversation turns to Trump’s vulgarity and other fundamental affronts to basic human decency in public discourse. Tapper says of the way Trump behaved on the campaign trail and how he continues to behave:

“The truth of the matter is that there is no bias when it comes to facts and there’s no bias when it comes to decency. It’s empirically indecent to make fun of the disabled. That’s just indecent. My children know better than that.”

The two hosts then went on to reference what we all know – which is that most of the fundamental things that make Trump so awful, we all learn not to do in grade school. Maher says:

I always think about that book ‘Everything I Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten.’ He violates every rule. Don’t lie, don’t accuse people of things they’re not guilty of. Don’t boast. Pay your taxes. Serve your country. Don’t be a racist, don’t insult – like you say – the handicapped people or other people who are not as lucky to be as great looking as you are, Donald.”

And yet, in spite of all of these things, people still voted for this fundamentally indecent, sorry excuse for a human being. That says things about this nation that we really need to examine, should we survive this nightmare of a “presidency.”

Watch the video below:

Shannon Barber

U.S. Politics

Reporter’s Question About Russia P*ssed Trump Off So Much He Kicked Everyone Out Of His Office

Reporter’s Question About Russia P*ssed Trump Off So Much He Kicked Everyone Out Of His Office

Getty Images/Win McNamee


If you want to know how Trump treats the press, you need only read the White House press pool report from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit:

The pool was then ushered into the Oval. POTUS and Benjamin Netanyahu sat in two chairs set up in front of the fireplace. FLOTUS sat on the couch to POTUS’s right. Sara Netanyahu sat on the opposite couch.

POTUS referred to the press as: “The nicest people over there.”

This remark was a clear attempt to soften up the people Trump usually demonizes as “fake news” and the “lying media.” In fact, the report says Trump even went out of his way to compliment “FAKE NEWS” CNN’s Sarah Murray on a recent story. It was then that Murray, undeterred by The Donald’s effort to win her over with a couple compliments, asked her question and all hell broke loose:

He called out to CNN’s Sara Murray and complimented a recent story. She asked POTUS to comment on whether his advisors contacted Russian intelligence officer during the campaign.
*_Trump did not respond to her question._* Pool was asked to leave.

This should have been an easy question for Trump. The answer is “yes.” Calls between key Trump staffers have not only been intercepted and made public by our own intelligence agencies and those of our allies who now have to spy on us because Trump is likely compromised. Michael Flynn just resigned because of his discussions of sanctions with the Russian ambassador while Obama was still President.

Instead, Trump said nothing. No admission of wrongdoing, no promise to vet his people better or to actually do his f*cking duty to the American people, nothing.

The terrifying thing is that Trump doesn’t have to say anything.

House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz — that’s the guy who led the charge against Hillary Clinton — has already vowed that he will “never satisfy their desire to bring down Donald Trump.” Rand Paul accidentally admitted that Republicans won’t back a Trump investigation because they’re too busy taking healthcare away from our country’s most vulnerable. Besides, it’s not like Trump is a Democrat, right?

“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,” Paul says. “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”

Think about that. Trump wasn’t joking when he said he could shoot someone in public and not lose support — and he wasn’t just talking about voters. At this point, we can pretty safely assume that our government is compromised to the point that he can literally get away with anything.

“You either have a country or you don’t,” a small-handed orange man once said a few billion times. Call your congressmen. Demand they do the right thing and investigate and impeach Donald J. Trump now — while we still have a country.

John Prager

U.S. Politics

Pro-Trump pastor goes ballistic on CNN: ‘Since when did Russia become a threat?’

Pastor Dr. Darrell Scott speaks to CNN's Fredricka Whitfield (screen grab)

Pastor Dr. Darrell Scott speaks to CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield (screen grab)


Cleveland Pastor Dr. Darrell Scott argued on Sunday that Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) deserves to have his legacy attacked by by President-elect Donald Trump.

During a Sunday interview with Scott, CNN host Fredricka Whitfield explained that Trump had made his disagreement with Lewis personal when the president-elect criticized the civil rights icon for not doing enough to help his constituents.

“He’s not talking about 50 years ago, he’s talking about now,” Scott said in defense of Trump. “Because he was a civil rights icon from the past doesn’t immunize you from any criticism going forward. He’s talking about what’s going on in Atlanta right now.”

