mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Here’s How The Media Should Fight Trump (It’s Easy!)”: Ask Him Questions Presidents Need To Know How To Answer

This week we’ve seen a flurry of media activity that, up until the start of this election, wouldn’t have been noteworthy at all. Three days in a row, the likely Republican presidential nominee was… challenged by a journalist.

Yep, that’s it. Welcome to 2016.

On Monday, #NeverTrump-er and conservative Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes held Trump’s feet to the fire on his bullying and complete lack of policy knowledge.

On Tuesday, Anderson Cooper challenged Donald Trump to defend the hallmark of his campaign, acting like a semi-matured toddler on Twitter, and then didn’t let up when Trump tried to dodge it.

On Wednesday, Chris Matthews wouldn’t let Trump snake out of a question about punishing women for having abortions, even though it was clear mid-interrogation that Trump didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.

Good. These aren’t “gotcha” questions. They’re questions. Anyone who wants to lead the free world should have to answer them.

I’m not asking for much. All I want is for the national media, rather than asking Donald Trump about the controversies he purposefully creates to divert their attention, to ask him about him. Ask him questions he hasn’t heard before. Ask him policy questions to which you know he doesn’t know the answer, but that you would expect any other presidential candidate to answer easily.

It’s no secret why this hasn’t happened: Donald Trump is a money machine for media outlets. Personalities like the Morning Joe bunch don’t want to lose access to Trump’s campaign, so they let him call in to their show, or lob him softball questions at a specially-programmed town hall.

Or they simply let him have the floor, like when Fox and Friends asked, “Were you right?” in response to the Brussels bombings. Trump had previously called Brussels a “disaster.”

Donald Trump calls everything a disaster.

If there’s a single quote that explains this entire election cycle, it’s from CBS Chairman Les Moonves, about all of the free media his company gave Donald Trump:

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”

The news networks can hide behind a false sense of neutrality — Look at how many millions of his supporters agree with building an impossible wall— but to do so ignores their responsibility to report for the sake of the public good, instead of just for the… public.

When you really listen to them, it’s crystal clear: If Trump goes down, so does our bottom line.

Enough is enough. The overlap between “Questions presidents need to know how to answer” and “Questions we haven’t asked Donald Trump” is incredibly large, and perhaps larger for Trump than any major candidate in recent history. We need to ask them — and demand a straight answer.

Better to ask those questions now than find out how Trump answers them with his finger on the gold-plated nuclear button. It’s a beautiful button, really. The best.

 

By: Matt Shuham, The National Memo, March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Press, Donald Trump, Media | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Enough Is Enough”: It’s Time For Reporters To Break Out Of The Trump Rally Press Pens

Is the only thing more shocking than Donald Trump’s campaign manager being charged with simple battery of a reporter the fact that the crime isn’t all that startling, given the bullying campaign’s open contempt for reporters?

Enough is enough.

With Trump’s top aide, Corey Lewandowski, now facing charges, focus has shifted back to the increasingly abusive relationship between the GOP front-runner and the campaign press, and the unprecedented barrage of attacks journalists have faced, including constant insults hurled at them by the candidate himself. (Reporters are “disgusting” “horrible people,” Trump regularly announces.)

Sadly, news organizations have brought some of the degradation on themselves by acquiescing to all kinds of Trump campaign demands, such as the rule that they camp out inside mandatory press pens at events. Basically, the Trump campaign disparages the media, and news organizations do nothing in response — except shower him with even more coverage. (Talk about a win-win for him.)

“For ratings and clicks, they’ve allowed themselves to be penned up like farm animals at his rallies and risked scuffles with the Secret Service for covering the events like actual reporters,” wrote Eliana Johnson at National Review.

In fact, the press pens have become a hallmark of Trump’s war on the press.

“Unlike other presidential campaigns, which generally allow reporters and photographers to move around at events, Trump has a strict policy requiring reporters and cameramen to stay inside a gated area, which the candidate often singles out for ridicule during his speeches,” Time reported.

And Time should know.

