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'Where's Steve?': Trump Frets as CNN Benches His Biggest Defender

‘Where’s Steve?’: Trump Frets as CNN Benches His Biggest Defender
Amid national uproar over mass shootings, possible economic gloom, and gun control, the president has found time to be distressed over a pro-Trump pundit’s lack of CNN airtime.
Asawin Suebsaeng
White House Reporter
Maxwell Tani
Media reporter
Published 08.21.19 5:32AM ET

Over the past month, President Donald Trump has asked several administration officials the same question. “Where’s Steve?” the president has repeatedly inquired, according to two officials who’ve heard him do so in the White House.

The “Steve” in question isn’t Steve Mnuchin, Miller, Bannon, or Moore. It’s Steve Cortes, a member of the Trump 2020 advisory board and a paid on-air contributor at CNN, a perennial media foe of the president’s.

Late last week, The Hollywood Reporter published a story on how Cortes had been “benched” by network brass, and hadn’t appeared on CNN in the U.S. in more than a month. “They just won't book him,” a former CNN contributor told THR. “They’ll just pay him. They won’t fire him, because that’s just blatant. But they won’t book him, and they’ll tell all the producers not to book him.”


On top of grousing to his aides, Trump got on the phone with Cortes in the past month to ask him what was going on, and to complain about CNN’s “bias” and how unfairly the cable news network has treated its pro-Trump, conservative commentator, two sources familiar with the call tell The Daily Beast.

“It wasn’t enough to have a stacked, four-versus-one panel,” said former Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), a current Trump surrogate and former CNN contributor. “CNN has decided to eliminate as many Trump supporters as possible, including me, Jeff Lord, Jason Miller, Bryan Lanza, and Steve Moore. The Republicans who survive are the ones who take constant jabs at Trump. They’re Never Trumpers or RINOs.”

Kingston, who did not have his CNN contract renewed for this year, added that while he didn’t receive a phone call from the president following the end of his paid contributorship, he used to get calls from Trump “from time to time” during his time at the network, when the president would praise Kingston’s performances in specific CNN segments and discuss “whatever issues” were on his mind. Trump would also ask about the other panelists he enjoyed watching—and would be sure to point out the ones he “did not like,” Kingston said.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 21, 2019, 07:47 AM (0 replies)

The Obamas' Netflix Takeover Has Officially Begun

The Obamas’ Netflix Takeover Has Officially Begun
The eye-opening documentary ‘American Factory,’ making its debut Aug. 21, is Barack and Michelle Obama’s first project as part of their massive Netflix deal.
Nick Schager
Published 08.21.19 5:33AM ET

Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar were understandably thrilled when American Factory—their new documentary about the opening of a Chinese auto glass factory in Ohio, and the culture-clash issues that ensued—took home the U.S. Documentary Directing prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. But they were just as excited when they began taking meetings with distributors for their latest, and the most interested party turned out to be none other than Barack and Michelle Obama.

“We were astonished,” admits Reichert shortly before American Factory’s Aug. 21 debut on Netflix and at NYC’s IFC Center (with theatrical premieres to follow in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto and London). “We live in Ohio, which of course is always a swing state, and we had worked really, really hard on the first election of the president, and the second one as well, and we’re huge fans.”

American Factory will be the first release by the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions as part of their partnership with Netflix, and Bognar acknowledges that their collaboration with the former First Couple (and company co-heads Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis) wasn’t the least bit expected. “It was a very big surprise. We did not foresee it at all,” he says. “We were kind of blown away.” Nonetheless, given the political timeliness of this non-fiction tale, it isn’t difficult to see why the Obamas were interested.

“What we heard at that meeting was that the First Lady really related to the film because she comes from a working-class background—her dad was a worker who put on his uniform and went to work every day,” Reichert says. “They both come from humble beginnings. The president related to that as well, but apparently related more to the policy implications.” Bognar also believes that “the questions the film raises about big-picture stuff” regarding globalization, and the fate of the American and Chinese worker in the 21st century, were natural draws for the former commander-in-chief.

Moreover, “if you think about it, both of them are storytellers. They’ve written excellent books, and they tend in their speeches to tell stories,” says Reichert, with Bognar adding, “One of the goals of Higher Ground is to bring people together through storytelling.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 21, 2019, 07:29 AM (6 replies)

Trump's Tax on the National Psyche

Trump’s Tax on the National Psyche
The corruption and incompetence of this administration has led to a grotesque theft of Americans’ precious time and energy.
By Matt Ford
August 21, 2019


Wasting time is a defining feature of Trump’s presidency. He is fairly adept at frittering away his own days, spending an indeterminate number of hours languishing in front of the television, simply to watch cable news coverage of himself so he can then offer comments about it on Twitter. But when it comes to wasting the time of everyone around him, the president is without peer. Trump’s haphazard style of governance forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should. All of this amounts to a tax of sorts on the national psyche—one that can never be repaid.


