Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Examining news media outlets' role in the 'soft coup'

As Congress, Judicial Watch and others begin to investigate the outgoing Obama administration's alleged surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition and the creation of what some are calling a "shadow government" to undermine the Trump administration, it's important not to underestimate the complicit, participatory role that some corporate media outlets have played and are playing in the effort.

In mid-February, before the "Obamagate" flap really heated up, Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times pointed out that media outlets were openly advocating for a shadow government. She wrote:
The notion that a “shadow presidency” is up and running to counter President Trump is very popular in the press at the moment. Multiple news organizations now bandy about such terms as “shadow White House,” “shadow government” or “shadow Cabinet.” The narrative insists that noble entities are out to counter the “chaos” — manned by angry activists from the nonprofit Organizing for Action, or by former members of the Obama administration still employed by the federal government. Hillary Clinton’s name has also been mentioned.

The idea of hostile “shadow” management has been around for a while. The term “shadow president” appeared in wishful news reports and commentary as early as November and continued right through Mr. Trump’s inauguration — and beyond. Even before Mr. Trump took the presidential oath on Jan. 20, veteran political commentator Bill Moyers suggested Mrs. Clinton give her own inaugural address, advising Democrats to “prepare by joining together as a movement and creating the constituency of what will be, in effect, a shadow government — one that will serve to track and respond to every single bad action undertaken by the Trump administration and its monolithic Congress.”

On Inauguration Day, GQ magazine advised,”Barack Obama is preparing for his third term.” Global news organizations also pondered the dynamics: “Democrats are eager for Barack Obama to play the role of shadow president, offering direction to Americans who feel they lost their political compass the day Mr. Trump was elected,” noted ABC News — in this case, that’s the Australian Broadcasting Corp. News.

While some “shadow” coverage is jaunty and blithe, other reports are not.

“Former President Obama is waging war against the Trump administration through his generously funded agitation outfit, Organizing for Action, to defend his monumentally destructive record of failure and violent polarization. It is a chilling reminder that the increasingly aggressive, in-your-face Left in this country is on the march,” investigative reporter Matthew Vadum writes for FrontPage Magazine.
In a separate take in her "Inside the Beltway" column, Harper wrote (emphasis added):
There’s been a lot of chatter in the press about a “shadow presidency” or “shadow government” now poised to challenge President Trump and the White House. It is a popular speculation in the news media, which has been bandying those terms about since Mr. Trump won the election. There’s another term to consider, however: “soft coup,” a variation of the old coup d’etat. And the president may be facing one, some say.

“The soft coup against the Trump administration continues. A soft coup is a coordinated effort to delegitimize or undermine a lawfully elected official,” says Chris Farrell, director of investigations for Judicial Watch. “Soft coups include actions by senior government officials refusing to carry out their roles and critical tasks, or otherwise acting in opposition to the letter or spirit of law to diminish or remove de facto power from those who otherwise would legally wield it.”

Mr. Farrell says shoddy journalism plays a distinct role in the phenomenon.

“Politicized news media can be complicit in the scheme of the soft coup by engaging in false or misleading reporting or acting as the propaganda arms of the opposition,” he says, citing overuse of anonymous sources, an increase in corrected news reports and repeated use of certain key words as giveaways.

“How many times have you seen the word ‘chaos’ in the reporting on President Trump?” he asks. “Before our highly politicized news media slides into complete irrelevancy, I strongly advise reporters and editors to pause and evaluate their reporting — set aside personal biases, reinvigorate journalistic standards — then get back to reporting facts.”
All that outrage and scorn we heard from certain quarters last weekend when Trump tweeted the suggestion that his phones were tapped? It was part of the plan for when the effort -- to the extent it existed -- was exposed.

That's why major corporate media can't be counted on to provide comprehensive, accurate reporting on the investigations that are occurring, much less do their own honest research. Too many of them and their colleagues are implicated.

No comments:

Post a Comment