Tharon Johnson, a former Obama campaign official, pointed out that Lewis had questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency “because of Russia’s involvement in this election.”

“Now, you as a very educated pastor cannot deny that you’ve seen that,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s confirmed or not confirmed, there was interference by Russia.”

“Since when did Russia become this threat to American society!” Scott exclaimed. “You’re talking about Russia when we’re talking about ISIS.”

Whitfield interrupted: “That has historically been the case. We’re not arguing whether it is or it isn’t because it is.”

“If Donald Trump is an illegitimate president then Hillary Clinton was an illegitimate candidate!” Scott declared. “Because the DNC was hacked and it revealed how they conspired against Bernie Sanders!”

“You’re trying to make something racial,” the pastor insisted. “The Democratic Party keeps throwing stuff up against the wall hoping it will stick. First it was the popular vote, then the Electoral College, then it’s WikiLeaks, now it’s Russia! It’s the FBI, it’s James Comey! Your candidate lost! She lost!”

“I think the hope we had for this conversation is the hope that we could look forward,” the CNN host lamented, concluding the interview as Scott continued ranting.

“Get over it,” Scott said. “If Trump goes low, you go high!”

Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Jan. 15 2017.

U.S. Politics

WATCH: CNN spent ten straight minutes tearing down Trump’s lies


CNN host Anderson Cooper and his colleagues on Thursday night criticized President-elect Donald Trump and his spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway for spreading falsehoods.

Cooper, along with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Jim Sciutto and Acosta, brought up several of Trump’s recent controversies.

“Jim Acosta, you tried to ask a question at the press conference to president-elect Trump,” Cooper said. “He refused to take questions, saying you’re from ‘fake news.’ What did Sean Spicer say to you after that?”

“Well, he came up to me and said that what I did was crossing the line and was inappropriate,” Acosta said. “We should repeat that during that news conference when I was trying to ask that question, Spicer threatened to throw me out of the press conference if I kept persisting. But speaking of Sean Spicer, we should report that on a conference call this morning, he was asked whether Donald Trump was going to sue over these stories for libel and Sean Spicer told reporters that the president-elect would like to move on.”

Acosta said that the one thing that is worse than “fake news” is “the denial of real news.” What could be worse than that is watching Conway being “not in command of the facts.”

“But I will tell you that this has been a pattern for the Trump campaign and now the Trump transition, where they don’t like the news that’s being reported and they go after the messenger and I think that’s just going to continue,” Acosta continued.

Sciutto noted that it is extremely rare for someone like James Clapper to put out a statement calling out a president-elect for lying about what he was or was not briefed on. He noted that he, Tapper and even Carl Bernstein, who all worked their own sources in the intelligence community and were able to confirm the briefing occurred.

He said that of all of the things that Conway and Trump have said over the last few days he is the most concerned about what the president-elect did to Acosta during the press conference.

“He accused our network, our reporters of spreading fake news when in fact we were right,” Sciutto said. “It matters because this is a democracy, an open society, and we rely on our public officials, our leaders giving us an accurate presentation of the facts. An inaccurate presentation of and the president went out with the facts which was then contradicted in public by two people in the room, the director of national intelligence and the vice president.”

Watch the exchange below:

CNN Panel (Photo: Screen capture)

U.S. Politics

17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

17 Signs Of How Bad Press Treatment Will Be Under Trump

IMAGE: Media Matters


Yesterday’s press conference laid bare President-elect Donald Trump’s strategy for dealing with the press as president: He will seek to delegitimize news outlets that provide critical coverage, try to turn them against one another, reward sycophantic coverage from openly pro-Trump sources, and encourage others to follow in their lead. The candidate who waged an unprecedented war on the press will not be pivoting as president.

In one day we saw Trump publicly punish members of the press for critical reporting, threatening one outlet with “consequences” for its actions and calling on another to apologize; thank members of the press who behaved in a way he found appropriate; and take a question from an outlet tied to his top aide about what “reforms” he wants to see from the press. We saw Trump aides publicly humiliate and jeer at reporters. We saw one news outlet respond to Trump’s criticism by throwing another under the bus. We saw journalists treat the attacks on the press as a sideshow while praising Trump’s performance. And we saw a U.S. congressman call for a reporter’s firing for being “disrespectful” to the president-elect.

