White House tried to use free press organization to stifle free press

The Trump regime seems to have gotten the function of the White House Correspondents’ Association backward. The WHCA exists to push for more access to and stronger coverage of presidents and presidential administrations, but—go figure—the enemies of free press currently in the White House see the WHCA as yet another way to bully and lean on individual reporters.

White House Correspondents’ Association President Jeff Mason on Monday night alleged that the White House had drafted him to criticize the work of other reporters. “There have definitely been times over the last several months where the White House has come to us — often to me specifically — asking that we or I intervene and criticize a member news organization or reporter,” said Mason at an event held at the White House Historical Association.

The topic brought to mind a specific instance: “In one case, and I won’t say the name, but in one

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Heavily revised New York Times story on Trump’s Poland visit takes out a few key details

Did the New York Times send a story on Donald Trump’s Poland visit to the White House for suggested changes? Or is Trump just so far inside editors’ heads that they moved a story massively toward stenography on their own? You only have to look at NewsDiffs to see the scope of the changes to the story by Glenn Thrush and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Take the lede. It went from:

President Trump cast himself as a defender of Western values in a clash of civilizations during a dark and confrontational speech in Warsaw on Thursday, rebuking the news media, American intelligence agencies and Barack Obama during his visit to the European capital most hospitable to his right-wing nationalist message.

To:

President Trump said on Thursday that Western civilization was at risk of decline, bringing a message about “radical Islamic terrorism” and “the creep of government bureaucracy” to the one European

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Heavily revised New York Times story on Trump’s Poland visit takes out a few key details

Did the New York Times send a story on Donald Trump’s Poland visit to the White House for suggested changes? Or is Trump just so far inside editors’ heads that they moved a story massively toward stenography on their own? You only have to look at NewsDiffs to see the scope of the changes to the story by Glenn Thrush and Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Take the lede. It went from:

President Trump cast himself as a defender of Western values in a clash of civilizations during a dark and confrontational speech in Warsaw on Thursday, rebuking the news media, American intelligence agencies and Barack Obama during his visit to the European capital most hospitable to his right-wing nationalist message.

To:

President Trump said on Thursday that Western civilization was at risk of decline, bringing a message about “radical Islamic terrorism” and “the creep of government bureaucracy” to the one European

Continue reading “Heavily revised New York Times story on Trump’s Poland visit takes out a few key details”

Trump’s statements in Poland get Russian stamp of approval: ‘Please note the nuances.’

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland was designed to set up Islamic extremism as a vast, existential threat to civilization, something that requires the West to demonstrate a “will to survive” as well as a willingness to pay “any cost.” It was also a speech heavily laden with the themes of the party behind Polish President Andrzej Duda, which has emphasized Poland’s struggles to adopt an authoritarian, restrictive rule. The authors of Trump’s prompter-delivered speech made sure to hit notes that bought loud approval from the bused-in audience of Polish nationalists.

The speech also reserved a few sentences in which Trump could shake a gentle finger at Russia. But no one in Moscow seems to have been offended. That’s because, not only did Trump’s speech make it clear that Russia was a sideline compared to the great clash of civilizations that provides justification for fearing immigrants, scorning the media, and generally waving away human

Continue reading “Trump’s statements in Poland get Russian stamp of approval: ‘Please note the nuances.’”

Trump’s statements in Poland get Russian stamp of approval: ‘Please note the nuances.’

Donald Trump’s speech in Poland was designed to set up Islamic extremism as a vast, existential threat to civilization, something that requires the West to demonstrate a “will to survive” as well as a willingness to pay “any cost.” It was also a speech heavily laden with the themes of the party behind Polish President Andrzej Duda, which has emphasized Poland’s struggles to adopt an authoritarian, restrictive rule. The authors of Trump’s prompter-delivered speech made sure to hit notes that bought loud approval from the bused-in audience of Polish nationalists.

The speech also reserved a few sentences in which Trump could shake a gentle finger at Russia. But no one in Moscow seems to have been offended. That’s because, not only did Trump’s speech make it clear that Russia was a sideline compared to the great clash of civilizations that provides justification for fearing immigrants, scorning the media, and generally waving away human

Continue reading “Trump’s statements in Poland get Russian stamp of approval: ‘Please note the nuances.’”

Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN a mix of personal butthurt and his broader war on inconvenient facts

Thanks to Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN and the response of his fans to those attacks, the network’s “security measures have been tightened and some hosts have considered abandoning their social media accounts because of abuse,” the New York Times reports. CNN is in ”an unlikely public fight with the leader of the free world,” according to the Times, which sounds like an article pitch dropped into the final product—only who thinks Donald Trump is leading a significant chunk of the world at this point? 

But Trump’s wrath may not be expressed just in juvenile insults and inciting supporters to violence.

