Stelter, Wolf, And The Mainstream News Media Unmasked

NBC says that many journalists at the White House Correspondents Dinner were embarrassed and angry about her ugly attacks on the President, his family, and his staff, as you can plainly see from the reaction of the guests to the comic after her performance….

Observations on an ethics fiasco:

1.  I can’t decide if I regret not writing about Brian Stelter’s self-rebutting, smoking gun screed  excoriating the President for not attending the annual White House Correspondents Dinner before the dinner took place, as was my original intention. It looks even more ridiculous after the dinner, which, as even a fool could have predicted, was a festival of Trump-hate. One reason I didn’t write it earlier was that I had written essentially the same post earlier this month,  after two Washington Post writers criticized the President for not throwing out the ceremonial first pitch when the Washington Nationals opened their season. I wrote in part,

Boy, you can’t get much more intellectually dishonest than this. Gee, why wouldn’t the President subject himself to loud, open-air jeering from the majority of a crowd of 40,000, a demonstration of contempt that would be played over and over on CNN, MSNBC,  NBC, CBS and ABC, with mocking commentary? What a puzzlement! I have no theories, do you?… Boy, I cannot imagine why President Trump wouldn’t be eager to walk into this trap. The dishonest authors of the Post article,

They want to see the President embarrassed, and are disappointed that he isn’t so foolish as to allow himself to be…

Well, I was wrong. You can get more intellectually dishonest, and CNN’s hack media critic, Brian Stelter, was just the man for the job.  In an essay that managed to pretend that the journalists at the event, including him, hadn’t spent three years denigrating and ridiculing Trump personally and 18 months trying spin the news to drive him out of office, he wrote in part,

Presidents don’t always want to show up and tell jokes and socialize with the press corps, but until now it’s been a part of the job in the modern media age.

“Historically presidents have felt that it’s important to send the signals, both to Americans and to the rest of the world, that they support this sort of quintessential part of American democracy, the First Amendment,” correspondents association president Margaret Talev said on CNN Saturday morning.

Trump evidently believes it’s politically advantageous to snub the affair and hold a rally instead. “Big crowd tonight, will be live on T.V.,” he tweeted on Saturday morning.

Well, he certainly doesn’t believe it’s politically advantageous to walk into an event where he has a target on his back, and have to sit quietly with a forced smile while everyone laughs as he is humiliated and insulted. Until now, it has been part of the job of journalists covering a presidency in any age to display a base level of respect for the man in the office, because he is in the office. Before Trump, journalists could be expected to treat Presidents with respect at least for a single night. Not now. Who would not assume that last night’s dinner would be a Trump-bashing orgy whether he attended or not? Is Brian Stelter unethical beyond belief, or is he just stupid? I have frequently wondered, and his article made me wonder more. The President isn’t doing his job by not allowing vicious and unethical journalists to undermine him in a public display of contempt? I am grateful to the President for avoid such an embarrassment for the office and the nation.

As for Taley, whom we will hear more of later, what self-serving crap.  The news media has disgraced itself and its mission, and neither President Trump nor any American citizen should support the way today’s journalists abuse their special status. Trump would be a hypocrite to help corrupt and biased journalists celebrate their poisoned craft, and to applaud while they pat themselves on the backs for misinforming, inflaming and dividing the American public.

2. Then came the actual dinner, and it was worse than even Trump could have imagined. Gee, Brian,  now what do you say? Were you shocked? Really? You couldn’t see this coming? Can you see now that the President was wise—not that it took any great feat of analysis, though it was obviously beyond your meager intellect— not to force Americans like me—you know, those who respect the office and still are stirred when they hear “Hail to the Chief” no matter who the Chief is—to see the office denigrated and insulted while arrogant, entitled, ink-stained wretches guffawed? He had a duty not to attend. Do you understand now?

3. As I noted in yesterday’s warm-up, the hired entertainment, deliberately recruited from the cabal of anti-Trump cable and network comedy shows, delivered as she was expected to, and was uniformly vile, even to the members of the White House staff who were the journalist’s guests. The representative Ethics Dunce for the fiasco was Bloomberg correspondent and president of the association Margaret Talev, who dropped one astoundingly disingenuous statement after another to rationalize it.

“My goal in putting together last night’s dinner was to unify the room and the country around journalism and the First Amendment, and I shared what I believe about those subjects in my own remarks,” she said at one point. Yeah, having the President of the United States called a pussy, a Nazi, a racist, a misogynist,  xenophobic,  unstable, incompetent and impotent is obviously the way to do that. After Michelle Wolf’s ugly act was widely panned, Talev said,

“The association, by tradition, does not preview or censor the entertainer’s remarks. Some of them made me uncomfortable and did not embody the spirit of the night. And that is protected by the First Amendment. I appreciated Sarah Sanders for joining us at the head table and her grace through the program.”