It would be almost comical if Trump’s tweets created the largest of his presidency’s opportunity costs. Unfortunately, they pale in comparison to his reckless approach to policy-making. His hastily written executive order to enact a ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries in 2017 led to hours of chaos at U.S. airports before federal courts finally intervened. After multiple rewrites and more than a year of litigation, the Supreme Court upheld a narrower version of the measure last summer. It would become a recurring theme: Trump regularly announces bombastic moves on immigration, then leaves it to federal agencies, lawyers, and the courts to try to fashion some sort of order from the wreckage.

The constant exposure to Trump’s rhetoric and governance carries its own measurable toll. Surveys by the American Psychiatric Society, Politico reported last fall, have found a marked increase in stress and anxiety among respondents with regard to the future in recent years. One poll taken shortly after Trump became president found that nearly six in ten Americans thought 2017 was the lowest point in living American memory, surpassing the Vietnam War and 9/11. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats said they were stressed about the nation’s future, a view shared by clear majorities of Republicans and Democrats as well.

This effect does not fall evenly on all Americans. A Gallup poll from April found that younger and less affluent Americans felt more daily stress in general. Women reported higher rates than men in the APS survey; black and Hispanic Americans also registered higher levels of anxiety about the future than their white counterparts. In some communities, that stress may have serious consequences for health. A study published last month in Obstetrics and Gynecology found a correlation in CDC data between the 2016 presidential election and premature births among Latina women in the seven months that followed. Other studies reported similar results after large-scale immigration raids.

Trump’s gnawing hunger to be at the center of the daily news cycle is a poor fit for our system of government. Higher levels of political awareness and news literacy are always welcome, of course, but they have their limits. “If you elect me president, I promise you won’t have to think about me for 2 weeks at a time,” Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, one of the two dozen Democrats running for the party’s nomination, recently quipped. “I’ll do my job watching out for North Korea and ending this trade war. So you can go raise your kids and live your lives.”


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Aug 21, 2019, 07:22 AM (3 replies)

Jewish leaders outraged by Trump saying Jews disloyal if they vote for Democrats

Jewish leaders outraged by Trump saying Jews disloyal if they vote for Democrats
Maegan Vazquez
CNN Digital Expansion 2017 Jim Acosta
By Maegan Vazquez and Jim Acosta, CNN
Updated 7:21 PM ET, Tue August 20, 2019

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying "it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

Trump was speaking to the press in the Oval Office about two Democratic congresswomen barred from entering Israel over their involvement in the movement to end international support for the country because of its policies toward Palestinians.

"Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this -- even three years ago -- of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people -- I can't believe we're even having this conversation," Trump added. "Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?"

He added, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."

The remark led critics to argue the President was dabbling in the anti-Semitic trope of "dual loyalty," which questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens.

"It's unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be 'disloyal' to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews. As we've said before, it's possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It's long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted later Tuesday.

Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, called the comments "yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism."

"If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being 'loyal' to him, then Trump needs a reality check. We live in a democracy, and Jewish support for the Republican Party has been halved in the past four years," Soifer added.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 09:03 PM (6 replies)

In Iowa, Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about faith: 'There's kind of a need that's been going unmet'

In Iowa, Pete Buttigieg wants to talk about faith: 'There's kind of a need that's been going unmet'
Barbara Rodriguez, Des Moines Register Published 7:07 p.m. CT Aug. 20, 2019 | Updated 7:09 p.m. CT Aug. 20, 2019

TIPTON, Ia. — When Pete Buttigieg wants to practice his Christian faith on the road, the Democratic presidential candidate sometimes attends services at the nearest Episcopal church he can find. If pressed for time, he always does what he calls "scriptural mediation" on a phone app.

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor also makes room for his faith in the town halls, meet-and-greets and other events that make up the campaign trail.

"Time to establish once and for all that God does not belong to a political party," the Democrat told a crowd in eastern Iowa this month.