White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to

Continue reading “Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN a mix of personal butthurt and his broader war on inconvenient facts”

Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN a mix of personal butthurt and his broader war on inconvenient facts

Thanks to Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN and the response of his fans to those attacks, the network’s “security measures have been tightened and some hosts have considered abandoning their social media accounts because of abuse,” the New York Times reports. CNN is in ”an unlikely public fight with the leader of the free world,” according to the Times, which sounds like an article pitch dropped into the final product—only who thinks Donald Trump is leading a significant chunk of the world at this point? 

But Trump’s wrath may not be expressed just in juvenile insults and inciting supporters to violence.

White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to

Continue reading “Donald Trump’s attacks on CNN a mix of personal butthurt and his broader war on inconvenient facts”

In ‘unprecedented’ move, journalism advocacy groups start documenting Trump-era attacks on the press

Groups that advocate for freedom of the press usually train their sights on countries like Turkey, Venezuela, and Egypt to combat violence and state-sponsored policies intended to hobble reporters. But now they are turning their attention to a country they never considered to be at risk of posing a real risk to journalists: the United States.

In the wake of Donald Trump’s machismo-fueled fantasy tweet depicting himself pummeling CNN along with instances where politicians like Republican Greg Gianforte have actually assaulted journalists, the groups now say U.S. reporters are newly at risk. Hadas Gold of Politico reports:

“I never thought I’d be talking this way about an American president,” said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ]. “These are strange times indeed.”

“I haven’t seen an appropriate response from the government since he tweeted that [CNN video] and that’s scary,” said Margaux Ewen, advocacy

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Trump is deranged but 42 percent of Republicans say ‘freedom of the press’ is out of control

There’s no other way to slice it: Donald Trump appears to be decompensating at an alarming rate after engaging in a week of bloodthirsty tweets about an alleged face-lift gone wrong and his own machismo fantasy of delivering a knock-out blow to CNN.

Not surprisingly, a much covered NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Monday found that 70 percent of Americans think the level of civility in Washington has declined since Donald Trump was elected, including 65 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats. A paltry six percent of respondents say the discourse has improved.

But Republicans also view press freedoms and the citizens’ right to criticize the government as a major problem, suggesting that’s part of why they think overall civility is deteriorating.

When asked if the nation has “gone too far” in expanding the freedom of the press, 42 percent of Republicans agreed, with just 9 percent saying press freedoms were

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Continue reading “Trump is deranged but 42 percent of Republicans say ‘freedom of the press’ is out of control”

Trump is deranged but 42 percent of Republicans say ‘freedom of the press’ is out of control

There’s no other way to slice it: Donald Trump appears to be decompensating at an alarming rate after engaging in a week of bloodthirsty tweets about an alleged face-lift gone wrong and his own machismo fantasy of delivering a knock-out blow to CNN.

Not surprisingly, a much covered NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Monday found that 70 percent of Americans think the level of civility in Washington has declined since Donald Trump was elected, including 65 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats. A paltry six percent of respondents say the discourse has improved.

But Republicans also view press freedoms and the citizens’ right to criticize the government as a major problem, suggesting that’s part of why they think overall civility is deteriorating.

When asked if the nation has “gone too far” in expanding the freedom of the press, 42 percent of Republicans agreed, with just 9 percent saying press freedoms were

Screen_Shot_2017-07-03_at_10.43.18_AM.png

Continue reading “Trump is deranged but 42 percent of Republicans say ‘freedom of the press’ is out of control”

Donald Trump’s Twitter account isn’t a silly little sideline—it’s the front line in the war on truth

Over the weekend, even as Republicans Senators and Representatives on the talk-show circuit continuously complained that the media paid too much attention to Trump’s tweets, distracting from finely honed GOP talking points, Trump was declaring that his tweets were the most important source of information on Brave New Washington. 

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The message delivered in this modern style? Violence against the media has the Trump seal of approval.

President Trump, who has reveled in his confrontational style with the news media, sparked fierce debate Sunday over whether he is inciting violence against journalists by posting a doctored video clip showing him bashing the head of a figure representing CNN.

The journalist bashing video originated on a pro-Trump reddit board, where members were excited

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The President of the United States is using Twitter today to incite violence against the free press

This morning the Tweeter-in-Chief is at it again, this time sending out a video showing him violently tackling “CNN” and throwing punches. 

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The video was a follow-up to the mad man’s Twitter rants against CNN yesterday:

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Pretty rich coming from someone who only six months ago was forced to pay a $25 million fraud settlement for ripping off veterans and single mothers through his bogus Trump University real estate seminars.