Ugh:

  • The organization may not preview the remarks, but when it intentionally hires a comedian from Comedy Central’s all-Trump-bashing-all-the-time “The Daily Show,” its president cannot  credibly say “we had no idea she’d say those mean things!” And Talev would have made the same statement-winkwink!—if she had hired Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel or Alec Baldwin. Seriously, I think it’s great that the head of the journalists association lies like that. It helps dispel lingering illusions that Journalism is about truth any more.
  • So anything that is protected by the First Amendment is appropriate content for the Correspondents Dinner….did I understand that correctly? Where were the race jokes, the rape jokes, the jokes making fun of the Parkland shooting victims? Where was the hard core sex? Or is bad taste only appropriate when it is directed at the President of the United States, his staff, and Republicans?
  • Aw, that’s so nice that she appreciated Sarah! Here’s some of what Sarah had to sit politely and listen to:

“I have to say I’m a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ Mike Pence, if you haven’t seen it, you would love it….”

“Every time Sarah steps up to the podium, I get excited, because I’m not really sure what we’re going to get. You know, a press briefing, a bunch of lies or divided into softball teams….”

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies….”

“And I’m never really sure what to call Sarah Huckabee Sanders, you know? Is it Sarah Sanders, is it Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is it Cousin Huckabee, is it Auntie Huckabee Sanders? What’s Uncle Tom but for white women who disappoint other white women? Oh, I know. Aunt Coulter….”

Hey, but Michelle Wolf didn’t make fun of Huckabee’s appearance, so it’s all just good fun ! Absolutely not! By the way, here’s Aunt Lydia:

Several commentators have suggested that the organizers of the dinner owe the President and his staff an apology. They do, but even if they had the decency to do it (‘What? Apologize for exercising First Amendment rights?’), it would allow the news media to get off cheaply for its true offense that this episode only highlights.They have stopped practicing ethical journalism. They need to apologize for that.

 

87 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions, Rights

87 responses to “Stelter, Wolf, And The Mainstream News Media Unmasked

  1. I have friends on the left who insist that media bias is an illusion fabricated by the rich (pun intended) imagination of Republicans and their conservative wing. Slanted articles are merely “Telling the truth” and introducing the morning news with a comedy routine – invariably aimed at Trump – by Colbert is simply responsible journalism.

    I have a shoe on the other foot mentality and can just imagine the response if Dennis Miller was at the dinner a few years back and made comments about the physical appearance of members of the Obama administration or Obama himself. I imagine the IRS would respond. The mocking was over the top and unnecessary. It was not comedy on display by Wolf, but a public humiliation. Her first amendment “right” is certainly in play, but so is her lack of sensitivity, professionalism, fair play and much, much more.

    • I have no more patience for those who argue that extreme mainstream media bias is a myth. Those people are part of the rot. They are enablers and accessories of an attack on democracy, and should be designated as such, hard, at every opportunity.

      • Jack wrote, “They are… accessories of an attack on democracy, and should be designated as such, hard, at every opportunity.”

        Yes they are enablers but they are not accessories.

        I disagree with the part I quoted. That’s very “similar’ish” to the arguments that every person associated with the Confederacy, in any way whatsoever, was a racist and their only purpose was trying to protect the institution of slavery.

        This is revisionist rewriting of history, we really don’t need to start rewriting history on this topic in the same way.

        • The news media would not continue nor get away with their current conduct if there wasn’t a concerted effort to give them cover—and that’s what those deniers are doing…and they know it.

          And you aren’t going to argue that Robert E, Lee, et al, were not accessories to the Confederacy, are you?

          • Jack wrote, “And you aren’t going to argue that Robert E, Lee, et al, were not accessories to the Confederacy, are you?”

            Heck no; however, there really is a limit as to how far that “et al” can be pushed. Gotta watch out for that ole guilt by association trap.

            • Who, precisely? I can’t think of any figures having their honors removed for Confederate connections who weren’t justly regarded as pro-Confederacy. My point is that being pro-Confederacy doesn’t preclude lasting honors for other reasons.

              • There have been numerous anti-Confederacy arguments to remove markers for Confederate soldiers resting places all over the USA based on their all racists and the memorializing slavery. Some markers are as simple as listing the names of the dead, no justification for slavery, no triumphant Confederate general statue, just simple listings.

