I know: I could spend all my time debunking unethical columns like Times pundit David Leonhardt’s piece a few days ago. However, since I noted in the previous post that I was puzzled by the fury of so many people regarding what was, in any objective assessment, a fair and competent—and, thank god, successful—effort by Republicans to prevent Democrats from shredding basic principles of justice and fairness in their desperate effort to preserve a favorable ideological balance on the Supreme Court as if they were entitled to it (They weren’t, because elections have consequences), I am obligated to inform the assembled that my puzzlement was cleared by his screed.
There are pundits like Leonhardt who are actively trying to foment fury and division, they are using false narratives, deceit and lies to do it, and newspapers like the Times and news networks like CNN and MSNBC are actively promoting the effort. I won’t waste my time and yours on the whole column, fun as it would be, but just this section:
If you’re not angry yet, you should be.
Let’s review: Decades ago, a businessman built a fortune thanks in large measure to financial fraud. His corrupt gains helped him become famous. He then launched a political career by repeatedly telling a racist lie, about the first black president secretly being an African.
This lie created an audience in right-wing media that made possible a presidential campaign. During that campaign, the candidate eagerly accepted — indeed, publicly sought — the illegal assistance of a foreign enemy. When national security officials raised alarm with Congress, before Election Day, leaders of the candidate’s party refused to act.
The foreign assistance appears to have been crucial to the candidate’s narrow victory. He won with only 46.1 percent of the popular vote, less than 16 losing candidates over the years had, including Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Williams Jennings Bryan and the little-remembered Horatio Seymour.
Having won, the new president filled a Supreme Court seat that his party had stolen with an unprecedented power grab. This weekend, the president finished filling a second seat, through a brutal, partisan process. During it, the president, himself an admitted sexual molester, mocked victims of abuse.
Together, the two new justices have cemented an extremist Republican majority on the Supreme Court. It has already begun acting as a kind of super-legislature, throwing out laws on voting rights, worker rights, consumer rights and political influence buying. Now, the court is poised to do much more to benefit the wealthy and powerful at the expense of most Americans — and the planet.
This is not how democracy is supposed to work.
That’s right: democracy doesn’t work when journalists are complicit in fomenting public division and violence to advance a political agenda.
Let’s assess the mendacity…
1. Leonhardt’s opening statement links to the Times hit piece on President Trump’s father, and falsely asserts as fact what is a Times allegation only, and a misleading one. No fraud has been proven or charged, and the IRS of multiple administrations did not find Fred Trump’s tax practices fraudulent. That statement would be libel if published by a non-journalist about a non-public figure with the same amount of “evidence.”
2. “He then launched a political career by repeatedly telling a racist lie, about the first black president secretly being an African.” Nobody seriously believed that Trump was entering politics in 2011 when he floated “possibly” running for President, and cited birther theories in the process. The idea was to get publicity, which was always Trump’s objective. The birther nonsense was stupid, but it was not “racist,” and the accusation was not that Obama was “African,” but that he was not a “natural born citizen” and thus not eligible to be President. You will recall, if Leonhardt does not, that Trump tried the same thing on Ted Cruz. Was that “racist”?
Leonhardt is pushing the false and inflammatory narrative that Trump, ergo Republicans, ergo conservatives, ergo anyone who supports the President, is a racist. Ergo evil. Ergo not worthy of respect and fairness….
Trump’s actual political career became reality when he denounced the Democratic support for illegal immigration, and correctly so.
3. “This lie [the birther claim] created an audience in right-wing media that made possible a presidential campaign.” Trump’s birther period was an impediment to his candidacy in 2016. And it was the mainstream media, notably CNN, that made Trump’s candidacy viable by giving him free publicity to the virtual exclusion of other GOP candidates.
4. “Eagerly accepted”—what does that mean? Whatever the Russian interference wasn’t was, it wasn’t offered! The just did it. This is, again, pure manipulation and misrepresentation.
There is more,I’ll be back shortly with Part II.