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Sarah Huckabee Sanders: the perfect bullshit artist

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Author Topic: Sarah Huckabee Sanders: the perfect bullshit artist  (Read 25 times)
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« on: November 02, 2017, 12:26:31 am »

from the Los Angeles Times....

Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the right mouthpiece for a truth-twisting president

By DAVID HORSEY | 5:00AM PDT - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS does not look like the kind of woman Donald Trump would choose as his chief spokesperson. Much like Roger Ailes when he was stocking the Fox News lineup with blond Barbie dolls in short, tight skirts, the president has generally exhibited a preference for sleek beauties with long legs and stiletto heels to represent his interests and act as his arm candy.

Trump's daughter Ivanka and wife Melania are the apotheosis of this type. By comparison, Sanders looks more like a slightly chunky soccer mom who organizes snacks for the kids' games. Rather than the fake eyelashes and formal dresses she puts on for news briefings, Sanders seems as if she'd be more comfortable in sweats and running shoes. Yet, even if Trump privately wishes he had a supermodel for a press secretary, he is lucky to have Sanders.

I wouldn't have said that when she first got the job. In fact, I sharply disagreed with a friend of mine who expressed admiration for the way Sanders performs her duties. She is confident and unflappable, my friend said. I had trouble seeing that those strengths outweighed the fact that pretty much every statement coming out of the press secretary's mouth was a distortion of the truth.

But now I get it. Anyone who is going to be tasked with the job of explaining this president to the news media needs to be comfortable with saying things that are demonstrably not true. That was the problem with Sanders' predecessor, Sean Spicer. Lying seemed to fluster him. When he was challenged on any blatantly erroneous statement, he would get red-faced and petulant. It was as if he was trying to signal a message to reporters: “Come on, guys, lay off! Don't make me humiliate myself on live TV!”

That may be why, toward the end of Spicer's short time in the job, cameras were banned from briefings and he even conducted one exchange with reporters while huddled in the bushes outside the White House.

Sanders betrays no qualms about her role. She delivers the daily load of fibs and evasions in a flat, emotionless voice and, if questioned, keeps her cool, repeats her fallacious statements and sneers as if she hopes there is a firing squad waiting outside for the upstart journalist.

On Monday — the day it was announced that Trump's former campaign boss, Paul Manafort, had been indicted by a grand jury looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and that another Trump campaign operative, George Papadopoulos, had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russians — Sanders used up several long minutes of the daily news briefing by reciting an odd, folksy parable that had something to do with the tax system. When she finally got around to questions about Manafort and Papadopoulos, she treated the news as if it centered on obscure events in a galaxy far, far away.

“Today's announcement has nothing to do with the president,” Sanders said.

Meanwhile, according to reports in The Washington Post, the president was somewhere else in the executive mansion freaking out and screaming at the TV because he knew this advance in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation did, in fact, have a great deal to do with him.

Taking the offensive, Sanders confidently delivered the new Republican talking point that, if anyone were guilty of colluding with Moscow, it was Hillary Clinton — which is the boldest evasion anyone in the Trump camp has come up with, so far.

The Russia probe began with solid information from U.S. intelligence services about a pervasive Russian disinformation campaign aimed at boosting Trump's chances to win the presidency and discredit his opponent, Clinton. That intelligence has now been reinforced by revelations from Facebook and Twitter detailing thousands of bogus messages and ads placed on social media by Russian operatives. Suspicions that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians in this effort prompted the appointment of the special prosecutor and led to discovery of multiple meetings between Trump campaign officials and Russians in which the Trump folks — including Donald Trump Jr. and Papadopoulos — showed eagerness to get dirt on Clinton.

Now, the waters have been muddied by news that the Clinton campaign had picked up where one of Trump's Republican primary opponents had left off by paying for a dossier listing Trump's numerous ties to the Russians. Trump's shrillest shill, Sean Hannity, has declared that this bit of opposition research is the scandal of the century. Trump himself tweeted on Sunday that “There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!” Then, he followed that up on Tuesday, asking “why aren't Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus??!!??”

