Periodically, Dan Rather emerges from his swamp to rant and rave at all things conservative. Most of the time, his rantings are deservedly ignored. Sometimes, though, they make for illuminating reading, both to remind us what a hack Rather is (and always was) and to allow us some insight into the unfiltered Leftist media mind. The latest example is Rather’s implosion following Trump’s brilliant play against the media regarding the Birther movement.
To appreciate Rather’s breakdown, here’s a teeny bit of background. Back in 2008, during the Democrat primaries, Hillary’s people probably took the time to look at Obama’s literary bio, in which he boasted about his Kenyan birth. Intrigued, both a Hillary staffer and Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal started telling reporters that Obama was, in fact, not American, making him constitutionally infirm when it came to the presidency.
The idea took traction during the run-up to and even after the November election, with Obama fanning the flames by refusing to release his birth certificate. Then, when he did “release” it, he allowed only one friendly reporter to view the original while distributing a PDF to the rest of the world — a PDF, moreover, with layering that would not be possible from scanning a single, unified document.
Trump was intrigued by the Birther movement and (something I did not know) became one of its loudest voices. Obama kept the game in play because it made his political opponents look like fools.
I have my own theories about both Obama’s birth certificate and about his place of birth. I think the birth certificate was indeed amended although not to hide where he was born. Instead, I think the changes, if there were any, were addressed to his paternity. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about Obama’s paternity, although it mattered a great deal to Obama, who made his name by addressing how he dealt with growing up half black, the child of an African man who abandoned him.
As for Obama’s place of birth, I’m absolutely certain he was born in America. I’m equally certain that, at around the time he started applying to college, he realized (because he was a lousy student at high school) that he would increase his odds of getting admitted into decent colleges, and perhaps getting financial aid, if he were to position himself as a foreign nation. (I developed my theory here, FWIW.) That’s why Obama has been so zealous about protecting his college transcripts. He could easily shrug off bad grades by explaining that he was bored and has since grown, and that he should be judged by his adult accomplishments, not the grades of his youth. What Obama cannot shrug off, if my theory is correct, is the fact that his transcripts all list him as an African national. There’s no good way out of that: either he really isn’t American born or he’s a con man.
Incidentally, that same effort to elevate himself explains the boast about his Kenyan birth in his literary bio. As an American born black, he’s uninteresting . . . one of many. As a Kenyan-born outside observer of America, he has more traction.
The birther issue ought to have remained a footnote in 2016 now that Obama is on his way out of the White House rather than trying to get in. What changed is the fact that Hillary has had a miserable week and is slipping badly in the polls. Because she can’t sell herself to Americans (notice the lack of Hillary bumper stickers in your community if you doubt me), all that she can do is attack Trump. And because Trump has already been open about everything in his life, she’s reduced to replaying the race card against Obama.
Trump, to my endless admiration, neatly sidestepped Hillary’s game, a game that would have tripped up every other Republican presidential candidate we’ve ever had. Instead, he promised repeatedly that he would address the topic, without actually addressing the topic. Next, he told reporters to assemble at his newly opened hotel for an important announcement about the birther issue — and that’s all he said. Because the reporters were unable to think of anything more important than Trump’s take on an eight-year-old issue that has no relevance to American concerns in 2016, they assumed, without evidence, that there would be a long, detailed, either apologetic or strident statement on the birther issue. When it ended, the media planned to overwhelm Trump with brilliant, probing questions — questions each media figure dreamt would destroy Trump in a single moment.
When reporters arrived, and the cameras began streaming live footage, Trump presented a crowd of military veterans, some of whom are Medal of Honor recipients, all extolling Trump as the best person to be America’s next Commander-in-Chief. Only after 30 minutes of Trump praise did Trump himself step up to the mic, make a single short statement, and then step away again: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period. *** Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.” As noted above, Hillary did indeed start the Birther movement, although her praetorian guard in the media is desperately trying to challenge those immutable facts:
I am completely lost in admiration for what Donald Trump did. He played the media . . . and the media deserved to be played. This is the media that in every election during my lifetime has worked overtime to destroy the Republican candidate, all the while using its power and prominence to convince the American observer that it is nothing more than an impartial reporter of facts. That lie is getting harder to maintain, of course, because this is the election in which one of the New York Times’ own reporters admitted that he was dedicated, not to reporting the news and letting the people decide, but to destroying Donald Trump.
Having been soundly rick-rolled, a real media would engage in some humble self-examination and soul-searching, and then decide that it would be smart to do what it has always claimed it does: simply reports the news. Humility, however, is not part of the media’s lexicon. Instead, one gets this delightful screed from Dan Rather, to which I’ve contributed my bolded and italicized interlineations:
Donald Trump’s disdain, mockery, and antagonism of the press, whose freedoms are enshrined in the Bill of Rights and whose presence has provided ballast to our democracy since its inception, raises very serious questions about his fitness for the presidency of the United States. [Apparently it’s not enough in our constitutional republic that the press is free from government intervention. In Dan Rather’s world, no one running for office may mock or insult it. In other words, free speech is for the press, but not for political candidates or anyone else.]
