Category: Media

MSNBC Host Lawrence O’Donnell Declares Trump Supporters “Liars” And Refuses To Have Them On Show

500px-MSNBC_2015_logo.svgSome of us have been highly critical of the trend in media toward “echo-journalism” where cable networks tailor their coverage to reinforce and repeat the expectations of their viewers.  Few hosts are willing to admit to the formula coverage, though there have been telling moments.  None have been open than Lawrence O’Donnell on  The Al Franken Podcast when he declared that MCNBC was completely over the need to present two sides of coverage on Trump because defenders of Trump are “liars” and “I don’t bring on a liar.” It is that simple.  The other side is just lies so only our side needs to be reported.

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A Leap or Perpetuating Evel? A Response To Sen. Chris Coons

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I have long respected Sen. Chris Coons (D, Del.) as a highly intelligent and effective senator.  I was surprised today to be watching Michael Smercomish (who I also respect greatly) to hear Sen. Coons following the party line in arguing implausibly that Hunter Biden is not a relevant witness in any trial despite his centrality to the Trump defense.  I previously addressed how Biden would be deemed relevant in a conventional trial and Smercomish quoted one of my Washington Post column at length to offer the opposing view. Sen. Coons responded not by addressing the relevancy argument but by dismissing such arguments as clever lawyering and “a stretch . . . a leap of logic worthy of Evel Knievel.”  I should note that this analogy was lost on my youngest son, Aidan, who immediately asked “who is Evel Knievel?” When I explained, he responded, “isn’t that a good comparison?” Continue reading “A Leap or Perpetuating Evel? A Response To Sen. Chris Coons”

Deaf Man Sues Pornhub and Other Sites For Lack Of Closed Captioning

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 7.43.32 AMA deaf man in New York, Yaroslav Suris,  has sued Pornhub and other pornographic websites over what he claims is a lack of closed captioning that prevents him from enjoying “video content” as a disabled person.  He claims that sites like Pornhub, RedTube, and YouPorn are in violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and its mandate that public accommodation’s goods, services, facilities and privileges must allow for “full and equal enjoyment” for disabled individuals. Continue reading “Deaf Man Sues Pornhub and Other Sites For Lack Of Closed Captioning”

Feeling The Bern: Sanders Rises In Polls As More Women Support Him Over Warren

Sen. Bernie Sanders appears to be continuing his rise in the polls despite the claim of Sen. Elizabeth Warren that he made a sexist and bizarre comment to her in a meeting shortly before she announced her candidacy. Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden remain flat in the Reuters/Ipsos national poll.

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Advertising Authority in the United Kingdom Bans Computer Advert For Only Having Male Actors As Gender Stereotyping

I have previously criticized the new law, enforced by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), that bans gender stereotypes in advertising. It is the ultimate expression of the “nanny state” phenomenon in the United Kingdom where speech is increasingly regulated and sanctioned by the state along a best values agenda. In 2019, commercials for Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Volkswagen were banned that left many of us speechless, particularly those who wanted to use humor in commercial speech. The latest example of this censorship is UK retailer PC Specialist, which saw an advert banned simply because it showed three men excited over using a PC for gaming. The problem? Women like gaming too. Just having men therefore further a gender stereotype.

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CNN Under Fire For Overtly Hostile Treatment Of Sanders In Iowa Debate

CNN has long been criticized for what many view as overtly hostile coverage of Sen. Bernie Sanders that goes back to the 2016 election where the CNN openly seemed to favor Hillary Clinton in her bid for the nomination. Yet, even for the most hardened critics of the network, yesterday’s debate in Des Moines was breathtaking in its unrelentingly negative questions of Sanders followed up relative softballs to others like Sen. Amy Klobuchar. However the lowest moment of this or any debate this year occurred when CNN reporter Abby Phillips made Sanders repeat his outright denial of the allegation by Elizabeth Warren that he told her that no woman could be president and then immediately stated that Sanders did make the comment in her next question to Warren. In watching with a room filled with people who are not affiliated with Sanders, Phillips’ statement led to loud gasps and Sanders himself seemed dumbfounded on stage by the bias shown by the CNN reporter. Later, Warren appeared to refuse to shake the hand of Sanders.

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Pelosi’s Blunder: How The House Destroyed Its Own Case For Impeachment

Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the blunder by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of not submitting the impeachment case to the Senate — a mistake that now threatens not just the trial but the rules for impeachment trials.

On Sunday, Pelosi went largely unchallenged in her obviously incorrect claim that the House is still in court seeking witnesses in the impeachment. The House is litigating pre-impeachment witnesses, but has never sought to subpoena, let alone compel, key witnesses in the impeachment from John Bolton to Rudy Giuliani to others with direct knowledge of any alleged quid pro quo. Indeed, the House has done nothing for four weeks after the vote – a vote that I strongly discouraged in favor of spending a couple months seeking these witnesses and/or court orders. Now Pelosi is actually suggesting that they could still seek the witnesses while the House does nothing. It remains the most baffling blunder of the impeachment.

