Ridiculous demands for urgent inquiry

Some media and some politicians are demanding an urgent, immediate inquiry into the Afghan attack the SAS were involved in. This is ridiculous.

Sound governance should not operate on the demands of the every shortening news cycle, nor on the demands of increasingly activist ‘journalists’ trying to create headlines.

The merits of the claims by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson on their book Hit & Run should be carefully assessed, and alternate views also have to be considered.

This will take time.More time than a journalist or pundit getting a book at 5:30 pm, making a pronouncement on the 6 o’clock news, reading the book overnight and leading the morning headlines with demands for instant action from Government.

The Minister of Defence and the head of the NZ Defence Force are out of the country until Saturday. They have to be consulted.

People taking more time and care than journalists jumping to conclusions based on a one sided book need to check through the claims – and ask questions, seek other views, and assess the merits of the claims.

Even Nicky Hager says that time is needed.

Mar 22, 2017 12:57 PM
Nicky Hager
I hope that politicians will have the sense to avoid dismissing any of the allegations we’ve put forward until they have really seriously looked at them and asked questions. I believe that this issue is not going to go away quickly, that we are going to end up with it being investigated over months or years, and it would be wise for all politicians to keep an open mind when they haven’t even had a chance to read the book.

The raid occurred in Afghanistan in 2010.

Hager and Stephenson have been working on the book since 2014.

Demanding action to fit with a ridiculously short news cycle is not only nuts, it’s irresponsible.

Bill English has been criticised for not taking decisive action. That can be expected from bloggers but journalists should know better – if they weren’t so encased in there instant news bubbles.

If in a couple of weeks or a couple of months the Government decides that an inquiry is justified – and that may well turn out to be the prudent option – the same journalists who didn’t  have their instant demands met, and a few politicians and bloggers, are likely to label it a flip flop or u-turn.

I want a Prime Minister who will consider serious issues – as the Afghan incident is – and will seek good advice before making decisions.

Bill English needs to sharpen up on how he deals with media howling for instant action.

But he is correct in taking his time considering how the Government should deal with the claims in the Hager/Stephenson book.

Sometimes Prime Ministers and Governments have to react quickly and decisively to events that happen.

An incident that happened 7 years ago, and claims in a book that has taken 3 years to write, don’t justify instant political action. To the contrary.

Very serious legal issues have been raised, including suggestions of possible war crimes.

A Government not only should but has to take time seeking sound legal advice. They should also allow other evidence to be presented.

Demands for an atom bomb instant reaction are more than ridiculous, they are also stupid.

Media failure over donation reporting?

Posted yesterday (Sunday) at 9:30 am on Whale Oil: Another big donation for National, none for Labour yet

National has scored another big donation, again from Stone Shi.

A New Zealand Herald article National gets $50k donation from Oravida founder is quoted (without being linked), dated Friday.

So, Act and National are receiving big donations. Why isn’t Labour?

Then an our later at Whale Oil: So, a rich man gave money to Labour and the Greens, yet no one reported it

Earlier today I posted about the media announcing that Stone Shi gave $50,000 to the National party and that Jenny Gibbs has given a hundy to Act.

But, what is curious is the lack of reporting over another large donation, given just a few weeks before Stone Shi’s donation.

So, just three weeks before Stone Shi donated to National, Phillip Mills donated the same amount to the Labour party. Why was there no news of this in the mainstream media?

It isn’t like it is hidden, it is just two entries down the list from the Shi and Gibbs donations.

This can only be a deliberate deception by the NZ Herald to ignore large donations to Labour and highlight large donations to National and Act. It should be noted that on 9 November 2016 Phillip Mills also gave $65,000 to the Green party. Strangely that wasn’t reported either.

The register of donations is published in the interests of transparency to the government, yet the very people who are supposed to guard that transparency have failed the public because they have only reported donations to National and Act and not also to Labour and the Greens.

This is tantamount to a corruption of our news media, willingly, by them. The Media party has an agenda, and here is a perfect example of how they mislead, this time by omitting pertinent facts.

The bias is obvious, you just need to know where to look to reveal it.