This morning Republican strategist Ana Navarro was a guest on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” and she rightly called Trump’s Twitter statements what they are—an incitement to violence against a free press. She added the president is surrounded by enablers and it is time for the

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Conservative ‘news’ outlets didn’t like Comey’s testimony—so they created a fake version instead

The New York Times has a good look at how one particular conspiracy theory, a completely false notion that ex-FBI director James Comey said Trump did not ask he halt the Flynn investigation in his mid-May Senate testimony despite Comey in fact asserting no such thing, ricocheted around the usual conservative sites in a transparent hoax. It started with troll Jack Posobiec, who simply made it up. Breitbart and Alex Jones jumped on it and soon it made it to Rush Limbaugh and, of course, Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

It was an absolute fraud, and one that could easily have been proven a fraud by anyone who bothered to check—and it’s difficult to believe that the entire staff of Breitbart and Sean Hannity’s show were so uninformed as to the explosive nature of Comey’s testimony that they could have plausibly believed it in the first place. Comey’s testimony about Trump pressuring him

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NBC’s promotion of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is a new low for a lost and rudderless network

On Sunday, new NBC hire Megyn Kelly announced she would be airing a new interview with, of all people, the malevolent conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones has had his visibility boosted of late due to the attentions of Donald Trump, his family and his campaign; apparently this now justifies giving the hateful and forever-lying cretin his own extended Father’s Day interview on a major news network.

While Jones is a prolific dispenser of odious false claims, from the assertion that the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job” by the government to his promotion of the ludicrous claim that a Washington-area pizza restaurant was the hub of a Hillary Clinton-linked child trafficking operation, he is probably most despised for his claims that the mass murder of grade-school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School—an event that shook the entire nation—were a government hoax. His claims that the children didn’t die, that

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Republicans declare war on the media for 2018. Because declaring war on facts doesn’t sound so good.

Donald Trump has pushed the media to shake up its long-standing routine of reporting whatever Republicans say in news stories and intermittently calling out their lies in fact-checks. Now, Trump’s constant stream of blatant lies sometimes gets called out even in basic news stories as well as in fact-checks, denying him the headlines he wants and making other Republicans look bad by association. Since Republicans aren’t going to start telling the truth, the answer, clearly, is for them to go to war with the media. That’s the game plan for 2018:

… interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.

The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the

Continue reading “Republicans declare war on the media for 2018. Because declaring war on facts doesn’t sound so good.”

Republicans declare war on the media for 2018. Because declaring war on facts doesn’t sound so good.

Donald Trump has pushed the media to shake up its long-standing routine of reporting whatever Republicans say in news stories and intermittently calling out their lies in fact-checks. Now, Trump’s constant stream of blatant lies sometimes gets called out even in basic news stories as well as in fact-checks, denying him the headlines he wants and making other Republicans look bad by association. Since Republicans aren’t going to start telling the truth, the answer, clearly, is for them to go to war with the media. That’s the game plan for 2018:

… interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.

The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the

Continue reading “Republicans declare war on the media for 2018. Because declaring war on facts doesn’t sound so good.”

How Fox News deals with 23 million Americans losing health insurance: Blame the CBO for saying so

Possibly because somebody in the office lost a bet, Vox watched and categorized the entirety of Fox News’s “coverage” of the Congressional Budget Office’s conclusion that the Republican rollback of healthcare reform would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health insurance. Fox is in a bit of a pickle on this one, because the people most likely to lose their insurance are the same sort of people who watch Fox News.

Under the Vox breakdown, the first CBO score was met primarily with insistence that freedom was more important than someone having stupid ol’ health insurance. That apparently didn’t do much even for Fox News viewers because by May, the effort had turned to demonizing the Congressional Budget Office for saying such things out loud. As usual, the effort mostly relies on Fox News viewers being dumb as posts, but Fox has been doing this for a very long time

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Online reading brims with advantages, but there is still something special about printed newspapers

In 1951 I first became aware of newspapers—the “funny pages” anyway—and fell in love with them, over time adding the news and editorial pages to my regular reading of the comics. Eventually, after a decade at two “alternative” newspapers, I took jobs with dailies in Colorado and California. For a bit over 30 years—as reporter, editor, editorialist, and publisher—my jobs mandated that I read several newspapers a day. I still do. But like so many Americans, I read them online. Only when I travel do I read hard-copy papers. I miss them. And not out of mere nostalgia.

Every time I pick up a copy at a hotel or airport, I reconnect with the familiar sensory impact of those print newspapers. Online reading serves me better in many ways—access to a diversity of sources, for instance. But reading a hard-copy newspaper just feels different, more satisfying, and, because newspapers post

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Republicans react to Montana candidate Gianforte committing assault on eve of election

Some assorted reactions to Republican candidate for Congress Greg Gianforte attacking journalist Ben Jacobs on the night before the special election in Montana.

Republicans

Paul Ryan held a press conference to spread the GOP line.

“There’s never a call for physical altercations … with the press or just between human beings.”

See. You shouldn’t hit the press or human beings. But is Ryan going to do a single thing about it? Call on Gianforte to withdraw? Threaten to not seat him if he wins? Of course not! Keeping a Republican in the seat is what counts. What’s a little assault on a reporter anyway?

“The people of Montana will make this choice.”

Louie Gohmert on how much he wishes he could get in on grabbing reporters by the neck and slamming them down:

“You know, we didn’t have a course on bodyslamming when I went to school. I missed

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