The News Media’s ‘Jussie Smollett Problem’ is Far Bigger Than Just Him, and It’s Helping Trump


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Last night, the dam of media protection for Empire actor Jussie Smollett finally broke, as major news outlets suddenly decided it was safe to report that police strongly believe, backed by evidence, that his story of being a victim of a Trump-motivated hate crime is false. While his high-priced lawyers are still desperately playing the victim card, it appears that Smollett paid the two Nigerian brothers who “attacked” him (and whom he clearly knows) in a conspiracy to create a hoax. This is a fraud in which the mainstream news media might as well have been an unindicted co-conspirator. They, along with kindred spirits within the top ranks of the Democratic party, instantly went all in on supporting Smollett’s always implausible claim, subjecting it to basically zero scrutiny. Since Smollett is black, gay, very anti-Trump, a celebrity, and, at least at that time, a hate-crime victim, whatever ability liberals may Continue reading "The News Media’s ‘Jussie Smollett Problem’ is Far Bigger Than Just Him, and It’s Helping Trump"

When Will the News Media and Liberal Establishment Admit They Got Duped by Jussie Smollett?


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Imagine, if you will, if very pro-Trump C-list actor James Woods had recently claimed, to police and the media, that he had been brutally attacked by two black men, who had clearly targeted him because of his race and political beliefs. Imagine if this charge got so much publicity that the entire leadership of the Republican Party, including President Donald Trump, along with most of the conservative media, rushed to his defense and unambiguously condemned what they universally called a hate crime. Imagine if the circumstances surrounding such an attack were extremely odd and, a couple of weeks later, still could not be substantiated by police despite hundreds of man hours accessing voluminous amounts of camera footage from the very conservative area surrounding the attack. Imagine further that Woods claimed that he was on his cell phone with his manager during the very late-night attack, but refused to hand Continue reading "When Will the News Media and Liberal Establishment Admit They Got Duped by Jussie Smollett?"

It Looks Like Trump Will Be Handed the GOP Nomination. Here’s Why That’s Critical.


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I am big believer that the variety of news that is the most underrated is what does not happen. After all, quite often, when nothing occurs during a time period when it otherwise should, it can actually have more significance than an event actually transpiring. A classic example of this phenomenon may be the complete absence of any serious candidate seeking to take on President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. It appears we may be very close, assuming we are not already there, to it being accepted that Trump will simply be handed the GOP nomination. There are significant ramifications of that mind-blowing reality. While numerous legitimate Democratic candidates have made it clear they are entering what some conservatives are understandably referring to as the “Woke Olympics,” there is absolutely no indication that anyone legitimate will be taking on Trump. This despite the fact that Trump’s approval ratings Continue reading "It Looks Like Trump Will Be Handed the GOP Nomination. Here’s Why That’s Critical."

Behind the Scenes, It’s Clear Chicago Media and Police Doubt Jussie Smollet’s Story


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




I can’t recall a large crime story where there was a bigger gap between what the police and media are saying publicly, and what they expressing behind the scenes, than the saga involving the recent alleged hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett. Similarly, there may not be a story where you can tell more by what has not happened, in comparison to what actually has occurred. The current public stance of the Chicago police is that earlier this month, at 2 a.m. on a very cold Chicago night, Smollett was the victim of what appears to be a heinous hate crime where he was physically attacked by two men, and humiliated due to his race, homosexuality, and possibly his opposition to President Donald Trump. The Chicago media, in official reports, has largely treated that narrative as legitimate, while chronicling the complete lack of suspects and corroborating evidence as more Continue reading "Behind the Scenes, It’s Clear Chicago Media and Police Doubt Jussie Smollet’s Story"

Is Republican Oppo Research Really This Awful, Or is the News Media Not Doing Its Job?


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Within the last week, two prominent Democrats have had major bombshells from their past detonated in ways that have probably destroyed their future political aspirations. Neither of these long-held secrets, however, came to be publicly known while they were actually running against Republicans for the offices that they now hold. I’m referring to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook was just revealed to contain a racist photo on his personal page, while Warren’s 1986 registration to the Texas state bar has her race outrageously listed, apparently in her own handwriting, as “American Indian.” Both of these scandalous exposures, had they been known to the voters at the time of certain elections, would have easily caused these candidates to be defeated by Republicans they beat in fairly close contests. And yet, somehow, the Republican operatives working for their opponents, Ed Gillespie and Continue reading "Is Republican Oppo Research Really This Awful, Or is the News Media Not Doing Its Job?"

