The policy of the Republican Trump White House is that if a reporter or commenter says something that the White House strongly disagrees with, the reporter or commenter should be fired.

It remains to be seen how the Trump White House will enforce this newly articulated policy.

The policy was provided as a response to a question about an African American reporter identifying Trump and the White House as being aligned with white supremacy, which is a widely held and well documented truth.

Cindy Boren at the Washington Post has more here.

I’ve made the point several times now. We live in a constitutional democracy, but many of the first line (and last line) protections are not enforceable laws, but rather, agreements made among people who all want to live in and respect a constitutional democracy.

But if a large enough cadre of members of Congress, a gaggle of highly placed judges, or a President decide to act in a way that conflicts with those conventions, they can actually get away with quite a bit.

The US Congress is run by such a cadre, pretending to engage in a democracy but willing to break the non-enforceable laws whenever that suits them. Since the Congress is a key check on the President, this lets the President get away with whatever he wants. In this case, this means that the Congressional overisight of the Executive is non existent or hampered, faked, or even compliant with the Executive’s agenda. We are seeing that now with Congress attacking the investigators.

Over the last few months it has become apparent that the only powerful force, other than the people themselves (and they are powerful) putting a check on Trump is the press, and Trump has been acting to wear that down. Plus, women. The women were the first to march against Trump, and he’s going to put them down too.

And so, this morning’s tweets:

And, on a related and very disturbing parallel path, Trump is working on getting a list of Democrats, via voter data, in order to … do what?

This is what a dictatorship looks like, people. They are coming for you.

The press has had enough of being called liars by the liars. I’m not a big fan of MJ, but the very fact that MJ has quotable conversation about this is a change in how the world works.

Here’s another thing dictators do: Make up accolades. Trump created a fake TIME magazine cover and hung it in several of his golf clubs. It has him on the cover. That issue of TIME never happened. It is not just fake news, it is an entire fake news magazine. Details here.

Here it is. Interesting set of headlines:

Its like this.

Only with Trump instead of Josh, and it is real life. Yet, less like real life.

Trump, remembering something about watergate, tweets:

and the Washington Post reports:


Trump suggests there may be ‘tapes’ of his private conversations with former FBI director

Trump experiences verbal diarrhea and says, “In fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.’”

Headline:


Trump said he was thinking of Russia controversy when he decided to fire Comey

Trump’s press office is incompetent and the White House can’t keep its message straight, what with all those reporters asking all those questions, so Trump sarcastically tweets:

Headline:

Trump threatens to cancel White House briefings

And those are just the examples I ran into this morning. This has been happening for months.

Donald Trump needs to learn this thing: When words come out of he president’s mouth, policy is created.

The press needs to learn this thing: When you play the run-up game with a moron like Trump, it makes you look like a bully at the beach kicking sand in someone’s face. Someone we all love to see getting sand kicked on him, sure, but still… you may want to get a different approach to dealing with this president’s random idea puking. Like, for example, always mention that no one takes him seriously.

Here, I’ll give you an example.

The Washington Post wrote:

Trump threatens to cancel White House briefings because it is ‘not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy’

President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that “it is not possible” for his staff to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public.

Trump’s comments come after his description of his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey in an NBC News interview Thursday flatly contradicted the accounts provided earlier by White House officials, including Vice President Pence, exposing their explanations as misleading and in some cases false.

[Trump said he was thinking of Russia controversy when he decided to fire Comey]

In a pair of tweets sent Friday, Trump suggested he might do away with the daily press briefings at the White House and instead have his spokespeople communicate to the public only via “written responses.”

What WaPo should have written:

Trump bathroom tweets snide remarks about the American Press, threatens freedom

President Trump sarcastically tweeted from the White House Commode Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that “it is not possible” for his “surrogates” to speak with “perfect accuracy” to the American public. Clearly, he doesn’t know what a “surrogate” is, because he’s really talking about his staff. Surrogates are different.

Trump’s comments come after his nonsensical and random attempt at describing his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey in an NBC News interview Thursday did not match, because it was nothing other than the random blathering of an ill man, entirely different lies provided earlier by somewhat more articulate but no more honest White House officials, including Vice President Pence. While one might normally assume that the President’s account of what happened in a conversation he was actually in would be the gold standard, and other comments by other White House personnel, if contradictory, would be incorrect, that is not an assumption we can make in the Trump White House.

[Trump also stupidly stated that he was thinking of Russia controversy when he decided to fire Comey, in a different and equally alarming squirt of verbal diarrhea.]