On Monday, CNN reported that top U.S. intelligence officials had presented information to President Obama and Trump that “Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” The allegations were based on memos authored by a former British intelligence officer reportedly considered credible by the U.S. intelligence community. CNN obtained the memos and reported on, but did not publish, the documents because it had not been able to verify them. BuzzFeed subsequently published the memos, acknowledging that it had not verified them.

Trump sought to use yesterday’s press conference to conflate the two stories and employ them to shatter the credibility of the news outlets that published them. The result was a horrifying day for press freedom.

Here are some of the things that happened over the course of January 11:

  1. Sean Spicer, who will serve as White House press secretary, opened Trump’s press conference by attacking BuzzFeed as a “left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign” and calling its decision to publish the memos “outrageous and highly irresponsible.” He then said that both CNN and BuzzFeed were engaging in a “sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks.”
  2. Before introducing Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence declared that there has been “a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election and to demean our incoming administration” and accused CNN and BuzzFeed of pushing “fake news” that he said “can only be attributed to media bias, an attempt to demean the president-elect and our incoming administration.”
  3. In his opening statement, Trump thanked members of the assembled press who “came out so strongly against that fake news and the fact that it was written about by primarily one group and one television station.”
  4. Asked about the story during the press conference, Trump said that BuzzFeed was “a failing pile of garbage” and is “going to suffer the consequences” for its actions. He also criticized CNN, which he said was “going out of their way to build it up” and “ought to apologize.”
  5. CNN’s Jim Acosta then sought to ask a question of Trump given that his outlet had been attacked. Trump lashed out at Acosta’s “terrible” news outlet and refused to let him ask a question, declaring, “You are fake news!”
  6. The assembled press responded to Trump’s attack on Acosta by doing nothing.
  7. A few minutes later, Trump turned to Matt Boyle of Breitbart.com, letting Boyle ask a question. Breitbart’s executive chairman is top Trump aide Stephen Bannon, who has bragged about turning the website into the “platform” for the so-called “alt-right,” a noxious collection of white nationalists, nativists, and misogynists.
  8. Boyle, who has provided Trump with sycophantic coverage for years and is effectively an agent of Trump’s house news organ, was the only journalist provided with a reserved seat at the presser.
  9. Boyle had this question for Trump: “This decision to publish fake news and all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?”
  10. Trump responded that he didn’t support “reforms,” just reporters who have “some moral compass,” before again saying that some of the reporters sitting in front of him work for “fake news” outlets.
  11. The press conference reportedly ended with Acosta being heckled by Omarosa.
  12. Trump “filled the room with paid staffers who clapped and cheered as he blasted members of the media as purveyors of ‘fake news,’” as Politico reported.
  13. After the press conference, Acosta reported that Spicer had warned him that if he didn’t stop trying to ask Trump questions, he would be “thrown out of this press conference.”
  14. CNN responded to Trump’s attacks on the network by rushing to declare that it hadn’t done anything wrong, and that it was BuzzFeed that rightfully deserved Trump’s wrath. It is telling that when the network came under fire, its executives and journalists sought not just to defend themselves, but to point Trump toward a more palatable target.
  15. The Washington Post reported that Trump had a “decent press conference” in which, “remarkably, he offered kind words for news organizations.” (The Post’s headline was later changed, replacing “decent” with “aggressive.”)
  16. Politico’s influential Playbook reported, “Journalists didn’t like his attacks on them, but for most people who watched Trump yesterday, it was a pretty good performance.”
  17. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) tweeted that Acosta “should be fired & prohibited from any press briefings” because he was “disrespectful to Trump.”

Trump will be sworn in as president in eight days. Things can still get much, much worse.

IMAGE: Media Matters

U.S. Politics

‘You’ve Asked Me Eight Times!’: GOP Guest Blows Up When CNN’s Blitzer Pushes on Neo-Nazis


Image – Screengrab


Today, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer pushed RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer on whether or not President-elect Donald Trump needs to do a better job of disavowing the neo-Nazis who convened and celebrated his election this weekend. Today, he told writers from the New York Times that he condemns their behavior, but Blitzer wanted to know if that was enough. He questioned whether the President-elect should put out a statement to the entire country.

