A legitimate president knows “Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.”

Over the past year, we have been treated to, or rather forced to endure, the unsavoury aspects of a president’s personality. Over the past year, we have tweets and public statements that show us something that is usually hidden. We see a president’s feuds rather than his compromises, his grudges rather than his forgiveness, and his boasts rather than his humility. For his supporters he is telling it like it is. Yet, far from removing hypocrisy he wants to impose his own by replacing the presidential persona with his own.

The President’s behaviour is similar to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon who were often crude, vulgar, and cruel in private. In public, they presented a different persona to fulfil their presidential responsibilities. They had to adopted a persona that respects common decency since the president is the highest public figure. They respected the office and its public role. They accepted its constraints. What the President has done is blur the two realms through social media and his own personality to avoid these constraints. In particular, he has done this to define himself against the media. The media upholds an expected presidential persona by holding him to account, which in turn filters his public persona to the public. However, the issue is not his struggle with the media nor is it the President’s unwillingness to accept hypocrisy.

To justify his behaviour, his supporters and defenders argue that presidents hide their private vices and that lie to the public with their public virtues. Robert Mercer, for example, claimed he funded Milo Yiannopoulos to attack what he saw as the hypocrisy of those who would shut down free speech in the name of political correctness. In this, though, he refused to accept a view that a society rest upon a shared or common opinion that has to be defended and is not open to “debate.” We can see this respect for the common opinion when previous presidents were genuinely embarrassed to have their private indecency revealed or known. They respected the office and the presidential persona. By contrast, the President broadcasts it, he is *proud* of it, and most importantly, he is celebrated for it by his supporters. They think this reflects the world as it is so they want the world to know he is crude, he is boorish, and he is vicious. Except it doesn’t. Instead, he manipulates the public with his behaviour. He does this for effect and to reshape the presidential persona to his ends, not the public’s.

The President’s behaviour means that his persona supplants the presidential persona. To do this, though he has to undermine any institutions, such as the press, that reminds the public of the presidential persona and the public good. The President and Mercer attack the press or common decency as “fake news” or political correctness so that they can redefine common decency to enhance, not resist, the President’s persona. If they succeed, a private good will supplant the public good.

 

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Floyd Mayweather is the Lance Armstrong of Boxing.

Both cheated their sports. Armstrong knows he did not win seven Tour de France Yellow Jerseys. He knows he cheated the sport and himself. He is not the best cyclist. Without the drugs and the team, he was a good rider, nothing more.

Mayweather cheated boxing because he never fought the best at their best. He avoided fights or chose opponents knowing they were past their prime or simply vulnerable to his strengths. He never had a Hagler vs Hearns fight. He never faced a Ray Mancini vs Duk Koo Kim moment of fight or die. He never competed against the best at their best like Ali, Foreman and Frazier did. At least Larry Holmes had the warrior’s ethos to face Mike Tyson.

Mayweather chose his fights, he chose his opponents to ensure he always had the advantage. He beat an overmatched Hatton and beat a past his prime Pacquiao in much the same way that Oscar de la Hoya only fought Julio Cesar Chavez past his prime. When he fought McGregor, who had never boxed professionally, it was more bullfighting than boxing. Sure, the bull occasionally wins to keep it interesting, but the outcome is rarely in doubt.

With McGregor, he found a willing boxing prostitute. The guy who shows up to get fxxxed and get paid for it. In this the UFC and MMA were pimped out by Dana White. Why else release a deceptively short video clip that shows McGregor dominating  Malignaggi during sparring?  If you are a MMA fighter, this is your likely fate. Is this a warrior’s fate?

Mayweather carried McGregor to the 10th round so that the public would not feel ripped off by the fight. He knew that McGregor had never fought beyond the equivalent of the seventh round. (MMA fights are a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round with one minute rest in-between rounds.)  McGregor played his part and punched himself out. A experienced fighter, knowing he was up on the rounds, would have coasted and won the fight or at least forced Mayweather to attack in desperation. McGregor who was rookie  lacked the basic skill set to accomplish this feat.

