Conservative media has started to take some responsibilities for the monster they have created. Charlie Sykes, conservative radio host, is perhaps the first to express remorse for the way that people can lie as much as they want without any media checks. Even if one journalist tries to point out falsehoods, the audience will simply say it’s true because another journalist let it pass. Sykes sounds defeated when he says:
“There’s no way to break through it. And I swim upstream because if I don’t say these things from some of these websites, then suddenly I have sold out. Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true…. There’s got to be a reckoning on all this. We’ve created this monster.”
“[Conservative media has] spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media…. At a certain point you wake up and you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there. And I feel, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look in the mirror and ask myself, to what extent did I contribute?”
Trump Watch: In a surprise move tonight, Donald Trump practiced reading a speech from teleprompters at a rally in Wisconsin, a state that has voted for a Democratic president for decades. He claimed to be in Milwaukee, but his speech was in West Bend, an hour’s drive away from the city, a suburb that is 95 percent white and only one percent black. During the speech, he blamed the violence in Milwaukee after the killing of a black man by police on Hillary Clinton because, according to Trump, the Democratic presidential candidate “hates” the police and “peddl[es] the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society.”
Trump’s speech, touted to be about “law and order,” aimed to get the black vote as he talked about how Hillary Clinton sells out blacks and how they need to vote for him. He pretended to be addressing an audience of blacks in an almost entirely white audience. A vendor sold Confederate flags outside. In the past, Trump has refused to speak to the NAACP, Urban League and the recent National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention. The man who calls blacks “thugs” and “rioters” now wants their vote because only one percent of the black population supports him.
Trump’s mostly vague lies covered Clinton’s inability to have the “strength or stamina” to govern, her lacking the temperament to be a president, and her policies being disastrous for black people. Trump has recently developed this new strategy: if he is attacked for something—for example, health, temperament, racism, etc.—he then accuses Clinton of these problems.
Less than one-fourth of the speech concerned law and order, but between the slander against Clinton, he had ways to stop inner city problems and help the black community. One was to get manufacturing out of China, and another was to put a lot of people in prison. This is his message to a community decimated by unequal mass incarceration, unequal prosecution of non-violent offenses, and unequal treatment by police.
Earlier this week, Trump said that he would not “pivot.” Perhaps he was being sarcastic about his belief that “I am what I am.” Tomorrow will show what tweet drives him into another tantrum.
Whenever Trump gets in trouble with the RNC, he calmly–and badly–reads a speech from teleprompters. One of his current serious problems comes from his campaign manager, Paul Manfort. First, there’s indication that Manafort was paid to swing an election in Ukraine to favor the pro-Russia leader who was then deposed. Then Jason Abel, attorney and former Chief Counsel of the Senate Rules Committee, said that Manafort may have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (also known as FARA) by not disclosing his foreign agent status with the Ukraine. The New York Times reported in 2008 that the George W. Bush administration complained that Manafort and his firm were undercutting U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine.
Congress has taken notice of Manafort’s fiasco in the Ukraine. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, requested that Trump “immediately disclose any payments by pro-Putin groups to his campaign chairman or other key staff, and assure the American public that these payments have not influenced his campaign proposals or any action he might take in the White House.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) also said that Trump “ought to really investigate this,” and Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) agrees.
Another Trump problem may be Roger Ailes, recently deposed from Fox president for sexual harassment. The New York Times has reported that Ailes will advise Trump for the upcoming debates starting September 26. Trump and Ailes are good friends, and Trump has attacked the women who brought charges of sexual assault against Ailes, calling him “a very good person.” Manafort has said that Ailes will not join the campaign, and Trump says that the NYT is wrong. Perhaps he is being sarcastic.
Ailes was political adviser to President Richard Nixon, giving him the positive image that elected him twice. By 1988, Ailes had become Vice-President George H.W. Bush’s chief media strategist. As a debate coach, Ailes used his belief that debates can be won with a single dramatic event. Dan Rather interrogated Bush about the Iran-Contra affair when Ronald Reagan illegal sold weapons to exchange the release of U.S. hostages before diverting proceeds to Nicaraguan anti-Sandinista fighters. Ailes taught Bush to say, in reference to Rather’s leaving dead air on CBS in anger:
“It’s not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Would like that?”
Ailes instructed Reagan regarding questions about his age:
“I want you to know I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
Trump gets his first classified national security briefing as presidential candidate tomorrow, and he’s taking his good friend Michael Flynn—former head of the Defense Intelligence and paid speaker at the Russian state-funded TV network to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Flynn has served has also served as analyst for the network. Aides must be vetted before attending these briefings, but no nominee’s advisor has ever been banned from listening to the country’s secrets. After Trump’s ties with Russia because more obvious, he attacked Clinton’s connection with Putin, using his new strategy.
Michael Moore has a theory regarding why Donald Trump ran for president: he wanted a better deal for The Apprentice, a show that was badly failing when Trump decided to run for president. All he needed were a few rallies and then get the deal he wanted. No need for a campaign staff or infrastructure—just a lot of insults. Much to his amazement—and by now dismay—he became a success with a certain segment of the nation’s voters. And he could be on any show he wanted just by being on the telephone. CBS CEO Les Moonves talked about how good he was for the ratings.
Trump’s problem now is that he might become president and have to work. How to get out of it is his real problem because he can’t stand to lose—especially to a woman.