The infuriating ways Fox News handles a Trump scandal


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/22/the-infuriating-ways-fox-news.html


#2


#3

Trump’s social media on Facebook and Twitter and Fox News. You can’t get more informed than that! :rage::fearful:


#4

I’m not infuriated, any more than I’d be infuriated at a scorpion stinging its prey. Videos like this are entertaining and well-crafted, but anyone in 2017 who watches Fox News without understanding it’s a propaganda organ for American conservatism* is already firmly ensconced in the bubble Maza describes at the end.

[* one that uses clumsy and crude versions of the methods described by Adam Curtis in this video]


#5


#6

The obvious is infuriating.


#7

nothing will change a trump supporters mind. NOTHING at this point.

What needs to happen is in four years the rest of us need to show up and show them just how much the minority they truly are.


#8

To me, the worst of the Aisle media legacy (his personal legacy is another story) was the cynical use of things that anger and infuriate the base he wanted to motivate. I feel like I’m seeing the left taking quite a few sips of that koolaid lately with stories that do less to illuminate than they seem to infuriate.


#9

What needs to happen is in four years the rest of us need to show up and show them just how much the minority they truly are.

Yes and no. Yes everyone has to show up in four years but no because people have to show up more than every 4 years. Everyone has to show up this year in November and in the those local school board elections and special elections that do not happen on Election day. EVERY SINGLE ELECTION. Republicans are in all the governors’ mansions and in the state legislations gerrymandering election districts and are the majority of the House of Representatives because Democrats only show up to vote in presidential elections once every 4 years. They are eliminating evolution from schools because they are on the school boards. They get to redraw election districts because they control state governments. Vote. Vote. Vote. Every election, not just once every 4 years


#10

I am not much of a Fox News fan. I do see an issue with people wanting to believe a story based on statements from an anonymous “former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials”. Especially when the information is contradicted by statements of people who are known to have actually been present at the event.
And when we are talking about classified information, there is the added complication that passing such information to the press is a huge violation of the law. For those of us that know about opsec procedures, The fact that the anonymous source, if their leak is accurate, is willing to compromise national security and risk prison time in order to hurt Trump, does tell us something about the character of the source.
And some of it does not make logical sense. If Comey kept detailed journals of his day to day activities at the FBI, those would be highly classified and kept secure. I am sure that very few people will have been found to have accessed that material. If it is accurate that Trump tried to pressure Comey into dropping the Pence investigation, then we have to ask why Comey did not report the impeachable offense when it occurred, and even testified under oath that it had never happened.
Plus, the anonymous sources are wrong fairly often. We can’t know if it is the same source, or chain of sources. Part of the Comey story at WaPo was that Rosenstein threatened to quit over the issue, that appears to be untrue.
Anonymous sources can be great if they provide objective, verifiable data. Or if they point the reporters towards such data. The Watergate scandal involved such sources. But the stories W&B published were about verifiable facts uncovered after thorough vetting and investigation.
You don’t just publish the second and third hand anonymous claims as being true. Especially if some of the people in the chain are disgruntled “former” officials. Their claims might end up being true, but it is wise to approach it with healthy skepticism.


#11

The article’s context is in regards to 45, not our political landscape as a whole.


#12

That they’re a God damn treasure to our nation? A true patriot putting their country’s well-being ahead of their own personal liberty? Cause that’s what I’m thinking…


#13

When they are aware of wrongdoing, there are appropriate channels to report it, instead of “leak the classified data to the WaPo”.


#14

45 is not being impeached right now as we speak because Republicans control both houses of Congress. If Democrats controlled the house he would be under impeachment as we speak.


#15

Mainstream and left-leaning commentators have largely failed to accurately address the nature of the anger and fury you mention. People (humans) are notoriously easy to control when their atavistic drives are manipulated. You want to enlist viewers and recruit partisans? Tell people (especially people already inclined to seek a culprit for their dissatisfaction) that SOMEONE ELSE (who looks or acts or thinks in unfamiliar ways) has stolen/taken/changed/hidden/dissolved/corrupted your birthright. Voila! An army, in short order.