After this fight, I don’t know which is worse—Mayweather thinking he is a 50-0 fighter or McGregor for letting himself be prostituted. How either man lives with themselves after this is beyond me. I am certain that Lance Armstrong will be able to tell them.

 

 

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Journalists Wrestling Trump for the truth (a new post)

English: Celebrity Apprentice star Dennis Rodm...

English: Celebrity Apprentice star Dennis Rodman and Donald Trump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Readers,

If you are interested, I have published Journalists wrestling Trump for the truth: Fake News and a Post-Truth society? on another of my blogs. You can find it at Philosophical Politics (here).

In that essay, I look at how Trump, like all politicians and sophists, tries to create his preferred reality through what he says. In response, journalists, and the public indirectly, try to wrestle him to the truth. They do this by either asserting their own preferred reality or they do this by wrestling Trump to the truth based on the shared reality that sustains the political community. Like any political community, the United States of America is founded upon a common opinion about certain political things. These political things are rooted in the fabric of reality from which facts are derived.

What is at stake is that the journalists and Trump are wrestling for the truth, which the public have to judge against their lived reality. In this struggle, appearances, if they are believed, can become a reality. However, appearances and opinions are unstainable if they are not connected to or rooted in the facts that are derived from the shared reality. We can disagree over why or how World War One started but we cannot argue over the claim that Belgium invaded Germany. Germany invaded Belgium and there is nothing anyone can say that will alter that fact. However, the political realm, the public domain, is often beset with competing opinions about the shared reality, often unmoored from facts derived from a shared reality, where people try to assert Belgium invaded Germany. Because we all live and work with incomplete information, we are often persuaded by opinions that flatter us or confirm what we want to believe is the truth. Therein, we see the current problem with Trump and journalism especially for a public struggling to differentiate opinion from fact and appearance from reality.

To the extent that Trump and journalists rely on rhetoric that flatters or insults the public, they remain in the realm of appearances and opinions. For either to succeed they need to root their rhetoric in the shared reality. For the public who want to hold power to account, usually through information provided by the media, it is important to have journalists root their stories and facts and reality. However, Trump’s rhetoric makes it difficult for journalists and the public to escape appearances and opinions. The journalists and the public face a double bind as Trump undermines the media as Fake News, which makes it difficult for the public to accept their facts as anything other than false opinions, and he sees himself as the only one telling the truth that will connect the public to the shared reality or at least their lived reality.

Once the facts are unmoored from our shared reality, then truth becomes what the powerful say it is. When that occurs, democracy descends into tyranny as see in Russia under Putin. Is that our fate?

 

 

 

 

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Michael Cohen and how lawyers protect their clients from the press with faulty logic

For some reason the press ask Trump’s personal lawyer questions about Trump’s behaviour. It is as if they expect him to admit to what they are asking. Mr Cohen has been successful for the reason he can deny and has plausible deniability on any of the issues that have been asked. In particular, he uses faulty or fallacious arguments to confuse the reporters.

Like the exchange between Kellyannne Conway and Anderson Cooper, the following statement relies on a fallacious argument.[1] Like Mr Cooper, the Wall Street Journal journalist (Alexandra Berzon) does not comment on the fallacy. They accept it at face value without probing it or clarify it.

When asked about allegations that Trump recorded telephone conversations, Mr Cohen responded as follows.

Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, said, “In the decade that I worked for Mr. Trump, I have never seen a recording device attached to his phone, nor am I aware of any occasion where he taped a conversation.”[2]

Like Mrs Conway, Mr Cohen relies on a fallacious argument. It is called the vacuous truth.[3] That Mr Cohen has not seen it nor is aware of it proves nothing about Trump’s behaviour except that Mr Cohen has not seen it. It sounds like a great lawyer-like answer, but it is empty of any meaning.

The following counter examples show vacuity of Mr Cohen’s statement.

