4 Ways CNN is Full of Bovine Excrement
4 Ways CNN is Full of Bovine Excrement
It’s not a big secret that CNN is absolutely unhinged regarding Trump. It seems anytime you visit their website, the majority of content is Trump derp vice actual news reporting – thinly veiled attacks on the President masquerading as analysis, and I’m betting the left eats it up.
Their latest ersatz analytical piece is titled “4 Ways Trump is Trying to be King.”
I kid you not. Apparently, assigning one of their alleged “political analysts” to write a tone-deaf, partisan hit piece that so completely detached from reality, that the entire fantasy genre is having a collective bout of colitis, qualifies as “analysis” at CNN.
What’s really pathetic is that this bit of political derp comes from someone who is ostensibly a respected academic – a Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a New America fellow. Julian Zelizer’s level of partisanship is clear, as he assesses that Trump is trying to be king because he is apparently delegitimating oversight, using the bully pulpit for disinformation, legitimating conflict of interest, and using national emergency powers to replace actual legislation.
Was Zelizer asleep during eight years of Barack Obama’s White House tenure? The four precedents that he claims Trump is setting to raise the presidency to the level of an “imperial” one were set long before Trump got into the White House, and have been especially prevalent during the Obama Administration.
What has taken shape in recent weeks is an argument suggesting that almost no oversight is legitimate unless the President agrees to a congressional investigation. Even without invoking executive privilege, Trump has been firm he will not cooperate with almost any of the investigations taking place.
Gee, never mind that he fully cooperated (yes, many times unwillingly) with a two-year, multi-million dollar Special Counsel investigation! Never mind that he’s “undermined” exactly jack and shit, and never mind that Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to protect his Attorney General Eric Holder who refused to produce documents in a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform probe into a gun-running operation that resulted in the deaths of US law enforcement officers – something much more serious than an already completed Special Counsel probe that yielded no evidence that Trump conspired with Moscow to alter the results of the 2016 election.
Obama didn’t invent noncooperation with Congress either. In 2007, the Bush White House rejected Congressional subpoenas for documents in a Congressional probe into the administration’s role in the firings of eight federal prosecutor.
And by the way, this isn’t the first time a President has been accused of dabbling in imperialism. Funny enough, commie propaganda rag The Nation accused George W. Bush of something similar in 2007. Why is it that only Republican presidents are accused of imperial desires?
Trump has also gone beyond his predecessors when it comes to using the bully pulpit to propagate disinformation. Of course, it is important to recognize that almost every president lies, as The Nation’s Eric Alterman notes in his forthcoming book on the subject, “Lying in State: Why Presidents Lie and Why Trump Is Worse.” Some of their lies have been small, and others have been big ones that led us into major wars such as Vietnam and Iraq. But Trump lies in a different, more sweeping and indiscriminate way.
According to The Washington Post, the President has made more than 10,000 lies or misleading statements. He spreads false information without any sense of shame and with a regularity that normalizes this action. His use of what Theodore Roosevelt called the White House’s “bully pulpit” in this fashion is part of a political strategy. He spreads false information, conspiracy theories and outrageous accusations to confuse public debate, direct the national media focus and undermine the legitimacy of his opponents.
Trump has gone beyond his predecessors? Really?
In a column for The Hill in 2017, James Bovard listed Obama whoppers that make Trump’s puerile claim about the size of his inauguration crowd seem microscopic in comparison, including the “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” mountain of utter horse shit that his pet MIT economist admitted was a lie to mislead the American people and pass ObamaCare, which screwed hundreds of thousands of people out of health insurance policies they liked.
And that wasn’t the only whopper Obama told.
Obama responded to Snowden’s stunning revelations of the National Security Agency’s vacuuming up millions of Americans’ personal data by going on the Jay Leno Show and proclaiming: “There is no spying on Americans.” But NSA’s definition of “terrorist suspect” was so ludicrously broad that it includes anyone “searching the web for suspicious stuff” (maybe including presidential lies). Obama’s verbal defenses of NSA spying collapsed like a row of houses of cards.
And let’s not forget Obama’s numerous lies about gun violence in order to promote his political agenda. Is it really easier for teenagers to get a Glock than it is to get a book? Even the Washington Post thought that was weird, so let’s not pretend Trump has a monopoly on using the bully pulpit to lie.
