Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Liar" May Be Preferable

If you read The New York Times or watch CNN, you know Maggie Haberman, about whom Rachael Combe of  Elle Magazine once wrote

Many of the juiciest Trump pieces have been broken by her: That story about him spending his evenings alone in a bathrobe, watching cable news? Haberman reported and wrote it with her frequent collaborator, Glenn Thrush. The time Trump called the Times to blame the collapse of the Obamacare repeal on the Democrats? It was Haberman he dialed. When he accused former national security adviser Susan Rice of committing crimes, and defended Fox News' Bill O'Reilly against the sexual harassment claims that would soon end his career at the network? Haberman and Thrush again, with their colleague Matthew Rosenberg. And since President Trump fired FBI director James Comey, Haberman has been on the frontlines of the nonstop news bombshells that have been lobbed, bylining or credited with a reporting assist on around two dozen stories in two weeks. They range from an extraordinarily intimate account of a "sour and dark" Trump berating his staff as "incompetent" to the revelation that Trump called Comey "a nutjob" in an Oval Office meeting with the Russians the day after his dismissal, telling them that Comey's ouster had relieved the pressure of the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and his campaign.

And that was written a full twelve months ago, after which time Haberman's visibility has only grown.  Her reputation could not possibly improve because she was described by Combe as a great mom, by colleague Glenn Thrush as one of the greatest people to ever do this job, giving a maximum effort," and by another individual as God-like:  "It's like she's in the building, but she's not even in the city. You don't even know where she is—she could be anywhere. Like, floating in the sky."

Inarguably extremely hard-working and well-connected, Maggie Haberman also is a sucker. On Sunday morning Haberman reached into the bag of pop psychology explanations and came up with

The reporter is not absolved of naivete by the naivete of her sources, in this case "anyone who has worked for him." Those unnamed sources may be telling the truth as they see it- but most likely they also are being manipulated.

In response to Haberman, Malcolm Nance:

Nance recognizes that Haberman is trying to have it both ways.  She won't concede that he regularly, strategically, lies- knowingly and deliberately uttering falsehoods.

There are only three possibilities. Trump may be neurologically impaired, as some people have suggested, but which hasn't been investigated, thus yielding little evidence.

He may be lying, or he may be extraordinarily ignorant, to a degree unprecedented in any President or to anyone most of us know.

Included among Trump's greatest hits are 

Haberman is not accusing Donald Trump of knowing less than a fifth grader or of having dementia. If she- or others- were, they would have to acknowledge that he is not fit to be President of the United States of America. Instead, we're to believe that Trump is no less benign than a salesman doing his job, convincing himself that his product is superior to the one offered by his competitors. It's no accident that Haberman has gotten the best access to President Trump.

In 1990, Vanity Fair's Marie Brenner revealed that one of Trump's lawyers had told her "Donald is a believer in the big-lie theory. If you say something again and again, people will believe you."  It appears that Haberman believes Trump often is not lying precisely because he so often asserts things that are demonstrably untrue.

Donald Trump's presidency, like his campaign, is one big con. If Ms. Haberman wishes to deny that, she must acknowledge (as Nance argues) that the President represents an imminent danger to the survival of the American republic and to the entire world.

On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave their lives not for flag and anthem, but for the country and its values.

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