In February, a Secret Service agent lifted Time photographer Chris Morris up off the ground and choke-slammed him onto a table after Morris momentarily “stepped out of the press pen to photograph a Black Lives Matter protest that interrupted the speech.”

It’s long past time for journalists to demand their freedom from Trump press pens. It’s like deciding to finally stop taking Trump’s phone-in interviews. Escaping from the pens represents a simple way for news organizations to assert their obvious right to cover the Trump campaign on their own terms, rather than being penned in at campaign events and living in fear of having access denied if coverage is deemed to be too critical.

Covering the Trump campaign on a daily basis today appears to be a rather miserable media existence. Reporters are threatened by staffers, and the Trump communications team seems to be utterly nonresponsive to media inquires. (“There is no Trump press operation,” one reporter told Slate.)

But it’s even worse than that. Just ask CBS News reporter Sopan Deb. In January at a Trump rally in Reno, a Trump supporter demanded to know if Deb was taking pictures on behalf of ISIS. Then, in March, after Trump’s raucous would-be rally in Chicago was canceled, Deb was covering mayhem unfolding on the streets when he was “thrown to the ground by Chicago cops, handcuffed, arrested, and detained in jail.”

I give journalists on the Trump beat credit for trying to make the best of a very bad situation. My question is why aren’t bosses standing up more forcefully for their staffers on the Trump front line? Why aren’t executives saying “enough” to the campaign bullying? And why don’t they take collective action and fix the obvious problems with how the Trump campaign is mistreating the press?

In case you missed it, last year 17 journalists representing scores of news organizations met for two hours in Washington, D.C., because they were so angry with how Hillary Clinton’s campaign was limiting access for journalists.

“The problems discussed were the campaign’s failure to provide adequate notice prior to events, the lack of a clear standard for whether fundraisers are open or closed press and the reflexive tendency to opt to speak anonymously,” The Huffington Post reported.

Looking back, the press’s Clinton complaints seem minor compared to the disrespect and invective the Trump campaign rains down on the press. But at the time, news organizations banded together and insisted that changes be made. (“The Clinton campaign is far less hostile to reporters than Donald Trump’s campaign,” The Huffington Post recently noted.)

So why the relative silence in light of the constant Trump mistreatment of the press? Why did news outlets quickly marshal their forces when Democrat Clinton was the target of criticism, but they apparently do very little when the Republican front-runner is trampling all over the press? Why the obvious double standard for covering Trump and Clinton?

Note that last November, several news organizations discussed their concerns with the Trump campaign. “Representatives from five networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and CNN — discussed their concerns about the Trump campaign restrictions on a Monday conference call, but did not present the campaign with any specific access requests,” according to The Huffington Post.

But very little came of it. “Facing the risk of losing their credentialed access to Trump’s events, the networks capitulated,” BuzzFeed reported.

Indeed, in the wake of that meeting, press pens at Trump rallies have recently become even more restrictive, with longer avenues of exit and entries created to separate journalists even further from rally attendees.

More recently, BuzzFeed reported, “Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face.”

So yes, news organizations have had behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Trump campaign. But the result has been to let Trump “dictate specific details about place of cameras at his event.”

Just amazing.

And note that it’s not just the press pens. Here’s a list of the news organizations that have had reporters banned from previous Trump events, presumably because the campaign didn’t like the news coverage: The Des Moines Register, Fusion, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, Politico, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Daily Beast, and Univision.

Over and over we’ve seen this pattern play out: Report something negative about Trump and watch your press credentials get yanked. This kind of bullying, of course, is unprecedented for American presidential campaigns. The tactic goes against every principle of a free press, inhibiting the news media’s unique role in our democracy to inform the public, without fear or favor.

Yet to date, I’m not aware of outlets banding together to make concrete ultimatums in response to the Trump campaign’s bullying. Instead of collective action, we get sporadic, nonbinding complaints from editors.

But what kind of signal does that send, other than capitulation?

