Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, February 25, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page B:4



Mountain Views-News Saturday, February 25, 2017 

Mountain Views



Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 


Joan Schmidt


LaQuetta Shamblee


Richard Garcia


Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 


Kevin Barry


Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Merri Jill Finstrom

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Renee Quenell

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten



During last year’s presidential campaign, my old friend and 
colleague Salena Zito, writing in The Atlantic, made national 
headlines when she observed that the reporters covering then-
candidate Donald Trump “[took] him literally, but not seriously,” 
while supporters took him “seriously, but not literally.”

 Now that President Trump has called the news media “the enemy of the American people,” 
is it time to take the former reality TV star both seriously and literally?

 Trump’s words - delivered last week via his favored medium, Twitter, were not the words of 
a duly elected leader of the world’s strongest and most enduring democracy. 

 They were those of a strongman with little regard, or even knowledge, of the norms of 
a liberal democracy. And they came on the heels of Trump’s frankly surreal, 77-minute, 
tongue-lashing of the press last Thursday.

 It was a performance that staggered the imagination. For more than an hour and fifteen 
minutes, Trump scolded reporters he didn’t like and heaped praise on those he did. 

 It was followed up by White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus making the rounds of the 
Sunday chat shows, where he doubled-down on the boss’s message.

 It earned him a stiff rebuke from “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, who reminded 
Priebus of what should been long past obvious for the former Republican National Committee 
boss: Reporters don’t work for the White House.

 No president ever really gets along with the reporters who cover him. President Barack 
Obama’s disdain for the Washington press corps was well-known.

 President Nixon privately referred to the press as the enemy - but was apparently smart 
enough not to make such remarks in public, former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein 
told CNN over the weekend.

 But still, Trump’s remarks were understandable when viewed in the context of the 
Hollywood culture in which he is most at home.

 In the world of the soft-touch celebrity profile, it’s not uncommon for celebs and their 
representatives to get a say over the time, place, setting, questions and even the final, 
published copy.

 Trump, who benefited for years from his close relationship with the New York tabs and 
the celebrity press, has probably come to accept largely gushing coverage and the kid-gloves 
treatment as the norm, not the bizarre exception that it truly is.

 The frankly aggressive and adversarial coverage Trump has received from the political 
press runs counter to the cosseted bubble that the president has called home for the roughly 
five decades he’s been in the public eye. 

 The leaks coming out of the White House and other areas of government - while a standard 
and badly needed feature of public affairs reporting - offend him to the core when viewed in 
that context.

 An ego that bruises at the drop of a hat and a constant - and perhaps pathological - need 
for affirmation doesn’t help either.

 But while that explains Trump’s skewed view on the treatment he thinks he should be 
receiving, it doesn’t excuse it. Not by a longshot.

 Nor does it excuse the blatant falsehoods, distortions and fabrications that have been 
emanating from his White House from Day One.

 Writing in the New Yorker last week, the magazine’s editor, David Remnick, placed Trump 
in a line of authoritarian leaders, from Robespierre and Vladimir Lenin to Sisi and Mugabe on 
down, who branded their adversaries “enemies of the people,” and used it scant justification 
to imprison them or send them to their deaths.

 So far, Trump hasn’t gone that far - at least.

 Now I’m not going to sit here and claim that journalists are without sin. Mistakes happen 
and there have unquestionably been times when we’ve been our own worst enemy. 

 Trump, who is likely ignorant of the historical antecedents of his remarks (though White 
House adviser Steve Bannon surely is not) has played on that distrust and used it to his 
advantage. Polls showing lagging Congress in public trust are the unfortunate result.

 Journalists, meanwhile, have to be careful not to play into Trump’s hands. They have 
to continue to hold him accountable without morphing into the “opposition party” the 
administration claims them to be.

 After all, no one ever said being an enemy of the state was going to be easy.


© Copyright 2017 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist 
for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @
ByJohnLMicek and email him at

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We’re all well acquainted with the fake news phenomenon - the 
Trumpian sewage that’s routinely pumped into the brains of the 
dumb and numb. But the good news is, Facebook has started to 
fight back, working with a coalition of fact-based media outlets.

 Better late than never. The 2016 campaign was festooned with phony scoops like “Pope 
Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president” and “FBI agent suspected 
in Hillary email leaks found dead in apartment in murder-suicide” and “Hillary sold 
weapons to ISIS.” Credulous social media users clicked and shared and were happy to 
get suckered.

 It’s no surprise that the con lives on. My new favorite bit of fakery, which has already 
been shared tens of thousands of times, and re-posted on dozens of websites with names 
like Angry Patriot and Trump Media, features this eye-candy headline:

 “BREAKING. Congress Moves to STOP Obama’s Treasonous Coup Attempt Against 

 Sigh. These people still can’t quit the guy.

 Last I saw, Obama was photographed on a boating vacation, wearing cool shades 
and flashing a free-at-last grin. He sure didn’t look like somebody plotting a coup and 
seething with treason, but hey, maybe his vacay vibe was just part of the conspiracy. 
And if Congress is indeed moving to stop his coup, I can respect its apparent decision 
to do so quietly. Maybe that explains why not a single Republican in Congress, or Spicer 
or Kellyanne, has breathed a word about what Obama has afoot.