                It’s happening in my area too.

                Labeling media enablers as “accessories of an attack on democracy” is actively demonizing them for something that they are not actually doing and I think that is similar’ish to what SJW’s are doing by demonizing anyone or anything related to the Confederacy as racist. I’m saying that we need to be careful and not use the same type of arguments that these SJW’s are using.

                • Rats, bad grammar.

                  That should have been read, “…they’re all racists and the memorializing slavery.”

                • Off topic, Z, but I understand the some in Texas are looking to sue those who remove monuments.

                  …Title 9, Chapter 191 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, designates “sites of historic interest” such as “archaeological landmarks” as the “sole property of the State of Texas.” They “may not be removed, altered, damaged, destroyed, salvaged, or excavated without a contract with or permit” from the Texas Historical Commission.

          • Jack Marshall wrote, “The news media would not continue nor get away with their current conduct if there wasn’t a concerted effort to give them cover—and that’s what those deniers are doing…and they know it.”

            This is where we part ways.

            Here’s an analogy; are the family members enabling a drug addict or an alcoholic accessories to the actions of the drug addict or alcoholic and therefore accountable for those actions as equals? I think the answer is no.

            We should be hounding media enablers for what they are actually doing, enabling the unethical media. When individual media enablers make the shift to parroting the unethical media, then that individual needs to be called out for their own actions which then could certainly fall in the category of being a rough equivalent to the unethical media. The big difference is that the unethical media, the ones with national exposure and perceived trust in reporting the facts, are the ones abusing their rights and power.

      • Jack wrote, “I have no more patience for those who argue that extreme mainstream media bias is a myth.”

        I agree completely. There have been some really interesting conversations regarding this within my circle of friends and acquaintances.

    • Chris

      Wolfe’s jokes weren’t about Sanders’ physical appearance. The Aunt Lydia joke was about her actions, not her appearance. The “smoky eye” thing was a compliment about her appearance.

      Michelle Wolfe did not mock women for their physical appearance. The person you are thinking of is Donald Trump.

      • Eternal Optometrist

        Yes, in the middle of the degrading jokes about Sanders, she snuck in a compliment about her appearance!

        Give me a break.

        • Chris

          Moving goalposts. The point was that Rick M. was wrong to suggest that she was mocking her physical appearance.

          And calling a liar a liar is degrading?

          • Eternal Optometrist

            Of course she was mocking her appearance. As my wife says to me, don’t play dumb, it’s not becoming.

            • Chris

              Ask your wife what “perfect smokey eye” means and get back to me.

              • Eternal Optometrist

                Did already.

                Insult.

                Next?

                • Chris

                  I’m sorry, but your wife is wrong. “Smokey eye” is a thing women aspire to. Google it if you don’t believe me: you’ll find tons of videos and articles about how to get that “perfect smokey eye.”

                  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/29/snowflakes-sarah-huckabees-perfect-smokey-eye

                  The point of the joke was that Sanders is incredibly well-put together, but behind her appearance lurks a liar. That was obvious. The joke makes no sense without that contrast. That so many missed the obvious point of the joke in order to pretend that Wolfe was insulting Sanders’ appearance strikes me as willful denial of reality.

                  • Spin, and really inept spin. Sanders looks like an unmade bed, and like she put her make-up on with a spoon. Her appearance has been mocked from the beginning, including her eye- make-up. Incredibly well put together? You know, for spin to be credible, it has to have some remote connection to reality.

                    Here, as one example, is anti-Trump Jezebel talking about Sanders in July:

                    Friday’s look involved a heavier styling hand, with Sanders’ previously straight hair curled into soft waves. Her once lightly-applied makeup has been given the Trump Treatment, with thick coats of bronzer and dark, dense smears of eyeshadow. In Trump Land, femininity is a woman’s chief virtue. And how is a woman supposed to look feminine without heaping gobs of makeup?

                    • Chris

                      Ok, so we know what you think of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ physical appearance…

                      But I think that’s weak. The joke is unethical because other people have made fun of Sanders’ physical appearance? That can’t be right. Either the joke itself mocks Sanders’ appearance, or it doesn’t. This one doesn’t.

                      And I’m not convinced that everyone is as down on her appearance as you are. Here’s a Hollywood Reporter article praising her looks:

                      https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sarah-huckabee-sanders-style-is-relatable-1024855

                • Still Spartan

                  I personally go for the smokey eye look every day — and have done so since around 16. There is nothing remotely insulting about it. Indeed, I just had my make-up professionally done for an event and I requested “smokey eye.” This means “heavy liner, heavy lash, and neutral make-up with brown or gray in your eyelid crease.” Nothing more.

