Sunday, May 14, 2017

What are we, chopped liver?

 Over the past few days the self-described leader of what he thinks is the greatest movement in the history of the world, who is serving as our president, has been toying with the idea of abolishing press briefings.

 Press briefings (nee press conferences) are occasions for Sean Spicer or Sarah Huckabee Sanders to stand up to the slings and arrows of scribes. His Leadership tweets that "As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!.." As he explained to Jeanine Pirro of Fox News his mind works too fast for mortals to keep up with it. After the gap I'll explain what's wrong with his musing and why NBC is such an embarrassment.

But first I need to add a little more oddness from the Pirro chat:
 “Here’s the thing, the difference between me and another president, Another president, I won’t use names, but another president doesn’t do what I’m doing – they really don’t. I’m not saying that in a bragging way. …Another president,  Jeanine, will sit in the Oval Office and do practically nothing all day. I’m doing – every minute of the day I’m doing something.
 What's wrong here is what he left out of his ruminations -- the reason for press briefings in the first place. They are not all about him, despite what he thinks. Even if he thinks so fast that his ideas flash  sometimes for only nanoseconds before they change (cf., reasons for firing the FBI director), it's not a reason for ending the briefings.

 They are occasions for we, the people, to hear what's on the mind of the head of state and to ask questions about things that are bothering us. We, the people, do that through ink-stained wretches of print and agent-represented stars of the electronic media, but the only other way for people to interact with the leader of a large country is through plebiscites. And the history of plebiscites has been that they first legitimize a dictator and afterward massage his ego while deciding absolutely nothing. So using press and other media to ask and get clarification is by default what we have to do between elections.

Unless we are willing to trust a man in whom there is no truth.

 Somewhat off the subject, I have to add that NBC spent a week advertising and two days doling out Lester Holt's "exclusive interview" with the president. During that time, he was interviewed at least twice on Fox and in at least one old-fashioned print publication. That was some exclusivity Holt had.


  1. All the oddness keeps piling up, making we wonder when it's going to reach the point where it's unsustainable. CEOs, even presidents, can be fired. I'm just hoping it happens before he drives the nation off a cliff.

  2. Wasn't Holt one of the Debate Masters last Fall? Is Trump breaking away from Fox?

    1. Holt moderated the first Clinton-Trump debate. Although Trump called him a well-known eastern Democrat before the debate Holt is registered Republican. After the debate about the only complainers were Breitbart and Rudy Guiliani. Trump was satisfied. I can't find a record of what Clinton thought, but she supposedly won the debate.

      Trump drops in for tea and babble at Fox almost weekly. They had him right after Holt's "exclusive" and while NBC was still dribbling the Holt interview onto its various "platforms."

  3. SNL did that Trump interview with Holt - link :)

  4. Trump is the master of the media; he is literally in charge of them because he understands their bottom line, ratings and money.

    Way back in the primaries he taught Fox the lesson that he could withdraw from a debate because he was more of a media draw than they were.

    He works the media constantly; cracks the ratings whip and lets them know that he is in charge. He turns any negative media coverage into support from his base.

    News is now entertainment; if there was any pretense left to journalism, Trump has constantly undermined it with his "fake news" diatribe.