  1. Trump may have done it before Mr Cohen was employed.
  2. Trump may do it when Mr Cohen is not around (to give Mr Cohen plausible deniability.)
  3. Mr Cohen may not know what the devices look like. (He believes it must be attached to record).
  4. Mr Trump may make recordings without a device attached to his phone.
  5. Mr Cohen may not know what technological means exist to tape a conversation.
  6. Mr Trump might not tell Mr Cohen everything he does.
  7. Mr Cohen is not with Mr Trump at all times so there is much he will not see.

The reporter does not pick up on the quality of his response. If they are not going to pick up on this issue, then why are they asking Mr Cohen what he knows or does not know about Mr Trump?

If journalists are to hold politicians to account, then they need to challenge fallacious statements. Otherwise the public will infer from the statement that President Trump has never recorded anyone because his lawyer said so. Moreover, as it is a lawyer that adds further influence to the public. If the point of the interview is to find out about President Trump, then it failed. More to the point, the journalist should have known this before they asked the question or at least be prepared to ask follow up questions that reveal something about President Trump.

[1] https://mediameditations.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/kellyanne-conway-anderson-cooper-and-journalisms-dearth-of-critical-thinking/

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-employees-of-donald-trump-say-they-saw-him-tape-conversations-1494715712?tesla=y&mod=e2tw

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuous_truth

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Kellyanne Conway, Anderson Cooper and journalism’s dearth of critical thinking

During a recent interview, to defend President Trump’s firing of FBI Director Comey, Kellyanne Conway demonstrated the death of critical thinking. What is surprising, though, is how the journalist, Anderson Cooper, failed to discuss it. Before we consider that point, let’s understand the flaw in Conway’s argument.

“Let me repeat that the president has been told by the FBI director that he is not under FBI investigation, that is right in the president’s letter,” Conway said.

Anderson Cooper, incredulous, replied with, “This White House is under investigation, the people around the president are around investigation — you would agree with that, yes?

“No I don’t, I know that some are obsessed with the word Russia — the president is not under investigation, I’m around the president, I’m not under investigation,” Conway said. “I can name many people in that same situation.”[1]

Conway argues that because she is not under investigation she disproves Anderson’s conclusion that people around the president are under investigation. All that she has demonstrated is that she is not under investigation. For her argument to be true, she would have to be the only person around the president who could be under investigation. Moreover, that she knows she is not under investigation does not prove that others are not under investigation. She only knows about herself yet she has transferred the knowledge about herself, as a person around the president, to be the case for all people around the president.

Conway’s argument is called denying the antecedent. What this means is that she inferred the inverse from the original statement.

    If P, then Q.

    Therefore, if not P, then not Q.

We can see why Conway’s argument is nonsensical with the following example.

    If you are a ski instructor, then you have a job.

    You are not a ski instructor

    Therefore, you have no job [1][2]

What Conway has done is try to deny the premise so as to refute the argument. However, this is different from denying the antecedent. Denying or ignoring the premise is when you refuse to accept the premise of a question and thereby avoid it.

She may want to review the West Wing episode where it is demonstrated. She might pick up some tips.

ANNABETH

Press is here for the Q&A. Now remember, you control the conversation. You

don’t like what the ask, don’t accept the premise of the question.

LEO

That’s my line, you know. You’re quoting me.

ANNABETH

I thought it was Toby.

LEO

Where do you think he got it? I’ve been rejecting the premises of questions

since the Hoover Administration.

They have reached the place where the press is waiting.

REPORTER CHRISTINE

Mr. McGarry, are you still in AA?

LEO

Good to see you, Christine.

CHRISTINE

When was the last time you went to a meeting?

LEO

I’ve made statements about that before. You should take a look at them.[3]

 

What is also disappointing, but not surprising, is that Anderson Cooper did not pick up on this fallacy. In part, this shows why Conway is able to get away with such fallacies. It also shows that journalist fail to grasp the logical argument, which means they have to rely on eye-rolls instead of the more rigorous approach to show the speaker is logically flawed and thus contradicted.

