Eric Boehlert

The press finally tried—and failed—to stand up to Trump

With Donald Trump becoming the first American president to be impeached in his first term, while holed up in the White House tweeting endless attacks around the clock like some internet troll, 2019 should have been the year the Beltway media finally shed its signature timidity and forcefully stood up to him. This should have been the year the press worked up the courage to disband the pointless protocols newsroom had established for covering Trump (he's not a "liar," he's not a "racist"), and simply started telling the hard truths about him. And while there were some welcome flashes of truth-telling, especially surrounding the Ukraine scandal and the impeachment, for the most part the D.C. press still hasn't signaled that's it's ready, or willing, to take the necessary steps needed to cover Trump.

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Media fail: The press keeps covering impeachment through the eyes of the Republican Party

The political press corps may have hit peak impeachment failure on Sunday when Meet the Press host Chuck Todd introduced a segment in which voters from a toss-up district in Michigan were interviewed about the House proceedings against Donald Trump. Touted as a way to take the temperature of everyday voters outside of the "Beltway," the sit-down with six voters from Kent County, Michigan, offered a chance to hear from America's heartland and if its denizens "care" about impeachment. Except there was a slight problem: Every voter interviewed was a Republican, and every voter interviewed opposed impeachment. ("I don’t even care. It's just noise.")

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Media pushes 'Dems in disarray' narrative — despite party's overwhelming support for impeachment

Poised to pass two articles of impeachment in the full House this week, Democrats have remained extraordinarily united throughout the process while nearly half the country stands in favor of taking the drastic action of removing Donald Trump from office. Yet press coverage in recent days has suggested (surprise!) that Democrats are in a state of disarray, a favorite fallback position for much of the Beltway media, where Democrats are constantly portrayed as scrambling and being outsmarted by Trump and the GOP. In the process of focusing on Democrats and the alleged struggles impeachment presents, news outlets continue to eliminate Republicans from the entire process. The GOP, apparently, faces no impeachment fallout, only Democrats.

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CNN has yet another GOP problem

Last winter, CNN for weeks stood by its extraordinary and inexplicable decision to hire Sarah Isgur Flores, a career Republican Party operative with absolutely no journalism experience, to be the network’s political editor. A hardcore partisan, Isgur spent her career spinning for Republicans such as Ted Cruz, Mitt Romney, and Carly Fiorina. Until last year, Isgur worked as a spokesperson for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice. CNN staffers were reportedly demoralized by the Isgur move—and for good reason, since CNN political editors should be journalists, period.

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Corporate press doesn't have the proper language to describe today's radical Republican Party

Extreme times call for extreme measures, but the Beltway press just isn't willing to make that move in the Trump era. As a consequence, the news media fail to accurately capture the radical changes now underway in the country, and how today's Republican Party has become purposefully untethered from reality.

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The media keeps ignoring the biggest story of the impeachment proceedings

With the House Judiciary Committee poised to take up the impeachment baton and hold a new round of public hearings this month, the Beltway press continues to absorb and echo Republican talking points that claim the inquiry isn't resonating with Americans. Because impeachments aren’t legal proceedings, the messaging wars that surround them take on added importance. And right now, by treating as no big deal the fact that basically half the country supports removing the president of the United States from office, the media is greatly helping Republicans spread their preferred impeachment message: The inquiry isn't resonating.

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Why is the media so obsessed with what Wall Street and billionaires think of Elizabeth Warren?

It turns out the media's obsession with the superrich isn't confined to the world of celebrity and entertainment. In politics, the press also seems utterly fascinated with how the 0.1% live, and especially what their political leanings are. For the 2020 campaign, that means a barrage of coverage about what Wall Street bankers and billionaires think about Elizabeth Warren and her populist agenda. They don't trust her! Some like her! Some won't donate! On and on it goes, as the press scurries to document the opinions of the superwealthy, but there's no explanation for why they're supposed to matter so much.

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How the media botched its coverage of Roger Stone and helped him hype Russian dark ops

News on Friday that a federal court convicted former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone on seven counts, including obstruction of a proceeding, false statements, and witness tampering only added to Trump's woes as the second day of impeachment hearings played out in Washington. Stone’s conviction certainly added to an aura of criminality that surrounds Trump, as more aides and advisers are convicted and sentenced to prison time.

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The media must admit that the Republican Party is completely detached from reality

Republicans proudly advertised their radical ways during Wednesday's impeachment hearings into Donald Trump, wallowing in conspiracies and embracing debunked claims. The question now: How does the Beltway media cover a party that has aggressively removed itself from reality? How does the news business describe and treat a political party that routinely echoes the most unbelievable claims from Fox News and the darkest corners of the right-wing media?

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Why is the media cheering Trump for his campaign of lies?

It’s gone from bad to worse: After spending years refusing to call Donald Trump a liar, the press is now toasting his reelection campaign, which is built on lies.