Spicer repeatedly said that Trump has plenty of other things to worry about, but Blitzer wouldn’t let up.

Eventually, the guest snapped, asking what more Trump can do to disavow white nationalists and saying things like, “At some point, you’ve gotta take his position and move on!”

Once again, Blitzer pushed for more, asking why the neo-Nazis like Trump so much.

“I don’t know! That’s really not my focus, figuring out why certain groups support him!” he said, moving on to call the repeated questions about white nationalism “preposterous.”

Did you think Blitzer was done? He wasn’t! He asked why Trump is so quick to tweet about Hamilton or the New York Times when he’s mad at them but won’t disavow the alt-right until he’s asked.

Spicer exploded, “You’ve asked me eight times, the same question! I’ve told you what his position is. That’s not his focus! His focus is making this country better for all Americans, creating a better country, creating a better education system for all Americans, rebuilding our inner cities. That’s what his focus is. So I get that you guys all want to ask the same question over and over again and make him denounce it eight ways to Sunday, but it’s not what he wants to talk about!”

He went on to ask if Trump needs to rent a plane and write his disavowal in the sky.

Watch above.

U.S. Politics

CNN Anchor Needles Pence For Failing To Condemn Trump’s Racism

CNN Screen-capture (Video below)


CNN’s New Day Chris Cuomo quizzed Gov. Mike Pence’s debate performance and asked him why he didn’t stick to his “own truths” on many of Trump’s odious positions that he refuted in the past.

Gov. Pence didn’t answer the question and then made believe the Trump positions on his Muslim ban never happened. Pence said, “I’m not — I’m not frustrated at all about it, Chris. Donald Trump and I have been very, very clear about the issue of suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, or some of these other issues.”

Cuomo cut and and replied, “But governor that’s not what he said…What he’s said…”

Pence interjected, “Our position is we’re going to suspend immigration from countries compromised by terrorists.

Cuomo begged to differ. “But Governor that is a finessed position. We both know that where he started was saying there is a problem with Islam, that Muslims should be kept out of the country.

“You condemned those comments, and you did so strongly as the governor of Indiana when you were backing Ted Cruz. You said we can’t say that when he said what he said about the judge not making it about the case about his ethnicity you condemned those comments. Why do you not condemn them now,” he pressed.

Pence replied, “Well, because it’s not Donald Trump’s position now.’

Chris didn’t let him get away with that. “But what he has said about women, about Mexicans, about Muslims matters and I know that you have said you don’t share those positions. And now, tacitly, you are accepting those positions because you won’t speak out against them. You understand that?”

Pence refused to answer and replied by bringing up Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” comment, as if that’s supposed to wash away every despicable thing Trump has said in the entire campaign.

Cuomo responded by saying, The next she said she went too far” and then he went where everybody wants to go but were afraid to go there.

Cuomo said, “And you know that very unsavory negative and hateful components have attached themselves to the [Trump] campaign.”

Pence responded by still attacking Clinton’s remarks, saying Hillary never really apologized and then moved on.

Tim Kaine may have not been as cool and level headed as Pence during their debate, but the aftermath has put Pence and the Trump campaign in a bind.

By John Amato


U.S. Politics

Fox seeks to extend cable news domination in post-Ailes era

Getty Images


Fox News dominated the cable news landscape for 20 years under Roger Ailes, but faces questions about whether it can extend its reign going forward.

The shocking departure of Ailes amid allegations of sexual harassment has left Rupert Murdoch, the 85-year old executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, in charge. But with a myriad of other major media properties to attend to and age considerations, Murdoch’s role running day-to-day operations out of Nee York will only be in an interim capacity.

A source familiar with the situation says it will be “multiple months” before any permanent successor to Ailes is decided upon.

The same source says there’s no rush to make a decision because current to management at the network is stable in the hands of Murdoch, Bill Shine ( executive vice president of programming) and Jay Wallace (executive vice president of news and editorial).

Rivals of Fox see an opportunity, while longtime political fans of the network, who saw it buttress the conservative political movement, are openly worried the network could shift under new leadership.

Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, serve as co-chairmen and CEOs of Fox News’s parent company, and could use Ailes’s departure to reinvent the network.

“Fox News will be going through a dramatic transformation as it figures itself out without its creator,” said James Shepard, chair of the Communications Department at California State University, Fullerton.

