NYT’s Maggie Haberman Addresses Backlash Over Trump Coverage

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman appeared on CNN NewDay (06/02/21), where she addressed the recent backlash on social media, over her reporting that former President Trump is telling his supporters he’ll be reinstated by August. Haberman, a constant target of liberals still seething with rage over her “role” in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Trump, took a lot of Twitter attacks from the same liberals, who accused her of helping deplatformed Trump spread his propaganda.

In her appearance on CNN’s NewDay, Haberman countered these accusations saying her reporting was newsworthy because it sheds light on the ongoing incitement by Trump and his allies(didn’t stop on Jan 6th). She also pushed back at her sharpest critics, Biden-loving liberals, who she said, have settled on an erroneous strategy of wishing Trump away. Haberman’s full segment on NewDay is available here, but the relevant clip is below

Haberman specifically said in response to her critics, “This is an ongoing incitement and I think that there’s a valid reason to use that term. Why people are attacking me for reporting this has always been a bit of a mystery. As I said before, people are in their own media ecosystems, and there are a lot of people around[President]Biden, and a lot of people who support Biden, who want to pretend that if they call Trump the former guy, and if you don’t say his name, that the only thing that would matter is if you give him attention. He’s the former President, he is in control of the Republican Party to a big extent, people in that party[Republican] are having a big debate that I would say is parallel to what we saw in 2015 which was, how do you deal with Trump, who according to Republican leaders at the time for the most part, had no chance of becoming the Republican nominee, and obviously that didn’t work out. Ignoring him was not the answer in 2015. Will it be the answer now? I guess we are going to find out….I think what a former President, and possible future nominee, as unlikely as that might be at the moment is saying…is newsworthy.”

Haberman is essentially arguing that whether liberals like it or not, Trump is still in many respects, the leader of the modern Republican Party, and what he says is newsworthy, especially in this case, where he appears to be inciting his supporters towards the same kind of violence we witnessed January 6th. She adds that efforts by establishment Republicans to ignore Trump into irrelevance in 2015, ended up with him scooping the GOP nomination and the presidency in 2016, and that it is foolhardy for liberals to repeat the same mistake, and expect a different outcome–probably her strongest argument.

Bottom line folks, even though I’m one of the aforementioned “liberals still seething with rage” over Haberman’s “role” in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss, I readily admit that on this issue, she’s absolutely right. As much as we liberals would like to wish Trump away, the fact of the matter is, he’s still in charge of the Republican Party. Where, as here, he appears to be inciting his supporters towards the same kind of violence we witnessed on January 6th, Maggie Haberman is being a good journalist in reporting that. Simply put, the Maggie-bashing on Twitter is totally unwarranted in this case.

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Rep Gaetz Says Republicans Have An Obligation To Use Second Amendment For An Armed Rebellion

Just four months after the horrific January 6th insurrection in Washington DC by violent Trump supporters, Congressman Matt Gaetz(R-FL) was in Dalton, Georgia (5/27/21) telling a crowd of supporters that the second amendment was meant for armed rebellion and importantly, that they(Republicans), “have an obligation to use it”. If this is not a direct incitement to violent insurrection by the sitting Congressman, I don’t know what is.

In the clip which was played on CNN’s NewDay with Brianna Keilar, Rep Gaetz can be heard telling the crowd, “We have a second amendment in this country, and I think we have an obligation to use it…The second amendment is not about hunting, it’s not about recreation, it’s not about sports. The second amendment is about maintaining within the citizenry, the ability to maintain an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary.” There’s absolutely no other way any reasonable person can interpret this, other than a direct incitement to an armed rebellion against the government by Rep Gaetz.

This is a very serious issue, and must be treated as such by the powers that be, given the fact that it comes only four months after DC insurrection, an armed rebellion that came shockingly close to success. Rep Gaetz’s comments also deserve further scrutiny because unlike many other Republicans who initially distanced themselves from former President Trump after DC insurrection, he and Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, in whose district Gaetz was speaking, fully embraced Trump even after the incident, and have since projected themselves as Trump’s trusted lieutenants nationally. As a result, Trump’s supporters regard public statements by Reps Gaetz and Greene as direct messages from the former President–a call to action if you will.