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters For America, March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Campaign Press, Donald Trump, Journalists, Reporters | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Establishment Heroes?”: Romney, Ryan Won’t Come To The Republicans’ Rescue

It’s a dream more than a few Republican officials have no doubt had in recent months: the party’s presidential nominating contest remains unresolved through June, and a contested election opens the door to Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan rescuing Republicans by riding in on a white horse. “Finally!” party officials declare in the dream. “Our establishment heroes will rescue us from the dreaded Trump monster!”

There are, of course, all kinds of problems with the fantasy. For one thing, both Romney and Ryan – who comprised the party’s failed 2012 ticket – have said they have no intention of seeking national office in 2016. For another, if the party sticks to its Rule 40, neither of these guys would even be eligible for the nomination.

But even putting this aside, there’s a more obvious problem: the American mainstream just doesn’t like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan that much. Public Policy Polling published some interesting results today:

PPP’s newest national poll finds that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wouldn’t exactly be the solution to the GOP’s Donald Trump problem, with Romney doing even worse head to head against Hillary Clinton than Trump does.

That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. For all the recent interest in Trump’s poor standing with the American mainstream – interest that’s well deserved given his position as the GOP’s frontrunner – Romney actually fares worse in hypothetical general election match-ups.

In the PPP results, both Clinton and Sanders lead Trump by about eight points nationally. Romney, however, trails both of the Democratic candidates by double digits.

The pollster’s analysis added, “Romney is incredibly unpopular nationally now – his 23/65 favorability rating is even worse than the 29/63 Trump comes in at.” It may seem odd, but when Romney delivered his recent speech condemning Trump, most of the public liked the attacker even less than his target.

And what about the Republican House Speaker? PPP found that the Wisconsin congressman would trail Clinton and Sanders in a general election by 5% and 7%, respectively, which is pretty similar to the advantages Clinton and Sanders enjoy over Trump.

In other words, the imagined saviors of the party wouldn’t actually save the party. Plenty of voters remember the last two Republicans on the national ticket, but that doesn’t mean they’re remembered fondly.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Donald Trump Is Dangerous To Women”: In His Vision Of America, Women Have No Rights

There is perhaps no one in recent American political history who has outdone expectations as drastically as Donald Trump.

I do not mean this as a compliment. What I mean is that even as we have come to expect Donald Trump to say and be the absolute worst—to burrow beneath what previously seemed to be the garbage-strewn bottom—he continues to unashamedly dive to once unthinkable depths, outdistancing even the scavengers and bottom-feeders who preceded him.

An example of this occurred on Wednesday, when Trump stated that as president he would seek not only to ban abortion, but also to ensure that women who illegally obtained them should face “some kind of punishment.” Perhaps because the notion of criminalizing abortion and then exacting some kind of twisted revenge on women goes beyond even the rhetoric of the far-right anti-choice crowd, interviewer Chris Matthews gave Trump a chance to clarify his remarks.

“For the woman?” Matthews asked.

“Yeah. There has to be some form [of punishment],” Trump replied.

This is a man who has built his political—and if we go back even further, his public—brand on sexualizing, degrading, insulting and vocally and enthusiastically hating women. He makes jokes about newswomen being on their periods, about a fellow candidate’s wife being ugly. He has said countless terrible things about many, many prominent women. And in kind, his supporters dedicate time at rallies to violently shoving teenage girls, to allegedly groping and macing them in the face. Even his campaign manager allegedly physically attacked a reporter for doing her job.

And yet, Trump still finds a way to be worse, to keep digging beyond this.

A few days ago, one of Trump’s key advisers—a woman named Stephanie Cegielski—resigned. On her way out, she wrote an open letter that essentially accused Trump of being a know-nothing, power-hungry blowhard (I’m paraphrasing) whose entire persona may be contrived. Maybe that means Trump is not the misogynist (racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, nativist, transphobe) he plays on TV, or on the campaign trail. Maybe it’s all just talk to win hardened, bitter hearts and minds, which he only wants because his lust for power can never be quenched.

Yeah, maybe. I honestly don’t know if Trump hates women, and frankly, at this point, I don’t care. None of us, at this point, should give a shit about Trump’s personal psychology. That’s a problem for his shrink, who can never be paid enough.

