Open Thread Jan. 27: What It Is Ain’t Exactly Clear

Filed in National, Open Thread by on January 27, 2018

Friday afternoon was quieter than usual for the Age of Trump. Too quiet? Hard to say. But the chattering classes seem to be processing the revelations about the Mueller investigation that came out of the past week. We learned that Mueller had already talked to several high-profile figures and seemed to be zeroing in on obstruction of the probe, but that only meant things were further along than many realized. More important was the debunking of most of the whisper campaigns Republicans in Congress and the media have been running against the FBI and Mueller — nonsense about secret societies in the FBI (tracked back to an email joke) and misuse of FISA to spy on the president (who just happens to have been getting money from Russian oligarchs, ostensibly for Trump “luxury” condos nobody else will buy).

It all has a familiar feel to Lucian Truscott IV. He watched the initial production of “Impeach!” starring  Richard Nixon, who originated the role of Madman on the South Lawn. He doesn’t say what exactly triggered this feeling, but he says the body politic’s antibodies have identified and will expel this destructive infection. I’m not sold, either, but all I can say is to read it before you criticize.

The Columbia Journalism Review has looked out over this mediascape and cried, “Enough!” The journalism watchdog says it’s time for a new kind of Trump coverage, and illuminates the point:

It’s entirely within Donald Trump’s rights to do what he does. But it is within our rights to ignore him, or to bring him back to what we think matters. Much too often, we have not. We continue to spend our days, and our audience’s time, reacting to the president’s bumbling a level of disbelief and outrage that has boiled over into a stinking froth.

The Fake News Awards were a case in point: We participated with Trump in building up the thing — “Isn’t it outrageous that a sitting president would take time out of his day to dream this up?”— then when it was launched and the accompanying web site crashed, we made fun of the botched rollout (it’s a metaphor!), then bemoaned Trump’s continued attacks on the press. Every single one of Trump’s fake newsies was a rehash of complaints he’s made before, a repackaging of his schtick in the same way that his Twitter tirades seem at this point a broken-needle repeat of the same material, repeating itself again and again. What’s amazing is that we continue to cover all of it, again and again. Often, the strategy seems to be to simply give Trump the forum in hopes that he’ll pay us back by saying something outrageous enough to win us clicks or viewers. If the mission a year ago was to keep Trump from leading us around by the nose, I’m afraid we have failed.

Here’s another mainstream Democrat demonstrating why his presidential ambitions should be taken out behind the barn and shot: Andrew Cuomo borrowed a billionaire hedge fund manager’s plane so he could watch his girlfriend’s documentary at Sundance. Man of the motherfucking people. Next we’ll get a picture of him windsurfing in France.

And here’s why even the most despicable Democrat is a thousand times better than a Republican: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, his Koch-funded empire crumbling as cheesehead geezers without the money to move to Arizona die off, is refusing to hold elections to fill vacant legislative seats. Republicans in North Carolina are conducting a similar assault on that state’s institutions, trying to remake the courts to maintain perpetual GOP control of government. Just more evidence that democracy is not a concept Republicans accept.

Pennsylvania’s court-ordered redistricting should help Democrats in their effort to retake the House, but Steven Rosenfeld at Alternet warns that, despite lots of court victories, don’t expect other states new maps in other states, because federal cases are a different matter. Looks like all of them will be stayed by courts until after November.

Today’s big #metoo story involves the California judge who slapped Stanford rapist Brock Turner’s wrist. Aaron Persky now faces a recall election after opponents gathered the more than 53,000 signatures required to put it on the June primary ballot.

And, harking back a few days, Compound Interest explains the chemistry of why you shouldn’t eat Tide Pods. Consider this a public service for conservative lurkers, who might be wrongly motivated if I pointed out that neither Hillary, Obama nor George Soros would never eat a Tide Pod.


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  1. jason330 says:

    Columbia Journalism Review is part right. The media, one could argue, is forced to follow Trump around. But when they chase after every wing nut agenda item Fox News rolls out, they do that by choice. There is no excuse for constantly allowing Fox News to play assignment editor.

  2. bamboozer says:

    Or we could just say the corporate media continues to be more tabloid than traditional journalism, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.

  3. Paul says:

    how about faces on television news who take more pride in their journalistic dedication and less pride in becoming celebrities…And more importantly their producers, who choose and should direct research into the story. News organizations that choose news over entertainment are not profitable, but are expected to be. Perhaps this is one very negative piece of fallout from Ted Turner’s fantasy of a 24 hour news network. I’d say the experiment is a dismal failure. It has changed attitudes in broadcast boardrooms all for the negative. If given the opportunity, I would have no idea of how to fix the 24 problem. But Americans can hold their 24 news network’s feet to the fire and stop watching the pure bullshit these networks create in order to be “entertaining”. A pox on all their houses.