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CNN made a huge mistake with its new hire — and the problem is only going to get worse

How do you solve a problem like Sean Duffy? The former Republican congressman, who was hired by CNN to blindly defend Donald Trump while the impeachment process unfolds, is creating problems for the network by constantly fabricating facts and spreading reckless and dangerous conspiracy theories. And yes, he's only been on the CNN payroll for 10 days.

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The media is making a huge blunder by taking Republicans' complaints about impeachment seriously

Nancy Pelosi called the GOP's impeachment bluff this week, and in doing so she completely undercut the "process" attacks they have been making about the House inquiry. Demanding that a formal House vote be held on impeachment, Republicans have insisted the lack of a vote represents a tell-tale sign that the inquiry is unfair. But now that vote is scheduled to take place on Thursday, robbing Republicans of a preferred talking point.

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Facebook and the media keeping empowering right-wing peddlers of hate like Breitbart

Here we go again: Facebook just became the latest traditional media player to enable the right-wing hate of Breitbart News.

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CNN hired a habitual liar as the Republicans' strategy to 'work the refs' pays off

Former Republican Rep. Sean Duffy, recently hired by CNN to be a paid political commentator, can't stop fabricating facts when he goes on the air. Since making his CNN debut on Sunday, Duffy has lied about the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords. He's lied about Joe Biden trying to fire a Ukraine prosecutor in order to protect his son. And Duffy's helped spread the preposterous lie about the Democratic National Committee's email servers from 2016 somehow ending up in a foreign country.

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DC press whitewashes its role in 2016 email fiasco after State Department exonerates Clinton

Page 16 and 649 words. That’s how The New York Times treated the recent news that a years-long State Department investigation concluded there was no systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information via emails sent to and from Hillary Clinton's private server while she was secretary of state. The Times covered that story regarding a seminal event from the 2016 campaign by publishing a single, brief article buried deep inside its A-section last Saturday. It was almost like the Times newsroom was telling readers, “Nothing to see here, folks.”

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Fox News is getting trounced in the public opinion battle over Trump impeachment ⁠— here's why

Shepard Smith's recent, abrupt resignation isn’t the only crisis Fox News is facing these days. Aside from allegations that conservatives simply will not tolerate any dissenting voices amid a chorus that worships Donald Trump, the right-wing cable news outlet is struggling as it tries to fight the public opinion battle over impeachment. The unfolding inquiry in the House is by definition a political fight, not a legal one, which means the messaging wars surrounding it are paramount as both sides try to rally public support. To date, Democrats are clearly winning that battle, as polling consistently shows widening support for impeachment.

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Why the official story of Shep Smith's abrupt departure from Fox News doesn't add up

Shepard Smith’s sudden departure from Fox News signaled that the drawbridge has effectively been raised, and all Trump nonbelievers belong on the other side of Rupert Murdoch's cable castle. No longer a place where any serious dissension—or Trump fact-checking—is allowed, Fox News has embraced its core mission of disseminating propaganda. The move shouldn't be surprising given the state of today's cultish right-wing media, where devotion to Trump now dictates so much of the content. It's a conservative media movement that has never been concerned with facts and accuracy, but today has descended into something even more irresponsible.

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Democratic candidates are finally punching back against corporate media's shoddy press coverage

Democrats running for president have a new message for the news media: We’re not going to take it anymore.

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Visiting foreign journalists call out Trump's increasingly erratic behavior. Why won't the DC press?

Donald Trump's stupefying public performances last Wednesday as the widening collusion scandal continued to gain momentum were stunning, even by his erratic standards. Trump uncorked rambling, incoherent, angry, whiny monologues that were filled with lies and rattled conspiracy theories. That's when he wasn't yelling at a Reuters reporter and threatening to sue members of Congress. Incredibly, both disturbing Alex Jones-style performances were delivered inside the White House by a sitting American president.

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Major newspapers show stunning cowardice as they refuse to call on Trump to resign

Openly colluding with a foreign government to dig up dirt on his political opponent, while offering up the assistance of the Department of Justice. Freezing U.S. foreign aid to make sure the overseas dirt gets dug. Hiding transcripts of presidential calls on secret servers in hopes of covering up the collusion. Publicly threatening to expose the collusion whistleblower, insinuating that he or she should be executed. Urging that a Democratic member of Congress be arrested for treason. The list of horrendous Donald Trump transgressions uncovered in the past week stretches on and on, as the pressure of an impeachment inquiry intensifies and the unhinged president denounces Democratic election officials as "savages" while warning of a looming civil war if he's removed from office.

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The press has a Rudy Giuliani problem

The impeachment battle lines now appear to have been drawn in terms of the unfolding messaging war that will dominate the airwaves for months to come: Democrats are doggedly perusing the checked-out claims of a government whistleblower, while Republicans are lying about everything.

