Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Ignoring the Real Culprit(s)

According to CNN, Maggie Haberman's upcoming book will feature the New York Times reporter and CNN contributor writing

that in the immediate aftermath of the November 3 elections, Trump seemed to recognize he had lost to Biden. He asked advisers to tell him what had gone wrong. He comforted one adviser, saying, "We did our best." Trump told junior press aides, "I thought we had it," seemingly almost embarrassed by the outcome, according to Haberman.

But at some point, Trump's mood changed, Haberman writes, and he abruptly informed aides he had no intention of departing the White House in late January 2021 for Biden to move in.

Left Twitter was not amused:

John Pavlovitz- Maggie Haberman is another in a long line of people who were willing to let democracy die on the altar of a book deal.

Keith OlbermannTrump: "I'm just not going to leave." Oh good, another fact, vital to the safety and continuation of the nation, that @maggieNYT withheld from the public for many months if not a year-and-a-half so she could put it in her fucking book

Michael J. SternMaggie Haberman's new book includes Trump being so unhinged, he refused to leave the White House after losing. Journalists who write books have a conflict of interest when they withhold valuable information so they can include it in their book, years in the future. It stinks.

Amie WexlerWhy didn’t Maggie Haberman report on this in real time? Don’t buy her book. Don’t reward this behavior.

And more, virtually all reflecting one or more these sentiments.

It's not clear how the not-quite lame duck period between November 3, 2020 and January 20, 2021 would have been altered had we been informed earlier- even assuming Haberman knew as it occurred- that President Trump was considering staying put. There was an attempted coup on January 6, 2021 even though Bill Maher and a few other individuals had been warning that Trump would not go quietly.

Still, let's stipulate that if a knowing journalist had righteously spilled the beans, the attempted insurrection would have been aborted before the mob arrived to try to take over the Capitol.  

Maggie Haberman earns a very fine salary, very likely somewhere this side of $200,000 annually, as a reporter for The New York Times.  Whatever her faults or prejudices, she has been able to maintain employment for approximately seven years at arguably the greatest newspaper in the world, and that's no mean feat.

By contrast, the most successful, by audience share, host on one of the three cable news networks is reputed to take down (by one estimate) in the vicinity of $30 million per year. That's real money. Rachel Maddow appears on air typically once a week and otherwise on election nights and at other, selected, times, in addition to working on special projects. It is not a daunting schedule.

If NBC Universal offered me this sweet deal, I'd take it, as would virtually every other human being, and evidently she's a cash cow for the network.  Nonetheless, it's a tremendous amount of money, which the network wouldn't be offering if it couldn't afford to do so- and didn't have more money where it came from.

Sure, The New York Times, frequently slammed for its imperfections by Soledad O'Brien and other liberal critics, could do more investigative reporting. But the Times, The Washington Post, and the (very) few other newspapers of national scope perform quite well their primary function, presenting the news fully and objectively.

Their reporters strive, usually successfully, to provide explanation and context lacking in cable news.  They work more hours at a more difficult job (typically) being paid less money than the talking heads at Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

It is not Rachel Maddow's fault that she has become extremely wealthy without laboring in the vineyards with the likes of Maggie Haberman. The blame should not attach primarily to Maddow and her colleagues but to NBC Universal, CNN Global (and ultimately Warner Brothers Discovery), and Fox News Media. Each has available to it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to offer its viewers actual in-depth information.

None will do it. None will do it because broadcast news has no incentive other than to present the most charismatic and most entertaining hosts for the pleasure of their viewers, most of whom are more interested in having their own views echoed by their personal favorites than in becoming more informed on any subject. It is past time for the left, on Twitter and elsewhere, to affix blame for corporate irresponsibility where it belongs, and it's not on the print media.

Maggie Haberman or major newspapers are often blasted for revealing information later than they should. Meanwhile, individuals such as Sean Hannity, Jake Tapper, and Rachel Maddow rarely reveal or uncover anything we didn't already know, are paid eight figure salaries, and are treated like rock stars. It's enough to make the angels weep.

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