Real news gets new anchor Kayleigh McEnany

I consider myself a strong speller, but my brain refuses to absorb the name “Kayleigh McEnany.” I blame the victim. “Kayleigh” is needlessly adorned—this is my son William, whom we call Billeigh—and “McEnany” is just a bunch of sounds, the Scots-Irish equivalent of “banana.” Maybe that’s the point. McEnany herself is a cipher, a pretty blonde template after the fashion of Fox News. She looks like the anchorwoman in a Paul Verhoeven movie. In this regard, she contrasts sharply with the previous anchor of the real news, Lara Trump, who looks like the realtor who tried to fuck your dad.

Thus we enter week two of the real news, “brought to you from Trump tower here in New York.” Like most Americans, I am sick of fake news such as the New York Times and long for news I can trust, ideally broadcast from a black tower owned by the person the news is about. Once again, the real news reports that Donald Trump is great. But it’s got a new, more professional face in McEnany, and it also seems to have better production values. There are wipes between cuts instead of momentum-killing fades to black, and there are inserts. Granted, the inserts play sound at low volume while McEnany talks, but we’re still looking at a leap forward in production values. Check it out:

McEnany’s appearance on the real news coincides with her appointment as spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. Previously, she was a contributor to CNN and a producer for Mike Huckabee’s show on Fox News. Between the personnel change and the more professional look, it’s tempting to conclude that the RNC is producing the real news now, but it remains unclear who makes this show. It runs on Trump’s Facebook page, and it claims to shoot in Trump tower, so it makes sense that it would be a product of the Trump PR team. But this installment bears the RNC’s fingerprints, not just in staffing and production but in message.

“More great economic news on Friday,” McEnany says, following Walter Cronkite’s practice of telling viewers how wonderful world events have been. “Overall, since the president took office, President Trump has created more than one million jobs.” That sounds impressive, but we should not that there hasn’t been a six-month period since mid-2013 that didn’t see the creation of more than a million jobs. That factoid comes from this Washington Post analysis of recent messaging from the RNC, which described the million-jobs statistic as “unprecedented economic growth” in a tweet Sunday night. Two pro-Trump organizations could easily talk about the same recent economic data at the same time without working together. But McEnany’s new positions as RNC spokeswoman and real news anchor make it seem like more than coincidence.

If the RNC is involved in the production of these videos, it represents a pernicious shift in the party’s attitude. It was one thing to watch legions of Republicans change their tune on Trump after he won. It’s another to watch the GOP tacitly endorse the idea that actual news broadcasts are fake, and only propaganda is real. Say what you will about the disintegration of longstanding norms in American politics. Up until last week, both parties at least gave lip service to the distinction between journalism and politics. That’s over now for the GOP.

One presumes the Democrats will respond by producing their own, slightly less audacious “real news” program hosted by Mark Zuckerberg. I guess I should be numb by now, but it’s still unsettling to see naked propaganda from the president and his party billing itself as news. I feel as though we have violated some longstanding condition in the social contract, whereby we agreed to distinguish between fact and opinion. Probably we crossed that line long ago and have just gotten around to making videos about it. But this real news feels surreal, like a scene in a science fiction movie or some viral video from North Korean state television. It’s weird that making America great again involves making it awful in ways it never was before.

CNN reserves right to expose maker of Trump wrestling meme later

Donald Trump attacks CNN founder Carl News Network at Wrestlemania.

The hashtag #CNNBlackmail is some high-level internet, some third-degree online hoodoo. In order to understand it, you have to know, first, that an anonymous Reddit user named HanAssholeSolo made a video by superimposing the CNN logo on old Wrestlemania footage of Donald Trump tackling Vince McMahon. That’s called satire. Repurposing pop culture with comically amateur video editing is internet degree one. The second degree happened when the president retweeted the video to his 33.3 million Twitter followers, prompting the commentariat to disgorge a clutch of takes. It also prompted CNN to go looking for the real person behind the Reddit presence named, I reiterate, HanAssholeSolo.

They found him. They elected to preserve his anonymity, though, after he issued a written apology and promised not to make any more trouble. Judging by this passage in their own report, CNN reserved the right to out him if he messes with them again:

CNN is not publishing “HanA**holeSolo’s” name because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again. In addition, he said his statement could serve as an example to others not to do the same. CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.

Emphasis added, naturally. The third degree of internet set in when Trump supporters interpreted that last sentence as a threat and coined the hashtag #CNNBlackmail. Let no one call me a Trump supporter, but I kind of have to agree with them. What CNN did strongly resembles blackmail. Consideration after the jump.

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Russians probably do not have video of Trump paying hookers to pee

So close

Yesterday evening, the internet lit up with news that a former British intelligence operative claimed to have proof that Russian intelligence gathered kompromat on president-elect Donald Trump, in the form of both financial documents and a video of Trump in a hotel room watching two prostitutes urinate on each other. I think we can agree that is the greatest, most luxurious sex act in the world. Also, I probably shouldn’t have used the word “news” in the first sentence of this post. The memo describing this kompromat has been circulating in the intelligence community and among journalists for months. Yesterday afternoon, CNN reported that intelligence agencies had informed Trump that the Russians had compromising information on him. Their willingness to treat the kompromat story as legitimate seems to have inspired Buzzfeed, which released the two-page memo “so that Americans can make up their own minds.”

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CNN pretty much screws Paladino on “Lynch @Loretta Lynch” typo

A screen shot from this morning

A screen shot from this morning

It’s no wonder Carl Paladino supports the candidate for president who wants to do something about the media. The Buffalo businessman last graced the news in April, when he told NPR’s Morning Edition that he and his fellow Trump supporters wanted an exterminator “to get the raccoons out of the basement” of government. I assume he was referring to waste, fraud, and abuse, for which raccoons are notorious, but some reporters thought he meant black people. In defense of this maybe tenuous reading, Paladino does look like the kind of person who refers to black people in code, constantly. But you can understand why he might consider himself the victim of uncharitable reporting. This morning, CNN comes along with this:

A top Donald Trump supporter drew fire Wednesday for a tweet that he says was a “well-intended mistake,” which seemed to call for the lynching of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The tweet from New York businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said “Lynch @LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide,” according to reports and screen grabs on Twitter. The message was replaced with another that simply said “@LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide.” Paladino was apparently weighing in on FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would recommend no charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

This story appeared under the headline Trump supporter tweet appears to call for lynching of Loretta Lynch. Appears to whom? Speaking as a person who has to go back and delete part of every tweet in which I use Twitter’s @ autofill, I did not at first read Paladino’s as advocating the lynching of the Attorney General.

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Baltimore riots continue, Sanders to run for President: coincidence?

Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes says the n-word on CNN, like a boss.

Baltimore City Councilman Carl Stokes says the n-word on CNN, like a boss.

Thanks to an unclear antecedent, Mediaite reports that President Obama said the n-word on television. Quote:

A Baltimore councilman got frustrated during a clash with CNN’s Erin Burnett earlier tonight about calling the violent protesters “thugs,” and dropped the n-word. Both the mayor of Baltimore and President Obama used that word in denouncing some of what happened last night. 

But they meant that Obama and the mayor called the rioters thugs, and a pretty white woman asked councilman Stokes if that wasn’t the perfect word. “Why don’t you just call them niggers?” Stokes responded awesomely. Meanwhile, everyone continued not to argue over why Freddie Gray came out of a police van with a crushed voice box and three fractured vertebrae, and Bernie Sanders will run for President. Coincidence? Thug, please.

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