"Scripture tells us that we ought to lift up those most in need," he continued. "Concern ourselves with the poor. Identify with the prisoner. Welcome the stranger and love our neighbor. We are not seeing that in Washington today. And people of faith need to know they have a choice when it comes to what kind of moral, as well as political leadership, we're going to send to Washington."

Buttigieg has highlighted his faith on the trail since the earliest days of his campaign for president. But he's seen a noticeable uptick in people asking or commenting about it. Many approach him at rope lines after an event.

"It makes me think that there's kind of a need that's been going unmet," Buttigieg told the Des Moines Register. "A desire for somebody to vocalize this idea that faith can lead you in a different direction politically."

'People have been looking for something a little more genuine'

In his 2019 memoir, "Shortest Way Home: One Mayor's Challenge and a Model for America's Future," Buttigieg wrote about growing up in South Bend and attending St. Joseph High School, a Catholic school up the hill from his home.

"This offered its own sort of political education," he wrote. "At Saint Joe, we were brought up not only to learn church doctrine on matters like sexuality and abortion, but also to understand the history of the church as a voice for the oppressed and downtrodden."


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 08:27 PM (24 replies)

...Pat Buchanan endorses alleged El Paso shooter's "invasion" rhetoric as "accurate and valid"

New public TV co-star Pat Buchanan endorses alleged El Paso shooter’s “invasion” rhetoric as “accurate and valid”
Written by Eric Hananoki
Published 08/20/19 10:26 AM EDT

White supremacist commentator Pat Buchanan endorsed the rhetoric of the alleged El Paso, TX, mass shooter in a recent column, writing that his claim that there’s an “invasion” of the country is “an accurate and valid description.” That type of toxic commentary could be a preview of what’s coming soon to public television: Buchanan is one of the co-stars of the upcoming relaunch of The McLaughlin Group.

Maryland Public Television (MPT) recently announced it will “market, promote, and distribute the program nationally through an agreement with American Public Television.” The weekly public affairs program will start airing in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland markets next month and then “exclusively on public television stations nationwide and digital platforms in January 2020.” Buchanan was a panelist on the prior iterations of the program, including when it briefly aired on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Washington, D.C., affiliate last year.

Numerous writers have criticized Buchanan’s inclusion in the relaunch. Buchanan has a history of openly pushing white supremacist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted on Monday: “Especially as white supremacist violence surges, it is irresponsible and dangerous to give Pat Buchanan a public platform for his repugnant #antiSemitic, white supremacist and homophobic views. Public TV stations must keep this hate off the airwaves.” McLaughlin Group host and conservative writer Tom Rogan responded to Media Matters' criticism of Buchanan's role on the relaunch by tweeting: “Media Matters being insane as usual.”

Esquire writer Charles P. Pierce noted that while white supremacy is “literally getting people killed, a public television station has decided to roll back the stone and bring back Pat Buchanan, who is responsible more than most people for injecting this poison into the body politic generally and into the Republican Party in particular.”


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 08:06 PM (15 replies)

Trump boasts about Log Cabin Republican endorsement as its members flee in protest


Trump boasts about Log Cabin Republican endorsement as its members flee in protest
Trump thinks gay Republican support excuses his anti-LGBTQ policies.
Zack Ford
Aug 20, 2019, 4:10 pm


“Well you know I just got an award and an endorsement yesterday from the exact group. You saw that,” Trump said, referring to the Log Cabin Republican endorsement that was in fact from last week. “They gave me the endorsement yesterday, and I was very honored. Log Cabin. The Log Cabin group. And I was very honored to receive it.”


The endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) has also proved incredibly divisive among those who previously belonged to the organization. Casey Pick, a former LCR leader, penned a lengthy reflection about how the organization she once knew no longer exists, concluding, “Call me any name you please — and I know folks will — but please, don’t call me a Log Cabin Republican.”

Robert Turner, former head of the Washington, D.C. LCR chapter, also withdrew his membership, claiming the endorsement of Trump “is a step too far” — one that leaves him “sad.”

Jennifer Horn, a member of the LCR national board, submitted her resignation Monday night over the Trump endorsement. “There is no world where I can sit down at the dining room table and explain to my children that I just endorsed Donald Trump for president,” she told The Washington Post. “It is contrary to everything that I have ever taught them about what it means to be a good, decent, principled member of society.”