Any reasonable person looking at the GOP’s reaction to the events that transpired on January 6th, and since then, is left with a very troubling picture as to where the party, and quite frankly the country, is headed. Trump’s lies about election fraud led to an armed insurrection on Jan 6th. Congressional Republicans chose not to impeach him for that. Trump is still pushing the same dangerous lies. Some Republican members of Congress have since conjured up revisionist theories as to what really happened on January 6th(just a bunch of tourists etc), to excuse their continued support for Trump.

Republican-controlled state legislatures have embarked on voter suppression laws targeting areas/voters they deem anti-Trump and importantly, made it possible for state legislatures to overturn elections in case of unfavorable outcomes. All this is being done against the backdrop of Trump teasing another run for President in 2024, meaning the said state legislatures are setting the stage for overturning the elections in case Trump loses. The sham election recount in Arizona is also setting the stage to overturn future election results that don’t go in Trump’s favor. States like Texas are passing reckless gun laws that make it possible for just about anybody to bear arms. Hmm, coincidence? How does this fit into Rep Gaetz’s rebellion rhetoric? Remember, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is a super Trumper too.

Republican Senators, at the urging of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell(KY), are today(05/28/21) set to kill an effort to establish a bipartisan commission to look into what led to the January 6th DC insurrection, and coming up with ways to prevent it from ever happening again. Is Senator McConnell afraid that the commission will show that DC insurrection was not as “fringe” as establishment Republicans want the public to believe? Was he personally involved behind the scenes? These are questions the public needs to start asking, and asking loudly, because something is off-kilter with the current GOP, and it’s continued dalliance with insurrectionist Trump. Simply put, “fringe” Reps Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene may not be that fringe after all, as CNN host Brianna Keilar pointed out.

Bottom line folks, we must never forget the fact that we simply got lucky on January 6th. Everything that has happened with Trump’s GOP since January 6th, leads any reasonable person to conclude that Jan 6th was just a trial run, and if we don’t remain vigilant, we are definitely headed towards another one, this time, successful .

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From George Floyd To Ronald Greene;The Epidemic Of Lying In Police Reports

George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on 05/25/2020, will go down in history as one of the seminole moments in the push for policing reform, not just in the United States, but globally. It was one of those rare occasions where people on both sides of the police reform debate, after viewing video footage of the incident, agreed that there needs to be changes in the way police officials interract with people of color, and especially, Black people.

Another major takeaway from the George Floyd incident, that rarely gets it’s deserved mainstream media coverage, was the stark difference between how the Minneapolis Police Department(MPD) characterized the event in their police report, and what the public actually saw on the video footage. Simply put, but for the cell phone video footage from a teenage girl, the world would never know what really happened to George Floyd on that fateful day, even after going through the MPD incident report. Police Departments lying on police reports is a very serious issue, so it’s very encouraging to see the mainstream media beginning to address it as such, a good example being this CNN piece by Josh Campbell.

Josh Campbell’s piece highlights the cases of George Floyd, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor and Ronald Greene, all Black victims whose deaths at the hands of police, resulted in very stark differences between the narratives in the initial police reports, and video footage of the events. The initial police reports basically lied about what actually led to the deaths of these Black suspects in their custody, a sad state of affairs indeed. Naturally, this has raised two elephant-in-the-room questions among members of the public; (1) What else do police lie about? and (2) Is lying in police reports more prevalent than we think?

The latest incident involving Ronald Greene, where Louisiana State Patrol officers put out outright lies in their police report about the circumstances of Greene’s death, will certainly lead any reasonable person to conclude that lying in police reports, is probably more prevalent than the public wishes to admit. Think about that, Louisiana State Patrol officers had video footage of the event, yet continued lying to the public for two years. The truth about the incident only came out after a reporter dug into the story, forcing the release of the video footage. There is nothing to suggest that Louisiana State Patrol officers would have ultimately done the right thing, and told the public the truth about Ronald Greene’s death, absent the dogged journalism by this reporter. This just goes to show the very crucial part good journalism plays in not only the fight for police reform, but also good governance generally.

Yours Truly has raised this “good journalism” issue before, with mainstream media taboo topics like “targeted individuals” and “gangstalking”. For those of you not familiar with these terms(not sure what rock you live under), there are growing complaints from individuals in the United States, believing to have been watchlisted, claiming that they are often the targets of abuse by various U.S. law enforcement agencies. Among the most common abuses cited by these people is “organized stalking” or “gangstalking”, conduct if proven to be true, would constitute torture(violation of Geneva Conventions). Despite the seriousness of these allegations, the mainstream media has chosen to totally ignore them, choosing instead to characterize people who make such claims as paranoid nutjobs, or dismissing them as “conspiracy theorists”.