In a pair of tweets sent Friday, Trump sarcastically whined he might do away with the daily press briefings. Nobody gave a fuck.

That’s how to do it.

Bigfoot is not real, yet there are many believers.  And some of these believers write letters to the editors of local newspapers.

No one has ever been abducted by aliens.  Alien abductees certainly write letters to newspapers.   I knew a guy who could see and hear scenes from ancient times on the surfaces of some round rocks he found, and as his disease progressed, on the tiles in his bathroom.  I know he wrote letters to the editors because he cc’ed them to me!

Yet, we do not see these emails published in the newspapers. The newspapers weed them out.

Evolution is real.  Creationism is not.  Why are emails from creationists often published in respectable newspapers? There is a reason, and I’ll tell you what it is below. (Preview: It is your fault.)

Yes, yes, I get that creationism is part of certain religions, and therefore newspaper editors may feel obliged to print this material. But there are many other things that are part of various mainstream religions that we do not see in letters to the editors of modern newspapers.  Newspapers are not printing any rants about food taboos not being followed; or about people failing to take their hats off or put them on in the correct setting, or forgetting to cross themselves at the altar or eating fish on Thursday instead of Friday.  Few letters say anything overt about being saved by Jesus, and none that I know of say what I hear the street-corner soap-box preachers telling me as I walk by them.  These are all things that are part of religion but being part of religion does not get them on the editorial pages of modern newspapers.

OK, a quick caveat.  Yes, you do see crazy stuff in the letters to the editor section of newspapers, and perhaps you know of (and can point to) examples. But major cities have “local” newspapers that are supposed to be above all this. Minneapolis’ Star Tribune (“The Strib”) is one of those.  

Yet we saw this just the other day:

EVOLUTION
What is unobservable is a theory — no more

Within the species, evolution can be observed and scrutinized in the development of new life forms such as variants of corn and cattle. … However, evolutionists and creationists diverge where observation ends and ideology takes over.

… One does not actually see a life form generating the next level from conception to birth outside of its boundary that serves as an invisible wall.

But where it is unobservable, it may still be considered a construction of the mind — a theory. Political candidates who refer to creationism in less than a negative manner need not be demeaned.

JAMES SCHACHER, Blaine

In this case, the Strib ran this rant side by side with an “evolution is for real” letter written by Arnold Erickson of Mesa, Arizona. Nice. The two letters were debating the validity of a point made by Richard Dawkins concerning the lack of understanding of science by Michel Bachmann, Ron Paul and other political candidates running for the Republican nomination this election cycle.

The Strib has demonstrated that it subscribes to the policy of there being “two sides” to every story (even though this is not true) and they’ve demonstrated that they can’t find anyone in Minnesota who thinks evolution is real. Thanks for that, Star Tribune.

But enough complaining. It seems to me that it is quite possible to do something about this, and here’s where we see how this is all your fault, and that only you can fix it.

The logic is simple: Major, credible newspapers do not publish letters to the editor from those with delusions, poorly informed individuals, or plain old cranks who think they’ve seen bigfoot, were abducted by aliens, have proof that Jimmy Carter was seen in Fukushima’s nuclear power plant just before the meltdown or insist that rocks speak to them. Why, then, would they publish letters from people who deny basic science, including well established aspects of Evolutionary Biology as well as the firmly established findings of Climate Science?

They avoid the former because it would be embarrassing, they practice the latter because it brings in readership and so far has not brought sufficient ire to bear on the editorial staff. Because you haven’t told them that they are doing it wrong.

As a person with fingers and an internet connection (or equivalents) you can tell them how you feel about this. If you happen to subscribe to a newspaper that has published this sort of drek, you can tell them that their credibility is at risk and this causes you view renewal of your subscription as unlikely. This might be especially effective if you currently subscribe to your local newspaper via one of these new, experimental iPad or Smart Phone apps.

In this case, the offending newspaper is the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can send off a few emails and tell them what you think. I make it easy for you:

The letter in question, quoted in part above, is here. Right at the top of the page.

Here are some suggestions as to whom you might email:

Michael J. Klingensmith
Publisher and CEO
612.673.7576
michael.klingensmith@startribune.com

Nancy Barnes
Editor and Senior Vice President
612.673.7937
nancyb@startribune.com

Scott Gillespie
Editor
612.673.4516
sgillespie@startribune.com

Jeff Griffing
Chief Revenue Officer, Advertising
jeff.griffing@startribune.com

Don’t just sit there. Take action!