Saturday, July 17, 2021

Broken News: Whitewashing the past for fun and profit

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator with Isidore F. Stone in Washington

Are you covered with, well, it looks like mud, after years of enabling the hate-addled depredations of the Former Loser Grifter and want to wash it off?

Have no fear, the media is here!  No matter how loathsome your conduct or how blatant your failure to protect our nation is, you can rehabilitate yourself.

It's fun and easy!  All you have to do is leak your brains out, on background of course, to an enterprising journalist looking to finance their dream kitchen in their Annandale rambler by publishing a dishy book about – the hate-addled depredations of the Former Loser Grifter.

Ivanka's rehab tour is going great!

Let's look at a few recent examples in which scoundrels who were up to their chin implants in s*** come out smelling like cheap perfume with their names on it.

Two Washington Post reporters have recently published a book describing the last days in the bunker of the Former Loser Grifter Administration, featuring horrifying details about what might have been the end of the American Republic.

We already knew that the Former Loser Grifter fomented a violent insurrection designed to overturn the 2020 election.  As his depraved followers stormed the Capitol seeking to lynch Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and whoever else they could catch, at the White House his spineless toadies wandered around in circles wondering what if anything they should do.  Each of them deserves a chapter of their own in “Profiles in Cowardice” but we only have time to examine a few of the most egregious:

Some of those around the president encouraged his fantasy of Pence the hero stepping in to overturn the election. Guilfoyle, referring to the growing crowd on the Ellipse, told him, “They’re just reflecting the will of the people. This is the will of the people.”

Ivanka Trump did not agree and was upset about what attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani and others had been advising her father. At one point that morning, she said: “This is not right. It’s not right.”

Pretty bold stuff, that. Now how would two Washington Post reporters know what sounded like Ivanka's interior monologue?  We'll go way, way, way out on a limb and conclude that Ivanka spilled her reconstructed guts to them to create the false impression that she opposed her evil father and should not be regarded as a traitor.

To demonstrate the depth of her conviction that inciting a crowd to storm the Capitol was not right, she then joined her depraved father at the rally intended to incite a crowd to storm the Capitol:

Ivanka Trump was in the tent, too, [at the rally] tending to her father. [What tf does that even mean? – Ed.] Melania Trump had chosen not to attend the “Save America” rally, telling aides that she was not sure it was a good idea for her to participate. ... Yet the first daughter, who typically was just as careful as the first lady about when and where she appeared in public, attended, which surprised White House officials.

“You, who curates your image, you, who looks down on many of the rest of us, what are you doing there? Honestly,” a Trump adviser later remarked.

Start leaking, Kimberly

Ivanka Trump did not appear onstage, however. Rally organizers repeatedly had asked her to give a speech, but she declined. The first daughter told aides that she decided to attend only because she had hoped to calm the president and help keep the event on an even keel.

Remember how that turned out? 

After her triumph on the Ellipse, Ivanka returned to the White House with the incompetents, drunkards, cokeheads, and toadies who represented the senior leadership of the Former Loser Grifter Administration.  

Yet the stirring tale of Ivanka's self-professed heroism had only just begun, according to her, um, the Post reporters' account:

As soon as she saw on the television in her second-floor office that the rioters were inside the Capitol, Ivanka Trump said to her aides, “I’m going down to my dad. This has to stop.” She spent several hours walking back and forth to the Oval trying to persuade the president to be stronger in telling his supporters he stood with law enforcement and ordering them to disperse.

Several hours? While the Capitol was under attack by armed invaders? Guess there was no rush.

She must not be very persuasive.  

Maybe if she had said something like: “Dad, if you don't go on camera in the next 10 minutes and demand these rioters leave, I will do it myself on national TV.”

But that would have required – what's the word – courage.  So it never happened.

You'd never know from the printed account that she did nothing effective to save her country in its most critical hour since 1861 from the slurpy account she spoon-fed to the Post team. 

Nor is the only one whose self-serving accounts make them appear much better than the evidence would suggest.  Enter Gen. Mark A. Milley:

At the Pentagon, Gen. Mark A. Milley was watching on television from his office as well, deeply disturbed by the rhetoric.

Kellyanne Conway: real, a housewife,
and from Jersey
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff already had been on edge. A student of history, Milley saw Trump as a classic authoritarian leader with nothing to lose. He had earlier described to aides that he kept having a stomach-churning feeling that some of the worrisome early stages of 20th-century fascism in Germany were replaying in 21st-century America. He saw parallels between Trump’s rhetoric about election fraud and Adolf Hitler’s insistence to his followers at the Nuremberg rallies that he was both a victim and their savior.

“This is a Reichstag moment,” Milley told aides. “The gospel of the F├╝hrer.”

So not later than 12 noon on January 6, Gen. Milley knew that the Capitol was in grave danger of attack in furtherance of a fascist-style putsch. So he used all the resources at this disposal (basically the entire U.S. military) to ensure the Capitol was adequately protected by more than a scratch force of under-equipped security guards, right?