With the rising epidemic of lying in police reports about the circumstances of minorities dying in police custody, one has to wonder whether time has come for the mainstream media to lift it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking, and many other taboo topics related to law enforcement. Given what we know now about police departments’ propensity to lie to cover up their injustices, can the mainstream media justify it’s embargo on discussing targeted individuals, gangstalking et al, any longer? What if targeted individuals have been telling the truth all along?

Bottom line folks, the number one lesson from George Floyd to Ronald Greene, is that there is an urgent need for policing reform in this country, and legislative fixes like the proposed George Floyd Justice In Policing Act will go a long way in achieving these desired reforms. True policing reform however, will only be achieved and sustained, if we have accompanying “media reform”, meaning, going back to our good old fashioned investigative journalism days, and ditching the present “access journalism”. Simply put, the media must go back to posing tough questions to law enforcement/government officials instead of always seeking ways to be liked by them for the sake of “access”.

Yours Truly has been consistent on the importance of good journalism, and so should you.

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Sean Hannity Busted For Lying About “Spontaneous” Presidents Day Crowd For Trump In Florida

On the 02/16/2021 edition of her show CNN Newsroom, host Brianna Keilar masterfully deconstructed the lie perpetrated by Sean Hannity and his friends at Fox News, that a “spontaneous” crowd came out to greet former President Trump in Florida on Presidents Day. Hannity and his friends at Fox News, were of course attempting to use the “spontaneous” crowd lie to perpetuate this perception that Trump is still very popular among the base, and should continue as leader of the GOP.

Sean Hannity said on Presidents Day, “A few hours ago, spontaneously, thousands of people in Palm Beach, lined up in support of the former president as his motorcade travelled through Florida. I have a question [Senators] Mitch McConnell, John Thune, how come you’ve never had this kind of enthusiasm at any of your events?” Hannity then went on to interview Trump’s son Donald Trump, Jr asking him, “Looking at your dad coming back from golf, did you see thousands of people out of nowhere? Nobody organized it that I can see, and certainly nobody associated with your father that I know of, do you?” Trump, Jr responded, “No. This is totally organic and again, it just shows that the American people are with Donald Trump.” The full CNN segment is available here but the relevant Hannity clip is below.

Turns out per Brianna Keilar, there was nothing spontaneous about the crowd that turned out to greet former President Trump on Presidents Day, and importantly, Sean Hannity knew this while he was lying on his show. Brianna Keilar then went on to demonstrate how these flagrant lies by Hannity and his pals at Fox News are not only harming our democracy, but also literally tearing families apart. She gave the heartbreaking example of Rep Adam Kinzinger, who is now considered to be in the “devil’s army” by some members of his family, who have confessed to believing the words of Hannity and company religiously. This means others in the mainstream media must follow Brianna Keilar’s lead and confront the flagrant lies emanating from Hannity and his friends at Fox News.

Bottom line folks, after the unfortunate events of the January 6th DC insurrection, which was primarily based on lies spread on Fox News and other right wing media outlets, we can no longer let the network self-police itself. It is very important for the public to call out the flagrant lies coming out of Fox News and other right wing media outlets, as Brianna Keilar routinely does. Simply put, we must not allow the lies emanating from Fox News and other right wing media outlets to go unchallenged. As a matter of fact, it is high time we started chronicling and keeping track of who is saying what on these right wing channels so that when another Jan 6th-like incident happens, we know exactly who to pin the blame on. Good stuff Brianna Keilar, as always.

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Backtracking Ted Cruz Now Claims Trump’s Election Rhetoric “Went Way Too Far Over The Line”

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) On A Jan 25, 2021 Interview With “The Verdict” Podcast

In the clearest sign yet that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz finally realizes the existential threat the January 6th DC insurrection poses to his political career, the usually defiant Senator from Texas is now distancing himself from former President Trump’s post-election rhetoric, saying on a January 25th podcast that Trump’s rhetoric “went way too far over the line.” This is a dramatic departure for Senator Cruz, who even after nationwide calls for his resignation following the DC riots, has dismissed critics saying people need to “move on”, adding that there was nothing wrong with Trump’s election challenges, or the fact that he(Sen Cruz) supported the said challenges.