“In the short term, I suspect we will see minimal turnover and experimentation,” he said. But in the long term, we may see softening of the most radical elements of programming and perhaps see more ‘fair and balanced’ news.”

Sky News in Britain, which is also operated by the Murdochs, doesn’t have the edge of Fox News in the United States. If there is a change, Shepard says it will be a sign that “the Murdoch sons want to put their stamp on the company by importing practices from Sky News in Britain.”

Shepard’s view isn’t necessarily a majority opinion.

The cable news network makes its parent company millions, and some think that alone means there will be no change.

Research firm SNL Kagan estimates Fox News generated $2.3 billion in ad sales alone last year. Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser says the operating profit for Fox News was $1.6 billion in fiscal 2015. That’s nearly 25 percent of 21st Century Fox’s overall operating profit.

“At this point Fox News is such a fine-tuned and well-oiled machine, I think even Mickey Mouse could step in and keep it running, says Doug Spero, associate professor of communication at Meredith College and TV veteran who includes ABC, CBS and NBC on his resume.

“They attract the same demos year after year and they’ve dominated with their prime-time lineup. Bill O’Reilly has been number one for years,” he said.

“As the saying goes, ‘If it ain’t terribly broken, don’t terribly fix it.’ Would they change the ideology or content? I don’t think so,” says Spero. “They’ve carved out their audience and if you’ve got the market, why mess with it? If the cash register keeps ringing, I can’t imagine the Murdoch family will allow that to stop.”

Fox has easily been number one in cable news for the past 15 years.

The network even recently finished at the top of all cable channels, including ESPN.

The competition with CNN and MSNBC hasn’t even been close, with Fox oftentimes at least beating the two audiences combined in both total viewers and the key 25-54 demo.

At the same time, many of Fox’s stars are aging, and it is not clear younger stars such as Megyn Kelly will stay with the network.

CNN has been making gains lately under industry veteran Jeff Zucker (who ran NBC before eventually going to CNN in 2012) and is clearly in a better positions of the two networks below Fox to make a serious challenge.

But is Fox vulnerable to a challenge?

The momentum of election years — particularly this one with the ratings gold that is Donald Trump — doesn’t always carry over into election off-years.

MSNBC, for example, finished second to Fox News after the 2012 re-election year of President Obama. The network finished so strong that MSNBC President Phil Griffin made the bold prediction that MSNBC would catch Fox in the ratings by the end of 2013. The exact opposite happened, with MSNBC falling backwards and behind a struggling-at-the-time CNN instead.

The key for both CNN and MSNBC, at least in terms of being truly competitive with Fox, is to have the kind of talent and compelling content foundation to keep audiences tuning in after the votes are counted on Election Day.

“Ailes has built a very strong machine. No one can deny that he’s built an empire at Fox News,”” says television veteran Doug Spero. “Yes, it’s bigger than one man, but it’s basically his baby. At this point, it’s so solid I don’t think it’ll budge even two ratings points even after he’s gone.”

Ailes was undeniably Fox’s most valuable employee.

But who will guide Fox News into next year and beyond?

Outside observers differ over whether the company will look outside for leadership.

Some media analysts see the top candidate as Bill Shine, Sr. EVP, Programming of FOX News and FOX Business. Under Shine, the business network has been enjoying its best 18 months in its history since he was promoted to handle the day-to-day operations in late 2014, even beating rival CNBC on some occasions, once an unthinkable feat.

Shine has been with the network since its inception in 1996, working his way up the ranks from producer to senior programming executive.

Jay Wallace is also seen as a strong contender for the job, having recently been promoted to executive vice president of news and editorial in April. Wallace replaced the now-departed Michael Clemente, who left the network last week for reasons — according to the network — unrelated to Ailes’ departure.

Wallace has also been with Fox News since Day 1, having started out as a tape coordinator. He now oversees daytime and weekday news programming.
The third and final serious contender internally is John Moody, executive vice president and editor. Moody has been with the network for four years and is Rome bureau chief for Time Magazine.

Another name making the rounds is David Rhodes. The current president of CBS News extended his contract last year through 2019.

But if the goal of the Murdochs is to use the Ailes departure as impetus to reinvent Fox News into a more traditional news outlet, Rhodes, 43, may be a viable option (if not costly given the existing contract) since he is also a former Fox News executive.