More to the point, Cooper failed to note that Conway did not prove that Trump or his associates were not under investigation only that she did not know.

Perhaps this exchange shows the paucity of critical thinking which has allowed Trump administration to thrive.

 

[1] https://thinkprogress.org/james-clapper-destroys-trump-talking-point-on-russia-c399dc0f8e15

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denying_the_antecedent

[3]This is taken from season 7 episode 1. http://www.westwingtranscripts.com/search.php?flag=getTranscript&id=135

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Did Mike Cernovich lie to 60 Minutes?

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently, Mike Cernovich has had a lot of media exposure. A couple of weeks ago, he was featured on a 60 Minutes segment about Fake News.[1] Earlier this week, he claimed he published a scoop about Susan Rice, who was Obama’s last National Security Advisor (NSA). In his post on Medium[2], he claimed he had revealed a story that neither journalists from New York Times or other outlets would publish.

In the midst of the publicity a story emerged about Mike Cernovich’s approach to journalism.[3] In that story, the author made reference to his YouTube video where he states that PizzaGate is real[4] The relevant section is at 44:54.

There he says quite clearly that PizzaGate is real. He follows by telling his viewers to keep investigating and keep putting the pieces together. (See 45:07 to 46:00.) The language is reminiscent of that which inspired Edgar Maddison Welch to go to Comet Pizza armed with a rifle to “self-investigate”.[5]

During the 60 Minutes interview, in a part not broadcast but published by Mr Cernovich[6], he was asked about PizzaGate. He denied that he had mentioned the pizzeria’s name. He says the following.

Mike Cernovich: Well, first of all, we have to draw lines between what I wrote, which is an expert analysis on Hillary Clinton’s health[7], versus a completely different story, where I never named the pizzeria. And I never thought that the pizzeria was at the center of this. And then people, I would say that it was fake news that people would try to connect me to that pizzeria thing when I never said there was never anything going on in there. And moreover, the lawyer, it would strike me a utterly bizarre if a pizzeria were running any kind of weird operation out of it. 100%. I never, I never wrote that story. So if you guys want to say this is bad, we don’t agree with it, that’s bad and unappreciated. This is fair criticism. But let’s talk about what I wrote and why I wrote it, versus what other people wrote and the conclusions other people reached. [emphasis added]

When we read this paragraph, two logical impossibilities emerge. A logical impossibility is when statements contradict each other. They both cannot be true. If you say something is not X, then it cannot be X. This is an immutable law of logic. Something cannot be both X and not X at the same time. Mike Cernovich spoke two logical impossibilities.

The first set of logically contradictory claims are:

“Pizzagate is True”

and

“I never thought that the pizzeria was at the center of this.”

You cannot say that PizzaGate is real without a pizza shop being at the heart of it. There is no PizzaGate without the pizza shop. As there is only one pizza shop in the conspiracy theory, he has to believe that the pizzeria is at the center of it. Perhaps he can explain how there can be a PizzaGate without a pizza shop.

The second set of logically contradictory claims are:

“PizzaGate is true”

and

“I never said there was never anything going on in there.”

If PizzaGate is true, then by definition “something” has to be “going on in there”. You cannot have PizzaGate without “something going in there.”

Mike Cernovich has a problem. Either he was lying to 60 Minutes or he was lying in the video, or both. He will have to explain to 60 Minutes or his followers, or both, what he really meant because it appears he was lying to one of them or both of them. Either way, it appears that he does, promote Fake News as evidenced by his claim that “PizzaGate is true”.