          • Chris wrote, “And calling a liar a liar is degrading?”

            I’m not even going to answer your question because something much more important may be at the root of why you chose to ask. It’s really is an interesting question coming from you, so much so that it begs to have an answer to the following question:

            Has your underlying understanding of the concept of using appropriate nouns like calling a liar a liar, or calling a troll a troll, or calling an idiot and idiot, or calling a misrepresentation a misrepresentation, or calling spade a spade, or calling an asshole and asshole, etc, etc, etc, somehow “evolved” or is it conditional on the self-validating virtue of the person being labeled with the noun?

      • Defending the indefensible. Maybe you should go into the spin business?

        • Chris

          “I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smokey eye. Like maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

          There’s nothing “indefensible” about this joke. Nothing. You are ridiculous.

          • Go to the whole routine and not cherry pick. I read through it and could only think of how HST would have handled it if it was Beth being humiliated. Enough folks in the media including some on the left have already called her out on this routine. And from what I read some actually walked out. Must be those overly sensitive conservatives. This is not humor but a public shaming designed for a specific audience that approves of this behavior. You know – those that defend it.

            • Chris

              It isn’t “cherry-picking” to point to the one joke that has been highlighted by many as an example of Wolfe mocking Sanders’ appearance and proving that it didn’t do that. If there were other jokes that did that, point me to them. Otherwise, retract your false claim.

              • I am not limiting it to just one individual as Wolf didn’t limit her “humor” (Is this what progressives call humor?) to just Sanders. How about Ivanka? “As helpful as an empty box of tampons.” Or “She’s a diaper Genie of the administration. On the outside, she looks sleek, but the inside, it’s still full of s**t.” Maybe you forgot about those? Maybe you have some spin on them? Maybe you actually find humor in it? And as far as cherry picking with Sanders maybe you can list all the wonderful and gracious things she said about her? The comments were bitting and humiliating and most certainly unnecessary. Sanders sat there and absorbed this childish rant with a certain degree of grace that was most certainly lacking from the poorly devised and delivered shtick. Even Jackie Leonard and Don Rickles could deliver a pointed barb, but also tone it with a measure of warmth. Comedy of Wolf’s type has to be delivered two prongs and she just didn’t do it.

                • Chris

                  I previously said one of the Ivanka jokes was over the line. I do think it is fair game to criticize Ivanka and make some jokes about her; she has chosen to take an active role in her father’s presidency. That said, the jokes you pointed out about Ivanka don’t strike me as funny, and seem needlessly crude.

                  I think the reason the jokes about the Trump administration don’t come with much “warmth” is because much of the country doesn’t feel any warmth toward Trump at all. I think that is understandable and fair given his behavior and rhetoric. He has set the tone. He is the leader. In the past, comedians tinged their barbs with warmth because the leaders warranted that. They made fun of Bush, but he was viewed as more dim than evil. Trump doesn’t inspire the same type of comedy, and that’s a reaction to who he is as a person and the way he chooses to behave and govern.

                  • My personal feeling is that Trump is fair game based on the politics of those who are delivering it. Is it bias? IMO it is clearly and undoubtedly so. Conservatives/Trump/Republicans = Evil! Progressives = All Mother Thersa’s in waiting. And with comedy, it is being delivered not with humor but viciousness. This is just another example.

      • Junkmailfolder

        How in the world is “I have to say I’m a little star-struck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,'” not referring to the idea that Sanders is (or looks like) the woman who plays Aunt Lydia? She’s not saying that she loves that Sanders is being represented in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” she’s saying that she’s starstruck to be in the same room as the actor who plays Aunt Lydia, i.e. she looks just like her.

        • Chris

          As I already said, it’s about her actions, not about her looks. Aunt Lydia is a woman cooperating with a patriarchal regime for her own power and gain. That’s the comparison. That’s the joke.

          • Junkmailfolder

            You’re streching, and not very well. Look at the words she used, not what you think she must be trying to say.

            She didn’t say, “I loved your character in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.'” She didn’t say ‘I love how they got your mannerisms just right in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.'”

            She referenced the fact that the woman who plays Aunt Lydia is an actress (“I love you as “), and that the actress who plays Aunt Lydia is Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Hence, she mistook Sanders for the woman who played Aunt Lydia, not as the character herself. Since we presumably know nothing about the actress besides how she looks, I don’t see how it can be interpreted as anything except a joke about how she looks.