This is deranged political jujitsu (Clinton is the culprit in a Russian effort to sabotage her campaign?), but it is worth noting how seamlessly Sanders worked the new canard into her presentation.

Over the years we have seen many White House press secretaries who did a good job representing the interests of their administrations. They managed to put a positive spin on things without straying too far from facts. By that standard, Sanders is a failure. But in the world of Trump, spin is in, ignorance is strength and facts are nothing more than what you want them to be. By that new standard, Sanders is a pro.

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2017, 04:33:55 pm »

The “bullshitters” and purveyors of “fake news” aren't just in The White House either....

from The Washington Post....

The sorry state of Murdoch media

The Trumpification of conservative media was inevitable.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 2:45PM EDT - Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Rupert Murdoch in New York on September 10th. — Photograph: Julio Cortez/Associated Press.
Rupert Murdoch in New York on September 10th. — Photograph: Julio Cortez/Associated Press.

Politico reported this week:

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has in the past been a stern critic of Donald Trump, but in recent days has come under fire for pieces that critics say shift attention away from the president — with many people, including former staffers, left to wonder why.

After having generally avoided Trump's efforts to de-legitimize democratic institutions, The Journal last week wrote an editorial calling for special counsel Robert Mueller to resign and featured a contributor op-ed [by David Rivkin and Lee Casey] on Sunday afternoon that said Trump should issue a blanket pardon in the Russian scandal, including of himself…. The points made in the pieces in The Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch, not only tracked with White House talking points but were similar to those being hawked on other Murdoch properties, including the New York Post and Fox News.

Meanwhile, CNN reported:

Some employees at Fox News were left embarrassed and humiliated by their network's coverage of the latest revelations in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling, according to conversations CNN had with several individuals placed throughout the network.

“I'm watching now and screaming,” one Fox News personality said in a text message to CNN as the person watched their network's coverage. “I want to quit.” It is another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way,” one senior Fox News employee told CNN of their outlet's coverage, adding that there were “many eye rolls” in the newsroom over how the news was covered.

The person said, “Fox feels like an extension of the Trump White House.”

Let's begin by saying that dismay over Fox, over not just its evening lineup of unhinged Trump sycophants but also its daily schedule that now programs to match President Trump's “issues” (yes on Hillary Clinton, no on negative Trump story lines), is nothing new. Criticism from the left (with such anti-Trump critics as Media Matters) over the years has been joined by critics from the principled right who have become more and more dismayed that the purported antidote to liberal media bias has become worse than the disease.

As to those employees who are embarrassed by their employer, they have the choice to stay and contribute to Fox, or to leave and go public. Likewise, Rupert Murdoch's sons, James and Lachlan, already under the gun for the epidemic of sexual harassment, have a choice as well — to contribute to the destruction of civil political dialogue and objective truth, or to raise the bar and return to (or, to some eyes, begin to) embrace “straight news” and fact-based conservative opinion, like when respected conservatives (e.g. Bill Kristol, George Will) were network fixtures. Advertisers and viewers have a choice as well — to contribute to the success of an outlet that at times is eerily in line with not only Trump but also RT, or to look elsewhere in the media universe.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page is a different matter, however. The move from grudging defense of a Trump presidency to full-blown, Fox-like rationalization has been ongoing since Trump won the nomination. This week's double-hitter was met on social media from liberals and conservatives alike with a mix of horror and sadness. “Just when you think you've lost your capacity for shock, you read this [op-ed from Rivkin and Casey] + WSJ unsigned editorial calling for Mueller's resignation,” tweeted former Journal opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss.

The Journal editorial page was long thought to be the crown jewel of fiscal conservatism — a staunch defender of open markets, legal immigration and economic freedom. Internationally, it was anti-communist and supportive of U.S. leadership in the world.