National gets a donation, it becomes news. Labour gets a donation, not a mutter, not a murmur, not a mention. That is media dishonesty.

This is gobsmacking on a number of levels.

So Slater cut and pasted a Herald article and used it to diss Labour. Then he slams the ‘dishonest journalism’ that he repeated. I wonder if someone tipped him off to have a look at the donation list himself after his initial post, or perhaps he was just fed the details.

Whale Oil still claims to be media. From About:

Whaleoil is the fastest-growing media organisation in New Zealand. Its brand of news, opinion, analysis and entertainment is finding fertile ground with an audience that is feeling abandoned by traditional news media.

They often criticise other media  – while frequently using other media’s content. They claim they are a new way of doing journalism, much better than those they ridicule.

In this case Slater used Herald content to try and score a political hit against Labour, then turned on the Herald for ‘Dishonest journalism’. That in itself is highly ironic.

But why didn’t Whale Oil report on the donation to Labour three weeks ago? It’s as easy for them to monitor Electoral Commission donation lists as it is for the Herald.

They are slamming the Herald for not reporting on something that they didn’t report themselves, until they reacted to a Herald article that they used for their own purposes.

Whale Oil shows few signs of being a media site that does journalism these days.

The Daily Blog does a lot more original content than them now.

Whale Oil has reverted to being a blog that relies on repeating other media content, with trashing of the media that feeds them being some of their only original content.

The failure of Whale Oil to report the donation to Labour earlier is a symptom of it’s failure to become a credible alternative media outlet.

War with the press strategic

It is fairly obvious that Trump and his campaign team, and now Trump and his White House team, are running a war on the media strategy.

This is made easier by how some of the media have dealt with Trump and how they continue to report on him.

VOX: Trump can be impulsive. But his war with the press is strategic.

Donald Trump very deliberately picked a fight with the media to help fuel his rise to the White House, and now that he’s there — and his administration is struggling — he is strategically escalating it.

On Friday, the administration canceled press secretary Sean Spicer’s scheduled briefing to the full White House press corps, and replaced it instead with an off-camera briefing to which some media outlets were invited — and others were excluded, including CNN, the New York Times, Politico, and BuzzFeed News.

This isn’t an isolated incident. The move came on the heels of a morning speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which Trump complained, at length, about what he called the “fake” media, saying “they are the enemy of the people.”

And at Trump’s freewheeling press conference last week, he similarly started off by denouncing members of the media who, he said, “will not tell you the truth and will not treat the wonderful people of our country with the respect that we deserve.”

Trump can be erratic, reactionary and unpredictable but this is too consistent to be anything other than a deliberate strategy.

Though Trump is surely motivated in part by personal pique here, and he has long complained about the press, it’s now indisputable that the attacks on the press are part of a deliberate White House strategy — one that has the fingerprints of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who early on in the administration suggested the media was the “opposition party” and Trump’s most important foe.

Some claim this is to divert from what the White House are achieving. Andrew Prokop claims this is to hide their lack of achievements, including:

  1. He’s ended his first month without any significant accomplishments (since his controversial immigration and travel order is currently frozen in the courts).
  2.  2) He’s been plagued by a seemingly endless series of leaks from what appears to be every level of the government.
  3. There are burgeoning scandals potentially implicating his administration officials and associates — scandals publicized and often exacerbated by the aforementioned leaks.
  4. With Democrats reduced to minority status in both houses of Congress, and years remaining before candidates begin challenging him for the 2020 election, he’s lacking an obvious enemy to make his foil.

It could be a bit of both – diversion from what they are trying to do and diversion from failures.

Trump appears to be trying to solve all these problems by attacking the press. Doing so changes the subject from his lack of accomplishments and scandals. It also discredits the institution that is the conveyor of a great deal of negative information about him. And it gives Trump a nemesis he can fire up the conservative base by fighting.

The strategy certainly seems be be pleasing at least some of Trump’s support base, who only seem to see positives in him so anyone who criticises is seen as a negative.

But the fairly large number of sceptics and opponents are unlikely to be converted to the Trump cause by this. They also risk losing from support if Trump fails to live up to his boasts.