[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-fake-news-60-minutes-producers-investigate/

[2] https://medium.com/@Cernovich/susan-rice-requested-unmasking-of-incoming-trump-administration-officials-30085b5cff16

[3] http://www.motherjones.com/media/2017/04/donald-trump-jr-mike-cernovich

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZmljpEf4q4

[5] http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/edgar-maddison-welch-pizzagate-charges-232570

[6] https://medium.com/@Cernovich/here-is-the-full-60-minutes-interview-transcript-with-mike-cernovich-a0cb58a80ba0

[7] For the reader: This claim is not true. Mr Cernovich is not an expert in Hillary Clinton’s health. He is not medically trained. His analysis was a logically flawed blog post relying on a physician who has no expertise in the alleged medical condition Parkinson’s Disease, never examined Hillary Clinton nor has access to her medical records. Mr Cernovich wrote his blog post based on the physician’s analysis which was, in turn, based on YouTube videos he had studied. Neither Mr Cernovich’s analysis nor that of his source can be considered expert analysis. An expert is someone who has specific knowledge and training beyond the layman and the training and knowledge is recognized by other experts. A self-professed expert is neither.

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Who leaked Susan Rice to Mike Cernovich and why?

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fashion Show, New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mike Cernovich (hereafter MC) thinks he broke a big story. The reality is that he was used. He was used for a political purpose and rewarded for it. Kellyanne Conway did not tweet her endorsement because he did such a great job on 60 Minutes.[1] Instead, he has become a political tool. [2] He has no political base or political power except that which is given to him. When he is no longer useful, he will be discarded. He might make some money on it, but that is not a life of integrity or virtue.

We know that MC was given this story because he has no serious political connections within DC. He is not a DC insider. He does not have a DC background. He is neither a political operative nor a policy wonk. He is not affiliated with any politician. He may wish to claim that he is “connected” because he organised the DeploraBall, but that is a social event for third-rate fringe players to the campaign.

MC wants to go mainstream. He wants to be more than a paranoid tweeting about child trafficking codes in Wikileaks emails. He wants to be respectable. He wants to be a journalist. If you want to know his approach to working with partial evidence under time constraints, read the transcript. He relies on a radical scepticism, and a demand for complete proof,  for political arguments which he would never tolerate in his own life.[3] He has begun to brand himself as a journalist. He now describes his platform as Cernovich Media. Did he start doing this to provide legal standing when he faces charges for unauthorised access to classified material?

He is not the future of the media. He is not an investigative journalist. He scrapes the internet for stories. He did not break this story. He was given the story. The question is by whom and why?

Was he given the story because the Trump White House is running out of reliable sources to plant stories? A real journalist would start to ask why they were being given this story and who was given it to them before deciding to publish it. Trump did not tweet on 4 March 2017 because of Susan Rice. If she was, then why did Andrew Napolitano make a fool of Rupert Murdoch by claiming it was the GCHQ?[4] His claim reignited Murdoch’s links to the UK phone hacking scandal and the growing US legal problems. The US legal problems include allegations of unlawful surveillance of those who are suing his company.[5]

One thing is clear. The Trump White House has selected and rewarded MC. If he was a journalist, he would want to know why he was chosen and whose agenda he serves because this is not his story and not his agenda.

[1] https://mediameditations.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/cernovichs-60-minutes-interview-train-wreck/

[2] Similar political tools are Milo Yiannopolous and Richard Spencer. For more on them see https://lawrenceserewicz.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/milo-nihilism-and-conservatisms-decayed-soul-revised/

[3] He claimed that Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s Disease. When Clinton’s personal physician said she was suffering from pneumonia, he insisted that Clinton should undergo an independent medical examination. He justified this level of scrutiny because at some future point Donald Trump will not be given the benefit of the doubt. Yes, that is correct. Because Donald Trump in the future will be denied the benefit of the doubt, MC was justified in claiming Hillary Clinton had Parkinson’s disease and dismissing the medical diagnosis from Hillary Clinton’s personal physician. Whenever evidence was provided to justify the pneumonia diagnosis and dispel the Parkinson’s Disease claim, he demanded more evidence to disprove the negative. (Disproving the negative ie prove that you are not insane, is not the basis for sound or good journalism. It is not even journalism. It is something else.)

When MC flies on an airplane, does he demand to see the pilot’s licence? Does he demand that the pilot, after showing his licence, undergo an independent exam to demonstrate his flying credentials? No. When he eats at a restaurant does he demand that the cook prove that he is not going to poison him? No. Normal life is one where we work with trust and limited information no one has complete information because life is based on scarcity, of time, information, and focus.

