The past week has convinced me once again that the corporate media is worse than useless. The only reason for watching CNN and MSNBC is to collect examples of outrageous normalizing and insider smugness, examples of how the corporate media has sold us out, is selling us out and will get Trump re-elected.
The Joe Scarborough and dreadful Mika lecture about booing Donald Trump just did it for me. I cannot watch anymore, not even to record the media’s subversive ushering-in of the take over of democracy by authoritarianism.
But, like a partner in a bad relationship, I thought I’d listen to Ari Melber, for a minute, while I looked for my copy of Elmer Gantry. I was so wrong to do this.
When my television records a program, it starts early, so I must watch at least a few minutes of the amazingly obnoxious, arrogant and over-rated Chuck Todd.
There he was with one of my least favorite people in the world, Adrienne Elrod, one of the Clinton entitled jerk women (like Neera Tandem). These women helped lose the 2016 election for the Democrats but will never, never forgive Bernie Sanders for exercising his political right to run for election. They are bitter, nasty and never pass up an opportunity to trash Sanders.
The panel was talking about Joe Manchin’s decision to give an interview to Fox News in which he announced that if Bernie Sanders was the Democratic candidate, he would vote for Trump. This video clip just made me sick and enraged me. Joe Manchin is such a disgrace to the Democratic party. Why they support him I don’t know. He votes with the Republicans but still the leadership protects him. Why would we want this jerk?
I phoned Manchin’s office earlier in the day to express my outrage that he had made such an announcement. The staffer who took my call, said with obvious contemptuous disdain at the end of the call: “Have a nice day.” “Oh you too.” I answered back. “You should be ashamed to work for this man.”
Elrod, however, predictably pronounced that Manchin’s statement that he would VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN CRIMINAL AND MADMAN over Bernie Sanders wasn’t a problem at all. If anyone in the party had said that they would vote for Trump over Clinton, people like the dreadful Adrienne Elrod would have been all over television talking party treason and accusing them of sexism. Why these programs continue to have her on just escapes me. They do a story about Bernie Sanders and then have ADRIENNE ELROD on to comment on it, or Neera F…ing Tandem. Jesus.
Then, after Elrod was finished saying that Manchin’s statement really wasn’t a problem, this other guest – a smirking, arrogant somebody said that “everyone in Washington” understood Manchin as a Democrat from West Virginia and that only Bernie would have called Manchin on his statement. The panel nodded their heads.
It is the contempt, the insider smirk, the “real players understand that you always sell your soul for political advantage” people that just make me sick. I hate their satisfaction, their smug confidence that the real players all understand that this is just a game for power and they laugh at the rest of us who take it seriously, have to take it seriously because it means our lives.
I don’t know who this guy is. But, after he said that Bernie was the only rube who would be so unsophisticated not to know that real cool people sell their souls every day, he said that Bernie should have just been quiet for the “good of the party.”
Joe F…ing Manchin should be quiet for the good of the party and not make a public statement (on Fox News) that he will VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN MEMBER OF AN INTERNATIONAL CRIME SYNDICATE rather than vote for Bernie Sanders, the Democratic nominee.
Joe Manchin makes a cynical, self-interested statement that he would rather support a man who doesn’t believe in democracy rather than his party’s supposed candidate and they are blaming Bernie? Bernie should just be quiet?
But, the arrogant F… and Chuck Todd bent over laughing at the idiocy of Sanders calling Manchin out. To them it is laughable idiocy to believe in integrity, in morals. They are what we need to get rid of – people who think selling their souls is such an ever day occurrence that they think the rest of us are stupid for objecting.
“Have we celebrated 220 years of our Constitution to reach a point where, like a banana republic, our highest elected leaders can engage in crimes of illegal surveillance, lying to take the nation into war, torture, disappearance and degradation with impunity?” (xi)
Elizabeth Holtzman has been on many corporate news programs over the past year commenting on the Trump Administration. She was on the House Judiciary Committee investigating Watergate.
The real shame, however, is that I have not heard a single corporate news host interview her on her important and relevant book “Cheating Justice” that came out in 2012.
Holtzman details in her book the way in which George W. Bush and Dick Cheney not only broke the law and lied us into a war, but took pains to manipulate the legal system so they couldn’t be held accountable afterward for their crimes.
If the corporate media could stop for five minutes getting every living soul in Washington to comment on the minutia of testimony by witnesses to a crime that White House has already admitted, we might learn how players like Bill Barr are manipulating behind the scenes to make it impossible to hold Trump accountable either.
George W. Bush is now considered by many as a harmless little guy you share a box with at a baseball game. But, he lied us into a war, unnecessarily, a war that had grave consequences for this country and the Middle East.
But, as Holtzman notes:
“The former president had no apologies for starting a war in Iraq that had taken the lives of thousands and ruined many more: he thought the world was better off for it, even though no weapons of mass destruction, his ostensible reason for the war, were found in Iraq.”
This book is a great read and an important document for understanding what the Justice Department is most likely doing behind our backs.
It’s been a bad few days, a shocking few days, a disorienting few days.
First, late last week, the story broke that Bill Barr had launched a criminal investigation into the 2016 FBI probe of Russian attacks on the election. In doing so, the Justice Department became an authoritarian enforcement arm for the White House. The clear purpose of this criminal inquiry is to harass and punish people in the FBI and the intelligence communities who dared to investigate a transnational criminal who was running for, and then became president, Donald Trump.