Reporting from the Past: Imagining The GOP Primaries in March 2016 Based on What We Now Know


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post





This past Saturday, while the eyes of the political world were on whether the embattled, likely soon-be-ex Governor of Virginia would actually moonwalk at a press conference, we learned yet another fascinating fact about what was really going on during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. According to The New York Times, in March of that year then-candidate Donald Trump, hemorrhaging money at a key point in the process, was rejected for a relatively small loan by Deutsche Bank, his go-to lending institution. There have been many important things that we have learned in the nearly three years since then, which were not known at the time, and may have greatly altered history. With that in mind, let’s go back to March of 2016 and reimagine how things might have played out differently.   March 14, 2016… The presidential campaign of Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner, was Continue reading "Reporting from the Past: Imagining The GOP Primaries in March 2016 Based on What We Now Know"

Partisan Rooting Interests in What Happened With Jussie Smollett are Bizarre and Telling


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




One of the strangest phenomenon of our hyper-partisan and extremely fractured political discourse is how, when certain types of news stories start to emerge, liberals and conservatives instantly and reflexively pick alternative interpretations, and thus rooting interests, regarding what really happened. Recently, we saw this with the Brett Kavanaugh allegations, the “Covington Catholic” fiasco, and every winter and summer a debate over whether man-made global warming/climate change is real (as a conservative, it has always seemed strange to me that liberals often seem to desperately want to believe that really horrible things have happened). In some ways, budding news stories have become like unidentifiable plants just emerging from the soil, with one side invested in the ultimate result being a potato, and the other a tomato.  Instead of trying to figure out what the truth is, partisans on both sides actively root, prematurely, for their side of the Continue reading "Partisan Rooting Interests in What Happened With Jussie Smollett are Bizarre and Telling"

Giuliani and Trump Appear Nuts. But Did Their Craziness Neuter Damage of the Moscow Tower Story?


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




One of the central questions we must answer when interpreting the evidence in the Trump/Russia scandal is whether President Donald Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani are just plain nuts. Or, rather, “crazy like a fox.” Based on Rudy’s television appearances on Sunday, it is becoming pretty clear that part of why this conundrum is so confusing is that it they are a little bit of both, and, at least so far, this strategy is working like a charm. The biggest revelation to come out of Rudy’s most recent bout of televised insanity is that it now appears very obvious that the Trump Tower in Moscow project was not officially killed at least until Trump actually won the 2016 election. While Giuliani has implied this reality previously, he was far more definitive about it on NBC’s Meet the Press than he has been previously. Whether by design, dumb luck, Continue reading "Giuliani and Trump Appear Nuts. But Did Their Craziness Neuter Damage of the Moscow Tower Story?"

If BuzzFeed’s ‘Bombshell’ Is ‘Not Accurate’, Then Why Did Cohen Lie to Congress about a Trump Tower in Moscow?


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




President Donald Trump’s string of amazing luck — his imitation of the Road Runner continually escaping from the media’s Wile E. Coyote — continued late Friday when Robert Mueller took the all too rare step of contradicting BuzzFeed’s “bombshell” report. In less than 24 hours, Trump went from being certain to be impeached (though probably not removed), to declaring total victory over the “Fake News!” media, which has been fecklessly incapable of making anything stick to him. Like most pundits I originally thought that, while hardly proven to be true, the BuzzFeed article appeared to be sound, and that Mueller must have extremely strong evidence that Michael Cohen lied to Congress at Trump’s direction. Part of why the story seemed solid was that, unlike with what happened recently with a dubious McClatchy report claiming Cohen (or at least his cellphone) was in Prague in 2016, neither Cohen himself, Continue reading "If BuzzFeed’s ‘Bombshell’ Is ‘Not Accurate’, Then Why Did Cohen Lie to Congress about a Trump Tower in Moscow?"

So, Unless Giuliani Is Insane, He Apparently Just Admitted the Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post





Reading the tea leaves of the Trump/Russia saga is more difficult than solving a Rubik’s Cube with missing colored stickers. This is largely because the key players, specifically President Donald Trump, do not think or act in a way that is remotely consistent with societal norms. That is why it is so precarious to read too much into Rudy Giuliani’s batshit-crazy response to Chris Cuomo on CNN Wednesday night, where he appeared to admit that the Trump campaign had indeed “colluded” with Russia.  Normally, the president’s own lawyer (for a guy who only hires the very best people, Trump sure hasn’t had much luck with that) going out of his way, on international television, to NOT deny that his client’s campaign colluded with Russia is the equivalent of an admission that this is, in fact, what happened. But while in the process of moving the Trump/Russia goalposts Continue reading "So, Unless Giuliani Is Insane, He Apparently Just Admitted the Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia"