[4] https://mediameditations.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/did-napolitano-mean-that-gchq-works-like-southern-investigations/

[5] http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/16/515509093/lawyer-alleges-fox-news-is-under-federal-investigation-related-to-sexual-harassm

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The injustice of Donald Trump revealed

Donald Trump is going to demonstrate how he negotiates, how he gets the big deals, how he gets his kicks. He is not clever. He is not smooth. He is not a great negotiator. Instead, he will brutalize the American public to get his way. This is how he works. This is how he has always worked.

He knows the people will suffer if ACA implodes and he does not care. He wants them to suffer so that he can win. This is why he was not bothered about negotiating. The “deal” of “my way or the highway” is not negotiating. It is an ultimatum. As with all of his marks, they have no choice.[1] If you are unfamiliar with this approach, you have not been paying attention to how he works or whom he works with in New York. His approach is what gangsters use. He has now turned the government into a protection racket.

The common definition of justice is rendering to a person what is their due. The challenge is to understand what a person is due. In most cases, it is easy to see. If you work, you are due to be paid. Donald Trump does not work that way. He decides what he wants to pay not what is owed or due. As a developer in New York, he has often withheld payment even though it was due. The other party had given him the work and he withheld the payment. He always claimed some reason such as it was for poor quality work, it was not what he agreed, or it was costing more than agreed. The reality, though, was that he was exploiting the other party. How did he do this?

 

Trump knows that under the law that if you take someone to court you cannot recover your legal fees. You can only recover what you are owed. Therefore, if you are owed twenty-thousand dollars but your legal fees are thirty-thousand you can only recover the twenty-thousand. Trump knows this law very well. It is called selling out your goodwill.[2] When he uses it, he does it on the small guy. The guy without a big legal team. A guy who is just getting by and needs the money. A guy that will settle for a lot less because he has to keep his business going. What Trump does is pick on the vulnerable and the weak. However, he is not alone in this. It is the preferred approach of Jared Kushner’s father.

A disciplined man who avoided the press, Kushner was no Trump. But he had Trumpian qualities, such as a tendency to withhold payment from venders like contractors, cleaners, and architects, forcing them to accept a fraction of their fee. The former Kushner Companies executive told me, “Every week we’d have meetings at Charlie’s house, and we’d go through the bills—the larger bills and corporate bills. And he’d sign them, or he’d say, ‘Offer them forty per cent.’ Or ‘Offer them fifty per cent.’ ” This was a cost-saving measure, not unheard of among developers. “It was, Why pay someone a hundred per cent when you could pay a lot less?” [3]

What America is going to experience is Donald Trump’s injustice. For the first time in American history, we have a president who will brutalize the American public. We have a president who does not care about the common good. A president who would see the public suffer to help his friends and help himself.

We have elected a tyrant.

[1] http://fortune.com/2016/09/30/donald-trump-stiff-contractors/

[2] http://www.gammilllaw.com/blog/2016/12/beware-customers-willing-to-sell-out-their-goodwill.shtml What is done is not illegal. It is only immoral. For Trump to do this to the poorest Americans, people who will die without their health coverage, this seems unconscionable. This is Donald Trump and he told us this is who he was and how he operates. It sounds like he is a good businessman until you are the one without health coverage or you can no longer afford health coverage because the new plan costs more.

[3] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/08/22/ivanka-trump-and-jared-kushners-power-play

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Cernovich’s 60 Minutes interview train wreck

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr Cernovich (hereafter MC) believes his 60 Minutes interview[1] was a success. His supporters[2] and some commentators support that view.[3] Mainstream Media is scared. A different view emerges when we look at in three stages: Before, During, and After.

Before

If he had a media advisor, MC would not have been on the show because there is no upside for the client’s brand.

