Boom or Bust: How The Media Fulfilled Trump Narrative On “Fake News”

ASC_Leiden_-_Coutinho_Collection_-_C_37_-_Candjambary,_Guinea-Bissau_-_Unexploded_bomb_-_1974.tif200px-Cnn.svgI recently criticized Gloria Allred for giving Roy Moore a badly needed boost in her belated admission that her client wrote some of the words that she attributed to Moore in the now infamous yearbook press controversy.  Now CNN and other media outlets have given critics the most compelling evidence that they are seeking to allege that our media is rife with “fake news.”  Trump himself pounced on the false report. CNN went all in on a report from Congressional reporter Manu Raju that Wikileaks gave the Trumps early access to undisclosed hacked emails before they were made public.  The story was wrong on the key date and failed to note that the source was just some unknown character encouraging the campaign to look at the publicly available material.  Brookings Institution’s Ben Wittes and others joined in the spasm of “bombshell” reporting, as detailed by Glenn Greenwald.  This follows the Washington Post reporter David Weigel tweeting a false image of empty seats at a recent rally to contradict Trump’s latest crowd assertions — a picture that was found before Trump spoke.  Trump called for Weigel’s firing, which I have said would be excessive (even though Weigel has made past controversial statements against conservatives before the Post hired him). Weigel withdrew the tweet and apologized.  I think that that is sufficient and the Trump Administration should be the most sympathetic with wayward tweets.  The more serious issue is the CNN coverage of the Wikileaks story and the eagerness to pounce on any story damaging to the Trump Administration.  That is a legitimate basis for criticism and review.  If this were not Trump, would CNN have run with the “bombshell” without more scrutiny?  The alleged lack of circumspection and caution on the story has been raised as characteristic of much of the Trump coverage. (Notably, Fox was also criticized for a headline on the yearbook disclosure, though the objection was to the use of “forgery” in the headline not the content of the reporting).

 

Continue reading

Allred Admits That Client Wrote Some Of The Words Attributed To Moore In Yearbook

downloadI have been critical of the representation afforded by Gloria Allred and her daughter Lisa Bloom in past cases, including the rapid calling of press conferences at the height of news cycles.  Most recently I was critical of Allred’s handling of Roy Moore accuser Beverly Nelson, the press conference has not only resulted in her being nationally ridiculed but she was accused of falsifying Moore’s signature on a yearbook.  Allred’s defense of her client on the charge has been so anemic and uncertain that many have taken it as a concession.  Allred’s eagerness to hold press conferences gave Moore exactly what he hoped to find: a basis for challenging the veracity of his accusers.  After numerous evasive interviews that played into Moore’s hand, Allred called another press event and admitted that Nelson did indeed write some of the words attributed to Moore in the yearbook.  Now Moore can go into the final stretch of the election claiming that the victim’s evidence was not what she had claimed.  It would have been better to have admitted this weeks ago, but Allred waited for the Friday before the election to bury her own gross negligence in the news cycle. This does not alter my view that the allegations against Moore are credible and disqualifying (including another witness who came forward this week), but rather than the blunder played into the hands of those who are struggling to ignore the moral hazard that is Roy Moore.

 

Continue reading

Clinton Campaign Accused Of Knowing About Weinstein Rape Allegations But Continuing His Use As Fundraiser

Hillary_Clinton_Testimony_to_House_Select_Committee_on_BenghaziActress Lena Dunham has gone public with an allegation that she warned Hillary Clinton’s campaign that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein was a known rapist and saying that it was wrong to use him as a core fundraiser for Clinton.  Dunham accused Clinton campaign deputy communications manager Kristina Schake and Clinton campaign member spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod of being expressly warned about Weinstein.  Given the renewed questions over the treatment of women allegedly assaulted by Bill Clinton, the allegation fulfilled a perception of Clinton as claiming to fight for women while giving campaign interests priority in dealing with sex offenders within her inner circle.  Clinton is still haunted by her reference to women accusing her husband as “bimbo eruptions.”  Schake and Elrod have basically called Dunham a liar and said that she never made such a warning.

Continue reading

Dead Men Don’t Park: Florida Mayor Arrested For Using Handicapped Placards Of The Deceased

 

downloadDavenport (FL.) Mayor Darlene Bradley, 60, faces an allegation this week that is politically and legally devastating.  Police allege that she has been using the placards of dead people to park in handicapped spots at city hall.  This is the type of allegation that would be radioactive before either jurors or voters.  Unless there is a serious misunderstanding (and police have videotapes), a plea would seem a wise move.

Continue reading

The Franken Resignation: Time For Minnesota To Correct An Earlier Mistake With Peter Agre?

Sen. Al FrankenSen. Al Franken (D., Minn) will resign in light of the increasing number of women alleging sexual harassment and assault.  It is the end of a remarkable career that took Franken from Saturday Night Live to the most exclusive club in Washington.

The resignation reminded me of a column that I wrote when Franken first ran. I wrote about the striking difference between Franken and Peter Agre, a nobel prize winning humanitarian respected around the world.  As I discussed in the column, the result seemed inevitable in American politics as voters decided between the cheap shot celebrity and the world renown scientist.  Franken would respond to my column and went on to trounce Agre who would have doubled the IQ of the Senate by simply joining it.

As the governor of Minnesota looks for a replacement, it is worth noting that Agre is still available and still the more qualified candidate.  In case Gov. Mark Dayton has lost his number, here is his academic email and site.

The 2007 column is below:

Continue reading

Death By Tweet: Questions Linger Over Flynn Tweet and the Role of Trump Counsel

Twitter Logo440px-Allegory_of_death;_skeleton,_c.1600_Wellcome_L0014669Below is my column in USA Today on the ethical and practical implications of the controversial tweet sent out by Trump counsel John Dowd. In my view, Dowd should now remove himself from the litigation. Notably, the failure to remove or fail Dowd will likely fuel theories that he is covering for Trump.  If Trump did not know that Flynn had lied to the FBI before speaking with Comey, the Dowd tweet would usually result in a quick and rather angry response to a lawyer compromising his client in this fashion.  However, various media sources are reporting that White House Counsel Don McGahn did inform Trump that Flynn likely misled the FBI in his interview before Trump spoke with Comey.  Whatever the truth of the matter, the Dowd tweet could not be worse in its timing and content.

Here is the column:

Continue reading

“That’s Not A Good Place”: Moore States That George Soros Is Going To Hell With All Other Non-Christians

Judge_Roy_Moore250px-Hortus_Deliciarum_-_HellWe recently discussed the bizarre defense of Roy Moore earlier this month from Orthodox Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter.  Leiter declared that “Democratic and Republican homosexualists” were attacking Moore because he is standing up to “homosexualist gay terrorists” and “the LGBT transgender mafia.”  It appears however that Leiter would fare little better in the Moore world of self-righteous bigotry.  In a new released statement, Moore is shown denouncing George Soros, who is Jewish and noting that Jewish people will all go to Hell: “He’s still going to the same place that people who don’t recognize God and morality and accept his salvation are going. And that’s not a good place.” No that is not a nice place but would be the destination (in Moore’s view) of everyone from Leiter to Jared Kushner to Ivanka Trump to conservative donor Sheldon Gary Adelson.

Continue reading