Trump, CNN, “fake news,” the First Amendment, and oh my God, America, what have we done? WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

Yesterday I finished my daily post and was just about to settle down to begin my already late Bachelor recap when President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference in some six months began. Needless to say, Nick Viall’s romantic adventures were put aside. I did not expect to have to put them aside for as long as I did, however, but the truth is I was so shaken by what I saw in that press conference that I couldn’t think straight for hours.

There were many things that upset me about the press conference: Trump’s inability to recognize that appointing his sons to take charge of his business does not relieve the conflict of interest issues; Trump’s dismissal of a reporter’s question about releasing his taxes, insisting that people don’t care about them; Trump’s continued attacks on former opponents, Hillary Clinton and Lindsey Graham, seemingly unaware that HE WON ALREADY; Trump’s attack on his own intelligence agencies, and comparing them to Nazi Germany; Trump lying about unemployment numbers; Trump bragging about going after businesses on Twitter; Trump refusing to full-throatedly denounce Putin for hacking our electoral system, and instead gloating about benefitting from it. And that’s not to mention the cheering section he brought along with him to the press conference, his staffers and lackeys that literally applauded and hooted when he made his points. I mean, have you ever seen such a thing at a political press conference before? All of these things and more made my heart beat a little funny yesterday.

But I’m sure you know what really infuriated me:

I can not stress this enough: This. Is. Terrifying. CNN is not “fake news.” CNN merely reported actual news. CNN did their job. CNN did nothing wrong.

This might all be old hat to you by now, but just to clarify: on Tuesday, CNN broke the story that in the intelligence briefing Trump received last week, there was a two-page memo detailing a longer dossier that said that Russian officials claim that they have compromising information on Trump, both personal and financial. The dossier had been floating around Washington for some time, apparently, but it was only brought to Trump and President Obama’s attention as of last week because intelligence officials were able to confirm that the source of the information was credible enough to take seriously — not that the information itself had been verified. That’s all CNN said. They did not disclose the specific information in the dossier, because they could not corroborate the allegations. However, the fact that the source of the information had been found to be credible enough for the two-page memo to be drafted and given to Trump and President Obama last week is news in itself.

Soon after CNN broke this story, BuzzFeed went ahead and published the entire 35 page dossier that was summarized in that two-page memo, noting that the allegations were unsubstantiated. They explained that they chose to publish it anyway, in part because the memo had been circulating around Washington D.C. for months, and many in the government and press had seen it. Once CNN disclosed its existence, BuzzFeed felt the American people had a right to see what was in it, even if it had not been fully proven or disproven. This decision is one that will be debated in journalism classes and circles for decades to come, but the important fact here is that CNN was not the one to release the unsubstantiated information — BuzzFeed was.

But here’s Kellyanne Conway on Anderson Cooper’s show trying desperately to conflate BuzzFeed and CNN:

This is incredibly dangerous. Kellyanne Conway not only tries to conflate what CNN reported — accurately — with BuzzFeed releasing the documents, but she also drags Late Night with Seth Meyers and Politico into the argument as well, tarring all media with the same brush. This is what happens when authoritarians come to power: all media that is critical of them becomes “fake news,” nothing can be trusted, truth is what those in power say it is.

Meanwhile, perhaps even more frighteningly, Chuck Todd on Meet the Press tried to press BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith to admit that by publishing the dossier, he published “fake news.” Let’s be clear: the stories in the dossier that BuzzFeed published are not substantiated, but they haven’t been disproven either. BuzzFeed’s decision to publish it is a controversial one, one that I am not necessarily going to defend no matter how much joy it gives me to know that the orange peegoblin we elected President will be associated with golden showers from now until always. But just because the stories haven’t been proven to be true doesn’t mean that they are “fake news.”

Oh hey, did I mention that Meet the Press is on MSNBC and NBC? The same network that airs Celebrity Apprentice?

And did I mention the part where this reality show host president-to-be signed off his press conference with his Apprentice catchphrase? Because he did that. That is a thing he did.

Look, I never intended this to become a political blog. I (obviously) have strong political beliefs, but those opinions shouldn’t have anything to do with news about shows being renewed or cancelled or my opinions about what is worth watching these days or how dumb I think it is for Nick Viall to be the Bachelor this season. But then we went and elected a TV celebrity with not just low disregard for journalism and the media, but an abiding hatred for journalism and the media, well, suddenly television news is political news. When we have a reality show host in a position of power that he can use to try to dictate what reality even is, television becomes politics.