When the invite appeals to your ego, but is bad for your brand, it is a sure sign to say no. There is no upside since your ego should be second to your brand. To counter this risk, MC claims he used his Gorilla Mindset to succeed.[4]

The Gorilla Mindset did not keep him from accepting the show’s premise. The premise is that he is fake news.[5] To break even he has to show that he was not fake news.

With 60 Minutes, most people will only remember the headline and whether they liked the mark or saw him as the intended villain. Few people remember nuance or details so the frame is important. MC appeared to know this risk and he tried to deal with it by publicising the event on his terms before[6] and after it. The problem is that that only works for his followers. CBS has an audience of millions and a reputation for serious journalism over decades. MC is unknown and, according to an episode where he was the mark, he is a purveyor of fake news.

During

The episode followed a standard pattern. (Spot the problem.)

Scene one: Opening to set the context, talk about the problem.

Scene Two: Talk to the mark who denies the problem or is the problem. (Bad guy)

Scene Three: Talk to the guy who tells you how the mark or others are doing it (Good guy)

Scene Four: Talk to a reformed or repentant guy. “I’m sorry for the hurt I caused” (Good Guy)

Scene Five: Back to the mark who does not see the problem even though the other guy said he was sorry. The mark continues to defend an untenable position.

Scene Six: Close segment with an overview and get the last word.

After

First, MC claimed he won. If you have to claim you won, then you’ve probably lost. Champions don’t have to convince the world they are winners. The outcome defines them, not their words. He thinks the goal was to defeat the interviewer.[7] What he failed to do was disprove the premise. MC is still the fake news guy. MC accepted he was part of the problem and this is bad for his brand.

Second, he called the interview fair and good journalism[8] because he was able to respond. This is bad. Why? His stories do not show balance, which he admitted in the segment. He said he would not believe anything Hillary Clinton said.[9] If he understands good journalism as balanced or fair[10] then by his own admission, he is not a good journalist.

 

 

[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/fake-news/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7HiTo9g904 See also Mr Cernovich’s Twitter Feed for other supporters congratulating him on his success.

[3] https://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/60-minutes-upside-down?utm_term=.guNKZv2v8#.snkYABVBJ See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWHFue_QMHg

[4] https://www.dangerandplay.com/2017/03/26/60-minutes-interviews-mike-cernovich/

[5] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-fake-news-60-minutes-producers-investigate/

[6] https://www.dangerandplay.com/2017/03/26/60-minutes-preview-mike-cernovich-calls-out-scott-pelley-during-heated-interview/

[7] https://www.dangerandplay.com/2017/03/27/mike-cernovich-holds-mirror-up-to-fake-news-60-minutes-as-shown-in-unreleased-transcript/

[8] http://www.mediaite.com/online/it-was-fair-mike-cernovich-pronounces-60-minutes-interview-good-journalism/

[9] “I don’t take anything Hillary Clinton is going to say at all as true. I’m not going to take her on her word. The media says we’re not going to take Donald Trump on his word. And that’s why we are in these different universes.” http://www.mediaite.com/online/it-was-fair-mike-cernovich-pronounces-60-minutes-interview-good-journalism/

[10] “It was fair. They took their shots at me while giving me a chance to respond,” he said in a statement to Mediaite. “I have no issues with it at all. It was good journalism.” http://www.mediaite.com/online/it-was-fair-mike-cernovich-pronounces-60-minutes-interview-good-journalism/

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Did Napolitano mean that GCHQ works like Southern Investigations?

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive O...

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation, USA and Co-Chair, Annual Meeting 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Andrew Napolitano spoke on Fox News, he tried to support Trump’s claim that Obama wiretapped Donald Trump[1] even though no one could find evidence for it.[2] He said that his sources told him no one would find evidence because the GCHQ, the UK signals intelligence agency, did it for Obama. Napolitano’s comments hit a nerve in the US as Sean Spicer the White House spokesman read them from the White House Press room podium.[3] In the UK, it was a direct slap in Theresa May’s face and a deep insult to the GCHQ[4] and the UK political establishment. However, he may not have realized what it meant since he was unaware of Southern Investigations and its relationship to Murdoch, UK journalism, and UK politicians.