Too many commentators have treated the anger of Trumpists as somehow legitimate. It’s not. (Almost) everyone struggles. (Almost) everyone has to adapt to a changing world. Dissatisfaction is universal. Shame on the people who manipulate others with blame and anger by offering false narratives about their causes. And shame on those who lack the insight to overcome their tribal, limbic defaults.

Though how a nation counters such an us-versus-them blame dichotomy without falling prey to the same sin is beyond me. Typical liberal dithering, I guess.


#16

What makes you think that the leakers didn’t adhere to the appropriate channels and get punished for it? Maybe leaking to WaPo was their last chance to reveal what they knew?

And sometimes leaking to the press is the right and proper thing to do. Somethings we as American citizens need to know that our government is doing in order to know when it’s time to vote the bastards out of office.


#17

I dunno… wouldn’t the democratic leadership need to actually grow a spine first, in order to both take back the house and to proceed with impeachment hearings? I’m still not convinced that they have our best interests at heart and will act if facts prove the necessity of doing so.


#18

I do see an issue with people wanting to believe a story based on statements from an anonymous “former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials”. Especially when the information is contradicted by statements of people who are known to have actually been present at the event.

Granted, but at this point, the Trump administration has lost the presumption of truth. They’ve been caught, multiple times, saying things that are demonstrably false. At this point, I think they have to overcome the presumption that they’re lying.

And when we are talking about classified information, there is the added complication that passing such information to the press is a huge violation of the law.

Was any of the stuff reported last week really “classified” information? Is Palace Intrigue categorically classified merely because it comes from the White House?

If it is accurate that Trump tried to pressure Comey into dropping the Pence investigation, then we have to ask why Comey did not report the impeachable offense when it occurred, and even testified under oath that it had never happened.

Probably because the investigation was ongoing, and the FBI generally doesn’t comment on ongoing investigations. They certainly didn’t while they were investigating members of the Trump campaign for their contacts with Russia in 2016.

When did he testify under oath that Trump never asked him to drop the Pence investigation? A quick Google search reveals the source of this claim may be an alt-right person on Twitter who misinterpreted Comey’s testimony.

You don’t just publish the second and third hand anonymous claims as being true. Especially if some of the people in the chain are disgruntled “former” officials. Their claims might end up being true, but it is wise to approach it with healthy skepticism.

Saying former officials can’t be trusted because they’re disgruntled is speculative. You freely admit that we don’t know who these people are, so how can we both know nothing about them and simultaneously know enough about them to know they’re disgruntled and therefore shouldn’t be trusted? As for skepticism, see above for my comments about how the Trump administration has, through its own unforced actions, surrendered the presumption of truth.


#19

I’d say the obvious thing to point out here is that Fox News is completely hypocritical (duh)-- they were the “Obama-hating media” for eight years. If Tucker Carlson is going to say Watergate comparisons just water down the concept, then why didn’t he say that when Benghazi, Solyndra, the IRS, and Fast-and-Furious were being called “the next Watergate” by Fox (even now conservative blogs are calling the “wiretapping of Trump tower” bigger than Watergate.)

And if anonymous sources are bad, then how about reporting conspiracy theories every night where there is no actual source, just half-baked hypotheses (Hannity literally spent weeks on Obama’s birth certificate)


#20

It is a sign of how little Trump’s own staff and those of any level of experience in the executive branch trust the guy. Trump has been so disrespectful to the norms, institutions, procedures and the sense of propriety associated with the office that he practically encourages whistle-blowing.

Pretty much anyone with experience in the State Department and Defense Department has gotten to the point where they largely ignore the president as a matter of course.

As Eliot Cohen writes in The Atlantic:

> …what Tillerson, Powell, and McMaster said are not quite lies, but they are the kind of parsed half truths that are as bad, and in some cases worse. This is how one’s reputation for veracity is infected by the virulent moral bacteria that cover Donald Trump. Friends will watch, pained and incredulous, as they realize that one simply cannot assume that anything these senior subordinates of the president say is the truth. And having stretched, manipulated, or artfully misrepresented the truth once, these officials will do it again and again. They will be particularly surprised when they learn that most people assume that as trusted subordinates of the president, they lie not as colorfully as he does, but just as routinely. Perhaps the worst will be the moment when these high officials can no longer recognize their own characters for what they once were.