In a January 25, 2021 interview on a podcast called “The Verdict”, Senator Ted Cruz told the host, “President Trump’s rhetoric, I think went way too far over the line. I think it was both reckless and irresponsible because he said repeatedly that he won by a landslide, there was massive fraud, it was all stolen everywhere…”

As CNN host Brianna Keilar correctly points out, prior to the DC riots and subsequent calls for his resignation, Senator Ted Cruz was very happy to defend Trump, even as he repeated his bogus election fraud claims. You’ll remember Senator Ted Cruz even offered to argue Trump’s election fraud claims before the U.S. Supreme Court. Why would a sitting U.S. Senator risk his reputation defending “reckless and irresponsible” election fraud claims before the U.S. Supreme Court? The answer is simple folks. Senator Ted Cruz is simply trying to, as Brianna Keilar put it, “cleanse himself from the stain” of DC insurrection.

Bottom line folks, Senator Ted Cruz’s actions should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his political career over the years. His entire political career is built upon ginning up political wedge issues, especially cultural issues, and then raising money from the division. Where, as here, his divisiveness over bogus election fraud claims has not only led to people losing their lives, but also threatened the lives of many members of Congress, the only way for Senator Ted Cruz to cleanse himself, is by resignation from the U.S. Senate.

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Did Trump Fire State Dept IG Over Probe Into Pompeos?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his wife Susan

CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood, citing a House Democratic source, said President Trump may have fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary Mike Popmeo and his wife Susan, for improperly using a political appointee to perform personal favors for them. While this kind of allegation would have rocked any other modern U.S. administration, it perfectly fits the corrupt pattern that has been set by the Trump administration.

Westwood specifically said, “House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel who is a Democrat, said that he had learned that the Inspector General had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a Democratic source claimed to CNN that that involved allegations that Pompeo had used improperly, a political appointee to do personal favors for him and his wife.”

This troubling report comes just a few weeks after President Trump removed Inspector General Glenn Fine, who members of congress in a bipartisan fashion chose to oversee the disbursement of $2 trillion in covid-19 stimulus funds. It is difficult at this juncture for anyone not to conclude that the Trump administration is by far the most corrupt in modern U.S. history, especially if one takes into account the fact that despite intense public demand, Trump is yet to release his tax returns, something almost every other modern U.S. president has gladly done.

Bottom line folks as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated, the rampant corruption by the Trump administration has to be called out loudly. We cannot afford to accept this corruption simply because AG Barr’s DOJ will do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is that neither Trump nor Barr will be in office forever, meaning there will come a time, hopefully next year with a Biden administration, when Secretary Pompeo and his fellow corrupt Trump administration officials will be held to account.

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Barr’s DOJ Refuses To Release Notes Of Kushner’s Interview With Mueller

A federal judge recently granted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by CNN and Buzzfeed and ordered the Justice Department to release documents currently in its possession related to the now concluded investigation into Russian election interference in 2016 (Mueller probe)

Among the documents media houses CNN and Buzzfeed are most interested in, are the notes from the various interviews Mueller conducted with witnesses–known in legal circles as “302 notes”. Needless to say, such notes can be very important in determining whether a particular witness lied to/misled/withheld material information from investigators.

Ever since the federal judge granted CNN and Buzzfeed’s FOIA request, Barr’s DOJ has largely complied and released several 302 notes. Conspiquously absent from the 302 notes however, are those related to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner–a prime target of CNN and Buzzfeed’s FOIA request.

Equally troubling is the fact that Barr’s DOJ is yet to provide the legal justification for its refusal to comply with the federal judge’s order on 302 notes related to Jared Kushner. Is there something very bad in Kushner’s 302 notes that Barr’s DOJ is so intent on keeping away from the public even if that means violating a federal judge’s order?

Bottom line folks, it is now quite evident that AG Barr considers his position as one intended primarily to protect/defend President Trump and his family. Where, as here, his Justice Dept refuses to release 302 notes related to Trump’s son-in-law Kushner, and giving no legal justification for the refusal, a reasonable inference can be made that AG Barr is hiding from the public Kushner’s 302 notes because they contain information he thinks will cast Trump and his family in negative light. Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media must demand that DOJ comply with the federal judge’s order and release Kushner’s 302 notes.

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Conway Versus Blitzer On Marriage And Politics

In case you missed it, an interesting feud played out on cable tv the other day when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer brought in President Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway to discuss the ongoing impeachment hearings and asked Conway to respond to her husband’s critical comments about President Trump–her boss.