Jay Rosen of New York University tells me via email, “From my perspective the October 25th editorial was an important event because it combines so effectively with this development, in which The Journal reporters were told to stand out by their greater willingness to give Trump the benefit of the doubt — greater, that is, than The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Politico, Bloomberg and others in their peer group.” He continues, “The implicit appeal is not to impersonal and timeless standards of veracity but to an ideological position that, according to the newsroom editors, the others guys have taken while The Journal does not.” He argues, “This is an attempt to give intellectual respectability within the news tribe to ‘the enemy of the people’ attacks. The editors were saying to their reporters: Okay, maybe not enemies of the people, but they're acting like enemies of Trump! We don't do that.” He sees a cumulative effect at work. “The news staff and the editorial pages do operate more independently than people assume, but it's the combined effect we should look at,” Rosen says. “The news side gives him the benefit of doubt, the editorial pages endorse an extreme position in which Mueller cannot fairly investigate. The signal to what used to be called establishment Republicans is: There are no institutionalists among us any longer; it's tribalism all the way down.”

Many conservatives, many of whom have long ago given up on Fox, are pained by this recent change. “As someone who has been writing for the Wall Street editorial page for more than 35 years and who admired and respected the page and its editors since the days of Bob Bartley, I'm genuinely astonished at what that page has now become, an angry mouthpiece for an angry mob led by an angry demagogue,” my colleague Robert Kagan says. “They want to pardon a man who has allegedly been involved in money-laundering millions of dollars. They want to shield a president whose campaign may well have colluded with Putin's Russia to distort our democratic processes.” He asks, “And why? For tax cuts? As part of some war to the death with liberals and Democrats?” He tells me, “This is not the Journal I once admired. The ground on which they once stood is cut away. They have become citizens of no man's land.”

Pulitzer Prize winner Bret Stephens, the outspoken Trump critic, decamped from The Journal for The New York Times this year. He declined to comment in any way for this piece. The disconnect, however, between his signed columns bludgeoning Trump for everything from racism to xenophobia to lying and The Journal's unsigned editorials was unmistakable. Mark Lasswell, another opinion editor, was forced out. Sohrab Ahmari is now at Commentary. In eliminating independent-minded voices, the editorial pages are reduced to undiluted Trump boosterism.

One need not conclude that “Fox is taking over” The Journal or that Murdoch and sons personally are editing opinion columns to recognize that The Journal has changed in the Trump era. The perceived shift in The Journal's editorial board, not unlike the further decline into journalistic insanity at Fox, is symptomatic of the intellectual rot that has eaten away at the right, and at the Republican Party specifically. On the right, years of bashing liberal media turned from criticism to paranoia and a sense of victimhood. The Clinton bogeyman became so exaggerated that anything Trump did became “not as bad as Hillary.” The rise of a worldwide populist movement suffused with nativism left conventional Republican outlets and politicians racing to catch up to the mob, running to defend Trump and his movement, whatever the cost and whatever intellectual gymnastics were necessary.  If House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Republican-Wisconsin) is now an unwavering apologist for the president and Heritage Foundation cheers him on, one can hardly expect The Journal's editorial page to be much different.

Bill Kristol observes, “As political movements go, American conservatism has been relatively principled and idea-driven. That's served America well. But the survival of such a conservatism — one that would resist authoritarianism, nativism and demagoguery — is now very much in question.” He continues, “For now at least, in the struggle for the soul of conservatism, Trump is, alas, winning. For now.”

Intellectual compromise and self-rationalization come on gradually — often accompanied by a dearth of political adaptability and creativity. At some point, however, the distance from principled conservatism to Trump follow-ship is so vast that the former becomes a distant memory. Perhaps the right will recover its intellectual bearings — if so, it will need former “gatekeepers” (how quaint the term now sounds) to lead the way. In the meantime, The Wall Street Journal editorial pages of the pre-Trump era will be missed.

• Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


Related to this topic:

 • Fox News's Tucker Carlson: The master of misdirection.