Trump and his team are deepening the divide. This may or may not be a deliberate strategy.

Will it work? Maybe, to an extent (every President will always have opponents).

The bigger picture here is that being president is difficult, and Donald Trump has had a particularly rocky start to his administration.

With his appointees bogged down in Congress, no evident movement on any of his major legislative priorities, his main executive action blocked in the courts, and his top national security aide already fired and replaced, Trump has little to show for his first month in office.

The idea that he can get his mojo back by attacking the press might seem to make sense. After all, Trump enjoys fighting, so if the goal here is to please the president by picking a fight, then mission accomplished.

But if the goal is to actually get anything done in this administration, it’s not so clear this is wise. Picking random fights with the media won’t help the White House get anything through Congress. It won’t make FBI investigations go away. And it won’t help the administration’s arguments in the courts.

Another problem is that if the administration destroys its own credibility by waging a war on the press, it could have a hard time getting its message out later when it truly needs to — say, during a major crisis of some kind.

A ‘cry wolf’ problem. This also applies to when there is actually valid criticism of some media – it could be largely ignored as just more strategy.

The media has a credibility problem, but so does Trump. It’s likely the bulk of the public will become even more disillusioned with both the politicians and the press.

Moves like this could also make the leak problem worse. The more people inside the government get scared that Trump is threatening democracy, the more they might be motivated to leak a damaging bit of information before it’s too late.

Finally, it’s also worth remembering that presidents can greatly damage themselves by overreacting to leaks. The Watergate scandal came about because President Nixon was furious at leaks, and in an effort to “fight back” against leakers, his White House aides created the “plumbers” to retaliate against leakers and political opponents (because plumbers, you see, fix leaks). This eventually led to the botched Watergate break-in at the DNC headquarters. That didn’t play so well in the press, either.

Trump, Bannon et al may feel that they are invincible, the best anti-press revolutionary strategists ever.

But for all it’s faults the media is a many pronged and resilient combatant, spread around the US and around the world.

And all they have to do is observe, investigate and report. They don’t have to try and run the world’s biggest power and biggest bureaucracy at the same time.

Comical Donny and the buttons

Donald Trump’s anti-media button pushing antics could be comical, if it weren’t for serious matters like nuclear buttons.

‘Nobody hates the media worse than me’?

Trump should love the US mainstream media, because they more than anything gave him the exposure he needed to win the presidency. Negative was good, even great. It fed his campaign.

But as President he is continuing and even escalating attacks on media now that he doesn’t want negative press. Or is using them as a diversion from what he and the Whiter House are trying to do.

He has established two big bogeys, Muslims and media. I wonder what he thinks of Al Jazeera.

Politico: Trump escalates his feud with the media

President Donald Trump fired the latest shot in his self-proclaimed war with the media Friday, doubling down on his declaration that the press is an “enemy of the American people.”

“I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake,” Trump said in his remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. “A few days ago, I called the fake news ‘the enemy of the people,’ and they are. They are the enemy of the people. Because they have no sources. They just make them up when there are none.”

This appears to be a deliberate strategy of telling Americans to only believe his crap and to disbelieve anyone else’s crap. This is working with his supporters, who seem to be under some sort of ‘Donald can do no wrong’ spell.

But with his RCP average approval rating at 445  compared to disapproval at 49.8 it seems that he can suck in less than half the people at this time.

He condemned the use of anonymous sources, which he claimed without evidence were fake accounts drummed up by an industry with its own agenda that everyday Americans must fight against. He ominously vowed to “do something about it.”

Trump cited polls conducted by CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC News over the past two years that signaled that he wouldn’t prevail in the presidential election as evidence of the media conspiring to create “a whole false deal” to suppress GOP voter turnout.

Except that media actually gave his campaign the coverage it needed.

Reporters, he said, are very smart, very cunning and very dishonest people who cry “First Amendment” when their stories are criticized, or, in the president’s word, “exposed.”

That’s very dishonest but that’s the irony of Donald Trump – it’s a standard tactic to accuse others of what he is. Bannon and Breitbart have done it. Slater and associates have done it. It’s one of the top strategies from their play book.