Ten Years Ago, I Did an Interview with Sarah Palin. Sadly, It Helped Pave Trump’s Path to the Presidency


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




One of the many counterintuitive aspects of life is that the occasions which seem, at first, to be very positive, often end up creating the opposite result. This phenomenon seems to be increasingly common in the case of news events; for instance, the lasting impact of the initially successful invasion of Iraq on the George W. Bush administration, which is very similar to how the Republican Party is likely to eventually see Donald Trump’s upset of Hillary Clinton. In my own professional life, there is no better (worse) example of this quirk of fate’s preferred modus operandi than something that happened ten years ago this week. I am referring to the news-making interview I did in Alaska with Sarah Palin, which is still to this day the most in-depth public discussion she has ever had about her famous 2008 run for the vice presidency. To fully understand the Continue reading "Ten Years Ago, I Did an Interview with Sarah Palin. Sadly, It Helped Pave Trump’s Path to the Presidency"

Democrats Should Not Fear Impeaching Trump, Even Though He Would Likely Enjoy It


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Most of the debate over a newly-minted congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, declaring that she and her fellow Democrats will “impeach the motherfucker,” has been about her use of language which, before President Donald Trump changed all the rules, would have obviously been totally inappropriate. While that discussion is interesting, however, the core issue here, which would not be nearly as big a news subject if not for her use of profanity, is whether Democrats should fear impeaching Trump. The Democratic reaction to Tlaib’s possibly contrived — and very successful — bid to increase her public stature within the liberal elite has indicated that there is at least great hesitation, if not overt dread, over the prospect of having to impeach Trump now that they theoretically have the votes in the House to do so. Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly told Trump personally that it is not her intent to impeach Continue reading "Democrats Should Not Fear Impeaching Trump, Even Though He Would Likely Enjoy It"

Republican Treatment of Romney Shows Trump is Very Likely to Still Be President at the End of 2019


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




In the middle of 2018, I made a bet with a friend who is a member of the “state-run” pro-Trump media that the president would not resign or be removed from office by the end of 2019. Recently, at my suggestion, we doubled the bet, with my friend, who is personally very anti-Trump, more confident than ever that they will collect their winnings as Trump will no longer be president by the time we celebrate another New Year’s Eve. In this context, it was amusing to see 2019 begin with some prominent predictions of Trump’s demise during the coming year. This was especially the case since, at the very same time, we are getting ample evidence that, unless Trump, supposedly the healthiest man to ever hold his office, suddenly suffers major medical problems, he will absolutely still be president when 2020 beings. As my own experience with pro-Trump in-laws over Continue reading "Republican Treatment of Romney Shows Trump is Very Likely to Still Be President at the End of 2019"

An Honest Review of the Best and Worst Columns I Wrote in 2018


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




As this frustratingly crazy year of 2018 officially comes to a close, it is a telling experiment to review the year through the lens of the many columns I wrote during the last twelve months, most of which chronicled the never-ending insanity of this unique era. Of my 144 commentaries, there were some notable hits, but also more misses than I would have hoped. Here is an honest review of the highlights and lowlights… Biggest Blunder: Clearly, my biggest mistake of 2018 was jumping all over the theory that the Elliot Broidy/Shera Bechard scandal was actually a cover story to protect President Donald Trump. While I turned out to be dead wrong, as I explained in my mea culpa column, there were actually fairly sound reasons for why that miss-assessment was made. Possibly Worst Prediction: When the secretly recorded tape that Michael Cohen made of his conservation Continue reading "An Honest Review of the Best and Worst Columns I Wrote in 2018"

The McClatchy ‘Michael Cohen Was In Prague’ Story Has Significant Problems


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Recently, I did an extensive interview with investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, the co-author of the book Russian Roulette about the Trump/Russia relationship, which made headlines because President Donald Trump decided to cheery-pick it for his own purposes. The essence of what Trump and his state-run media deemed so news worthy was that a Trump critic was acknowledging that the infamous Steele Dossier has significant issues. Specifically, that the story of Michael Cohen meeting with Russians in Prague during the 2016 election seemed to have been discredited. So, when yesterday McClatchy reported, based on multiple sources, that Cohen’s cell phone had pinged off a tower outside of Prague during the time period mentioned in the dossier, I was one of many commentators who was instantly interested in the details. As has happened all-too-often during this never-ending saga, the story seemed pretty solid at first, but has since, rather quickly, Continue reading "The McClatchy ‘Michael Cohen Was In Prague’ Story Has Significant Problems"