            • Chris

              If the purpose was to mock her looks she could have said she looks like any number of non-traditionally attractive actresses. There are numerous choices that would have been more well-known than the woman who plays Aunt Lydia. If you watch Handmaid’s Tale and know the character, you know why this one was chosen, and it isn’t because of her appearance.

              • Junkmailfolder

                If the purpose was to mock her actions, she could have said something that actually reflected that, rather than humorously mistaking Sanders for the woman who plays Aunt Lydia.

        • Still Spartan

          Oh dear. What is wrong with Republicans? I mean, I know that The Handmaid’s Tale probably isn’t must-see TV for you, but Aunt Lydia is the female lead who props up the patriarchy by keeping the handmaids in their place. She is both their jailor and their maternal figure — which makes her the most terrifying person on the show.

          If she was going for a fat joke she would have used Roseanne — currently out of favor with Democrats and known around the world with no explanation needed. The Aunt Lydia comment was an inside joke for left wing liberal women. I get that you don’t understand the inside joke — it wasn’t meant for you.

          • Junkmailfolder

            I’m really at a loss here. Do I need to explain the difference between a character and an actor who plays a character? Was the joke poorly written then? Again, show me how she’s saying that Sarah Huckabee Sanders is at all like the CHARACTER Aunt Lydia, not the actress playing her.

            Sure, I can see how referring to this specific character from the documentary adds to its sting, but she’s not saying “I’m starstruck to be in the same room as Aunt Lydia.” She specifically said she’s starstruck to be in the same room as the person who PLAYED Aunt Lydia.

            Can you please answer the question without the completely unwarranted slights to my intelligence?

            • Still Spartan

              You’re just wrong on this.

            • Still Spartan

              And, not only are you wrong, but all of this commentary is deeply insulting to the actual actress playing that role. Carry on though — you’re one of the good guys I suppose for arguing that it is insulting to compare this woman to another woman you find unattractive.

              • Junkmailfolder

                Ooh, an insult to my character, too! All this because I expect someone who writes jokes for a living to actually understand English!

                So when my wife says that she loves Meryl Streep as Julia Child on “Julie & Julia,” what she’s actually saying is she can’t wait to buy Meryl Streep’s cookbook, right?

                Or better yet, when she tells me she loves Patrick Dempsey as whatever his face on “Grey’s Anatomy,” you think she’d be happy to find out he’s going to do a life-saving operation on her?

              • Junkmailfolder

                I don’t even know whether the actress (or Aunt Lydia, for those who can’t tell the difference) is unattractive or not . All I’ve seen is the screenshot posted above, in which she looks ugly, harsh, cruel, and scary. If that’s not representative of how they’re portraying her on the show, and that she actually comes across as a beautiful but evil antagonist, then all we’re left with is that Wolf really messed up when writing that joke.

                Here are a few examples of how she could have actually gotten across her point, if you’re correct in that she wasn’t referencing her looks at all:

                “I must say, as a big fan of Aunt Lydia, you’re not nearly as intimidating in real life as you were in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.'”

                “Wow, Sarah, they really got your persona down to a tee in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ If you haven’t seen it, you’d love it.”

                • Chris

                  Jmf–you’re overthinking the joke. But I do give you credit for your last comment–I think the intent behind it was perfectly clear, but you’re right that it would have been less subject to misinterpretation had she phrased it in a way that more unambiguously compared Sanders more to the character than the actress.

                  • Junkmailfolder

                    Well I appreciate your response not insulting me (not that you were before).

                    I may be overthinking the joke. But it could have easily also been meant as a double whammy, since I would imagine that part and parcel to Aunt Lydia’s loathsomeness is her physical appearance.

                    I’d have more sympathy for a poorly written joke if it weren’t 1. prepared by a professional writer, 2. written and presumably edited beforehand, multiple times, and 3. written for one of the largest stages imaginable.

                    I get it, though. Assuming you’ve seen the show, someone drawing a connection–any connection–between Sanders and Aunt Lydia probably makes you and Spartan say, “yeeaaaaahhhh!” You get the joke, and it’s obvious to you, so even if a real examination of the actual words used shows that she didn’t say what you think she said, you don’t see the value in pointing that out, since you get the joke.

  2. It’s time to get rid of the White House “journalists”, or anti-Republican President – unethical – disrespectful – Political Hack Pack all together. Since they can’t “police” their own then treat them all the same, get all the journalists out of the White House and move the press briefing room into a different building for a once a week in-person question/answer session otherwise press briefings can be delivered to the press via video.

  3. Who are the shmucks raising their hands in a fist?

    Who the hell exuberantly raises their fists for a ‘comedian’ telling a joke?

