“Stating the truth is considered political” in US corporate media: “BradCast” 08/19/2022

  • Guest: Dan Froomkin, longtime accountability journalist and media critic
  • Also: MD’s GOP Guv says GOP Guv nominee ‘isn’t mentally stable’
  • Top Trump aides say declassification order is ‘complete fiction’…

Today on The BradCast: Our mainstream American media are still bullied by the radical right and still fail in their constitutional mandate to inform and educate the electorate; some quick bits from the UNconventional Times files ahead of the 2022 midterms; and a must-have new track to leave you whistling on the way out. [Audio link to full show is posted below this summary.]

First, as I have long argued on this platform, it is a mistake to buy into the conventional wisdom political pundit that Democrats will take a beating in November. While the climb is still tough for them this year — especially in the House — polls now confirm my warning from months ago to ignore conventional wisdom in these decidedly unconventional times. A few brief new exhibits for this matter today: The popular and qualified Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, is describing Dan Cox, the Trump-endorsed GOP nominee for Hogan, as “not mentally stable” and “a lunatic” who has “no chance” of winning the governorship.

Further hurting the GOP’s chances this year, Trump’s legal troubles keep getting worse. As CNN reported last nightthere are now 18 former senior Trump administration officials — from two chiefs of staff to key military and intelligence officials — who tell the news network that the disgraced former president claims to have had a ” standing order” that all of the documents he left in The Oval Office that were immediately declassified are “ridiculous,” “ludicrous,” “complete fiction,” and worse.

CNN’s exclusive reports, however, never tell readers that whether highly sensitive national security documents have been declassified or not, it doesn’t really matter. It was still illegal for Trump to have Fly them when leaving the White House. That’s a fact, regardless of the classification status of those documents or any other material he stole when he left office last year.

Why are they so afraid to use a 100% accurate description like “stolen” to describe what Trump stole from the White House? Or, as we’ve discussed on many previous shows, simply using plain language to describe Trump’s many failed attempts to steal the 2020 presidential election? (He wasn’t trying to “undermine” or “reverse” or “overturn” the results, he was trying to STEAL the election!) Our guest today has some thoughts on all of this and more. He joins us the next day the news has fallen that CNN’s new management cancels Reliable sourcesthe only legitimate media review program on cable or TV newscast, hosted by Brian Stelter for 9 years at the end of its 30-year run.

We’re delighted to welcome longtime media critic and former corporate media “insider” today, DAN FROOMKINwho served 12 years as head Washington Postpopular “White House Watch” blog from the time of George W. Bush (before he was let go bluntly for being too gifted), after which he moved at Huff Post and then the intercept and is today the publisher and creator of the Press Watch newsletter and website.

Our conversation continues CNN’s removal of Reliable sources, as well as recent mainstream media headlines that horribly mislead the public or pull punches in order to “both sides” with facts that they clearly view as politically controversial, no matter how true. An example, cited by the NYU media critic Jay Rosen last week, Washington Post‘s “Garland swore to depoliticize justice. Then the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago.” And another deconstructed this week by the media critic James Fallows on the New York Times’ “Even on Biden’s big day, he’s still in Trump’s long shadow.”

We cover a lot of ground on all of the above and more with Froomkin today. But a few key quotes…

On Stelter and CNN: “It’s a terrible indicator of what CNN is doing and where it’s going. … It’s a huge loss for CNN and a huge win for Fox because Stelter was really one of the few media general public to want to say that Fox News was all about spreading malicious lies and poisoning the politics of our country. …I think the reason it was canned was because it was fundamentally the number one target of right-wing media Froomkin describes the move as “clearly a sacrifice on the altar of right-wing media,” likely at the behest of a major shareholder (“John Malone, the cable monopolist”) of the new owner of CNN following the recent merger and reorganization of Warner Bros. and Discovery.

On the lack of public editors/ombudsmen in large corporations like NYT and WaPo“Public publishers were an incredibly valuable thing…then they were all dropped. The excuse was hysterically funny. The New York Times editor’s excuse was, ‘We don’t need a public editor, because we have social media.’ It makes some sense, except you look at what they’ve been doing for the last ten years. They scrupulously ignored social networks, mocker self-criticism on social media. They’ve been incredibly defensive about anything anyone tweets about them. And they’ve now passed all these rules telling journalists what they’re allowed to tweet and what they’re not allowed to tweet, and one of the things they’re not allowed to tweet is any criticism of the Times or any other journalist. Same rules at the Washington Post. … I always hoped that there would be some sort of critical mass of media critics who would cumulatively have the clout of one of these public editors, but that never happened. And, as you pointed out, we are becoming fewer and fewer.”

On other ongoing corporate media failures in the Trump era: “The worst example, by far, is the coverage of the January 6 Committee and what has happened since. The singular achievement of this Committee is that it established, to the satisfaction of just about everyone except the willfully ignorant, that prosecuting Trump was not a political necessity – it was a moral need. I think that really helped inoculate [Attorney General Merrick] Garland against the perception that what he would do would be political. Instead, the FBI issues a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago because of documents that [Trump] stole and didn’t return, then lied about returning, and the press sees that as some kind of Politics struggle?!”

As to why most of the mainstream media won’t use the word ‘steal’ or ‘steal’ like in the hard facts about the documents Trump stole from the White House or his many attempts to steal the 2020 election “Unfortunately, the truth has become so politicized these days that even speaking the truth is considered political by these people. And they don’t want to do that… Five years ago, I think everyone in the country would have agreed that trying to steal the presidential election was wrong and whoever did it should be held accountable. But it’s kind of like the frog in the pot – the media has, day after day, normalizing what Trump is doing.”

Much more in my fascinating conversation with Froomkin today.

Finally, as promised, we leave you long overdue and much needed new song Randy Rainbow to complete another impossible week. Enjoy!…


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[Cross-posted from The BRAD BLOG…]


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