Christmas Dinner with My Pro-Trump In-Laws Made it Clear That ‘Cult 45’ Is Holding Strong


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Last week, the news media was once again obsessing about how the Trump administration was — stop me if you’ve heard this before — melting down on multiple levels. And that this time he may really be in big political trouble. I wrote this column analyzing the prospects that Trump’s popularity really would be greatly influenced by the spate of recent controversies, given that he had already survived so many potential mortal wounds in 2018, without really even losing much figurative blood. My tentative conclusion at the time was that, since nothing seems to matter anymore, the most likely outcome would be very little negative impact on Trump’s approval ratings. I also suggested that, if this was indeed the case into the first week or two of 2019, that his political base should be deemed so indestructible as to make it nearly impossible to remove him from office, regardless of Continue reading "Christmas Dinner with My Pro-Trump In-Laws Made it Clear That ‘Cult 45’ Is Holding Strong"

Trump Actually Has Built a Wall… Around His Approval Ratings. But How Long Will It Remain Standing?


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post





Amid the torrent of really bad news surrounding President Donald Trump, the past few days has offered what appears to be the final nail in the coffin of his always obviously fraudulent campaign promise to build a great wall on our southern border. Now, his critics don’t like to admit it, but Trump actually has constructed a fairly substantial barrier, one that has been remarkably resilient. Though it isn’t a physical structure. It is, instead, a figurative wall surrounding his personal approval ratings. One of the most underreported storylines of 2018 has been that Trump, while enduring the worst news year of any president since at least Richard Nixon’s last one in office, actually has significantly better (less bad?) approval ratings than he did a year ago. On December 20, 2017, Trump’s RealClearPolitics polling average was at a negative 18.3 points (and actually on an improving Continue reading "Trump Actually Has Built a Wall… Around His Approval Ratings. But How Long Will It Remain Standing?"

Thanks Partly to Trump, California is Now an Electoral Anvil Around the Neck of the National GOP


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




The entire world has heard about the wildfires which have ravaged large parts of California over the past week (which thankfully, due to our amazing firefighters, my family and I have apparently survived unscathed). Understandably however, much less has been made of the figurative inferno which has burned down the last vestiges of what was once a great Republican machine here in the Golden State, leaving permanent destruction in its path, the likes of which the national GOP may never fully overcome. It is no secret that Republican prospects in California have been waning for the past generation. The fact that the state elected, and reelected, two consecutive Republican presidents who resided here (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan) is now just a weird piece of trivia for most of its residents. But the wreckage that has been revealed after the dust settled from last week’s midterms exposes a Continue reading "Thanks Partly to Trump, California is Now an Electoral Anvil Around the Neck of the National GOP"

Media Needs to Take Some Responsibility for Why Republicans Won’t Rush to Jim Acosta’s Cause


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Yesterday, the White House suspended the press credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta after he had a confrontation with President Donald Trump during what was likely the most ridiculous press conference in presidential history. The revocation of his credentials was allegedly based on a false allegation that Acosta inappropriately touched the White House intern who trying to take back the microphone the reporter was using. Let’s be very clear about what really happened here. Trump called on Acosta because he wanted to provoke a fight with someone his base loathes, and he knew that the grandstanding Acosta would be happy to play his role in this mutually-contrived confrontation because it would be good for his brand. As Shakespeare famously wrote, “All the world is a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” Everyone involved got pretty much exactly what they wanted. I would even be willing to Continue reading "Media Needs to Take Some Responsibility for Why Republicans Won’t Rush to Jim Acosta’s Cause"

How Nearly Every Political Group Both Won and Lost in the Midterms


This post is by John Ziegler from Mediaite


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




We live in an era where, thanks to hyper media fragmentation, everyone can, and usually does, cherry pick data to support nearly any narrative that they always wanted to believe in the first place. It is a world where political figures rarely ever have to admit defeat because there is almost always something, real or imagined, on which they can make a claim of victory. In this context, the 2018 midterms look like they are going to be a perfect metaphor for our fractured times. The results are a Rorschach test where almost any political group can see something positive, while also conveniently ignoring lots of very negative information. Sure enough, everyone from President Donald Trump and Sean Hannity, to Nancy Pelosi and Van Jones have already declared that their side won. But this phenomenon goes far deeper than just Republicans celebrating gains in the Senate and Democrats relishing Continue reading "How Nearly Every Political Group Both Won and Lost in the Midterms"