Brian Stelter's Editorial Comments On Trump
Category: News & PoliticsVia: john-russell • 3 weeks ago • 1 comments
from the transcript of "Reliable Sources" Sep 6 2020
What do the people closest to President Trump know about his conduct and his misconduct? Why do so many of them remain silent while he remains so loud? What do America's four-star generals know? What do the retired generals know?
Hey, what do Trump's friends like Sean Hannity know? What do they know about his fitness? What do they say in private, and why won't they tell the rest of us?
Jeffrey Goldberg's story for "The Atlantic" brings these questions back to the forefront. Trump said Americans who died in war are losers and suckers. Now, that's the headline. The story is worse. It's up on theatlantic.com.
Trump world, of course, denounced the story and many news outlets focused their follow-ups on Trump's denials. You see all those headlines. They led with the denials.
Why? Well, it's easy to do. It's kind of automatic to do in journalism.
But why confer credibility where it doesn't belong? I mean, fool me once, shame on you, fool me 20,000 times and -- well, shame on all of us. Why keep acting like things are normal after 20,000 false and misleading claims?
This week the lies continued, especially about COVID and ways that were disturbing. The president said hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have declined radically over the past week.
We wish. Wouldn't that be wonderful? But that's not true.
While downplaying the death toll, Trump even got the numbers wrong. He said the U.S. death toll was 175,000. The death toll had actually surpassed 186,000 at the time he said it. Those are thousands of dead Americans who he left out.
He also retweeted kooks who engage in death toll denialism.
And, look, he lies about news outlets all the time. He proves his words are meaningless the journalists who covered him.
This week, Trump said, quote: CNN reported I had a heart attack. That's not true. CNN never reported that. Go to CNN.com and try to find it. We never reported that. Why would we ever report that?
So, he lies about news outlets all the time. He tweeted this week that "The Atlantic Magazine" is dying, which it is not. He called editor Jeffrey Goldberg third rate, which makes no sense.
All the name-calling, though, does sort of back up the claims in Goldberg's story about Trump calling vets losers. I mean, Trump has used the word loser hundreds of times.
More importantly, multiple outlets, including CNN and most notably, Fox News, have corroborated key aspects of Goldberg's report, about disparaging veterans.
So, the focus should not be on toothless denials from a pathological liar or those who are complicit, the focus should be on the claims and corroboration and on the open secrets that are sometimes spilling out.
As David Ignatius wrote of "The Washington Post" this weekend, he says: It has been an open secret in Washington that many prominent retired four stars have regarded Trump with growing horror as he assaulted the traditions and discipline and professionalism that are bedrocks of military life.
An open secret. Why is it so a secret then? Why don't they speak out? Why do they leak instead?
It's complicated. I get it. But here's what happens where anonymous sourcing reigns (ph). You know, pro-Trump noise-makers want to argue about "The Atlantic". They want to argue about Goldberg's use of anonymous sources instead of the substance.
Trump does this, too. He attacks the sourcing, even though as I point in my book "Hoax", he is an anonymous source himself. Trump feeds the stuff to Sean Hannity and then Hannity shares it with millions of people citing a source. A member of Hannity's inner circle said to me, when Sean says sources, he usually means the president.
So, Trump routinely implores Americans not to trust anonymously sourced reporting, he claims that we make it up, but he is Hannity's number one anonymous source. Do you follow? What does Hannity know that he's not telling us? What do Trump's other confidants know? What do the generals know?
It is put up or shut up time, two months until a presidential election.