“I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it better than me. Nobody,” Trump said. “I mean, who uses it more than I do”

Nobody does bullshit better than Trump.

But the First Amendment gives all of us — it gives it to me, it gives it you, it gives it to all Americans — the right to speak our minds freely. It gives you the right and me the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.”

“As you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn’t tell the truth. Doesn’t tell the truth,” he continued. “I say it doesn’t represent the people. It never will represent the people. And we’re gonna do something about it, because we have to go out and we have to speak our minds, and we have to be honest.”

Well, that would be a change then. But I don’t expect the smoke and mirrors and fire and brimstone to abate.

Trump, in his address before CPAC, didn’t directly address the allegations, but he did voice his opposition to “people that make up stories and make up sources.”

“They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” he said of the media. “Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.”

Trump sarcastically stated, “A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.”

“Let them say it to my face. Let there be no more sources,” he added. “They are very dishonest people. And they shouldn’t use sources. They should put the name of the person. You will see stories dry up like you’ve never seen before.”

Politics without ‘sources’, political media without sources would be gutted. Of course anonymous leaks can be misused and abused, and often are, but the alternative is far worse.

Trump appears to be trying to be building another wall, a wall of silence around the White House which only allows himself and his apparatchiks to trumpet from the parapets.

This would be Emperor has clothes, but it’s easy to see what’s beneath the ruffles and rhetoric. Easy for those who haven’t been sucked in by his spell.

“There are no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people,” Trump said. He provided no evidence to refute the Post’s account but suggested he has insight because he knows the sources.”

So he doesn’t want others to use anonymous sources but ‘the people’ should accept his anonymous sources without question? A typical Trump double standard.

“Nine people,” he continued. “And I said, ‘Give me a break,’ because I know the people. I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say nine people. And somebody reads it and they think, ‘Oh, nine people, they have nine sources.’ They make up sources. They’re very dishonest people.”

This is all trivial, pathetic bullshit. But it’s Trump.

Is he knowingly trying to play the people like this? Or is he being used as a comical diversion while the real power is built and wielded?

It would be comical if there wasn’t so much at stake, for the world. This is the person who said:

“I am the first one that would like to see … nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.

“It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack”.

It turned out that Comical Ali and Saddam Hussein didn’t have the weapons of mass destruction as claimed by another US president.

This president does have weapons of mass destruction far greater than are needed to obliterate the world. And while he pushes the media’s buttons as a diversion, the real risks are not a laughing matter.

 

Quoting Trump

It’s hard to get away from Donald Trump’s media confrontation. Vox: 9 things it’s hard to believe the president of the United States actually just said

On leaks and ‘fake news’:

Question: I just want to get you to clarify this very important point. Can you say definitively that nobody on your campaign had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign? And on the leaks, is it fake news or are these real leaks?

Trump: Well, the leaks are real. You’re the one that wrote about them and reported them; I mean, the leaks are real. You know what they said, you saw it, and the leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake because so much of the news is fake.

So one thing that I felt it was very important to do — and I hope we can correct it. Because there’s nobody I have more respect for — well, maybe a little bit but the reporters, good reporters.

That’s typically bizarre – the leaks are real but reporting them is fake.

Just rambling on about ‘fake news’:

Trump: I don’t mind bad stories. I can handle a bad story better than anybody as long as it’s true and, you know, over a course of time, I’ll make mistakes and you’ll write badly, and I’m okay with that. But I’m not okay when it is fake …

I mean, you have a lower approval rate than Congress. I think that’s right. I don’t know, Peter (ph), is that one right? Because you know I think they have lower — I heard lower than Congress. But honestly, the public would appreciate it, I’d appreciate it — again, I don’t mind bad stories when it’s true but we have an administration where the Democrats are making it very difficult.

Against CNN:

Trump: I mean, I watch CNN, it’s so much anger and hatred, and just the hatred. I don’t watch it anymore because it’s not very good. … I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting. I know how good everybody’s ratings are right now, but I think that actually — I think that’d actually be better.

I don’t watch it any more because it’s very good — he’s saying no. It’s OK, Jim. It’s OK, Jim, you’ll have your chance. But I watch others too. You’re not the only one so don’t feel badly. But I think it should be straight. I think it should be — I think it would be frankly more interesting.