    • Michael West wrote, “Who are the shmucks raising their hands in a fist Who the hell exuberantly raises their fists for a ‘comedian’ telling a joke?”

      I noticed that too. I just don’t get it.

    • I vaguely recall that a couple or three decades ago, fans of Arsenio Hall did a fist-pump sort of gesture in response to his punch lines – also, to cheer him on more generally, or, just to express their pleasure with him. It seemed like a very hip-leftist (now: woke-leftist) thing to do.

      A woman I knew and worked with (who I also knew was an Arsenio fan) started doing that fist-pump in various situations, not only when someone said something funny, or intended to be funny. She did the pump for a few weeks, then seemed to cease abruptly. Someone must have said something to her, before I bluntly said to her what I was very close to saying, while imitating her pump: “Will you cut that crap?

  4. Jack wrote, “festival of Trump-hate”

    This is a fabulous description of what happened!

  5. Glenn Logan

    From Seltzer’s article:

    Presidents don’t always want to show up and tell jokes and socialize with the press corps, but until now it’s been a part of the job in the modern media age.

    Except that’s not what this was about, and hasn’t been since Trump’s election. The press as an institution has abandoned all pretense of “socializing” with Trump or anyone in his orbit. This was a hate-fest, and it takes a special kind of ethics dolt to chastise somebody for not showing up to a hate-fest.

    No doubt, the weekend full of media-related festivities can seem excessive. But there’s a long tradition of the executive branch recognizing – even begrudgingly – the role of the press in a democratic society.

    Just is there is a long tradition of the press respecting the office regardless of their opinion of its occupant. Seltzer et. al. have all abandoned that tradition, so how is it somehow worse for the president to respond by simply refusing to show up to be disrespected and trashed?

    Trump’s approach is different. He frequently degrades news outlets as “fake” and insults individual journalists. With trust in the media already at low levels, he’s essentially pouring salt in a wound.

    Does it ever occur to Seltzer that trust of the media was low before Trump was elected? Even a marginally self-aware person would realize this, but Seltzer seems willing to ignore the reasons for the lack of public trust go back way beyond Trump, and lump the whole kit and caboodle right in his lap. That makes me want to trust him sooo much more (not).

    “The dinner is not about the president, it’s not for or against the president,” she said on CNN. It’s about elevating good journalism and “embracing the first amendment,” she added.

    You want to elevate the First Amendment? Criticize the censure and censorship by many universities of right-leaning students and speakers, requiring an endless stream of lawsuits to even reclaim some of the lost ground. Show me the equivalent by the right and I’ll add that one in as well.

    Profane rants demonizing the president and his retainers doesn’t elevate the First Amendment, nor any freedom that we purport to enjoy. All it does is reduce public discourse to the equivalent of grunting, gyrating hate-porn. The level of rudeness required for any self-styled entertainer to viciously insult not the president, but those who labor in his administration, represents quite possibly the end-stage of low public behavior.

    “We welcome the president at any time when he is comfortable attending,” Talev said.

    Which hopefully is “never,” and God willing, that will hold true for every subsequent president. Doubtless, though, the next president that the press approves of will crawl over broken glass to attend, and I doubt if the organizers will be hiring Stephen Crowder to roast him/her. Even if they do, they can no doubt expect a more professional and decorous performance than the one they got this weekend.

  6. Here is something that the anti-Trump resistance doesn’t understand…

    P.S. President Trump also doesn’t understand that.

  7. I am reminded of the Joseph Welsh comment regarding “Tail Gunner Joe”: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” That is what I see with the elevated attacks on anything Trump.

    • I don’t know about ‘decency,’ (If I remember correctly, Welsh turned tail and ran after that remark[ I wasn’t born then]) but history has shown Joe McCarthy to be correct about Soviet agents in the US gov’t.

  8. Other Bill

    Thanks for taking on Stelter, Jack. Incredibly brazen idiocy.

  9. Chris

    In an essay that managed to pretend that the journalists at the event, including him, hadn’t spent three years denigrating and ridiculing Trump personally and 18 months trying spin the news to drive him out of office,

    And yet you are just doing the same thing here: pretending that Trump hasn’t spent the past three years denigrating the press as well as anyone who opposes him. Why does Trump get context but the media doesn’t?

    • Chris wrote, “And yet you are just doing the same thing here: pretending that Trump hasn’t spent the past three years denigrating the press as well as anyone who opposes him. Why does Trump get context but the media doesn’t?”

      How many rationalizations are in that comment?

      I’ll defer to the judgement of others on this one.

