MANCHURIAN RUSSIAN CANDIDATE
The French have their own Trump. She is Marine Le Pen, the head of the right-wing National Front party. She’s pleased as punch with Trump’s victory. The New York Times quoted her as saying:
“It’s the emergence of a new world. “It’s the end of the 20th century.”
Actually, it seems more like the 20th century all over again, beginning with January 30, 1933. In Berlin. A couple months before the Reichstag fire. Five years before Kristollnacht.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
— George Santayana
It’s amazing that the national press reported that Trump fired Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from his transition team, but never said why. They dutifully reported that Christie was implicated, but never charged, in the Bridgegate affair. But nothing else. The NY Times came closest:
Two people familiar with the reorganization discussion said Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had wanted to marginalize Mr. Christie, who had come to recognize that he was not in the running to serve as a top adviser in Mr. Trump’s White House. It was unclear whether concerns about his ability to be confirmed might prevent him from being offered a cabinet post.
Doubtful that Christie’s confirmation prospects had anything to do with it. Kushner has every reason to want to “marginalized” Christie. In April, Politico reported that Christie put Jared Kushner’s father in jail. Jared Kushner is now part of Trump’s inner circle, which isn’t big enough the NJ guv and the son-in-law. It’s a safe bet that Jared Kushner loathes Christie.
It is said that newspaper’s editorial page is its conscience.
The Star, you may have noticed, had naught to say about the presidential election, before or after. I would suppose this means the Star has no conscience. Its reluctance to support or oppose either candidate reflects the Star’s fear that taking a position would drive readers away.
The Star, like all newspapers, is the only business that enjoys a place in the First Amendment. It is said that as such the Star has a responsibility to a free press.
On the contrary: The First Amendment means the Star is free to be a cowering, chicken-shit enterprise whose only interest is profit.
In one of the opening scenes of the 1940 Hitchcock movie Foreign Correspondent, a New York newspaper publisher is scanning his newspaper for war news. There are stories relating to the war, but he mutters, “No news.” He calls his editor and asks who is the best cop reporter. He sends that reporter — Joel McCrea — to Europe.
I thought of that publisher last night as I watched the broadcast of NBC News the day after possibly the most important presidential election of the century, perhaps in history.
There wasn’t a lick of news. There were excerpts from Trump’s speech, from Clinton’s speech, from Obama. There was a piece on what a surprise. There was a report of unhappy voters. There was a segment on the new first family (humdinger there). And there was the obligatory segment on how we make nice in presidential transition, Trump’s spite and contempt notwithstanding.
There was nothing explaining how the frigging American press got it wrong, why the polls were wrong about Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Michigan or why it was constantly reported that Trump had no clear path to 270 votes.
There was nothing about how much was spent on the polls, how they were conducted, not a breath of how years ago Arrianna Huffington poked holes in how polls were taken.
In 1990, Nicaragua held a presidential election. National polls reported Daniel Ortega, hero of the Sandinista war, would win in a landslide. He lost in a landslide. Violeta Chamorro, his nemesis and ideological opponent served as president for seven years. Poll respondents lied.
And it seems possible that poll respondents in the 2016 U.S. election also lied.
In its extended coverage of the election aftermath Wednesday, NPR spent most of its time chatting about what Trump said he would do if he were elected and whether he would actually do it. Now there’s a noose service for you, worse than an empty suit, a vacuous exercise in shit think.
It might be news if someone reported what it would take to restore manufacturing jobs in the United States. That is to say how Trump would accomplish his goal. It might be news if some alleged news outlet discussed what would happen if the North American Free Trade Agreement were declared null and void. Much of that information is available at your one-stop Libertarian stronghold, the Cato Institute, which for decades now has argued that all barriers to foreign workers should be dropped and worldwide labor should be allowed to flow freely.
Chump/Trump has been allowed to shovel horse pucky for 18 months without serious, thoughtful challenge. Someone has to point out to those legions of deluded rural red-state voters that what they want is impossible, that time travel exists only in Hollywood imagination, and the Happy Days of the 1950s will never return.
It seems that the same may be true of serious news reporting. There are so few news organizations that practice it that it can be labeled an endangered endeavor. The press is the only business sanctified by the First Amendment. It used to be considered a sacred responsibility. But no more. It has been lost, floating in the ether of dwindling corporate profits, corporate governance and other financial evil. It is, I fear, about to join the Dodo bird.
I am always surprised by roses in November. After they have gone through the punishment of June, they bounce back with the desert fall, lovely as spring.