Sunday, December 11, 2016

Digby and Jay Rosen go beyond theory in what the press has to fear from Trump and his supporters


Plus: TV Watch -- All set for Wednesday's "Rectify" series finale?

In her post "Demanding a show of power" today, Digby offers this chunk of her "storification" of a 20-tweet Jay Rosen tweetstorm:

-- Digby's excerpt from that Jay Rosen tweet "storification,"
offered today with her post "Demanding a show of power"

"The good news for all the Trump supporters in law enforcement is that if their man wins he has promised to let them take the gloves off, which is likely one of the major reasons they like him so much. Journalists should probably be a little more concerned about being used by this authoritarian partnership, however."
-- Digby, in her Nov. 4 Salon post "FBI’s Clinton smear
campaign is no surprise -- and has weird echoes of the
," recalled today in her above-referenced post

by Ken

As Digby herself notes in the post today, it's important to read the full 20-tweet sequence of this tweetstorm by NYU Prof. Jay Rosen, which she has storified as "How bad is it likely to get by Jay Rosen." In the post today she adds this note: "This seems like a very likely scenario to me, particularly since it looks like the FBI is going to be Trump's personal goon squad." And that sends her back to the Nov. 4 Salon post, "FBI’s Clinton smear campaign is no surprise -- and has weird echoes of the ’90s" -- written, she tells us, a week before the Jay Rosen tweetstorm. We can tell, of course, that the Salon piece dates back to the far side of Election Day from from the now-poignant phrase, relating to "all the Trump supporters in law enforcement": "if their man wins." We can now scratch that "if."

The Nov. 4 post began:
For those who have been following the fraught relationship between the FBI and Hillary Clinton for a couple of decades, the revelations that rank-and-file agents are selectively leaking like a sieve in hopes of derailing her campaign in favor of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump comes as no big surprise.
If there is such a thing as an institutional memory, then the FBI has one with an antipathy for Hillary Clinton that’s downright pathological.

The fact that the selective leaking for maximum effect hadn’t started earlier should have tipped off us old-timers that there was a plan for a late surprise. . . .
She expresses observerly admiration for the "nice touch" of kicking off this particular smear campaign by "having the FBI director himself send a vague letter filled with innuendo and suspicion to the House Oversight Committee chairman, Republican Jason Chaffetz," and connects this to the reality that "it’s now taken as a given by a large portion of the country that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will be indicted for . . . something."

Hillary, she recalls, has been subjected to "shocking vilification" dating back to "fthe moment she came to Washington," and proceeding with "with such intensity it was frightening" all through the right-wing "witch hunts" aimed at driving her husband out of the presidency "one way or the other," beginning early in his first term and continuing through his impeachment in his second term.

The right-wing rage was redoubled by (a) the failure to convict President Clinton in his impeachment trial ("mostly because his approval ratings were sky-high" and (b) the fact that "the American people punished the Republicans at the polls instead of the president." Happily for the Clinton-haters,
Then, as today, there was a Republican FBI director, Louis Freeh, allowing his agents to run wild whispering in the ears of willing reporters that an indictment was imminent. And there were always reporters willing to breathlessly report the scoop.
Exhibit A: repeated "reporting" by NYT right-wing provocateur William Safire of an impending indictment of the First Lady, always claimed to be coming any day.

Jumping ahead to "the current torrent of selective leaks," she turns to a Daily Beast piece by Wayne Barrett, "Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy," where we learn, she says, that it's "being funneled through a retired New York FBI agent named James Kallstrom and coordinated by former federal prosecutor and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani." Highlight: Rudy on Fox, "grinning like a fool" two days before the Comey letter, blithering about the "surprise or two" that Trump has in store for us "in the next few days":
I mean, I’m talking about some pretty big surprises. . . . We’ve got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this thing around.
Then there was Trump daughter-in-law Lara, on Fox the same day, promising, "We've got some stuff up our sleeves," while her father-in-law was "crowing on the trail that he’s heard that FBI agents were unhappy with the decision not to indict Clinton, including his claim that "the people that have been longtime workers at the FBI are furious."