      • Chris

        There are no rationalizations in pointing out to someone that they are doing the very thing they are accusing others of, and asking them why that is.

        • Junkmailfolder

          Are you suggesting that if Trump invited Stelter and a bunch of CNN anchors to a “friendly” roast in their honor, Jack would blanch if they declined to attend?

          • Chris

            No, my suggestion is that the most powerful man in the world doesn’t get to complain when a gathering of citizens he has labeled the “enemy of the people” get together and criticize him and laugh at some jokes at his expense.

            • Junkmailfolder

              I don’t see how that relates to what you wrote at all. Jack’s point is that Stelter is a biased hack for not understanding why Trump isn’t willing to attend a roast put on by people who have proven beyond debate that they hate his guts.

              • Chris

                The problem with that question is that traditionally, the president has participated in the roasting at the WHCD. Obama roasted Trump. If Trump had not declined, he would have had the opportunity to roast the reporters right back. Instead he reserves his vitriol for Twitter and friendly rallies. You know: like a coward does.

                • Junkmailfolder

                  I’ve noticed you move the goalposts a lot. You seem to have a hard time admitting when you’re wrong.

                  You accused Jack of being a hypocrite for, what? not liking that the press has hounded Trump non-stop for the last 3 years but ignoring the fact that Trump has done the same to the press?

                  But that’s not what Jack was doing in this instance–he was pointing out that anyone who claims to not understand why Trump wouldn’t attend this event is deluding himself or hopelessly biased.

                  Why is it a problem that the president has traditionally attended? It puts Trump under no obligation, especially considering it was plain as day that this wasn’t going to be a traditional event.

                  Whether Trump was a coward or not has no bearing on your accusation here. Whether it was a traditional event has no bearing on your accusation. Whether Trump uses twitter etc, etc.

                • Chris,
                  It’s not cowardly to not walk into a captive cell with a bunch of starving jackals ready to eat you alive.

                  President Trump bucking recent tradition and not go to the event was courageous because he knew that he would be attacked for not going. Trump is attacked by these jackass jackal journalists (JJJ’s) no matter what he does so he might as well do what he wants to do and buck the roasting tradition.

                  Personally I wish they would completely cancel the dinner, overall I think roasts are insulting and they don’t improve working relationships.

                  • Chris

                    It’s not cowardly to not walk into a captive cell with a bunch of starving jackals ready to eat you alive.

                    Sure…but this was a group of reporters and comedians, and being made fun of is not like being eaten alive.

                    And if one eats people alive on a daily basis, one does not get to complain when one ends up on the menu.

                    • …if one eats people alive on a daily basis, one does not get to complain when one ends up on the menu.

                      Give me a list, in detail, of all the people Trump has eaten. Dates, circumstances, and did he have Fava beans as a side?

                      You stated that Trump is a cannibal, now back up your statement with the data and the facts.

                    • Chris

                      Are you doing a bit here, or did you really not get the analogy?

                    • I am TRUMPING you: using a progressive tactic (taking something said as literal and focusing on it, to the exclusion of the original point) against you, a progressive.

                      So, if you cannot name facts to back up your assertion that Trump eats people, you are lying and have no credibility.

                      Nice trap, and one you personally have used here at EA often.

                    • Chris

                      No. This is embarrassing.

            • Chris wrote, “No, my suggestion is that the most powerful man in the world doesn’t get to complain when a gathering of citizens he has labeled the “enemy of the people” get together and criticize him and laugh at some jokes at his expense.”

              Oh no, you don’t use rationalizations at all.

              • Chris

                Don’t be coy. Tell me which ones are in there.

                • Chris wrote, “Don’t be coy. Tell me which ones are in there.”

                  Now you’re being intellectually snide; you know exactly which rationalizations were in that comment.

                  Chris wrote, “No, my suggestion is that the most powerful man in the world doesn’t get to complain when a gathering of citizens he has labeled the “enemy of the people” get together and criticize him and laugh at some jokes at his expense.”

                  That comment contains 2 A. Sicilian Ethics</b and 7. The “Tit for Tat” Excuse.

                  Any questions?

                  • By the way Chris; the media was spouting fake news and being an enemy of the people before Donald Trump ever uttered the words. Donald Trump was vocal and called the liars in the media liars and publicly verbalized what lots of people have been saying about the media being an enemy of the people. So is the President not allowed to call a liar a liar because of all the fake news or call the media the enemy of the people because they are literally lying to the public for political reasons?

                    This is inline with that concept I was talking about above that you claim not to understand.

