Connect with us

Latest

Analysis

News

Donald Trump was right not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Here’s why

Given the extent of the information war the media is currently waging against President Trump, with more and more essentially fake stories being published in order to discredit him, he would have been extremely unwise to sit down with his mortal enemies and have dinner with them.

Alexander Mercouris

Published

on

3,565 Views

The battle between the media and the Trump administration continues to heat up.

President Trump has asked the Justice Department to order the FBI to carry out an investigation into the illegal leaks from the US intelligence community that brought down his former National Security Adviser General Flynn.  The President has also accused The New York Times of making up its story that nine anonymous investigators told it that the FBI is investigating multiple contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence agents.  Reince Priebus, the President’s Chief of Staff, says he was “greenlighted” by the FBI to refute this story.

The media has counter-attacked with two stories, both of which are essentially fake.

The first is that Reince Priebus somehow broke the rules by talking to the FBI.  I have explained why I think this is nonsense here.

The fakeness of the second story is even more clearcut.  The media is complaining that CNN, The NYT, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were “banned” from White House spokesman Sean Spicer’s Q&A session on Friday.

In reality – as Joe Lauria has pointed out – this was an off-camera background briefing of the sort to which only selected reporters are ever invited.  The story was spun to give the false impression that parts of the media were being barred from the on-camera daily briefing, which would indeed be unprecedented, but which however is not the case.  Since Sean Spicer is doing what is no more than standard practice, there is no story here.  The media is inventing one.

President Trump has now retaliated by refusing to attend the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

The fact that it is traditional for the President to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner is in itself evidence of the extent to which the political and media classes in the US have merged.  I realise this is a tradition that goes back to 1924 when Calvin Coolidge was the first US President to attend the dinner.  The proper relationship between the media and government should however be critical and adversarial, which means that they ought to keep a distance from each other.   In the US until the coming of Donald Trump the relationship had instead become fawning and uncritical, during Obama’s Presidency disastrously so.  The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was the symbol of this.

If Donald Trump’s refusal to attend the dinner were a sign that a proper distance between the media and government is at last taking shape in the US it would be a good thing.

There is however a huge difference between having a properly critical and adversarial relationship and straightforwardly making up stories.  Over the last few weeks that is the line some sections of the media have crossed.

The President has accused the media’s flagship newspaper – The New York Times – of making up a story about sources telling it of contacts between his campaign staff and Russian intelligence agents.  The media is also being accused of complicity in the illegal leaking of classified information.

Instead of responding by apologising and admitting error or alternatively by strongly defending the truth of its stories, the media has responded with farfetched and almost certainly untrue claims that Reince Priebus broke the rules by talking to the FBI, and with a grossly distorted and essentially fake story intended to give the false impression that they had been barred from the White House Briefing Room.

These are not examples of a properly critical and adversarial relationship.   They are propaganda in what has become an information war.

The President was therefore right not to attend the dinner.  Not only would he have exposed himself to more displays of rudeness and petulance if he had gone, but he would have risked having anything he said distorted and thrown back at him.

He who sups with the Devil, as they say, needs a very long spoon.  Donald Trump rightly decided his spoon is nowhere near long enough.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

OPEC Plus: Putin’s move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss OPEC Plus and the growing partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which aims to reshape the energy market, and cement Russia’s leadership role in global oil and gas supply.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ WILL survive

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal…as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have a “long-term relationship” which is strategically beneficial to both of them, and which underlines their position as the world’s most influential oil producers, alongside the United States, an industry expert has said.

Following concerns about too much oil flooding the market, Saudi Arabia on Sunday performed an abrupt u-turn by deciding to reduce production by half a million barrels a day from December.

This put the Middle Eastern country at odds with Russia, which said it was no clear whether the market would be oversupplied next year, with market analysts predicting the country’s oil producing companies likely to BOOST proaction by 300,000 barrels per day.

But IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: “I think it’s intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

“I think this is a strategic relationship because it’s useful to both countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russiaand the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: “It’s the big three, it’s Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust.”

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: “The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

“I think Russia doesn’t have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

“But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway.”

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested  granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia’s Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: “If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

“But it’s early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully.”

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending