July 18, 2017

It isn't that complicated.

On CNN's New Day this morning, David Gregory and Chris Cillizza (yeah) posited the question:

How is it that Sean Spicer can lie so much that he's actually telling completely different lies than the ones Trump is telling?

They can't even get their fake stories straight?


ALISYN CAMEROTA: So let's discuss why the press secretary took that tack when dealing with the press, as though we don't have memories and videotape, let's bring back the panel. Chris, have they been keeping Sean Spicer in a soundproof room where he did not know there's been an ongoing conversation where Don Jr. Has already admitted in his e-mails that he was lured by the prospect of dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians?

CHRIS CUOMO: I love it "did not go to adoption policy and sanctions" as I remember from the reading of my e-mails.

CHRIS CILLIZZA: I listened to that yesterday and I immediately thought that it felt like a Sean Spicer press briefing from eight days ago. That was when that quote would have had some relevance, before the Don Jr. e-mails which, by the way, Don Jr. Released before the President of the United States tweeted out that anyone would have taken this meeting to get opposition research on a political opponent. There's no explanation other than -- well, there's two, one, the president says and does what he wants, the White House communications staff says something totally different, that's one. Two, I think Sean Spicer is refusing to give an inch even when the truth is obvious. I don't know whether it's a concerted effort to kill the daily press briefings, to kill them by a lack of information, kill them by misstatement or he thinks that somehow someone believes it, but the evidence -- most people -- sorry, I'm left without words.

CAMEROTA: The verbal gymnastics you're going through are entertaining.

CILLIZA: What's hard Alisyn is most people when confronted with something that is provably demonstrably false don't say that thing. I don't say I can dunk an 11-foot hoop because David Gregory and I will roll out the 11-foot hoop we have in DC. And it will be clear I can jump about eight feet one inch. I don't understand why you would say something like this when it takes literally one internet search to prove you 100% absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt wrong. So the idea that there's a strategy behind it, if there is, I can confidently say it's a bad strategy.

CUOMO: The suggestion would be, Errol, that this strategy is the truth is what we say it is. That's what they're banking on and if they say it was about this, the narrative will turn that --

CAMEROTA: the president isn't saying that so they're not using the same falsehood.

CUOMO: I think they probably thought it was two-irons in the fire. One, everybody would take a meeting like this, which is totally not true, not these types of circumstances. Would you take a meeting to get dirt on your opponent? Eight days a week. With these red flags waving in your face, no, you wouldn't, and the other iron in the fire would be oh, and by the way this was innocent, it was only about the sanctions anyway, that lawyer was a dupe and that guy Goldstone is one of the most prolific liars we have ever seen in public life before.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, Errol and David, I want to get this in before you respond to it, the Wall Street Journal, a Rupert Murdoch owned property has a pretty scathing editorial about how the trumps have mishandled much of this.

"Mr. Trump somehow seems to believe his outsized personality and social media following make him larger than the presidency. He's wrong. He and his family seem oblivious to the brutal realities of Washington politics. Those realities will destroy Mr. Trump, his family and their business reputation unless they change their strategy towards the Russia probe. They don't have much more time to do it."


ERROL LOUIS: It reminds me of the apocalyptic warnings throughout 2016 and he ignored it and became president anyway. It's a hard-hitting editorial. It's advocating what they're calling radical transparency taking us back to the Watergate era and the release of the tapes. Put it out there, let everybody figure it out. Importantly I think the editorial says every piece of what you are trying to hide is going to come to light. Everything will be found out if not by the special counsel Congress will get to it. If congress doesn't the press will get to it. You have to put it out instead of death by a thousand cuts. It's perfectly sound advice that I suspect the president will ignore.

CUOMO: David Gregory, I want to get your take on this but they fit in a caveat in this editorial that balances out the price of disclosure. This radical transparency, as Errol calls it, is the opposite of the Clinton stonewall strategy which should be instructive. That strategy saved Bill Clinton's presidency in the '90s at a fearsome price and only because the media and Democrats in Congress rallied behind him. This is the sentence "Mr. Trump can't count on the same from republicans and most of the media want him run out of office." that is the caveat to complete transparency which is that assumes the president and anyone around him wouldn't pay a huge price for the difference between what was said before the disclosure and after the transparency.

DAVID GREGORY: Well, because, look, this white house has a huge credibility problem because on so many matters the president and his top aides don't tell the truth. That comes with a heavy cost. They are disingenuously attacking the media so people won't believe what is truthfully reported. Not to say the media doesn't make mistakes or show bias in some cases but there is certainly a body of evidence that the media is reporting on, unearthing through investigative reporting that the president just wants to put his hand to and say you can't believe what's right in front of your eyes, that's the core of the credibility problem and that's a disingenuous game the president is playing.

By the way, it's not normal the White House keeps putting out briefings that are not televised, trying to shut down the major source of how Americans get news and information via television or video on their devices. It's wrong and it's because they lack credibility and they're playing in this game. But in this case, he won't have the backup of Republicans, either, who see the same problems the Wall Street Journal is identifying, which is a fundamental lack of credibility that will overshadow everything he's trying to do.


I cannot believe they brought up Clinton. Because I remember Driftglass's multiple columns about "reprogrammable meat puppets" in the Republican Party.

If you go push slightly deeper into the forgotten realm of Not Very Long Ago At All you find that the people who eagerly called us all traitors and lined up behind Bush Administration lies about Iraq, WMD and al Qaeda (and deficits, and activist judges, and unfettered executive authority, and "czars" and on and on and on) were the very same people who very loudly believed the polar opposite of every bit of this when Bill Clinton was president.

See, this is the context in which Liberals are operating today -- a context in which it was perfectly clear to anyone all the way back in 1994 that the GOP had become a mob of reprogrammable Orwellian meat-puppets, being led around by their rage and racism and malignant ignorance by a gang of lying demagogues and grifters.

A context in which it was perfectly clear that the mainstream media had decided that it was not in their financial interest to speak these terrible truths out loud.

It was the moment when the things Republicans were starting to say and do right out in public were so wildly at odds with the Both Siderist fairy tales the mainstream media sells its customers that the past itself became a place which repelled and terrorized them so deeply that only Liberals dare to speak of it.

Which is why what happened next was so appallingly predictable.

With the election of Barack Obama, the Republican Party completely lost what was left of its mind and did the only thing it knew how to do: reverse every one of its alleged "principles" 180 degrees overnight.

Once again, the same meatheads who never gave a shite about Bush Administration lies about Iraq, WMD and al Qaeda and deficits and activist judges and unfettered executive authority and "czars" and on and on and on were flooding into the streets bellowing Hate Radio programmed nonsense. Of course, in order to avoid any inconvenient questions about their monumental hypocrisy, this time they put on funny hats, called themselves "independents" and swore they'd never even heard of George Bush, but the cow-dumb mobs and their paint-by-numbers hysterics never change.

This time, instead of whipping themselves into a seditious frenzy over blowjobs and Vince Foster being "murdered", the meatheads whipped themselves into a seditious frenzy over their country being stolen by a Kenyan Communist who was for sure gonna take their guns and murder their sainted grandmothers with Death Panel.

And OMFG deficits! And OMFG czars! And OMFG Executive Orders!

Of course, it was impossible for the mainstream media to speak honestly about any of this without straying into the terrifying land of Not Very Long Ago At All, which is why, during this period, knee-jerk Beltway Both Siderism was elevated from a toxic business model to a depraved cult, and The Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks and The Gingrich Rules became holy writ, enforced with grim relentlessness.

And for eight years, every overt act of Republican sabotage was shrugged off by the Beltway as "the system" being corrupt and by "the extremes on Both Sides" which could have been avoided if only President Obama would lead!

In other words, it was eight years during which the media (which was now rotten from top to bottom with former Bush Administration speech writers, toadies and water boys) let the Right get away with more and more brazen lies and openly treasonous behaviors while ever more aggressively marginalizing the dirty Liberals who were warning (just as they had in 1994 and 2000 and 2004) that letting Republicans lie with impunity about the disasters they were creating and the conspiracies they were concocting and the scapegoats and straw-men they were inventing would lead to disaster.

The fact that it's David Gregory and Chris Cillizza on CNN raising the alarm just makes it ART.

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