Perhaps Trump could try talking about important, interesting issues rather than moan about negative press, that they then report on.

On not talking about military stuff:

Trump: I’m not going to tell you anything about what I’m going to do. I’m not going to talk about military stuff. I will not say, “We are going to attack Mosul in four months. We are going to attack in one month. Next week, we are going to attack Mosul.”

In the meantime, Mosul is very, very difficult — you know why? I don’t talk about military and certain other things. You were going to be surprised to hear that, by the way, my whole campaign I said that. I don’t have to tell you.

Back to ‘fake news’ and confidence in the media:

Reporter: When you call it “fake news,” you’re undermining confidence in our news media …

Trump: No, no. I do that. Here’s the thing. OK. I understand what you’re — and you’re right about that, except this. See, I know when I should get good and when I should get bad. And sometimes I’ll say, “Wow, that’s going to be a great story.” And I’ll get killed.

I know what’s good and bad. I’d be a pretty good reporter, not as good as you. But I know what’s good. I know what’s bad. And when they change it and make it really bad, something that should be positive — sometimes something that should be very positive, they’ll make OK. They’ll even make it negative.

So I understand it. So, because I’m there. I know what was said. I know who’s saying it. I’m there. So it’s very important to me.

Look, I want to see an honest press. When I started off today by saying that it’s so important to the public to get an honest press. The press — the public doesn’t believe you people anymore. Now, maybe I had something to do with that. I don’t know. But they don’t believe you. If you were straight and really told it like it is, as Howard Cosell used to say, right?

Ranting and raving about not ranting and raving:

TRUMP: I won with news conferences and probably speeches. I certainly didn’t win by people listening to you people. That’s for sure. But I’m having a good time.

Tomorrow, they will say, “Donald Trump rants and raves at the press.” I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But — but I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time doing it.

But tomorrow, the headlines are going to be, “Donald Trump rants and raves.” I’m not ranting and raving.

On Russia, Hillary Clinton and uranium:

Trump: By the way, it would be great if we could get along with Russia. Just so you understand that. Tomorrow, you will say “Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia; this is terrible.” It is not terrible.

It is good. We had Hillary Clinton try to do a reset. We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20% of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things.

But nobody talks about that. I did not do anything for Russia. I’ve done nothing for Russia. Hillary Clinton gave them 20% of our uranium. Hillary Clinton did a reset, remember with the stupid plastic button that made us all look like a bunch of jerks?

A nuclear holocaust would be bad.

Trump: I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it: Nuclear holocaust would be like no other. They’re a very powerful nuclear country, and so are we.

If Russia and the United States actually got together and got along — and don’t forget, we’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. There’s no upside. We’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are they. I have been briefed. And I can tell you one thing about a briefing that we’re allowed to say because anybody that ever read the most basic book can say it, nuclear holocaust would be like no other.

They’re a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

Is Trump really this stupid? Or is he being deliberately stupid to play to the media? Or playing to a stupid audience?

Trump media conference

There is a lot of buzz about Donald Trump’s media conference – or more like a media condemnation.

Stuff: Donald Trump calls impromptu news conference, and uses it to attack the media again

US President Donald Trump has gone on the defensive over his presidency, accusing America’s news media of being “out of control” at a White House news conference, vowing to bypass the media and take his message “straight to the people.”

Nearly a month into his presidency, Trump said he had “inherited a mess” but his new administration had made “significant progress” and took credit for an optimistic business climate and a rising stock market. He pushed back against widespread reports of a chaotic start to his administration marked by a contentious executive order – now tied up in a legal fight – to place a ban on travellers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

“This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine,” Trump declared on Thursday (Friday NZT).

That’s not how it appears. It’s not just problems with the media, Trump has ongoing problems with the Courts and had a senior appointee resign.

During the news conference, Trump made a number of misstatements. He said for the third time in two days that he had won 306 Electoral College votes in his election. The correct number was 304. He called it “the biggest electoral college win since Ronald Reagan,” when in fact his predecessor, Barack Obama, won 334 electoral college votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008.