Kellyanne Conway, understandably, took issue with Blitzer’s line of questioning and slammed the professionalism of both Blitzer and CNN. Specifically, Conway fired back saying, “What you [Blitzer] just quoted is said every single day by other voices. But you wanted to put it in my husband’s voice because you think somehow that that will help your ratings, or that you are really sticking it to Kellyanne Conway. And let me make it very clear, you didn’t stick it to Kellyanne Conway. I think you embarrassed yourself. And I’m embarrassed for you because this is CNN now? I looked up to you when I was in college and law school. I would turn on CNN to see what Wolf Blitzer had to say about war, famine, disruption abroad. I really respected you for all those years as somebody who would give us the news and now the news is what somebody’s husband says on a different network?” Suffice it to say, Conway got really ticked off by Blitzer injecting her husband into the debate and seriously counter-punched–probably a lesson from her boss.

For the record, Blitzer did not take Conway’s punishing blows lying down. He offered a plausible defense arguing that the famous political odd couple James Carville and Mary Matalin were always questioned about their differing political views and never once got “sensitive” about it. This good comeback by Blitzer compelled Conway to force a smile, adding, “I’m not in a sensitive discussion….I’m smiling.” Conway’s a character folks!!

Bottom line, is it ever proper to question a politician or government employee about their spouse’s political positions, especially where, as here, they have diametrically opposite views? Was Kellyanne Conway justified in both getting offended and slamming Blitzer and CNN for lack of professionalism, or was Blitzer’s question fair game given Conway’s line of work? Simply put, where’s the line folks when it comes to marriage and politics?

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Prosecutors Subpoena Epstein’s Pilots

CNN reports that prosecutors have subpoenaed the personal pilots of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in a move clearly aimed at corroborating victims’ accounts and possibly charging other actors.

It has been known for decades that Epstein befriended a lot of very powerful people and it was just a matter of time before prosecutors started digging into who among them accompanied Epstein on his illicit missions. The flight logs maintained by Epstein’s personal pilots are of course the perfect place for prosecutors to be digging for such information.

According to CNN reporter Kara Scannell, the relationship between Epstein and billionaire Leslie Wexner (the CEO of L Brands–the parent company of Victoria’s Secret), has attracted the attention of prosecutors.

Appearing on the Saturday morning edition of CNN’s NewDay, Kara Scannell said, “There are new details emerging about the relationship between L Brand’s CEO Leslie Wexner and Epstein. The New York Times is reporting how Epstein leveraged his relationship with the billionaire behind Victoria’s Secret for money and access to young aspiring models. According to The Times, Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney over his finances allowing Epstein to sign Wexner’s tax returns, borrow money in his name, and buy and sell properties. The financial ties between the men were also intertwined. According to The Times, Epstein bought at least two properties from Wexner including the New York mansion. Epstein also allegedly leveraged that friendship to gain access to women. According to a Santa Monica police report obtained by CNN, one woman said she met with Epstein in a California hotel room believing she was interviewing for a job as a Victoria’s Secret catalogue model but once inside, the woman alleges Epstein groped her…”

There is absolutely no question that Epstein’s very close personal and business relationship with Wexner raises a lot of eyebrows and prosecutors are justifiably curious about it. Is Wexner so ensnared by Epstein’s illicit conduct that he felt compelled to bow to his demands? Has Epstein been blackmailing Wexner using potentially compromising behavior the two have engaged in together over the years? These are the kind of questions beginning to pop up regarding the relationship between Epstein and Wexner and undoubtedly, there will be similar stories about other rich people Epstein dealt with, the most anticipated one being his relationship with Trump. CNN pointed out that Wexner’s camp has denied any involvement with Epstein regarding the child sex trafficking allegations.

Bottom line, as troubling as the allegations involved in Epstein’s child sex trafficking case are, his case presents a major test for the U.S. criminal justice system. For decades the charge has been levelled against the U.S. criminal justice system–that it is a two tier system that holds poor suspects to a very harsh standard while extending a lot of leniency to rich and powerful suspects, often times for more egregious crimes. Epstein’s case is clearly one where very rich and powerful people have committed horrific crimes against the most vulnerable victims–children. Will the U.S. criminal justice system rise up to the occasion and “throw the books” at the rich suspects or will it be the usual “slap on the wrist” treatment the public has become accustomed to? Only time will tell or as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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