 • The Fox News-Murdoch effect: Mueller must resign! Or be fired!

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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 11:28:48 pm »

And yet more Trump administration BULLSHIT exposed....

from the Los Angeles Times....

Doomed to fight the Civil War again

By JAMIL SMITH | 3:00AM PDT - Thursday, November 02, 2017

A confederate flag sits at the base of Confederate Mound at a private cemetery in Chicago. — Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images.
A confederate flag sits at the base of Confederate Mound at a private cemetery in Chicago. — Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, the truculent White House press secretary, rose to defend John Kelly on Tuesday. President Trump's chief of staff had engaged in some Civil War revisionism during an interview the night before, and she was ready to back him up. One particularly comical moment came when Sanders declared that “just because you don't like history doesn't mean you can erase it and pretend that it didn't happen.” The same could and should be said to every Confederate apologist.

“He was a man,” Kelly said of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, “that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it's different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

People who defend the Confederacy give intellectual quarter to traitors. Yet we now live in a political Upside Down, a strange dimension where slaveholders who fought to expand slavery can earn praise from a retired Marine Corps general otherwise prone to caustic remarks. (In the same interview, he called for Hillary Clinton to be investigated and refused to apologize to Representative Frederica Wilson (Democrat-Florida) for his recent lies about her.) Historians cried foul, but, to date, no one in the Republican Party has pressured Kelly to resign, nor has anyone suggested locking him inside a library.

Did Kelly skip his high school history class about the Civil War? More likely, he made a conscious choice to lionize the lost Confederate cause in the service of defending those statues that have become, as I've argued here, loci for white supremacist demonstrations.

At any rate, Kelly is wrong about what caused the Civil War. Secessionists cared about “states' rights” insofar as they wanted the right to enslave in perpetuity. Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy, declared in 1861 that their new government's “cornerstone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.” The Civil War was fought primarily over slavery, folks. Let's all move past that.

But let's engage another point he made: The failure to “compromise”, which he said caused the war. As writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jelani Cobb have noted, that's total bunk given how many compromises had already been made over the subjugation and dehumanization of black people in bondage. Three-Fifths Compromise, anyone? Or the Kansas-Nebraska Act?

Kelly also noted: “Now it's different today.” He was referring to the shift in loyalty from one's state to the nation as a whole. But Confederate apologists make similar claims about the war's moral core. It's different today, they say. Now we know it's wrong to own slaves, but then it wasn't so simple, they believe. Stretching to give Lee (and his statues) political cover, they suggest that it's wrong to judge Americans of the past by American standards of the present. Is it, though?

Kelly and others should have to explain why a white man who betrayed America to enhance the unearned franchise of whiteness should be exempt from modern-day benchmarks for dignity, patriotism and humanity. When Kelly and those who agree with him give Robert E. Lee a pass, they argue implicitly that the slaver's lens is the one through which we should view that conflict, rather than the slave's.

Antebellum times featured many a debate — including a rather famous matchup, Abraham Lincoln versus Stephen Douglas — over the literal humanity of the kidnapped Africans and their descendants enslaved throughout the South.

Although nothing is slavery but slavery, we still have to argue the idea that black people are fully human. Systemic racism is still real. Our justice system is not blind to race. Our governments, national and local, are largely controlled by white men debating the fates of disempowered racial minorities.

As Sanders began concluding her lengthy defense of Kelly, correspondent April Ryan asked a question. "Sarah, was slavery wrong?” she asked. "Does this president believe that slavery was wrong?” Sanders said that it is “disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside of this building would support slavery.” It was a pugnacious answer to a serious question, and she didn't really answer it.

Whether or not Trump, or Kelly, would support slavery is moot. It's clear they support the slavers.

• Jamil Smith is a journalist in Los Angeles and a contributing writer to the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=cbec8117-0bb0-4657-aea2-db79bde270e5&subject=Doomed to fight the Civil War again
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