We can not allow this man to define what is and is not news — what is and is not real. He can not be allowed to undermine our First Amendment. We must not sit by and allow this to happen.

8 days until the Inauguration.

In actual television news, it was Fox’s day at the Television Critics Association:

Y’all. Y’ALL. Andy Cohen is going to host a new version of the Love Connection on Fox. He brought Jenny McCarthy and Donnie Wahlberg together, after all. And here is a long-form piece on Andy Cohen because it’s his world, we just live in it.

And Jamie Foxx is going to host a new game show from Mark Burnett called Beat Shazam which I assume will be a Name That Tune for this century.

Empire has been renewed for a fourth season surprising exactly no one as it is still Fox’s biggest show. In fact, Lee Daniels is saying the spin-off is definitely happening.

And then there is Pitch and The Exorcist, two shows that have been embraced by critics, but not so much by audiences. Nothing will be decided about them until May, but keep hope alive.

But things are not looking good for Scream Queens. It’s not cancelled yet, but expect it to be killed in May.

As for The X-Files and Wayward Pines, they might be coming back. Maybe. Possibly. Stay tuned.

Things are looking good for The Mick, which just received four more episodes, despite the ratings dropping off after it moved to its Tuesday time slot.

An X-Men series is edging closer to being a thing at Fox because Marvel is taking over the world.

The folks at Bones would like you to know that it wasn’t their decision to end the show and they would continue to do it forever and ever and ever if Fox hadn’t politely asked them to leave already.

Here are all the Fox premiere dates, so get out your calendars.

And FX has released premiere dates for The Americans, Archer and Feud: Bette and Joan.

American Horror Story seasons 8 and 9 are a go, so start theorizing now what they — and season 7 — will be about

UGGGGGH: Atlanta season two won’t happen until 2018 so that Donald Glover can film the Han Solo movie, but Donald Glover will be creating new content for FX, so we will win. Eventually.

And American Crime Story: Katrina won’t happen until 2018.

And in non-Fox/FX news:

Law & Order: SVU is old enough to vote.

Sorry, Good Girls Revolt fans, despite being shopped around, no one is interested.

Here are Damon Lindelof’s five favorite series finales. THEY WERE NOT DEAD THE ENTIRE TIME, Y’ALL. IF YOU NEED ME TO EXPLAIN IT TO YOU AGAIN, I WILL.

R.I.P. Michael B. Feeny, editor, producer and writer.


Colony: Will and Kate struggle to keep the family together in the season premiere. 9 p.m., USA

Taking the Stage: African-American Music and Stories that Changed America: Entertainers, including Angela Bassett, Dave Chappelle, Chuck D., Doug E. Fresh, Savion Glover, Tom Hanks, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones, Rashida Jones, Elijah Kelley, Janelle Monae, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Octavia Spencer, Chris Tucker, Jesse Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and Stevie Wonder celebrate the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. 8 p.m., ABC

My Kitchen Rules: In this new series, celebrities get all bitchy about each other’s cooking. Series premiere. 8 p.m., Fox

Late Night: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Kevin Bacon, Greta Gerwig, Nick Thune Late Night with Seth Meyers: Sullivan Stapleton, Action Bronson The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Tom Selleck, Craig Robinson, A$AP Mob The Late Late Show with James Corden: Bryan Cranston, Giovanni Ribisi, Jessica Biel, Jamie T Jimmy Kimmel Live: LL Cool J, Octavia Spencer, SZA Conan: Mark Wahlberg, Elle Fanning, Judah & the Lion The Daily Show: Jonathan Chait Watch What Happens Live: Jason Sudeikis, Queen Latifah

THURS 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
ABC The Great American Baking Show
Taking the Stage
CBS The Big Bang Theory
The Great Indoors
Life in Pieces
Pure Genius
CW DC’s Legends of Tomorrow
FOX Hell’s Kitchen
My Kitchen Rules
NBC Superstore
The Good Place
Chicago Med
The Blacklist

2 thoughts on “Trump, CNN, “fake news,” the First Amendment, and oh my God, America, what have we done? WHAT HAVE WE DONE?

  1. It’s going to be a long 4 years – I think I’m going to be sick to my stomach the entire time…..

  2. I’m guessing you didnt vote for Trump then….
    America this is what happens when you throw a hand grenade into the works to try to get things working again. I give him under a year before the impeachment starts, by his own party.

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