Category: Media

“I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on reported completion of answers to the questions given to President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  The White House anticipated giving the answers to the Special Counsel before Thanksgiving.  As noted below, that could put the collusion part of the investigation into high gear toward a report to Congress.

Here is the column: Continue reading ““I Answered Them Very Easily”: The Five Most Chilling Words In The Russian Investigation”

FEDERAL COURT ISSUES ORDER FOR CNN’S JIM ACOSTA TO BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE BUT . . .

In a victory for the media, Judge Timothy J. Kelly has ruled that CNN’s Jim Acosta must be given back his access to the White House.  However, it is not an entire victory.  As we discussed earlier, the court recognized some basic procedural protections and required the White House to state clearly the grounds for revoking the clearance.  The court expressly said that he has not found a violation of the First Amendment and has not determined that Acosta cannot be eventually barred from the White House.  He wants further information from the White House if it intends to continue to bar Acosta. Continue reading “FEDERAL COURT ISSUES ORDER FOR CNN’S JIM ACOSTA TO BE GIVEN ACCESS TO THE WHITE HOUSE BUT . . .”

DOJ Filing Mistakingly References Sealed Criminal Charges Against Assange

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svgIn a truly astounding misstep, the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Virginia filed a document that referenced an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.  The filng in an unrelated court filing seems to confirm that charges are pending or planned against Assange but the Justice Department will only say that  “The court filing was made in error.” The charges would raise serious first amendment questions over whether it is a crime to publish hacked emails if you were not a party to the hacking.  Wikileaks maintains that it was performing a journalistic function.

Continue reading “DOJ Filing Mistakingly References Sealed Criminal Charges Against Assange”

CNN Files Challenge To Suspension Of Acosta’s Press Access

A couple of days ago, we discussed the prospect of CNN suing the Trump Administration over the suspension of CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials after a flair up in a former press conference with President Donald Trump and the refusal of Acosta to surrender the microphone.  CNN has now filed its  lawsuit and it is basically the claims that we anticipated with one addition: a claim that the move violated the Administrative Procedure Act.  As I have said from the outset, I strongly oppose the move by the White House, even though I feel that Acosta went too far in the press conference.  However, I still remain a bit more cautious than many commentators on what is being described as a slam dunk of a case. Continue reading “CNN Files Challenge To Suspension Of Acosta’s Press Access”

Fifty-Six Percent Of Democratic Voters Do Not Want Pelosi To Be Speaker . . . Democratic Members Move To Make Pelosi Speaker

During the election, the potential of Rep. Nancy Pelosi being made speaker was a constant drag on close races with many members and candidates assuring voters that they will not support her return to the office.  Despite those assurances (and many of the Democratic leadership remaining silent on Pelosi), the Democratic establishment is now pushing to put Pelosi right back into the chair. Obviously, when all voters (including Republicans and independents) are considered, the opposition to Pelosi is overwhelming.  None of matters (including to the media which barely mentioned the opposition and does little on the many polls showing the position of voters).

This is despite a new Gallup poll showing that 56 percent of Democratic voters are opposed to the move as well as past polls saying that Pelosi and the establishment are driving younger voters away from the party.  The reason is simple: the Democratic members do not view these elections about the party and certainly not the voters.  It is about them and Pelosi can deliver key positions and benefits to them for support.  This is precisely why I have been long critical (here and here) of both party establishments and how voters continue to be played like chumps in this duopoly of power in our country. Continue reading “Fifty-Six Percent Of Democratic Voters Do Not Want Pelosi To Be Speaker . . . Democratic Members Move To Make Pelosi Speaker”

CNN Reportedly Considering Lawsuit Over Acosta Access

200px-Cnn.svgI have previously criticized the White House for suspending the access of CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.  While I believe that Acosta was wrong in refusing to yield the mike at a former press conference, the White House should restore his access.  That, however, does not mean that the suspension would be viewed as an actionable legal case.  CNN is reportedly considering such a lawsuit and Floyd Abrams, a constitutional law expert, is quoted as saying that CNN would have a “really strong lawsuit” against the White House.  I am not so confident despite my agreement with CNN on the merits of the action.  My concern is how a court would craft the standard for such review in having a right to a press pass.  Moreover, whatever due process claim can be raised, the burden is likely to be modest. Continue reading “CNN Reportedly Considering Lawsuit Over Acosta Access”

Trump Attacks Reporter For Merely Asking About Reining In Mueller

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_cropped200px-Cnn.svgI have been highly critical of President Donald Trump’s treatment of the media and his personal attacks on journalists.  A chilling example is his response to CNN’s Abby Phillip when she merely (and reasonably) asked if Trump wanted to “rein in” Mueller with his appointment of Matt Whitaker. It was not just a relevant question but the one most asked by journalists of all of the networks from Fox to CNN to BBC.  Yet, Trump called it a “stupid” question and then attacked Phillip’s overall performance. Continue reading “Trump Attacks Reporter For Merely Asking About Reining In Mueller”

Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the mutual threats from Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump to use investigations in a tit-for-tat struggle with the new Congress.  In his press conference after the election, Trump said that he is prepared to adopt the same “war-like” stance and “They can play that game, but we can play it better.”