For all the internal fallout, today’s comments suggest the LCR endorsement is accomplishing exactly what it intended: to provide cover despite Trump’s atrocious anti-LGBTQ record. The organization may represent an exceedingly minuscule number of people, but it still gives Trump something to talk about instead of the actions he’s actually taken.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 06:17 PM (6 replies)

NRA loses bid to listen as state attorney general questions its ex-president Oliver North

NRA loses bid to listen as state attorney general questions its ex-president Oliver North
By Stephen Rex Brown
New York Daily News |
Aug 19, 2019 | 2:24 PM

The NRA cannot listen in as New York state attorneys question its ex-president about the powerful pro-gun group’s finances, a judge ruled Monday.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Ann Crane said the presence of NRA lawyers during questioning of Oliver North under oath would interfere with the ongoing investigation by State Attorney General Letitia James. The sit-down was scheduled for Tuesday.

“Having the NRA or its board sit in on an investigatory deposition by law enforcement could have the serious consequence of compromising the integrity of the investigation, particularly given the acrimonious relationship between the NRA and Mr. North,” Crane said, ruling from the bench.

North, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel best known for his role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, allegedly led a failed bid to oust NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in April.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 09:06 AM (8 replies)

The Advertiser Embargo Against Tucker Carlson Is Working


The Advertiser Embargo Against Tucker Carlson Is Working
By Matt Stieb

On August 7, the day after Tucker Carlson called America’s white-supremacy problem “a hoax,” the Fox News host announced a weeklong trip “to the wilderness” to fish with his son. Unlike other hosts on the network who’ve come back from vacation to find their airtime filled, Carlson eased back into his routine on Monday with more pedestrian fare, including segments on Joe Biden’s fitness for the presidency and Elizabeth Warren’s Native American misstep. But not all his pre-holiday advertisers joined him upon his return.

According to the watchdog group Media Matters for America, in the past 11 days, Tucker Carlson Tonight has lost at least five advertisers, including Nestle, SteinMart, HelloFresh, Calm, and SoFi. It’s the latest run in a bad year for Carlson: According to Media Matters, his “nightly paid ad load” dropped from a high of 36 paid ads per episode in October 2018 to 15 per episode in August 2019. Since December 2018, over 70 paid advertisers have abandoned his program.

Pacific Life left in December after Carlson said immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier.” In March, 34 advertisers ditched him after decade-old recordings emerged of Carlson dialing into shock-jock radio and calling women “extremely primitive” and claiming that Iraq is populated by “semi-literate primitive monkeys.” Key revenue sources, like Outback, Capital One, and AstraZeneca, announced they would no longer advertise with Carlson.

By that point, Fox News promos made up 35 percent of Carlson’s ad inventory. Apparently, the association of a business with an entertainer who is praised by David Duke and — according to one prominent ex-white nationalist — hits far-right messaging “better than they have” isn’t great for business. Carlson now has close to 60 percent fewer ads per show than before the ad exodus began last year.

Carlson’s flirtations with white-nationalist rhetoric and racist attacks toward sitting a congresswoman are hurting the network beyond his hour. After he claimed that white nationalism is “not a real problem in America” days after an anti-immigrant shooter killed 22 people at an El Paso Walmart, Long John Silver’s removed ads from the whole network. According to Media Matters, the seafood chain had previously been running ads on Fox News almost every day.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 08:50 AM (8 replies)

Republicans use McConnell allies to try and force his hand on election security

Republicans use McConnell allies to try and force his hand on election security
By Lesley Clark
August 20, 2019 07:00 AM

A conservative group is increasing pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put election security legislation up for a vote in the Senate by airing ads that target the Kentucky Republican and four other Republican senators in their home states.

Republicans for the Rule of Law is unveiling new spots that urge Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, to push McConnell for a vote, urging them “don’t let Mitch McConnell stand in your way.” The group is also re-airing a 60-second ad that calls on McConnell to act.

The 30-second spots will air nearly daily on Fox & Friends starting Wednesday. They’ll also run on Fox News Sunday and NBC’s Meet the Press in the senators’ home cities on Sunday as part of a $400,000 ad buy that includes digital ads.

The ads note the senators’ support for election security legislation.

“McConnell and all Republican Senators have no greater responsibility than protecting our elections from foreign enemies like Russia and Iran,” said Republicans for the Rule of Law legal advisor and spokesman Chris Truax.

Bill Kristol, a member of the group and the former editor of the Weekly Standard, said Republicans for the Rule of Law believes the issue deserves a hearing on the Senate floor.

“How do you defend not letting these bills come to the floor for debate and discussion?” said Kristol. “What’s the rationale for literally doing nothing?


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Aug 20, 2019, 08:29 AM (1 replies)
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