The facts of life versus the enemy, i.e., fake news

Source: Trump’s Allies Are Taking Over the Media and Creating Their Own Reality: Is Anybody Paying Attention?

So many things to be scared about lately.

The political control of TV news–a major medium–is on top of my list. And this article by Eric Alterman (who wrote it originally for The Nation) tells us what we should know about Sinclair Broadcasting, about to acquire TV news domination in many already dumbed-down parts of the country.

And we thought it had been entirely Fox-ed? Nah. Fox is about to have competition in the world of Big Lies.

I’ve pulled a few excerpts but tell you it’s radically unfair of me to do this. For full fright  value you must read the entire piece.

Sinclair is a far-right media operation that until recently has flown under the radar of all but the most studious media critics. It received brief scrutiny in December, when it was revealed that Jared Kushner had struck a deal with the company to give it special access to Donald Trump in exchange for a promise to run Trump interviews across the country without commentary. These were especially important to the campaign in swing states like Ohio, where Sinclair reaches many more viewers than networks like CNN.

Now the company is poised to take over Tribune Media in a $3.9 billion deal. Add Tribune’s 42 stations to the 173 that Sinclair already owns, and you’ve got the single biggest conglomerate of TV stations in America, reaching 70 percent of all households in the nation.

In an impressive recent segment on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver noted that Sinclair sends scripts to its local news anchors to be delivered verbatim together with the clips it wants shown. Among these are “questions” like “Did the FBI have a personal vendetta in pursuing the Russian investigation against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn?”

So on the one hand, far-right extremists [the Mercer family, David Packer, et al.] with next to no commitment to traditional journalistic standards are seeking to expand their empire to the point where their version of “reality” will soon overwhelm the reporting from what remains of the mainstream media. On the other hand, those institutions — under intense financial and political pressure — are increasingly caving in to demands that they tailor their coverage to make it more consistent with the fantasy world promoted by Trump and his acolytes.

CNN head Jeff Zucker, recently profiled in The New York Times Magazine as a lonely defender of truth under fire from a hostile White House, not only guided Trump’s career at NBC, he practically turned CNN over to the huckster during the campaign.

MSNBC, meanwhile, has been on a hiring spree of right-wing hacks like Hugh Hewitt, Charlie Sykes, Greta Van Susteren (since fired) and George Will, who will join Elise Jordan, Steve Schmidt, Michael Steele, Rick Tyler, Nicolle Wallace, Scarborough and the execrable Mark Halperin on this allegedly “liberal” counterpart to Fox.

Finally, inside the White House press corps, faux-news organizations like the racist Breitbart, Laura Ingraham’s silly LifeZette, Tucker Carlson’s dumbass Daily Caller and the ridiculous One America are treated as the real thing while actual journalists are barred from being allowed to do their jobs. And when they do manage to do their jobs and expose the criminal idiocy and dishonesty that passes for “policy” in this administration, they find themselves threatened with retributory violence from troglodyte Trump supporters — all the worse for them if they happen to be Jews.


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Does the winner in a lawsuit get his legal fees reimbursed by the loser?

In this case, yes.

Source: Kentucky Must Pay $224,000 After Dispute Over Same-Sex Marriage Licenses – The New York Times

Remember Kim Davis? No–you couldn’t have forgotten her! On the most abominably petty level, you (like me, confession) had to have been thinking, “Get yourself a decent hairstyle, girl!”

A federal judge on Friday ordered Kentucky to pay more than $224,000 in legal fees and costs because one of its county clerks had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The order, handed down by Judge David L. Bunning of United States District Court, moved the protracted case one step closer to conclusion, about two years after the Rowan County Clerk, Kim Davis, defied a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2015 and decided not to issue the marriage licenses.

Ms. Davis’s actions, which came at a watershed moment for gay rights advocates, reverberated across the country and led to lawsuits, the passage of a new Kentucky state law and resulted in Ms. Davis being briefly sent to jail for contempt of court.

By Friday, Judge Bunning noted in his 50-page order, the case had finally “boiled down to a single remaining issue: attorney’s fees.”

The fees became an issue after the Kentucky General Assembly passed a law in the spring of 2016 that removed county clerks’ names from marriage license forms. The law rendered appeals connected to the case moot.

But the plaintiffs in the case filed a motion for lawyers’ fees shortly thereafter; a magistrate judge later recommended that the court deny the plaintiffs’ motion for such fees.

But in his order, Judge Bunning rejected the magistrate’s recommendations, finding instead that the couples who had sued Ms. Davis had “prevailed” in the case, which entitled them to lawyers’ fees.

But Judge Bunning plunked the whole bill on the State of Kentucky’s desk. I would amend Judge Bunning’s decision slightly, to dole a percentage of those legal fees to Kim Davis personally–with a lien on her paycheck.

(And maybe another percentage to Kentucky’s two quality senators, Rand Paul and…well, you know. Which isn’t possible, of course, I’m dreaming, but still.)

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Why Trump won, in a couple of paragraphs

Today’s Charles Blow column has the answer in a couple of paragraphs:

Trump was simply a megaphone for the primal screams of Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton haters flipping out over the cultural anxiety accompanying the ascension of women and minorities.

He helped people find the language and the platform to disguise racial worry as economic worry. He helped people who inherently, in many cases maybe even subconsciously, loathe women, at least when they aspire to equality or power, to loathe Hillary Clinton, a woman aspiring to more power.

Actually, the point of Mr. Blow’s great column is not primarily those paragraphs. It is in the title, “Trump Is His Own Worst Enemy,” and this:

I have finally found something about Donald Trump’s arrogation of the presidency in which to take comfort: his absolute ineptitude at legislative advancement.

The country may well be saved from some of Trump’s most draconian impulses by some of Trump’s most pronounced flaws: his lack of seriousness, his aversion to tedium and his gnat-like attention span.

He continues:

But now that Trump is in office, the real work of governing begins — not just the flash of rallies, the ovations of the obsequious, the thrilling one-liners. He now has to both focus on the big picture and fuss over the fine detail.

This is simply beyond him. For simpletons, things must be made simple.

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