Mountain Views News, Pasadena Edition [Sierra Madre] Saturday, August 4, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:3



 Mountain Views News Saturday, August 4, 2018 


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

Dan Golden


“90% of media coverage of my Administration is negative, 
despite the tremendously positive results we are achieving.”

 No need to check the math in President Trump’s recent 
tweet. For argument’s sake let’s say he’s correct. Fact is, 
“negative” reporting about him these days might even be 
closer to 95 percent. 

 How could it not be? Anything written about Robert 
Mueller’s investigation, separating migrant children from their parents at the 
border, gaffe-plagued meetings with Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin, chaos 
among the White House staff, and worldwide turmoil related to Trump’s tariff 
policies - to name just a few topics - is by definition negative. 

 So, yes, virtually 100 percent of what’s reported about those ongoing stories is 
negative and appropriately so. 

 The remaining 5 or 10 percent of recent news relates mostly to employment and 
economic growth statistics, and could be reasonably categorized as “positive.” 

 But the concern among journalists is not what a scorecard might show about 
coverage of the Trump Administration. It’s the distorted view among the president 
and his communications staff that journalism can be measured on a scorecard in 
the first place. 

 An acknowledged fan of Fox News, the president undoubtedly embraces 
its ersatz slogan: “Fair and balanced.” No one would argue against fairness, but 
“balance” is rarely a part of journalism. Only in certain, limited situations, such as 
during the run-up to an election, should balance come into play. 

 Clearly, the president wants his supporters to conflate story selection with story 
content, and hard news reporting with cable-TV commentary. They are simply not 
the same. 

 Depressing as it might be, news tends to be negative. It is newsworthy, for 
example, that wildfires are ravaging California, but there’s not much news in the 
fact that Minnesota, at last report, was relatively fire free. 

 The New York Times has taken to summarizing “The Week in Good News” in its 
Saturday edition, advising readers that, “it isn’t all bad out there.” Stories covered 
range from the discovery of water on Mars to the mother duck who cared for 76 
ducklings. President Trump should have been pleased with the paper’s page-one 
lead that day: “Consumers Push Growth to 4.1% in Hot Economy.” 

 So, it’s not all negative, but when it is don’t fault media. 

 The president is undoubtedly riled by the volume of negative commentary 
on MSNBC and, to a lesser extent, on CNN. However, commentary is not news 
reporting, and shouldn’t be tabulated as such. Besides, for every negative opinion 
uttered about the administration on MSNBC there are positive spins on Fox News 
Channel - where “balance” exists only in slogans. 

 Sadly, we are living at a point in time where 90-plus percent of news about the 
current administration is, indeed, negative. But the stories aren’t fake, they’re fact. 

 If the president wants more positive news, he would be wise to make some. 


A list of Peter Funt’s upcoming live appearances is available at www.CandidCamera.

 Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available 
at and © 2018 Peter Funt. Columns distributed 
exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

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After railing against the FBI, the intelligence community, and the 
Department of Justice, the character of Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), 
Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, is increasingly being 
called into question. In fact, when character counts, the sum of the man 
just doesn’t add up.

 A new set of potential improprieties by Nunes has emerged as a result of reporting by McClatchy’s 
Kate Irby. Irby details possible unethical use of campaign funds by Nunes’ political action committee, 
New Pac. Funds used to pay for private jet transportation, tickets to sporting events, meals in high-
end restaurants and hotels in Las Vegas, and $15,000 for a single day of winery tours, including a 
limo and beachfront hotel accommodations. 

 Not to worry. There’s still plenty of cash in his campaign coffers. Nearly $7.4 million dollars in 
fact. All to mount a re-election campaign in a district in which he’s held sway since 2003. 

 That’s a remarkably odd amount of money given that, in previous campaigns, Nunes typically 
raised between $1.5 - $2 million dollars. There are roughly 348,000 registered voters in Nunes’ 22nd 
Congressional District, which translates to about $20.11 per vote, or roughly four times the amount 
he spent in elections past. 

 So why has Nunes felt compelled to fill his campaign war chest with that much money while 
defending a “safe seat” in a historically red bastion of the Republican party? 

 Maybe Nunes is just a generous, likable guy who likes to spread the wealth around. 

 So generous and likable that in March and June of 2017, he transferred $300,000 to the National 
Republican Congressional Campaign for contributions to various races around the country. 
Guess it pays to have friends. And lots of them. Especially when being investigated by an Ethics 
Committee dominated by fellow Republicans and having your Republican colleagues remain mum 
when others in government are questioning your actions.

 Since taking on the “Deep State” and becoming Mr. Trump’s prat boy, Nunes is now a darling 
among far-right conservatives throughout the country, receiving an impressive amount of small 
individual contributions. That’s in addition to the $63,000 he’s gotten from the Koch Brothers; 
$71,000 from the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Association (guess Devin likes wine, 
remember the $15,000 tour?) and many others. And, of course, the $74,500 he garnered from 
California Dairies, Inc.

 Dairy is an important product in Nunes’ agriculture-reliant district. And yet, while riding off into 
the sunset, leaving his district behind on a quixotic mission to restore law and order throughout the 
land, his clueless leader has been imposing tariffs that will have a severe negative impact on farmers 
- almond, pistachio, walnut, and dairy farmers among them. Even Nunes’ father and brother’s dairy 
operation in Iowa will be affected.

 The president has called Nunes “a man of tremendous courage and grit,” who may someday be 
recognized as a “Great American Hero.” That comment is probably making a lot of Americans grit 
their teeth, among them the almond, pistachio, and walnut growers who have consistently helped 
return Nunes to office. 