When pressed on the figures, Trump said that he meant he achieved a bigger Electoral College victory than any Republican since Reagan in 1980 and 1984 but a reporter pointed out that wasn’t true either as George Bush senior brought in 426 electoral votes in the 1988 election.

When further challenged on this claim, Trump said, “I was given that information. I don’t know. I was just given it. We had a very, very big margin.”

While this may seem like nit picking over numbers it is symptomatic of Trump’s ego problem and his looseness with basic facts. Perhaps those who supply him with information are tardy with facts – or perhaps this is a deliberate strategy to divert from things that really matter.

“The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about it, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people,” Trump said.

This is a standard Breitbart/Bannon tactic – accuse opponents of what you are guilty of, in this case deliberate dishonesty.

The president announced that he would announce a “new and very comprehensive order to protect our people.”

Perhaps this time they will consult with people with a knowledge of the law and experience with drafting legal orders.

Reaction from an undeterred ‘fake news’ organisation:

Another ‘dishonest media’ report:  Trump blasts ‘out of control’ media, defends agenda, administration

President Trump’s feud with the media turned into an all-out war Thursday afternoon.

His early presidency beset by damaging leaks and a burst of staff turmoil, Trump used a hastily called press conference to blast the media’s coverage of his administration in his strongest terms yet. He claimed the press is “out of control,” reports on his team’s ties to Russia are “fake,” and news outlets are attacking him because they oppose his agenda.

“The media’s trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on the pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it,” Trump declared at the White House.

The president spoke and took questions for over an hour, even joking with some reporters toward the end and saying he was having fun. In a bid to preempt negative coverage of his remarks, Trump insisted he was not “ranting and raving.” But he lamented that the “tone” of coverage of his administration is one of “such hatred.”

“The public doesn’t believe you people anymore,” he said.

 

Te Tii Marae trying to charge media

Is this another reason why Waitangi celebrations should be spread more around the country?

Newshub: Waitangi marae’s $10k coverage fee

Waitangi’s lower Te Tii Marae is seeking to charge media outlets up to $10,000 to film dignitaries and politicians arriving on Saturday and Sunday.

The marae’s communications liaison, known simply as ‘Tana’, says the tradition of media companies gifting a koha to the Marae has been scrapped, and replaced with a ‘coverage fee’.

The cheapest ‘coverage fee’ is $1200, which gives entry to journalists, photographers, and camera operators – but restricts them to two areas of the marae grounds.

The only other option is an ‘exclusive package’ costing $10,000 which gives access to all parts of the marae, including inside during speeches.

Newshub was offered the exclusive rights last night but declined.  It’s understood TVNZ was then approached, but also refused.

Media can be a pain, what they broadcast, print and post is selective and at times can misrepresent the overall situation, but charging them for coverage of New Zealand’s major annual celebration seems more than cheeky.

Another reason why Waitangi Day celebrations should not focus so much on one place.

Spiced up crowd sizes

Despite Donald Trump saying he would hit the ground running in his presidency, dealing with the important things, his first appearance was in front of a receptive (and self selected) CIA crowd where he blasted media as amongst the most dishonest human beings he knows, and blew his own trumpet. He is well known for his self praise.

Trump is known to be very keen on ratings, and has made claims about false reporting of crowd sizes at his inauguration.

His press secretary Sean Spicer called a special press conference, which turned out to be a little more than an attack on media while making more claims about crowd sizes. Claims that have been proven to be false, which is ironic given he blasted the media for false reporting.

Gezza reports:

Aljazeera 7am News. “Kellyanne Conway says Sean Spicer inaccurately described crowds.”

The Atlantic reports: Trump’s Press Secretary Falsely Claims: ‘Largest Audience Ever to Witness an Inauguration, Period’

In his first official White House briefing, Sean Spicer blasted journalists for “deliberately false reporting,” and made categorical claims about crowd-size at odds with the available evidence.

High irony.

In his first appearance in the White House briefing room since President Trump’s inauguration, Press Secretary Sean Spicer delivered an indignant statement Saturday night condemning the media’s coverage of the inauguration crowd size, and accusing the press of “deliberately false reporting.”