But David Parsons, a public relations executive for more than 40 years, with a focus on corporate and crisis communications, says another name with an impressive resume should be considered.

“I would see the candidate being embraced as having direct news experience, still young enough to navigate the digital world and all – someone like David Westin, former head of ABC News from 1997-2010,” says Parsons. “He was well respected and well liked, knows the political ropes and the talent handholding that are a big part of the picture.”

Chad Wilkinson, a longtime cable news producer and President of Liberty Media Strategies, sees Fox strongly considering a change but ultimately keeping with what’s worked for the past two decades in turning to Bill Shine, the EVP for programming and Fox Business.

“In the short term, I think Rupert taps Bill Shine to run the operation,” says Wilkinson. “
“Shine is respected by the staff and has done a strong job leading Fox Business since Kevin Magee has exited.

“Long term, I think Murdoch thinks long and hard about (CBS President) David Rhodes, but ends up staying the course with Bill Shine,” Wilkinson continues, adding, “Fox News is a money maker and staying the course with someone that knows the operation and what made it a success will win the job.”

By Joe Concha

U.S. Politics

Dan Rather slams media for acting like a ‘business partner of Donald Trump’ to boost their ratings

Dan Rather on CNN - (screen grab)

(Dan Rather on CNN – screen grab)


Appearing on CNN’s Reliable Sources on Sunday morning, legendary newsman Dan Rather took a few shots at the political coverage of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, accusing reporters of failing to ask follow-up questions and their bosses of essentially partnering with him to boost their ratings.

“So many journalists have had to recalibrate their expectations and their understanding of politics,” host Brian Stelter asked. “What has disappointed you in the media coverage of this [Trump’s] campaign?”

“What has disappointed me most is the lack of tough questions and the tough follow-up questions,” replied Rather.

Pressed by Stelter, “You don’t think he’s been asked tough questions?” Rather said reporters let Trump slide around giving direct answers.

“Well, he handles tough questions by doing the old side shuffle most of the time. And with rare exceptions — I give Jake Tapper credit here on CNN — with rare exceptions, nobody bores in and keeps asking the tough question,” the former 60 Minutes host stated. “The other thing that’s disappointed me a bit, and I do think there’s been some media complicity in the rise of Trump. It’s not the only factor, but it has been a factor in providing him so much airtime, and in some cases being complicit in arranging that airtime.”

“For the news viewer, for the consumer of news, I think never more has it been necessary to deal with skepticism. Not cynicism, never cynicism but skepticism,” he continued. “Skepticism, saying ‘OK, Trump is on for an hour and a half on this network. Why is he there?’ The answer, of course, is because he’s very good for ratings and very good for demographics.”

Asked by the CNN host if the networks should “have some sort of blackout” of Trump, Rather disagreed.

“No, I don’t agree with that at all. Certainly show him. But the control has to stay with the journalistic entity. What I worry about is in a way that the media is a political partner, a business partner of Donald Trump,” Rather explained. “The media wants the ratings. I don’t except myself from this criticism, by the way. Media wants the ratings. Trump delivers those ratings. So in a way, they’re business partners, where the role of the journalist is to be an adversary.”




U.S. Politics

Palin: Paul Ryan’s going down

Sarah Palin

CNN Screenshot


So $arah Palin, the half-term, half-brained former governor of Alaska, went on CNN to say that House Speaker Paul Ryan is toast for not backing GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

I’m sure the House speaker is quaking in his running shoes.

“I think Paul Ryan is soon to be Cantored,” the Wasilla Hillbilly told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, trying to give the impression that she was “in the know” by using former Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s name as a verb.

“His political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people, and as the leader of the GOP, the convention, certainly he is to remain neutral, and for him to already come out and say who he will not support is not a wise decision of his,” she said in Palin-speak.

Palin promises to work for Ryan primary opponent, Paul Nehlen, although she hasn’t bothered to tell him yet. Nehlen has endorsed Trump. (I didn’t realize it, but Wisconsin has its state primary in August, even though the presidential primary is over.) Perhaps someone should remind Caribou Barbie that Trump lost Wisconsin.

So she’s still looking for ways to remain relevant, and apparently the media are willing to give her those platforms.

Sher Watts Spooner