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Confused Fox News not sure how to spin Trump's admitted Ukraine collusion

Fox News has never cared about having a coherent and consistent message. As a propaganda and disinformation network, it's not Fox News' job to make sense: It's Fox News' job, these days, to cover for Donald Trump. Yet in the wake of the unfolding Ukraine collusion scandal, where Trump has admitted to pressuring a foreign country to dig up dirt on his domestic rival, Fox News and the conservative media seem particularly lost and scatterbrained as they search for a Trump defense. And yes, it's difficult to land on a defense strategy when Trump himself has admitted to the attempted Ukraine collusion.

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How the press keeps helping Trump spread his crooked Ukraine conspiracy

Tapped to handle damage control on the stunning revelation that Donald Trump aggressively tried to pressure a foreign country to dig up dirt on his possible 2020 Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo engaged in reckless bouts of misinformation during appearances on Sunday morning shows yesterday—and the hosts did nothing to stop him. In the process, those hosts joined a growing group of journalists who are leaning on “both sides” and false-equivalence journalism in order to both help Trump smear Democrat Joe Biden and to make it seem as if both men are under a cloud of Ukraine suspicion. (Only one of them is.)

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By letting Trump constantly lie about 9/11, the press proves it will let him lie about anything

Sometimes it feels like the press has just completely surrendered to Donald Trump's relentless lies, and that reporters have essentially thrown up their hands, signaling that Trump has complete permission to fabricate whatever wild fantasies he wants and journalists won't really do much. Perhaps it's one part laziness, one part exhaustion? But watching what unfolded on Sept. 11, last week really highlighted just how detached from reality Trump is, and how little the press seems to care.

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Why Trump's new press secretary is actually more dangerous than Sarah Sanders

Add it to the list of long-standing norms that the Trump White House has shredded: Press secretary Stephanie Grisham has aggressively positioned herself not as an administration conduit for the press corps, but as an open and hostile enemy of newsgathering, in a way that even surpasses Sarah Huckabee Sanders' dangerous tenure in the position. And Grisham's doing it while collecting a weekly paycheck from the government, an outrageous use of public funding.

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Fox News and conservative media are now warning of bloodshed if Democrats win in 2020

That's one way to try halt public debate in this country: by threatening mass violence and a bloody people's revolt in the streets. That's what conservative media voices, including those on Fox News, have done in recent days. Specifically, the reckless rhetoric has revolved around proposed new gun laws in the wake of America's latest string of mass shootings. Those are laws that would likely only be enacted if Democrats won the Senate and the White House in 2020.

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Confirmed: Trump lies to reporters more often than he lies to any other group

Press advocates scored an important legal victory this week when a U.S. District Court judge ordered the White House to reinstate media credentials to reporter Brian Karem, whose access had been stripped away by Donald Trump's team after a dust-up during a Rose Garden ceremony in July. There, former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka called Karem a "punk." Announcing that the White House hadn't provided Karem with due process when it stripped him of his credentials, the ruling marked the second time the White House has tried and failed to give a reporter the boot. (CNN's Jim Acosta was the previous target.)

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'It is a f**king circus': Trump is running a media access con game — and winning

The White House is perpetrating a scam on the Beltway press corps, bragging about how much access Donald Trump gives reporters. The whole thing is a ruse, though, and unfortunately, it's another example of how key institutions of American journalism are lying down in the face of Trump’s bullying, not even mustering a fight on behalf of transparency or in the name of maintaining their watchdog status for voters.

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Do White House reporters have any idea what's happening inside Trump's White House? Not according to this media expert

Donald Trump's new White House press secretary hasn't given a single press briefing since she was appointed in June, and the odds are she never will. No briefing has been held there in more than 150 days, as Trump moves to drastically cut off the fourth estate’s access. It's just another example of how reporters are being denied a chance to keep watch over Trump and his team.

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'Congress' isn't blocking new gun laws — the GOP is

Obstructionist Republicans have been blocking common-sense gun laws for years, even as the laundry list of gun massacres continues to grow. The radical maneuver comes against overwhelming public support for Democrat-backed legislation. If ever there's been an example of an entire political party in America completely out of step with the country, this is it. So why does the press constantly inform news consumers that "Congress" is to blame for the lack of action, instead of Republicans?

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Watch CBS News try to normalize Trump after white nationalist terror attack

Speaking from the White House on Monday, Donald Trump prayed for the wrong Ohio city in the wake of a weekend gun rampage. Reading prepared comments (that somebody else obviously wrote for him) from a teleprompter, Trump ended his uninspiring address by saying, "May God bless the memory of those who died in Toledo. May God protect them." Of course, the shooting Trump referenced took place in Dayton, not Toledo. Yet against that backdrop of shame, CBS News quickly reported that Trump's speech was noteworthy and successful for all kinds of bogus reasons.

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