Friday, April 7, 2017

Trump's Big CON: His Enablers

UPDATE II:  "President Trump’s wild accusation and the right-wing media’s eagerness to support the claims of the Trump White House, working in cahoots with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), that there was nefarious “unmasking” of Trump associates picked up in surveillance of Russian officials has proved to be a colossal flop. Nunes wound up discrediting himself and implicating White House staffers in a half-baked scheme to deflect attention from the president.

Right-wing outlets (from Fox News to Breitbart to the New York Post) took the bait from Nunes and his associates, dragging Susan Rice into the matter — without evidence of a crime. Indeed, no evidence of impropriety exists and no evidence ties Rice to the leaking of Michael T. Flynn’s name. Given that the White House does not want to release the documents shared with Nunes that allegedly provide the basis for its tale, we can surmise that Nunes really had no evidence of much of anything.

The blatant effort to confuse and distract from the biggest political scandal of our lifetimes — Russian efforts to manipulate our election process and potential coordination with the campaign of the beneficiary of Russia’s 'active measures' — does not come as any surprise. However, certain right-wing media outlets’ willingness to echo Trump’s defamatory misdirection tactics remains as distressing as ever. (It was just this sort of echo chamber effect that Russia used during the campaign to help Trump, as Clint Watts recently explained.) . .

Nunes, Trump, Ryan, the leakers — abuse their trust and turn the most consequential national security investigation of our lifetimes into a circus. [Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes of explain we run the risk of undoing the “grand bargain” (i.e. intelligence services get robust powers in exchange for equally robust oversight) that allows our intelligence community to operate within a democratic government. They] reiterate that 'if the President and the House Intelligence Committee Chairman can discredit an investigation of foreign interference in an American election and collusion with that effort by the president’s campaign by alleging improper political misuse of the intelligence authorities by the prior administration, if leaking FISA intercepts is an accepted way to go after a political opponent, and if nobody can credibly say who’s telling the truth and who’s lying, then the grand bargain has truly failed, with consequences that are hard to fathom.'"

Read the Washington Post, Nunes is out of the Russia probe, and the Susan Rice spin collapses

UPDATE: The enablers include a web of far-right media outlets, blogs, and community with help from Russia creating, promoting and echoing "fake content, seeding doubt and paranoia".

Read the Washington Post, The web of conspiracy theorists that was ready for Donald Trump.

As an article before noted, Trunp's ability to get away with false and misleading claims "requires the support of many enablers: almost all of his party’s elected officials, a large bloc of voters and, all too often, much of the news media."

For an example, read the Washington Post, Anatomy of a fake scandal, ginned up by right-wing media and Trump, which noted:

"President Trump started off this morning as he often does, by settling in to watch the festival of nincompoopery that is 'Fox & Friends.' On the show, he saw something that he believes vindicates the bizarre and false charge he made that Barack Obama was tapping his phones during the presidential campaign.

I’ll try to sort through the substance of all this. But I also want to make a broader argument about how Trump’s support system — inside his government but especially in the conservative media and on Fox, which is where he apparently gets most of his intelligence information — is playing to his worst instincts, harming him politically, and making his presidency even more dangerous. . .

[W]hen Trump tunes in to 'Fox & Friends' every morning, he learns that he’s right about everything. He doesn’t need to listen to his intelligence briefers or anyone else who might tell him something he doesn’t want to hear. He can keep telling tall tales and pursuing his petty grievances. He never does anything wrong and never has to change. I shudder to think how that dynamic will play out when this administration faces its first foreign policy crisis, with untold numbers of lives at stake."