Standing next to a video screen that showed the crowd from President Trump’s vantage point, Spicer insisted that media outlets had “intentionally framed” their photographs to minimize its size. After attacking journalists for sharing unofficial crowd-size estimates—“no one had numbers,” he said—he proceeded to offer a categorical claim of his own. “This was the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” he said, visibly outraged. “These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.”

But it was Spicer who was wrong.

Steve Doig, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University, has provided estimates of crowds at past inaugurals, and is well-versed in the challenges they present.

Based on the photographs available in the media showing the part of the crowd that was on the mall, he said, “the claim that this is the largest ever is ludicrous on its face.”

Spicer produced numbers that have been refuted.

The only numbers Spicer cited were ridership numbers from WMATA, the D.C. public-transit system. “We know that 420,000 people used D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama’s last inaugural,” he said.

But the figures Spicer offered were not consistent with those provided by WMATA officials, who told the Washington Post that 570,557 riders used the Metro system between its 4 a.m. opening and its midnight closure on Friday. That number falls short of both President Obama’s 2009 and 2013 inaugurations, which saw 1.1 million trips and 782,000 trips respectively.

And it was not just fewer in attendance.

Preliminary Nielsen figures also show that Trump’s inauguration received fewer average TV viewers in the United States than Obama’s first inauguration. The Los Angeles Times reported that 30.6 million viewers tuned in for Friday’s ceremonies, 19 percent below the 37.8 million viewers who watched in 2009.

Why does this matter?

It shows that Trump has carried an obsession with ratings (he recently tweeted that the new ‘Apprentice’ didn’t rate as well as when he ran it) into his presidency.

It shows that claims of ‘false news’ directed at media are not always correct, and in fact his press secretary appears to have presented false information and false claims.

And it shows that despite having a big and game changing agenda ego may be more important to Trump than communicating what he is going to do.

There also seems to be a deliberate strategy to divert public and media attention, perhaps in this case from the huge women’s march protests.

The media certainly need to up their game substantially, but as part of that they need to still hold the new president to account. If they are pressured into reporting more thoughtfully and accurately that will be a good thing.

And if Trump and Spicer divert and try to spin fake news they should be held to account on that.

I’ve just watched a number of video clips from Fox News, and there are very mixed reactions to Trump’s CIA speech and to Spicer’s attack. Some support Trump and criticise his critics, but others are very critical of Trump’s first weekend as PR president, including Fox’s political editor Chris Stirewalt.

A wedding and mad sad media

There are about 20,000 marriages per year in New Zealand  (to New Zealand residents). That’s about 380 marriages per week, or more than fifty a day.

However media have been getting frantic about the rumour of just one impending wedding over the last couple of weeks.

And they went mental yesterday when one wedding apparently took place. For some media was their headline story, comprising mostly of futile attempts to get some photos of what a couple were trying to keep private.

It was media just about at it’s worst. It can’t be called journalism.It was disgustingly intrusive.

It has become a mad mad sad media world.

More commentary on Trump win

Amongst all the disbelief and shock expressed by media both here and in the US over Donald Trump’s win there has been some good insights.

The day after the election Michael Moore posted on Facebook:

Morning After To-Do List:

  1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.
  2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.
  3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin.
  4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.
  5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).

Let’s try to get this all done by noon today.
— Michael Moore

This is very ranty and sweary but says it like it is far better than Trump ever did.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1044777035645189&id=796085293847699

Last year: Published on Nov 18, 2015 – A new poll says Donald Trump now captures 42% of likely Republican primary voters and the GOP is in a panic.

Back to May:  Media predicts Trump won’t get the nomination

To be fair it was never certain would win the nomination nor the presidency – the latter was a close victory.

Back to now: Morning Joe Addresses The Media Blindspot Covering Donald Trump’s Chance At Presidency:

Excellent points but still talks as if the media’s job was to have helped Clinton win.

From what I have seen if the media learns from this they will look, listen and investigate more and stop trying to dictate the agenda themselves.

It’s not only the political establishment that the people are fed up with, it’s also the media establishment.