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Groundhog Day Journalism

"My dear. Here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere, you must run twice as fast as that." Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

June 6, 2018

By: Linda Case Gibbons, Esq.


          You really can't blame the media for their shoddy reporting. They're just taking a page from something that was a big hit in the 50s.

          Back then the Million Dollar Movie ran the same movie, every night, for five nights. And people loved it.

          If you wanted to watch the movie once, you could. Or every night, if you wanted to.

          Now the media is doing the same thing.

          Each week. One story.

          It makes it so much easier to report the news. And to receive it.

          The media only has to generate one story, then discuss it all week long. And the public only has to watch the news once a week, and then they're done.

          One week it was the Royal Wedding. Then, "Can you believe it? He called them 'animals!'"

          The next week Roseanne went off the deep end in an Ambient-laced rant. That took up a week. Then Samantha Bee potty-mouthed Ivanka. That got her a lot of coverage and gave the panel-pundits something to talk about.

          This week the president told the Philadelphia Eagles, "If you don't want to come to the White House, don't." That sparked sputters of indignation from all quarters of the Never Trumpers. It was great grist for the media mill.

          This type of "Groundhog Day Journalism" is similar to having a bunch of leftovers in the fridge. It's great. You don't have to cook all week.

          There is a downside, however. Sadly, this week CNN's pudgy reporter Brian Stelter had the wind taken out of his reporter sails.

          His big story, "The Disappearance of Melania Trump," was blown clear out of the water when the First Lady appeared, in the flesh, at a White House reception for more than 40 Gold Star military families on Monday.

          Stelter had been like a dog with a bone during the days Melania was recuperating, insisting to his Reliable Sources audience that she was MIA. He just wouldn't let it go.

          He did not buy the story that FOTUS was resting after surgery. Or that her kidney surgery was kidney surgery.

          He wanted reports from Walter Reed. And the president. And the patient herself.

          And he was determined to place a sinister cast on her absence from the public eye, counting down each and every one of the 24 days the First Lady was at home, following her doctor's orders.

          But, like a snowball rolling down a hill, Stelter's repugnant reporting gathered momentum, encouraging others to join the fun.

          Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith rose to the Trump-bashing occasion and created a whimsical tale.

          "I wish that I didn't suspect that the prolonged, poorly explained public absence of Melania Trump could be about concealing abuse."

           Yes. He actually wrote that. And, not surprisingly, didn't provide his source. Fables don't have sources.

           And The Atlantic's editor David Frum followed suit, tweeting,

          "Suppose President Trump punched the First Lady in the White House (federal property = federal jurisdiction), then ordered the Secret Service to conceal the assault. POTUS has Article II authority over Secret Service. Is that obstruction? Under Sekulow/Dowd, apparently NO.

           Oh, Frum, Frum, Frum. Trump attorney John Dowd doesn't work for the prez anymore, son. He resigned in March.

          But it's all fun and games, isn't it? Of course, that is, until someone gets hurt. Unless it's a member of the Trump administration, and then it doesn't count.

          This kind of news coverage does take time, though, and can result in some news stories slipping through the cracks.

          Like the news that the Obama administration secretly sought to allow Iran to convert $5.7 billion dollars through the U.S. banks, by sidestepping sanctions in place after the 2015 nuclear deal.

          And lied to Congress about it.

         Or that a couple of dozen FBI agents are chaffing at the bit, eager to testify to Congress about the problems caused in the Bureau by former Director James Comey and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Or that Inspector General Michael Horowitz' soon to be released report could result in Crooked Hillary and Slippery Comey donning matching orange jump suits.

         But the media today shies away from these stories. 

         Like the Syncopated Clock that ushered in the Million Dollar Movie, they would rather replay the same news over and over again.

          Hold the line, America 
         *Check out Lest We Forget