 Anyway, I bring all this up because ABC News - working with Facebook - has posted 
a deconstruction of the fake-news story, explaining how the infauxmation process 

 Basically, this was the fake-news logic: Trump is plagued by government leakers; many 
government officials are civil servants who stay on the job from one administration 
to the next; some leakers might be officials carried over from the last administration; 
therefore, the leakers are partisan Obama loyalists; therefore, Obama is directing his 
loyalists; therefore, Obama is plotting a treasonous coup. 

 ABC News dryly concluded that, aside from the people making stuff up, “no one 
is alleging that former President Obama is connected to the leaks or has committed 
treason because of these revelations.” But the most noteworthy true info comes at the 
bottom of the post:

 “ABC News has launched ‘The Real News About Fake News’ powered by Facebook 
data in which users report questionable stories and misinformation circulating on 
the platform. The stories will undergo rigorous reporting to determine if the claims 
made are false, exaggerated or out of context. Stories that editorial partners have also 
debunked will then appear flagged in your News Feed.”

 Facebook announced this project earlier this winter. The social network had long 
prided itself as a neutral bulletin board, but its leaders had come to realize that allowing 
sewage to flow unchecked was a social negative. As Adam Mosseri, one of the Facebook 
veeps, said in December: “We really value giving people a choice (of information), 
but we also believe we need to take responsibility for the spread of fake news on our 

 So Facebook hooked up with ABC News, the Associated Press, 
(housed at the University of Pennsylvania), Politifact, and Snopes. Users can now flag 
stories they suspect to be fake, and stories that draw enough flags are typically steered 
to these fact-checking media sites. The Obama slime job met the specs for scrutiny. 
And another group called First Draft - which includes The Washington Post, Vox, and 
ProPublica - combats what it calls “the misinformation ecosystem.”

 It’s nice to finally see some kind of pushback, even if these efforts don’t really make a 
dent. The users who guzzle fake stories about Obama certainly won’t accept a thumbs-
down verdict from ABC News, which they probably dismiss as part of the conspiracy. 
No, they’d prefer to believe the lies that jibe with their Trump worship and ideological 
predilections; look no further than the scene Thursday morning at CPAC, the annual 
Conservative Political Action Conference, where a standing ovation greeted the on-
stage appearance of alternative-factess Kellyanne Conway.

 But there’s hope for the reality-based community. A new Quinnipiac poll says when 
Americans are asked whom they trust “to tell the truth about important issues,” 52 
percent choose the media, and only 37 percent tilt to Trump. 

 No doubt he would dismiss those stats as “fake news.” I call it good news.


 Copyright 2017 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper 

 Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia 
( and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Email him at


Major League Baseball has an annual training season in 

 Maybe President Trump should have gone somewhere 
outside of Washington to hold tryouts for a month to see who on his team was ready 
to play in the big leagues.

 At least he should have picked some veteran coaches who know how the 
professional Washington game is played, are loyal to him and who know how to 
make the White House work smoothly.

 All incoming presidents, even veteran politicians, have trouble with their White 
House advisers and underlings at first. 

 But as a political outsider and a disrupter, Trump is facing more trouble than most 
of his predecessors. 

 The Democrats, their hysterical pals in the media and the permanent Washington 
bureaucracy are doing their best to slow him up or bring him down. 

 But so far Trump – the rookie manager in chief – has been his own worst enemy.

He assembled a White House team made up of third-round draft picks and minor 
leaguers and put them on the field before he knew whether they could hit a curve or 
field a hard grounder.

 What we’re seeing in the White House – “Leakville,” as I refer to it now – is a 
bunch of rookies trying to run the most important government operation in the 

 It should never have gotten to this level of ineptitude, President Trump is 
responsible for it, and only he can fix it.

 A large part of his problem is that he doesn’t have a chief of staff in the White 
House -- he has two of them, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon.

 Anyone who’s ever managed a Starbucks knows when two or more people are “in 
charge,” no one is really in charge.

 And when two or three people are in charge, then no one is ultimately responsible 
for anything that happens and chaos and confusion run amok. 

 The bumbled and hasty rollout of the executive order temporarily banning 
immigrants from seven Muslim countries was a textbook example of what happens 
when no single person is in charge of the White House staff.

 The case of Michael Flynn, Trump’s starting National Security Adviser, was 
another “rookie mistake” by a staffer that should never have happened.

 Flynn should have known better. He wasn’t called up from the Class D Leagues. 
He had 30 years of exemplary military experience and had worked in the Obama 

 What was he thinking? What made him believe he had the right to lie to the vice 
president – if that’s what he really did?

 Flynn’s been cut from the team and he’ll be a source of bad PR for Trump for 

 I’d hate to be Sean Spicer, who has to go in front of the Washington press corps 
and deal with the latest twists in the Flynn case or explain the White House’s bungle 
of the day. 

 President Trump is doing fine by holding all those meetings with business 
executives and foreign leaders and issuing executive orders.

 It’s his rookie squad that’s holding him back. They seem more interested in serving 
their own interests, not his.

 It’s now up to the president to find a way to plug up the leaks and put together a 
competent, loyal and trusted White House staff.

 He has to work fast. The regular season is almost a month old and he still doesn’t 
have a coaching staff or a starting lineup.

 And as Manager Trump has already found out the hard way, there are no exhibition 
games played in the White House.


 Copyright ©2017 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald 
Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. 
Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service and president of 
The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at and www. Send comments to Follow @
reaganworld on Twitter. 

 Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. 
For info on using columns contact Sales at

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