 According to, almond growers will see tariffs on exports to China rise from 
10 to 25 percent. Many of those farmers and growers might like to voice their concerns to their 
congressman. Good luck. Nunes reportedly hasn’t held a town hall meeting in the district in seven 
years. Probably because he’s been spending more time in the Deep State rather than the State of 

 That dairy farm in Iowa? That’s where the Nunes Campaign Committee’s Treasurer, Toni Dian 
Nunes – the candidate’s mom – lives. As Treasurer for the campaign, she received a notification, 
earlier this year, from the Federal Election Commission requesting “information essential to 
full public disclosure” about three potentially illegal campaign contributions, one of which was 
made by a pistachio grower from a district bordering Nunes’ own. While that pistachio grower’s 
contribution was peanuts in comparison to that of California Dairies, it’s probably safe to assume 
he made it in hopes that his neighbor would stand up for him and others in his industry. Nutty 

 Devin Nunes is as wanton, wasteful, and potentially as unethical as any other swamp dweller 
Donald J. Trump swore to throw out of Washington. Nunes was not elected to forsake constituents 
for the national stage, launch inexplicable and confounding witch hunts, or stand shoulder-to-
shoulder with leaders who impose tariffs that are harmful to those at home, while simultaneously 
putting the national security of our country at risk. 

 Recent polls indicate Nunes is no longer meeting the expectations of his constituents. For 
good reason. Nunes willingly chose to lie down in the swamp, as have a significant number of his 
Republican colleagues in Congress. Clawing their way out may prove to be a very sticky proposition 
for many of them come Election Day.



 Copyright 2018 Blair Bess distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

 Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog, and can be reached at



The lies rain down on us so relentlessly that we’re often benumbed. 
Shortly after Donald Trump tweeted last week that the Russians would 
help the Democrats win the midterms, we learned that the Russians 
have tried to hack the 2018 campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill - a 
Democrat. And minutes after Donald Jr. tweeted that President 
Obama’s economy never posted two percent GDP growth, we learned 
that Obama had in fact posted two percent GDP growth 15 times.

 Michiko Kakutani, the Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic, has posed the questions that 
often bedevil us: “How did this happen? What are the roots of falsehood in the Trump era? How 
did truth and reason become such endangered species, and what does their impending demise 
portend for our public discourse and the future of our politics and governance?” She supplies 
the answers in her new book, “The Death of Truth,” a bleak treatise that ends with a dose of 

 Consider this my summer book recommendation. I wouldn’t necessarily take her slim 
volume to the beach, lest you be tempted to drown yourself. But it’s a bracing read nonetheless, 
because she writes so concisely and incisively, and because she draws wisdom from so many 
disparate influences.

 You’ll be hard-pressed to find another social commentator who can critique Trump and 
our corroded cultural-political climate by quoting both Vladimir Lenin (rhetoric should be 
“calculated to evoke hatred, aversion and contempt…of such a nature as to evoke the worst 
thoughts, the worst suspicions about the opponent”), and The Joker from Batman (“Introduce a 
little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos”).

 It’s tempting to read Kakutani only for her withering assessment of Trump, if only because 
it’s so on the mark: “Long before he entered politics, Trump was using lies as a business 
tool. He claimed that his flagship building, Trump Tower, is 68 floors high, when, in fact, it’s 
only 58 floors high. He also pretended to be a PR man named John Barron or John Miller to 
create a sock puppet who could about his - Trump’s - achievements. He lied to puff himself 
up, to generate business under false pretenses, and to play to people’s expectations…like most 
successful advertisers - and propagandists - he understood that the frequent repetition of easy-
to-remember and simplistic taglines worked to embed merchandise and his name in potential 
customers’ minds.”

 But Kakutani, the newly retired New York Times book reviewer, seeks to put Trump in 
context. Her goal is to paint the big picture: “Trump’s unhinged presidency represents some 
sort of climax in the warping of reality, but the burgeoning disorientation people have been 
feeling…traces back to the 1960s, when society began fragmenting…The assault on truth and 
reason that reached fever pitch in America during the first year of the Trump presidency had 
been incubating for years.”

 She got that right. Many factors brought us to where we are today, most of them obvious 
only in hindsight. We’re living in the perfect storm, and Trump - its mutant byproduct, 
brilliantly abetted by the Russians’ exploitation of America’s fractures - is reaping the 

 I’ll leave the historical details to Kakutani. Suffice it to say that the cultural schisms of the 
1960s, triggered primarily by the Vietnam war and “permissive” anti-establishment lifestyles, 
shattered the broad national consensus. Social and political polarization accelerated with each 
passing decade, and the divide was exacerbated during the 1990s by the rise of conservative 
media (especially Rush Limbaugh). Scholars on the left and right assaulted objectivity by 
preaching the gospel of postmodernism.

 If you’re wondering what that is, Kakutani defines it as shedding objective reality to enshrine 
“the principle of subjectivity.” In other words, more and more people define their own factual 
truth by going with their gut and their biases.

 There’s also the internet, which she writes has “led to a cascade of misinformation and 
relativism, as evidenced by today’s fake news epidemic” - a fertile climate for exported Russian 
propaganda, what the Rand Corporation, in a report, calls “a fire hose of falsehood.”

 Is there any hope that America can reverse the atrophy of truth? Among the cacophony of 
voices in this eloquent book - everyone from John le Carre to George Washington - we get this, 
from fired acting attorney general Sally Yates: “Not only is there such a thing as objective truth, 
failing to tell the truth matters. We can’t control whether our public servants lie to us. But we can 
control whether we hold them accountable.” 

 Kakutani concurs: “There are no easy remedies, but it’s essential that citizens defy the cynicism 
and resignation that autocrats and power-hungry politicians depend upon to subvert resistance.”

 Which is why the 2018 midterms are a crossroads for this country. All we have is our will to 


 Copyright 2018 Dick Polman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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

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