Howie Kurtz definitely leaned to the right when he was at the Washington Post, pretending NOT to. I covered this during the “Private Beauchamp” controversy*, when the “milbloggers” and the Bush Administration ganged up on The New Republic to slander and smear their anonymous soldier correspondent who’d had the unmitigated gall to suggest that all of our troops in Iraq WEREN’T angels with dirty faces and only slightly tarnished halos.
(Beauchamp’s sergeant, BTW, is serving a 40 year sentence in Leavenworth prison, for the execution-style murder of four Iraqi detainees — so much for the simon-pure myth.) Almost no one remembers that Howie Kurtz PERSONALLY walked that story from the Right-wing Echo Machine into the mainstream**. And since he’s been at Faux Nooz, Howie seems to have found his “niche.”
This is what a full-fledged feeding frenzy looks like. With Donald Trump facing the roughest stretch of his candidacy, the media have moved from questioning his sanity to depicting a campaign in disarray and top Republicans still wondering whether they can dump the nominee. That won’t happen, of course, but it’s an indication of the toxic nature of the coverage and the flood of anti-Trump leaks now washing across the media landscape….
It is worth taking the time to note that the article he writes manages to say virtually nothing, takes no stance and doesn’t really question the stories he claims to question. Instead, he sticks to vacuous statements that vaguely question without strenuously defending or correcting … ANYthing.
This is the “media critic” I’ve come to know: a fellow who toes the party line, invariably falling back to that old media (false) cliché of “normalcy” — false because if you’ve been a journalist for any length of time and follow any news area with more than a cursory glance, you know that there’s NO SUCH THING as “normal.” The world is wacky. THAT is normal. But hear our conservationist of normalcy:
I am told by knowledgeable campaign sources that Manafort is not going anywhere and believes that Trump will be getting back on message.
I am further told that reports of a planned “intervention” with the candidate, led by Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, are false.
And the sources also say that, contrary to media reports, party chairman Reince Priebus is not furious with Trump, though he is disappointed with the nominee’s refusal to endorse Paul Ryan.
OK: No one claimed that Manafort was leaving. The claim was that he had given up on challenging Mr. Trump on Politics 101 (presumably) and was “phoning it in.” So Howard Kurtz’ “objection” is meaningless. As we used to chide in debate: there’s no CLASH.
Proposition: Manafort has given up on challenging Trump and is going through the motions.
Kurtz Refutation: Manafort isn’t going anywhere.
Observation: What Kurtz says is not only NOT a refutation, but is implied in the original attacked tweet. That Manafort will continue to collect his paycheck without further feeding his ulcer. Mr. Kurtz is, as we would note in formal debate, NON-responsive to the charge.
Now let’s take the SECOND sentence: “I am further told that reports of a planned “intervention” with the candidate, led by Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, are false.”
Proposition: An intervention is being planned, to confront Trump with his non-presidential behavior.
Kurtz Refutation: He’s “told” that isn’t true.
Observation: this is mere gossip. He asked some people and they said “no.” So nothing more than childish gainsaying: is too! Is NOT! Is TOO! Is NOT! This is the sort of reasoning one might expect from someone who takes Tic Tac Toe very seriously as an intellectual exercise.
Third assertion: “And the sources also say that, contrary to media reports, party chairman Reince Priebus is not furious with Trump, though he is disappointed with the nominee’s refusal to endorse Paul Ryan.”
Proposition: Reince Priebus is “furious” with Donald Trump for his vacillating and foolish campaign behavior.
Kurtz Refutation: Not “furious” but “disappointed.”
Observation: this is mere frippery. Priebus has a definite REACTION to Mr. Trump’s erratic actions but the difference between “furious” and “disappointed” is one of spin and semantics. Kurtz has proven nothing, save that he is a brown-noser insider GOP politics. This is embarrassing.
And that’s the entire article: a series of non-denial denials, of assertions that the “media” have got it wrong, and that there’s nothing to see here (move along move along) without ever challenging the fundamentals of the reporting: the Trump campaign is in disarray and that GOP muckymucks are either disappointed or furious and would like to speak with Mr. Trump to get him back onto the rails from the trainwreck of the last week.
But in Howieland this isn’t “real.” Nosirree. It’s that awful media, just MAKING STUFF UP about sober, serious, and oh-so-controlled Donald.
In a pig’s eye.
This is the last dregs of Ailes. Coupled with the [Wall Street Journal] fake scandal of “ransom” for hostages it’s another distraction from a media empire based on distraction and disinformation at the expense of reportage and fact.
And, you might ask, but this isn’t anything new; why should I care?
Again, it is to take a moment in this campaign to review JUST how deep the disinformation goes. We have a party and its media adjuncts, bound and determined to hide all “uncomfortable” facts and to constantly create a false narrative of phony scandal (in which no one is ever actually harmed, but, with science fiction speculation and a bit of outright hallucination, a possible harm MIGHT have happened even if it didn’t e.g. the IRS “scandal,” or the “email scandal” and even the “Benghazi” incident in which SEVEN Republican congressional committees cleared Mrs. Clinton of any culpability, but which is still believed by the hypnotized GOP masses, and obscenely masturbated to at the RNC with the mother of one of the four dead BLAMING Mrs. Clinton ANYWAY in utter defiance of their own facts, because, hey, who cares about facts?
“Facts,” said John Adams, defending the Boston Massacre soldiers, “are stubborn things.”
Paul Revere, who did a little “spinning”
on the Boston Massacre himself.
Far more stubborn than lies. And, sooner or later, when you live in a bubble of your own self-serving mendacity, catastrophe finds you, as the Bush (the Dumber) Inner Circle has found out at the expense of the nation.
Thus do I criticize the “media” critic for having utterly failed at his putative job, while serving the cause into which he knowingly enlisted when he jumped ship to go to work for Roger and Rupert.
Beyond that, there is very little left to say, save this:
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ? Mark Twain
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.” ? Ayn Rand,
Just for the irony of it all.
We live in an age when truth is a closely guarded privilege, subject to constant attack by agents of disinformation.
Like Howard Kurtz. Who offers up this “justification”: All of this has mushroomed into a tsunami of negative media coverage, with very little scrutiny of Clinton, at least right now.
My gosh! After the tsunami of BS coverage of Mrs. Clinton, Howie is UPSET that Trump has managed to steal all the oxygen from bad press. NO FAIR! (No bias there. Nosirree.)
[* The Private Beauchamp controversy remains a masterpiece of disinformation, still mostly limned in media as the false narrative that it was. For more, see The New York Review of Magazines for a peek into the real story, albeit rather gutlessly. Wikipedia and the rest of a disinterested media never got to THAT. And the story remains a masterpiece of Orwellian fiction. I wrote an entire series on the subject, which I may republish, edited and expanded, as circumstances warrant. Suffice it to say that the “veracity” of the attackers was more that they shouted down all protest than that they “proved” their case. It was, in miniature, a replay of the Dan Rather crucifixion, which, oddly, was NOT mirrored by the selfsame mainstream media when it came to piling onto Roger Ailes — even though the charges against Ailes which led to his resignation were FAR worse than those which led to Mr. Rather’s dismissal.]
[** Army Concludes Baghdad Diarist Accounts Untrue
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 8, 2007; Page C01]