Opinion: Mark Meadows’s absurd spin for Trump shows right-wing media’s power

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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By Greg Sargent
Columnist
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One big advantage Republicans have right now is their massive network of right-wing media spinners. They spend hours each day communicating a wholly alternate narrative of the moment — one comprehensively purged of contrary or nettlesome facts — straight to the GOP base in a way that has no equivalence on the Democratic side.
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Mark Meadows’s new appearance on Newsmax captures how this dynamic works. In response to reports that former president Donald Trump badly mishandled White House documents, his former chief of staff offered up spin so ludicrous that he deserved to be laughed off the set. Instead, Meadows’ nonsense was permitted to slide by, undisturbed by follow-ups.
Meadows was responding to the news that White House staff periodically found ripped up paper clogging a toilet in the residence. This comes after The Post had previously reported that Trump failed to turn over numerous boxes of documents to the National Archives, as required by law. Other documents had been torn up.






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In the Newsmax interview, Meadows scoffed at mainstream news organizations for implying that documents that were ripped up and taped together “show some nefarious purpose.”
“Yet they will ignore Nancy Pelosi ripping up something on national TV behind the president,” Meadows seethed, referring to the House Speaker. Media Matters posted Meadows’s full interview.
You will recall that what Pelosi ripped up in February 2020 was a copy of President Trump’s State of the Union address, after he had already delivered most of it to the nation. Pelosi’s act in no sense denied the public information, whereas withholding presidential documents very well might, and might also break the Presidential Records Act, a law.

What’s notable beyond this epic stupidity is that Meadows’s Newsmax host didn’t bat an eye. In fact, when Meadows drew a direct equivalence between these two acts, his host assented.







And so, the audience only learned that Pelosi ripped up some kind of document — and that the media gave her a pass for it. Learning what that document actually was might have challenged the impression that she’d done something nefarious.
Wait, there’s more. As many have pointed out, the revelations about Trump’s handling of documents make the 2016 media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s treatment of emails, which turned out to be a non-scandal, look pretty ridiculous.

Yet in discussing that comparison, Meadows nonetheless sought to cast Clinton’s conduct as the only real scandal.
“When a lot of that was actually happening with Hillary Clinton, there was actually an investigation,” Meadows said, apparently referring to the FBI’s probe of Clinton. Meadows said Clinton had “purposely” destroyed documents, and insisted: “There is no comparison.”


The suggestion that Clinton nefariously “destroyed documents” in connection with that investigation is nonsense. Yet this, too, skated past, undisturbed.
We don’t yet know the full story about Trump’s documents. Maggie Haberman, who broke the news of the toilet clogging, says it’s unclear what was flushed. The Post reports that the National Archives has asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s failure to turn over documents, some of which appear to be classified.

We’ll see where that goes. But for now, viewers of this Newsmax interview will come away learning only that Clinton destroyed documents in connection with an investigation, that Pelosi’s destruction of documents was given a pass by the media, and that Trump’s treatment of documents has exactly zero nefarious implications of any kind.


It’s a narrative hermetically insulated from any and all facts that contradict or even just challenge it.
Here’s the larger context. The amount of mainstream media coverage devoted to Clinton’s emails was truly extraordinary. It amplified the GOP message of using the email non-scandal to spin a vague aura of corruption around Clinton.

Now that Trump’s treatment of documents is being questioned, some news outlets are covering the absurdity of this whole saga. For instance, a New York Times news story notes that Republicans who feigned outrage about Clinton then are quiet now.
But even in that piece, Republicans are permitted to insert still more absurd spin, suggesting that the National Archives is manufacturing these charges against Trump. Because mainstream media properly represent all sides of a story, Republicans can inject all manner of unsupported claims to muddy the waters around Trump’s transgressions, and around their own hypocritical treatment of them.


That contrasts sharply with the alternate narrative offered in right-wing media, which simply erases not just the other side’s arguments, but also wholesale sets of facts that objectively contradict that narrative.

As Democratic strategist Dan Pfeiffer told Vox, that contrast creates a deeply lopsided imbalance. Democrats rely on mainstream media to get their message out, and Republicans can muddy up the picture voters get by exploiting conventions of political reporting dictating that the GOP position will be fully represented, even if it’s obvious nonsense.
Meanwhile, notes Pfeiffer, Republicans benefit from a “massive apparatus” communicating “the exact optimized political message for Republicans” to “tens of millions of people.” As a result, Democrats are “competing with one hand tied behind our back.”
One might add that this massive apparatus also exerts gravitational pull on mainstream coverage, compounding that imbalance.
So Meadows’ nonsense about Pelosi provided a diversionary moment of low comedy. But the underlying dynamic it reveals is a major problem that risks skewing public understanding. And there’s no sign Democrats have an answer to it.

 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
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Every time Meadows goes on TV it should make it easier for Merrick Garland to push on with contempt charges. And, hopefully, someone at the DoJ is taking notes for future charges against Meadows.
 

billanole

HR Legend
Mar 5, 2005
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The reality is that people like meadows are slicker and more efficient at underhanded tactics than a buffoon like the drump.
meadows is not working for America’s best interest. Hopefully he spends prison time.
 

lucas80

HR King
Gold Member
Jan 30, 2008
97,601
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113
The reality is that people like meadows are slicker and more efficient at underhanded tactics than a buffoon like the drump.
meadows is not working for America’s best interest. Hopefully he spends prison time.
Smart enough to try and keep Guiliani and Powell out of the WH, but not smart enough to keep Navarro and Bannon in check. Not smart enough to avoid using traceable communications, either.