For a long while, these thoughts have been coursing through my veins with concern and disbelief [the fact that Rather’s thoughts course through his veins and not his brain may explain a lot about him, none of it good], and yet my abiding loyalty to the notion of fair, accurate and unbiased journalism held me in check from saying it out loud – much as I suspect it has muzzled the true feelings of many of my colleagues. [Honestly, I’m still laughing. The man whose career went down in flames because of Rathergate, when he pushed documents he knew, or reasonably should have known, were forged in an effort to destroy George W. Bush’s run for president, assures us that he’s all about “fair, accurate and unbiased journalism.” Someone’s not only reading his own press releases, but actually thinking they’re true! Moreover, as I’ve noted above, I haven’t seen any members of the MSM feeling muzzled at all. Indeed, they’re loudly and hysterically angry that Donald Trump did an end run around their viciousness.] But we must remember that Donald Trump knows this and cynically plays the press corps’ deep desire for fairness to his undeserved benefit. [Oh, Lord — “the press corps’ deep desire for fairness.” What’s the frequency, Kenneth? Rather’s listening to a whole different radio station.] The latest, barring the traveling press from covering an event and using them as ridicule in a speech, are but the most recent chapters in a novel full of outrageous acts. And this sentiment apparently extends to members of his own family as witnessed by his daughter Ivanka’s actions in an interview with Cosmo. [That would be the fact that, when Ivanka was asked about maternity leave for gay men who adopt children she suggested the question was irrelevant to the larger points of the plan.]
I am well aware that I will be met with bile and venom for saying this, called a communist, a liberal in bed with Hillary Clinton, a washed-up joke. [Oh, Dan, It’s not just your blather in this post. I always feel that way about you.] To quote Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind [the movie, not the book], “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Let others attack my motives. My conscience is clean. [It’s easy to keep an imaginary thing clean.] This is not about partisan politics, about who is right on immigration or gun control. This is about the very machinery that has allowed our American experiment to persist and thrive, a machinery which is far more fragile than we would like to believe. [It is fragile, Dan, so shame on you for having contributed so blatantly over the years to the fact that the American media is held in such deep disrespect — to the point at which people all over America are celebrating its “egg in the face” moment.]
Trump’s relationship with the press is at the heart of so much that is troubling about his candidacy – the secrecy, the lack of transparency on something as normal as tax returns, the flaunting of the very rules by which we elect our leaders, the appeasement of hate groups. [Is a Hillary and Obama partisan really accusing the other candidate of secrecy and lack of transparency? Gosh darn, but it must be hard to live in a glass house.] And his embrace of Roger Ailes and Breitbart, institutions who have polluted press freedoms [polluted press freedoms, please note, by simply promoting a different narrative than that which the MSM shills, a different narrative that represents a truly constitutional free press, rather than the Pravda-esque media of Rather’s dreams], is a further dangerous sign of decay.
And yet when presented with this challenge, too much of the press has been cowed into inaction. [Excuse me? The relentless attacks against Trump and his supporters on ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, and NPR represent a cowed media? The media uncowed must look like Godzilla taking on Tokyo.] This is a man who can be fact-checked into obscurity by any second grader with an Internet connection. [Yeah, Donald can be fact-checked because everything he’s done is in the public record, unlike Hillary’s world of secrecy and duplicity. And having seen Donald’s record, increasing numbers of American people have decided that they can live with it.] And yet when he issues a mealy mouth non-apology about President Obama’s obvious pedigree as an American [yeah, an “obvious pedigree” supported by a manifestly manipulated PDF file, an apparently fraudulent literary biography, and a deeply hidden academic record], here we are with too many in the press not acknowledging his years of lies (check your Twitter feeds about how the New York Times initially covered this event). All of this of course sets the stage for Trump to lie again about somehow birtherism being Clinton’s fault. [Dan, I know this is hard for you, but birtherism is Hillary’s fault. Frankly, wherever you find dirt, if you dig a little you’ll probably find Hillary’s main man — the man even Obama can’t stand — Sid Blumenthal.]
I fear that this mindset will infect the debates. Trump is already setting the stage for that. If you are moderating and are not going to fact check him, you might as well just roll campaign speeches live – far too many of which have been shown on television without being subjected to journalistic context. If these debates will be debates in name only, another opportunity for Trump to flout fairness by spewing his venom and bullshine, I say cancel them. [And here we get to Rather’s real goal, which is to get a promise from each debate moderator that he or she will go all Candy Crowley and insert him or herself in the debate. What this really means is that the media knows that Hillary is good when she’s on script but that, if Trump knocks her off script, she won’t have the wit, intelligence, or mental flexibility to do what every person participating in a debate is expected to do: defend her own position and attack her challenger’s. I’m beginning to think that it will work in Donald’s favor if the media is so obviously propping up a mentally deficient Hillary during the debates.]
Enough is enough. It is a reality that every reporter must come to grips with. Trump is not a normal candidate. This is not a normal election. [And thank God for that, says this Johnny-come-lately to the Trump campaign. Whatever else comes from this election, Trump has both shown the media for what it is and blown up its contemptible narrative.] He will set a precedent that other demagogues will study and follow. [Trump is an entertainer, a useful trait even for a serious politician in a media-saturated age in which too many people have very short attention spans. In actual fact, his policies are pretty close to Clinton (Bill, that is), circa 1992. Calling him a demagogue is just fear-mongering and name-calling.] Fear, combined with the lure of ratings, views, clicks and profits, have hypnotized too much of the press into inaction and false equivalency for far too long. [Certainly, during the Republican primaries, the media reported on Trump as much as possible, believing that if he won the primaries, it could then destroy him in the regular campaign. It’s wonderful to see Trump use persuasive judo against it.] I am optimistic the trance is being broken. Fear not the Internet trolls. Fear instead the judgement of history. [Yes, Dan, fear the judgment of history. And by the way, in America, “judgment” doesn’t have an “e” after the “g.” Just sayin’, Mr. All-American Reporter.]
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