Here is the column:

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Trump Retweets Highly Offensive Images Of Pelosi and Schumer In Muslim Garb

President Donald Trump is being widely and legitimately denounced today for a highly offensive image that retweeted of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Muslim garb, including a statement that Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt that the image is “repulsive anti-Muslim bigotry.” I have repeatedly objected to outrageous and unpresidential tweets by President Trump and I believe it is important for all of us to object to this type of offensive imagery and commentary. It has no place in our politics and certainly no place in presidential communications.

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FISA Court Selects Lawyer Who Vehemently Denied FBI Misled FISA To Oversee FBI Reforms

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has triggered a wave of condemnations over the selection of David Kris, to oversee reforms of the FBI FISA process. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg, left, appointed Kris, a lawyer that the Washington Post describes as “highly controversial.
Critics have objected that Kris writes for Lawfare, a legal site widely criticized by conservative lawyers for its left-oriented, anti-Trump positions, as well as shows like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. That objection strikes me as attenuated and unfair. The more serious allegations however is that Kris was one of the most public advocates for rejecting allegations of FBI abuse. In a city where you can throw a stick and hit ten lawyers, FISC went to someone who insisted that allegations of abuse were nonsense and should be rejected. If the court was seeking to assure the public, it has added a new controversy for those who see a “deep state” response to reforms.

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Polls Show Opposition To Trump’s Iran Actions

New polls have worrisome numbers for the Trump Administration. Despite Iran’s retaliation (thus far) being modest for the killed of a top military figure, some 56% of Americans say they disapprove of President Trump’s handling of matter with Iran, according to an ABC News poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. The polls shows that the effort to portray Democrats as supporting a terrorist have not worked. Nor should they. It is entirely unfair to portray Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “trying to defend” Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani. She denounced Soleimani but reasonably objected to the lack of conferral and evidence behind the attack. We can have a disagreement over such killings without suggesting that some are supporting terrorists by raising constitutional powers and obligations.

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Trump Complains About Being Stiffed By Nobel Committee In Baffling Statement Over Ethiopia

President Donald Trump has previously raised his unrecognized qualifications for the Nobel Peace prize. However, for those of us watching the rally last night in Ohio, one statement sent us furiously typing on our computers and googling the latest news from the Nobel committee. Trump referred to just hearing that the Ethiopian Prime minister would receive the prize and noted the unfairness since he was the one who made the deal. In fact, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the prize last year in October and there is no evidence that Trump played a key role in his peace negotiations to end the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

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“It’s UnAmerican. It’s Unconstitutional”: Utah Senator Denounces The Iran Briefing As “Absolutely Insane”

An interesting thing occurred on Capitol Hill yesterday. A U.S. Senator demanded to be treated as an actual U.S. Senator. After the briefing by the Trump Administration on the “imminent” threat behind the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimanim, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee came out of the hearing irate at what he described as the “worst military briefing” he had ever witnessed. Lee is one of President Donald Trump’s most committed supporters and a hawk. However, he has a quaint notion of being part of an independent branch of government with independent obligations under federal law. Lee refused to simply rubber stamp the position of the White House and denounced the “briefing” as offering no real evidence and little beyond platitudes. Sen. Rand Paul joined Lee in criticizing the briefing as clearly insufficient. In response to this principled position, both have been accused of “empowering the enemy” by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Defending the authority and functions of Congress is precisely what the Framers demanded in our system of checks and balances.

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The Bolton Factor: Pressure Builds For Witnesses In The Senate Trial

My column today in the Washington Post explores the possibility of witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial and specifically what the Senate might do if the White House demanded a clearly relevant defense witness named Hunter Biden. As the column was coming out, former national security adviser John Bolton announced that, if subpoenaed, he is “prepared to testify” before a Senate trial. Some of us have been saying for months that Bolton was signaling to the point of screaming that he was eager to testify. Nevertheless, the House refused to subpoena him, let alone seek to compel his testimony. It was the same counterintuitive position that led to the House to withdraw its subpoena for top Bolton aide, Charles Kupperman. Bolton’s announcement only highlights the baffling blunder of the House in rushing this impeachment before creating a complete and compelling record for removal. Instead, it effectively handed over control of the case — and completion of its case — to the Senate and the opposing party.

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“How Did It Get So Late So Soon?”: The Democratic Impeachment Erodes With Opinions and Time

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent decision on the appearance of a key witness, Charles Kupperman, in the House investigation. The abandonment of the subpoena on Kupperman highlights what will be a major question in the Senate of why the Senate should demand witnesses who the House failed to seek to compel. By rushing the impeachment and forcing a vote before Christmas, the House gave up control over an incomplete and insufficient case for removal. It gave up that control to a chamber controlled by the opposing party. Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to game the system has not achieved any concession from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Few of us believed it would. Now the House will proceed on the thinnest record ever presented in a modern presidential impeachment trial.

Here is the column:

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