Digby notes too irony, amid concerns about the Russian government also leaking on Trump's behalf during the election campaign, remembering the FBI's deep embarrassment by the discovery that the agent assigned to the Russian desk, Robert Hanssen ("now serving life in prison for espionage"), "had actually been a Russian spy for 20 years. She recalls "the admission by conservative columnist Robert Novak," one of the prime Clinton persecutors (fondly recalled as "the Prince of Darkness"), "that Hanssen had been one of his FBI sources for damaging information about the Clintons." Novak, she recalls,
innocently wondered if the man who had betrayed dozens of American intelligence assets in Russia, at least three of whom were executed, had really used him for nefarious purposes or if he really cared. Perhaps Novak wanted to believe that Hanssen was truly a patriot. Some reporters believe what they want to believe.
"There’s obviously no connection between the Hanssen case and today’s Russian investigation(s)," she notes.
But there are still too many people in the intelligence business who think it’s acceptable to interfere in the political business of the country when they disapprove of a leader. And there are still far too many credulous reporters willing to help them do it.
Then she offers the quote I've quoted up top about "the good news for all the Trump supporters in law enforcement," continuing:
Journalists should probably be a little more concerned about being used by this authoritarian partnership, however. Neither the FBI nor Donald Trump have much respect for democratic principles, including the First Amendment (as anyone can see by the crude insults hurled at the press by Trump and his followers every day.) It won’t end well for the country to empower these people and it certainly won’t end well for the press.
No, it won't end well for the country, or for the press. But for the so-called journalists who play ball with "Trump and his followers"? One's intuition informed by history suggests that they could do very well indeed.


I had originally planned to write today about the Sundance series Rectify, in anticipation of Wednesday's conclusion, not just of this spectacular final season, but of the series itself. But I made an executive decision to go with the above. Anyone who hasn't been watching should watch for further replays, and especially of Season 4. (It's possible to get caught up enough on previous events to appreciate what the creative team did here.) Now I guess that will have to wait till the show is completed.

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At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The parallels between current happenings and the 1930's are so striking it is astonishing. Where are the historians to detail all of the similarities going on? It would be great to read an expert's perspective. Where is the mainstream press? Fascism is here. Efforts to promote awareness and the importance of stopping it need to be made.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Correct. And the augmentation by Hone is spot on.

Luckily, there ARE NO true journalists in the corporate media any more. So der fuhrer will have to make up some shit to get the fed brownshirts to shut down the news. The media made him and they'll not burn their own paychecks to thwart him now.

The paltry remains of true journalism aren't any threat any more.

But the Nazis staged the reichstad fire and faked the incursion by the poles to justify their invasion... drumpf has folks smart enough to copy the same recipes. It'll happen. Probably when polls show he is losing in 2020, he'll make up something to declare martial law and suspend the bill of rights (well, what haven't already been doused in fuel and torched by previous admins, congresses and voters.

When an electorate is this fucking stupid, the resultant government cannot be very good.

At 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's say this article is essentially true. Since Trump is a Russian stooge under Putin's thumb, does this now make the FBI the American KGB? And the long-rumored FEMA camps the American Gulag?

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when have the fbi NOT been our kgb?

It's a political appendage that does the bidding of the money.
No FBI indictments of cops who kill unarmed nonwhites.
The director did a press conference performance where he described CRIMES committed by $hillbillary but also noted that there wasn't enough there for an indictment... just to shade the election a little.
No FBI indictments of anyone who stole $18 trillion in the housing crash.
and so on...

Under drumpf, presumably, the FBI will be focused on more political and rights suppression cuz that's der fuhrer's jam... but it's always been that more or less.
Corporations, Democraps and republicans will be immune. Media who do not worship sufficiently and true progressives not so much.


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