This promises to be long and intense two years, but there does not appear to be much hope for actually addressing some of the important issues that divide this country.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Politics By Other Means: Both Trump and Pelosi Suggest Using Investigations For Political Purposes”

Covering Or Campaigning? Fox News Anchors Appear With Trump At Missouri Rally [Updated]

440px-The_Yellow_Press_by_L.M._GlackensI have been highly critical of what I view as the erosion of the line between journalism and advocacy in cable news, including a column this week criticizing CNN for its unrelenting anti-Trump coverage.  MSNBC has previously been criticized for its host, Al Sharpton, appearing at campaign rallies.  Now Fox is facing an equally serious incident after Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro.  Both are known to be close confidants of Trump, but they also work for a news organization that is covering Trump and this election.  While many view the journalistic rule of separation as artificial in the age of partisan cable programming, it represents the most glaring breach in the rule that we have seen.  The incident raises an increasing conflict with journalistic values and programming.  All of the networks now have anchors who are openly partisan but maintain facial neutrality by not contributing or campaigning for parties.  The fear is that a departure from that technical rule will lead to a race to the bottom of networks working as an extension of political parties and a return to the age of “Yellow Journalism.” Update: Fox News has rebuked both Hannity and Pirro for their participation.

Continue reading “Covering Or Campaigning? Fox News Anchors Appear With Trump At Missouri Rally [Updated]”

“The Great Satan”: Farrakhan Finds His Happy Place . . . In Tehran

While many Americans are calling for greater unity in the country, anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan is in Tehran spewing his usual hateful message including reportedly leading a chant of “Death to America” and calling America the “Great Satan.” Despite the reprehensible comments in support of a nation that spreads terrorism and oppresses its own people, I still believe that it is protected speech despite the existence of the Logan Act, which makes it illegal for citizens to intervene in disputes or controversies between the United States and foreign governments.  That Act is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used to convict a single U.S. citizen since it was enacted in 1799. Continue reading ““The Great Satan”: Farrakhan Finds His Happy Place . . . In Tehran”

Nigerian Army Shows Video Of Trump Suggesting That Soldiers Should Shoot Rock Throwers To Defend An Alleged Massacre

Many of us were critical of President Donald Trump’s statement that he told U.S. soldiers to shoot migrants who throw stones.  It took little time for authoritarian figures to latch on to the statement.  Nigeria’s army played the video of Trump to justify its shooting of protesters resulting in as many as 49 deaths. In the meantime, National Security adviser John Bolton gave a speech in which he praised Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s new president, as a “like-minded” leader.  The incident is reminiscent of Trump’s praise for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who is an international pariah for his orders to police to murder drug suspects and his bragging about his own killings.  Bolsonaro is a notorious figure who is a demonstrated racist, sexist, and homophobe who praises military dictatorship as well as torture. He also said that he would prefer his son be dead then gay.

Continue reading “Nigerian Army Shows Video Of Trump Suggesting That Soldiers Should Shoot Rock Throwers To Defend An Alleged Massacre”

Mueller Accuser Is A No Show As Criminal and Civil Liability Loom Over The Allegations of Sexual Assault

Conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, a conservative lobbyist and radio host, are outspoken supporters of President Donald Trump and called reporters to come to a Holiday Inn in Washington to hear from a woman who would allegedly accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct.  Previously, Mueller referred an allegation to the FBI that women were promised money to accuse him of wrongdoing.  With the no show of their accuser, Wohl and Burkman could well be looking at both criminal and civil liability.

Continue reading “Mueller Accuser Is A No Show As Criminal and Civil Liability Loom Over The Allegations of Sexual Assault”

Worst Halloween House [Member] Ever . . .

Dq2IR26U0AA5up7225px-GovernorSanford-_OfficialPortraitIn Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford is lucky that he was not egged, tped, and then burned in effigy after he invited people to come to his office for Halloween after four to trick or treat and walk away with . . . copies of the Constitution.  The Constitution is my life.  I love the Constitution.  I have spent a lifetime speaking and writing about the Constitution. However, it ain’t the same as a Reeces or Snickers bar.  Indeed, Sanford needs to flip to the Eighth Amendment: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”  This was the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment on Halloween. Continue reading “Worst Halloween House [Member] Ever . . .”