                    • Chris

                      Many of the things he calls “fake news” are real. Many of the things he calls “lies” are true things about himself that he doesn’t want reported. Meanwhile, he lies even more than most politicians. So yes, he is not allowed to call anyone a liar. He is ethically estopped.

                    • Chris wrote, “Meanwhile, he lies even more than most politicians. So yes, he is not allowed to call anyone a liar. He is ethically estopped.”

                      Let me get this right; Trump can’t call a liar a liar because Trump has lied. The media has also lied, in fact even you have lied; so is anyone that has lied ethically estopped from ever calling a liar a liar?

                    • Chris

                      “The media” is a broad group of people. Individual reporters who have been caught lying shouldn’t call others liars in their reporting, because they shouldn’t be reporters anymore. But to say “the media” as a whole can’t do that is to say the media shouldn’t exist.

                      I’ve told white lies in my life, but have tried to make up for even those. You would say I lie on these pages, but I don’t agree; I think we often interpret things differently. At times that I have misrepresented others, and realized my error, I have apologized. I don’t believe I have intentionally misrepresented others here, though.

                      Yes, everyone has lied, but few have lied to the degree and with the impact that Trump has. I think most people, though dishonest at times, aren’t ethically estopped from calling others liars. Those who’ve made a career out of it, though? Who’ve sailed to success on the basis of lying about their predecessor? Yes, those people are estopped.

                  • Chris

                    “They had it coming” is only a rationalization if the response is unethical, or out of proportion to the initial offense. I don’t think that applies here. Certainly Trump’s offenses don’t justify any response; if Wolf had advocated violence against him, or made fun of Barron, or called his wife ugly, or made up lies about him, or burned him in effigy, and people said it was justified because of what Trump had done, I’d agree it meets the criteria for those rationalizations.

                    But making fun of a bully and that bully’s sidekicks is a fair and rational consequence for a bully and that bully’s sidekicks. And it isn’t a rationalization to say so.

                    • Chris wrote, ” ‘They had it coming’ is only a rationalization if the response is …out of proportion to the initial offense.”

                      Now you’re just making up shit.

                      2 A. Sicilian Ethics, or “They had it coming” The other familiar, equally absurd but even more corrupting manifestation of Rationalization 2 is the “They had it coming” variation or essentially the ethics of the Mob, “The Godfather” and Hollywood revenge fantasies. This argues that wrongdoing toward a party isn’t really wrong when the aggrieved party has aggrieved the avenger. The victim of the unethical conduct no longer deserves ethical treatment because of the victim’s own misconduct.

                      But the misconduct of a victim never justifies unethical conduct directed against that victim.

                      At the core of Sicilian Ethics is this sentence, “The victim of the unethical conduct no longer deserves ethical treatment because of the victim’s own misconduct.”

                      Do you honestly think that what took place at that dinner was ethical treatment of the President or his staff?

                      Yes or No.

                      Just answer the question.

                    • Chris

                      Aside from two or three jokes that crossed the line? Yes.

                    • Chris,
                      If you have ever heard the phrase “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging” you should endeavor to thoroughly understand what it means.

                      Take a word of advice for once; turn off your internet device for a day, take a break, and stop digging.

        • Chris wrote, “There are no rationalizations in pointing out to someone that they are doing the very thing they are accusing others of, and asking them why that is.”

          So you’ve basically just shared the definition of hypocrisy and asked Jack why he is engaging in it; is that really where you want to go with this conversation?

  10. To any of you that are justifying, defending, condoning, rationalizing, etc, etc. in any way the hateful anti-Trump and/or anti anything associated with Trump deplorable smear fest, you’re all showing off your Moral Bankruptcy.

    This morally bankrupt smear fest should be canceled from this moment on.

    Furthermore; I think it is signature significance for anyone to justify, defend, condone, rationalize, etc, etc. in any way the hateful anti-Trump and/or anti anything associated with Trump deplorable smear fest.

    Signature Significance: “…Signature significance posits that a single act can be so remarkable that it has predictive and analytical value, and should not be dismissed as statistically insignificant.”, “Ethics Alarms employs the term to describe an extreme ethical or unethical act that similarly reveals the true character of the individual responsible for the conduct, and that can be reliably and fairly used to predict future conduct and trustworthiness.”

    This is another major signature significance event revealing the moral rot of the anti-Trump resistance crowd.

    (I know that was a duplication of the comments I posted in the other thread; I think it needed to be posted in this thread too.)

  11. luckyesteeyoreman

    Reading this thread today (a couple of times) has put a big dent in my popcorn supply. Great read! Epic battles! Thanks to Jack + all commenters.

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