For GCHQ to wiretap Trump, it would need the knowledge if not the approval of the Prime Minister Theresa May. If that happened, it would mean she had authorised acts that are illegal under UK law.[5] On the surface, this is offensive enough for most people to censure him. However, in the UK it has a deeper insult especially when we consider that it was a Murdoch employee making this comment. When we place this in the UK context, the insult is catastrophic.

In 2011, the UK phone hacking scandal exploded with a Rupert Murdoch newspaper at its heart.[6] The scandal was about illegal surveillance, phone hacking, and other illegal acts such as suborning police officers. These were called the dark arts.[7] As a result, Murdoch had to close the News of the World, withdraw the BSkyB bid and was said by a Parliamentary committee concluded to be “unfit to run a major company”. The company that the News of the World used for many of these dark arts was Southern Investigations.[8] They[9], in turn, were caught up in a number of police corruption scandals, in particular the Daniel Morgan Murder.[10] His unsolved murder is another scandal that haunts the UK political establishment. To try to get to the bottom of that scandal, Theresa May convened an Independent Panel.[11] The panel, which still has to report, looks at the role played by News International, the Metropolitan Police, and many Home Secretaries, including Theresa May.

What that claim means is that the GCHQ broke UK laws. It would also suggest that Teresa May uses GCHQ just as News of the World used Southern Investigation. What Napolitano’s claim means is Teresa May and GCHQ are accused of what Rupert Murdoch had been accused of doing with his newspapers and Southern Investigations. One would expect that Theresa May would demand a public apology. For a Murdoch employee to make this claim is an insult to the phone hacking victims, GCHQ’s honour, and Parliament’s integrity.

It will speak volumes about Theresa May’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch if she does not request one. The claim, by a Murdoch employee, holds the phone hacking victims, GCHQ, and Parliament in contempt. Perhaps She can explain to them why it does not require an apology.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlBPEpRD4jU

[2] In addition to saying it on-air, he repeated the claim in his Fox News blog. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/03/16/andrew-napolitano-did-obama-spy-on-trump.html The blog post remains available as of 27 March 2016.

[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39301422 After the UK government complained, the White House did not apologize, but they did promise not to repeat the comments. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39300191

[4] In an unusual move, they publicly dismissed the comments with a direct reference to Andrew Napolitano. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/mar/16/gchq-denies-wiretap-claim-trump-obama

[5] https://simonmckay.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/spies-lies-and-five-eyes-why-gchq-could-not-and-would-not-have-carried-out-surveillance-on-the-presidential-candidate/

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hacking_scandal Although other papers hacked phones, News of the World was the most aggressive in doing this work going so far as to obtain the voices mails of David Blunkett when he was Home Secretary, a Ministerial post responsible for national security including policing, which would be overseeing any investigations into News of the World. The information obtained was used to pressure him about an affair. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/07/david-blunkett-taped-by-news-of-the-world

[7] The “dark arts” refer to illegal activities such as placing listening devices inside someone’s house, wiretapping, impersonating someone to obtain their personal information, breaking into a property to find information. To avoid criminal sanctions, the press would always rely on the public interest test to claim what they did was in the public interest.

[8] For background on the company see https://pressganguk.wordpress.com/tag/southern-investigations/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Rees and http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/dodgy-detective-made-killing-from-tabloids-2294969.html

[9] Two employees of Southern Investigation were named as suspects in Daniel Morgan’s murder. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/17/daniel-morgan-suspects-named-in-court-30-years-after-killing

[10] For the best introduction to and overview of the Daniel Morgan murder scandal, listen to this podcast by his brother Alastair Morgan and Peter Jukes. http://www.untoldmurder.com/ See also the many articles about it including http://hackinginquiry.org/comment/the-news-of-the-world-and-the-daniel-morgan-murder-the-key-reason-for-leveson-two/

[11] https://www.danielmorganpanel.independent.gov.uk/

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