What’s more important is the fact that Trump either believes or plays to the most misogynist elements of this country, the consequences of which are very real. When asked about issues of importance, from women’s reproductive rights to whether he’s down with the KKK, he says yes and later sort of says no, a way of cynically playing both sides of the fence to be sure he doesn’t alienate those who see themselves in the mirror of his terribleness. (Case in point: His backpedaling on Wednesday’s remarks.) He stokes anger and hatred toward women and then stands back and watches as his crowd, who were pretty hateful to being with, has their worst ideas of women confirmed and even applauded. He revels in their bile and ignorance, offering a safe space to be a woman-hating asshole whose every problem would be solved if only feminism and Black Lives Matter would go away.

With his latest remarks, Trump is advocating for an America where women have no agency over their bodies; where dangerous back-alley abortions are once again the norm; and where the health of women—especially those who have the gall to have sex—is inconsequential. A United States where women are mostly seen (if they are pretty), but heard only when they’re saying what men want to hear. Poor women, women of color and LGBT women would be even more disenfranchised and invisible. Trump is helping guide us toward being a country where violence against women is okay, in both word and deed. It’s disgusting and frightening. And it’s not that far from being a reality.

Donald Trump stopped being funny a long time ago, but the Woman Hater’s Club he’s built will, I’m certain, find all new ways to be horrible. Be outraged, be angry, make fun of Trump’s supporters, but know that won’t stop him. We’re long past that point. Don’t just stand on the sidelines and ridicule him. Trump’s medieval America is too dangerous and backward just to watch happen.

 

By: Kali Holloway, Senior Writer and Associate Editor of Media and Culture, AlterNet, March 30, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Abortion, Donald Trump, Violence Against Women, Women's Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Government Stumps Trump”: Donald’s Lack Of Understanding Of The Government’s Basic Functions Is Distressing

It is democratic, not elitist, to believe that all citizens should understand the two bedrock principles – separation of powers and federalism – upon which the American government rests. The framers enshrined these precepts in our Constitution to protect our individual liberty. For when power is distributed – either across the governing branches or between the states and the national government – tyrants are frustrated.

Yet, during Tuesday’s town hall interview on CNN, Donald Trump – no mere citizen but the leading presidential candidate in the Republican Party – revealed once again his knowledge deficit about our political system.

For those who skipped that middle hour of nonsensical rhetoric, an Army veteran and current Marquette University student asked an important, albeit simple question, “What are the top three functions of the United States government?”

Trump was stumped. With the exception of national security, he couldn’t seem to think of what other key duties were within the federal government’s purview. What about promoting justice (equality under the law), encouraging interstate commerce and managing our international relations? What about, in language more common among the framers, ensuring “domestic tranquility“?

Simply put, he seemed to not understand that when our government was established, it had only three cabinet departments – Defense (War), State and Treasury – because these are the feds’ main jobs: conducting war, promoting peace and encouraging prosperity.

Further, the other two functions that Trump named – health care and education – are not only not central to the national government’s mission, but they are generally understood, by an overwhelming majority of conservatives, to be activities that fall within the states’ police power. In other words, Trump’s answers showed that his political ideology is much closer to Democratic presidential hopeful and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders than to former President Ronald Reagan.

Perhaps, it shouldn’t be surprising. Throughout his campaign and without much consequence, Trump has been dismissive of separation of powers, civil liberties and civil rights. In fact, the only time he has really been pressed on constitutional issues was when he was forced to walk back his bluster earlier this month, after he had wrongly assumed that a president could order the military to torture prisoners of war.

Still, as a political scientist who agrees with former President Harry Truman’s observation that “it takes a lifetime of experience to understand how much the Constitution means to our national life,” Trump’s willful ignorance of our system is both shocking and distressing.

The only good news is that if Trump were to become president (by some strange twist of fate), he would quickly learn that he is no match for our governing system. His ignorance would be our nation’s saving grace. The framers were extraordinarily wise men.

 

By: Lara Brown, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, March 31, 2016

April 1, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Federal Government, U. S. Constitution | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: