February 19, 2017

Steve M. summed up the game the Trump administration is playing to discredit the so-called "dishonest media," a.k.a. trying to discredit any and all media outlets that don't want to act as a propaganda arm and cheerleader for this fast moving train wreck perfectly here:

This seems to be a pattern for the Trumpers:

1. Wait for a draft memo of a proposal to be leaked to the press.
2. Refuse to comment when asked about the draft.
3. Wait to dispute a story's accuracy until the story is published.
4. Accuse the press of never having sought comment to begin with.

Bertrand quotes a number of reporters who've noticed this pattern. She also quotes the press secretary to Congressman Keith Ellison, who's noticed it, too. The Trumpers are so determined to demonstrate bad faith on the part of the mainstream media that they're floating fake stories, refusing to comment on them, then saying they were never given a chance to deny them.

Despite the fact that we're finally getting some tepid push back from Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus decided to double down on his boss' threats to press freedom on this Sunday's Face the Nation, and told host John Dickerson that we should take Trump seriously when he calls the press "the enemy.":

Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, advised Americans to take President Trump’s attacks on the media “seriously,” following the president’s denunciations of the press as the “enemy.”

“There’s been a debate about when to take the president seriously,” CBS’ John Dickerson said in a “Face the Nation” interview with Priebus Saturday. “He recently tweeted that the press was the enemy of the American people. Should we take that seriously from him?”

“Well, I think you should take it seriously,” Priebus replied. “I think that the problem we’ve got is that we’re talking about bogus stories like the one in the New York Times, that we’ve had constant contact with Russian officials. The next day, the Wall Street Journal had a story that the intel community was not giving the president a full intelligence briefing. Both stories grossly inaccurate, overstated, overblown, and it’s total garbage.”

Sources told CBS News there is a “chill” in the flow of intelligence to the White House, both because of comments from the president about the intelligence community and anxiety over the handling of sensitive information about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The chief of staff continued to hammer the press for its coverage, saying “the American people suffer” because of it.

“I do think it’s a problem,” Priebus added. “And I think that the media needs to, in some cases -- not every case, John -- but in some cases really needs to get its act together.”

When Dickerson asked again whether the press was necessarily “the enemy,” Priebus responded: “I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff. Put names on a piece of paper and print it. If people aren’t willing to put their name next to a quote, then the quote shouldn’t be listed.”

Priebus went on to say that the major story out of the White House is a “story of accomplishment,” pointing to the administration’s work in pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, issuing executive actions, and nominating a Supreme Court justice, among other things.

Dickerson then asked how the chief of staff would respond to anyone that could “act on that declaration by the president” that the press was the “enemy.”

“I don’t know what you mean by act on it,” Priebus said. “I mean, certainly we would never condone violence. But I do think that we condone critical thought.”

“We’re talking about stupidity and intelligence reporting that is based on facts that’s not coming out of the actual heads of these intelligence agencies,” Priebus said of recent media reports. “And we’re sitting here talking about it. And it’s a shame. And it needs to end.”

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