We're just s***in' you.  His next appearance in the Post account was at 2:30 p.m., after he had spent the intervening hours assessing the security situation in, who knows, Afghanistan, 10,000 miles away, rather than executing a plan to protect the Capitol.

Isn't protecting the country like why we have a military?

When he did weigh in, his advice was to send in more police.  How about the 82d Airborne?  Is Washington, D.C. in 2021 as undefended as it was in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln found himself isolated with one Massachusetts regiment to protect him?

The military doesn't have a plan to defend the Capitol?  And this time, unlike Pearl Harbor, we don't want to hear it was the Navy's fault.

A half hour later, National Guard units were finally mobilized, but these part-time forces can't mobilize while the Zeroes are on their bomb runs.  Why didn't Gen. Milley start the mobilization at 12 noon when he perceived a threat of Nazi dimensions?

Guess he didn't have time to leak the answer to that stumper.

Speaking of hideous enablers desperately trying to rehabilitate themselves, what was lying Kellyanne Conway doing while the Capitol was under assault?  According to, wait for it, Kellyanne Conway:

Kellyanne Conway tried to talk to Trump and left a message with his office, asking that her name be added to the chorus of people calling on the president to do something.

“This is really bad,” Conway said. “People are going to get hurt. Only he can stop them. He can’t just tweet. He’s got to get down there.” 

Even worse than her boss's solicitation of Russian help to rig the 2016 election, which she referred to as the “collusion delusion?”

She left a message? Can't expect her to do anything more, can we, like telling the Former Loser Grifter she will do a live interview in 10 minutes accusing him of being an active participant in a seditious plot to bring down the government of the United States?

But this isn't the first reputation-polishing rodeo for the bottle-blond demons of death and deception.

According to, well, everyone, Kellyanne leaked like Old Faithful to preserve her nonexistent reputation:

The author of the latest book on President Donald Trump’s White House claims that the president’s counselor Kellyanne Conway leaks more information to the media than anyone else in the administration. 

As for Daddy's Lap Candy, let's ask the Columbia Journalism Review:

Reporters from two top-tier publications, as well as a Trump insider, told me that Ivanka is a frequent source for journalists, usually on background, perhaps giving her some protection from a press corps loathe to burn a valuable informant. ...

In a recent Washington Post op-ed imploring Ivanka and Kushner “to move back to New York,” Joe Scarborough spends the first three paragraphs lavishly praising the Trump children, whom he knows personally from having socialized with them over the last decade. ... Scarborough never takes Ivanka to task for her own suspicious business practices—namely the Baku deal, which Davidson had discussed on Scarborough’s show just a few months earlier.

So she leaks like a week-old Depends too.

We would the last people to stand between newspaper reporters and the granite counters they deserve as much as the K Street finaglers who rake in millions from nobbling the government, but there are no freebies in life.  If you dine out on leaks from loathsome criminals (like Ivanka), expect to be stuck with the check.

As usual, though, we can't ever say anything quite as pithily as Soledad O'Brien '86:

Let self-serving leakers rewrite history? We can't do better than “just say nah.”

UPDATE, JULY 18: Here's the great Erin Gloria Ryan roasting Gen. Milley and other bag-carriers for the Former Loser Grifter/Traitor in The Daily Beast:

While he’s leaking now, Milley’s supposed courage while Trump was president did not involve speaking publicly or even getting stories to the press when that might have mattered about behind-the-scenes warmongering, which, given Trump’s tendency to pay more attention to press coverage than to security briefings, would have probably been a more effective way to blow that plan up.

....We’ve been through so many rounds of rehabilitative Trump official fan fiction that it is its own genre at this point. Do writers depicting those who were complicit as secret heroes think their spin is believable? It wasn’t believable when it was the Actually Don McGahn’s Secret Bravery Saved America news cycle, the Anonymous Miles Taylor The Quiet Hero cycle, several cycles of Ivanka and Jared Are Privately Urging The President To Be Less Bad, a round of John Kelly Always Hated The Guy, a hearty dose of Lt. General McMaster Pounds The Table And Yells “Sir!” Possibly Loudly Enough To Save the Republic, General James “Mad Dog” Mattis Has Some Tough Talk After The Fact, Bill Barr Was Actually Secretly Doing Smart Things, or the Mike Pompeo Was Tough And Presidential this Whole Time cycle. (Coming soon! Kellyanne Conway pretends that she didn’t spend the last six years blabbing to journalists from the Times on down as she promotes her “tell-all.”)

In a time when talk is cheap but self-aggrandizing exaggeration can fetch you a seven-figure book advance, every piece of historical revisionism that makes anybody look suddenly good should be taken with a grain of salt or, better yet, simply ignored.

Or at least not used to package the coward as a cable news savant, or, even worse, anchor.

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