Trump has also used his power to legitimate a massive, unprecedented conflict-of-interest problem at the heart of this administration. One of the biggest dilemmas with the Trump presidency from his earliest days was his refusal to disclose tax information and then his resistance toward creating a serious firewall between his presidency and business. Rather than give up ultimate control of his company, he would only go so far as to put his sons in charge of the business, which meant little in practice.
Whether you agree that ceding control of his companies to adult family members constitutes a conflict of interest, to pretend that the previous administration‘s conflicts of interest were somehow less significant or corrupt is self-delusion on a grand scale.
Former Google top lobbyist Andrew McLaughlin went to work in the White House’s technology policy office. While there, he communicated with Google lobbyists about net neutrality, an area where the White House was advancing policies favored by Google. This violated White House rules.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson instructed registered corporate lobbyists, whose company stood to profit from the EPA’s policies, to use her private email account.
In 2013, Obama hired revolving-door lobbyist Chris Jennings, who represented drugmakers and insurers, to help implement Obamacare. While he deregistered more than two years before joining the administration, there’s reason to believe he never stopped lobbying until he joined the White House. After deregistering, Jennings kept his firm operating, kept his corporate clients, and kept on meeting health-policy aides at the White House.
Obama’s IRS hired former H&R Block CEO Mark Ernst to draft new rules regulating tax preparers. This clearly would have violated the ethics rules Eilperin discusses, except they dubbed Ernst a career bureaucrat rather than an “appointee,” thus exempting him from the ethics rules. The regulations Ernst helped shape were beneficial to H&R Block, but also illegal.
And who can forget the millions in taxpayer dollars given away to Solyndra – a company in which a major Obama fundraiser had a significant interest?
Yeah, sure. One could argue that Trump still profits from the company controlled by his family, but at least he’s not stealing millions in taxpayer dollars for giveaways to political donors and supporters in order to maintain his power and political influence!
And he donates his presidential salary every year to boot!
And finally, Zelizer whines that Trump is using his “imperial power” to roll back government policies and withdraw from international agreements. Last time I checked, kings want to amass more power, not less, so reductions in regulatory burdens should be welcomed with open arms as efforts to shrink the power of the government, instead of proclaiming that they’re an indication of royal power.
Trump has been imperial with his power in other ways, such as his using executive power to roll back government policies and unilaterally withdrawing from international agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal. Though this use of executive power is certainly not new among presidents, there have been instances when he has gone well beyond others who came before him. But the President’s decision to invoke national emergency power to obtain funding for a border wall that Congress refused to fund several times is the most egregious example of how freely he is willing to flex his authority. If the courts don’t strike it down, this will offer a model for future Democratic and Republican presidents to obtain monies that they want without congressional approval.
We can argue factually about whether it was a wise idea to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It wasn’t a great deal, but the JCPOA helped maintain a modicum of stability in the Middle East. And frankly, the JCPOA wasn’t a treaty, so the President has every right to withdraw the US from this particular agreement.
And did everyone forget the “I. HAVE. PEN. AND. PHONE.” way of governing by the last administration? He couldn’t get Congress to pass an immigration law, so the DACA executive memorandum was born. What about the “economic promise zones?” What about Obama’s promise to use said pen and phone if Congress was deadlocked?
“I am going to be working with Congress where I can to accomplish this, but I am also going to act on my own if Congress is deadlocked,” he said at an education event at the White House on Thursday. “I’ve got a pen to take executive actions where Congress won’t, and I’ve got a telephone to rally folks around the country on this mission.”
Talk about presidential overreach! Barack Obama was proud of it. He reveled in his power and popularity. He considered his agenda more important than the legislative branch’s authority to pass laws.
And the war in Libya in 2011? Not like Obama got authorization from Congress to act!
So what’s different now?
Why is it that Julian Zelizer so studiously ignores significant presidential overreach during the Obama years, but claims that Trump is somehow trying to crown himself king?
The answer is simple: the news media and academics have completely lost all sense of perspective and truth when it comes to this President. Far from merely disagreeing with his policies – even passionately – they have abandoned all pretext of objective thought and logic in favor of hysterical hyperbole and anti-intellectual verbal vomit.
Trump is a lot of things, but aspiring king ain’t one of them. CNN, on the other hand, has dipped below InfoWars on the credibility scale, and that’s quite an accomplishment.