But, no sooner had the story broken than the corporate news normalizers (Chuck Rosenberg, et. al.) hit the air waves to tell us that this wasn’t what it was – the use of the Justice Department to prosecute Trump’s enemies.
“It’s only a diversion from the impeachment inquiry,” we were told. “Barr’s co-conspirator John Durham is a man of integrity, an adult in the room. He would never be involved with anything improper.” “The investigation is going nowhere.” “They haven’t even said what crime they were investigating.” “Let’s wait and see what they come up with.”
There’s a fundamental kind of disorientation you experience when what is right in front of your eyes is denied by others looking at the same thing. I am used to it from the corporate media, but the past few days have just been crazy-making.
Sunday morning, I turned on the television and before I had a chance to take the first sip of coffee, I was confronted with Donald Trump’s ugly face staring out of the television screen, making some sort of announcement. I felt like the deer in the headlights. My partner and I sat propped up in bed, speechless, and listening first to a dead-toned reading of a prepared statement about Bathdadi’s death and then to a totally unhinged Trump wet dream about the actual killing.
When Trump talks about violence he does so with relish. He draws out the phrases and words almost as if he were tasting them on his tongue. Sunday, he was visibly savoring the details of Baghdadi’s death. He was enjoying the video of the man’s humiliation, his crying, his whimpering, his terror.
I have listened to Trump enough to know when he’s pulling shit out of his ass. I knew even then he was making this up. What we were listening to was a violent wet dream inside the diseased head of a man who controls the nuclear codes. I felt nauseous.
Donald Trump’s brain is filled with sick-making fantasies. Some of these fantasies are of the terrorizing, humiliation and utter destruction – in slow motion and in technicolor – of his enemies. What we were listening to Sunday morning was what he would like to do to anyone who opposes him. What we were listening to was what he would do to anyone who opposes him if he thought he could get away with it. What we were listening to was what he will do to anyone who opposes him if we don’t stop him.
By the time Trump finished and I got to the study to turn on the computer, the corporate media was doing its job.
I sat and stared with disbelief into the face of a young woman reporter who had listened to the same public statement I had. “Trump” she said “is a vivid storyteller.” He has an “unconventional style.”
What the corporate media then did throughout the day was transform an obscene display of crassness, mental illness and sadism into a question of style. Donald Trump is not a vivid storyteller. Donald Trump is not unconventional. Donald Trump is a madman.
I tried to spend most of the day dealing with cats, Naan, and working on a seminar about the 1960 film, Elmer Gantry.
Monday morning, I hadn’t even turned on the television when my Twitter feed went wild. Reaching over to get the Mini, I read a stream of comments that made me groan out loud.
The two worst people in the entire world (Joe Scarborough and the dreadful Mika) were evidently on air lecturing the rest of us and calling us “unAmerican” for booing Donald Trump and chanting “lock him up” at a ball game. These two narcissistic, self-promoting, vacuous and disgusting examples of what this society has become had the audacity to scold and shame American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.
These two people helped get Trump elected by giving him millions in free air time. Trump himself referred to them as his “supporters.” They got his permission before they asked him difficult questions in an interview, and they were partying at Mar-a-Lago after the election. They saw themselves in the White House. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski turned on Trump only after he threatened to (and eventually did) out their adulterous affair.
Morning Joe is usually good fodder and provides such delicious examples of wretched corporate media coverage (not to mention obsequious butt kissing from the panel), but I couldn’t even turn on the television. I knew I would throw something and I enjoy that television.
By mid-morning my Twitter feed was telling me that the most hypocritical, sanctimonious and compromised of all Democrats, Chris Coons, had joined the Joe and Mika team admonishing Americans for spontaneous political expression. Coons, while presenting himself as being “bi-partisan” and oh such a good guy, helped arrange a sham “investigation” of Bret Kavnaugh that helped him get to the Supreme Court.
The one true point of all this is that the Club of Elites (including the corporate media and the political establishment) wants to handle the Trump fiasco itself. They do not want the American people empowered. They do not want legitimate outrage, protests, boos, chants, action. They are terrified that people in this country might realize they have the power to throw the bastards out whenever they choose to. They are terrified that people might realize that they have the power to provide themselves with adequate health care, good public schools, living wages and jobs, a fair criminal justice system. They have the power to demand that the white collar, corporate and political criminals be put under the goddamn jail for their blatant thievery and gutting of the American economy.
The sheer fact of the matter is that the Joe Scarboroughs, Mika Brzezinski’s, the Chris Coons, the Nancy Pelosis, the Ellens, the Danny Deutschs of the world have more in common with each other than they do with us.
They want Trump out because he’s upsetting the game, but they want to handle it themselves. That way, the polite in-house corruption, cheating, self-dealing and graft can continue.
The corporate media is not even remotely on our side. They will debate minutiae, trivialize political division, suppress radical expression, flood the air waves with normalizers. They will never, unless they are forced to by the American people, admit that what we are experiencing is a disaster, a terrifying crisis, the transformation of a once proud democratic country into an authoritarian state. For as long as they can get away with it, they will tell us to “move along.” “Don’t freak out.” Go enjoy yourselves, look the other way.
We must not let them get away with it.