It’s almost like the return of the now-shuttered Journolist, where left-leaning journalists, opinion writers and academics all got together to share their views on a private Google Groups forum where conservatives were excluded.
In this case, we have the pages of a new book by oft-ridiculed journalist Michael Wolff. The book is titled "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" and it certainly has dominated the news cycle.
The book hype is another way to claim President Trump is unfit for office because of what CNN attack dog and media reporter Brian Stelter called his “madness.”
The news media have joined the political class to discuss openly once more removing President Trump from office, recalling outlandish claims used against President Ronald Reagan during his second term.
By the end of the week, the Wolff book was being discussed and quoted by nearly every news organization. Because the media narrative has changed 100 percent. Now, Trump didn’t collude to win the election, he never wanted to win at all.
Anti-Trump media ate the book up. The lefty Daily Beast called it a “bombshell book” and said: “In the second excerpt published from Michael Wolff’s new book, the journalist paints a portrait of a President Trump who is increasingly repeating stories, cannot recognize old friends, and is viewed by his closest allies as ‘incapable of functioning in his job.’”
The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi gutted the author: “A provocateur and media polemicist, Wolff has a penchant for stirring up an argument and pushing the facts as far as they’ll go, and sometimes further than they can tolerate, according to his critics. He has been accused of not just re-creating scenes in his books and columns, but of creating them wholesale.”
Wolff’s book is only the latest salvo in the attack on the president. A visit to Capitol Hill by an anti-Trump psychiatrist also set media tongues wagging. Yale University Psychiatry Professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee warned that Trump is “going to unravel,” according to The Hill.
The media have done their best to hype that narrative. NBC’s Peter Alexander asked: “Should Americans be concerned about the president's mental fitness?” during Wednesday’s White House press briefing.
CNN pushed the idea from both sides. “The Lead” interviewed New York University Professor Dr. James Gilligan who ranted that Trump is “unprecedently dangerous,” but stressed his interest wasn’t about Trump’s mental health. The story still ran on CNN under the headline: “Doctors call Trump's mental health 'danger to nation.'”
CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza mildly countered the narrative by bashing Trump repeatedly but saying Trump’s health isn’t declining. “Trump is today who he has been the entirety of his adult life.”
This whole agenda ultimately ends at the 25th Amendment, which MSNBC was eager to invoke. The 25th, “which allows for the removal of the president from office,” wrote Politico, is “Washington's growing obsession.”
It certainly is the media’s. As MSNBC analyst Richard Painter warned: “We are all at great risk, and this is a situation that needs to be addressed by the Cabinet and Congress as set forth in the 25th Amendment.”
2. What Protests In Iran?: One of America’s top enemies is facing serious unrest and the news media have downplayed, misrepresented or hidden the news. Media outlets floundered trying to cover the protests, none more than The New York Times.
Perhaps that’s because the Times was already vested in an anti-Trump narrative. On Nov. 26, the Times’ Tehran Bureau Chief Thomas Erdbrink gave us this shockingly pro-Iran puff piece: “Long Divided, Iran Unites Against Trump and Saudis in a Nationalist Fervor.”
Here’s the article’s key point: “In short, it appears that Mr. Trump and the Saudis have helped the government achieve what years of repression could never accomplish: widespread public support for the hard-line view that the United States and Riyadh cannot be trusted and that Iran is now a strong and capable state capable of staring down its enemies.”
It took a month before that piece was proven wildly wrong. So the Times gradually let readers know it had screwed up without saying so. On Dec. 29, it ran this agenda-based view of the protests: “Scattered Protests Erupt in Iran Over Economic Woes.” The next two days had zero mention of Iran on the Times’ newspaper front page.
On Sunday, Dec. 30, the paper instead front-paged: “What We Wore in 2017.” Because what we wore is more important than unrest in a major U.S. enemy. The Times Twitter feed was just as bad, tweeting out: “Iranian Leader Calls for Calm as Violent Protests Continue.” Note the Times was blaming the protesters for the violence, not the government that was in the process of killing the protesters.
3. CNN Goes To Pot: It was New Year’s Eve, so that guarantees CNN staff would do something utterly stupid and unprofessional. In the past, that meant Kathy Griffin fouling the name of the news outlet with her sexual antics. Then last year, host Don Lemon appeared to get drunk and followed that bit of brilliance with an on-air piercing.
This year, it was Randi “Kush” Kaye riding the “CannaBus” filled with stoners. Kaye wore pot leaf earrings and encouraged one man to put on a gas mask with an attached bong and “to celebrate a little New Year's early.”
4. “Hardball” Staff and “Battered Wives Syndrome:” Look for even more trouble for “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. This follows a Daily Caller report that MSNBC paid $40,000 to a staffer “in 1999 after she accused him of harassment.”
According to Amber Athey, that’s not the only issue with Matthews. He “runs an at times openly derisive and brazenly sexist news operation that has led at least some staffers to describe themselves as victims of ‘battered wives syndrome.’” The article went on to skewer Matthews on his treatment of women, for “inappropriately commenting on their appearance and clothing.”
There were other allegations against members of the news media this week. CBS let go Political Director Steve Chaggaris, “over allegations of ‘inappropriate behavior,’” according to The Daily Beast. Also, Vice Media placed its president, Andrew Creighton, and its chief digital officer, Mike Germano, on leave after sexual harassment allegations were reported against them in a New York Times investigation,” wrote the Times.
5. Trump Business and Economic Moves Working: “A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation – and may finally raise wages significantly.”
The above sentence wasn’t published by a pro-Trump news organization. It came from the New York Times, in a story that credited the Trump administration for cutting regulations and said “the administration has instilled a faith in business executives that new regulations are not coming.”
Coming in a week when the Dow Jones closed above 25,000 for the first time, Team Trump had a lot to celebrate. Then there the many failed predictions from 2017, most of which anticipated a down market.
CNN’s list of “experts” did astonishingly badly. Two commentators predicted the Dow would lose more than 4,000 points. And even the best predictions were nearly 3,000 points too low.