The Corporate Media Isn't Coming Close to Holding Trump Accountable

One of Donald Trump's first official acts as president was to sign an executive order that will make it more expensive for first-time and low-income homebuyers to buy and keep their homes. His second act was to, among other possible effects, tell the IRS to quit trying to collect the Obamacare tax from people with incomes over a million dollars a year (and begin taking the Affordable Care Act apart in other ways).

But the big media story?

"Trump claims the media lied about the size of his inaugural crowds."

Increasingly, it appears that the media are simply compliant patsies to whoever is in power, with a higher commitment to sensationalism than to issues that impact everyday Americans.

Throughout the primaries and the general election we finished last November, the media were committed to "issues-free" coverage (except when Bernie came on and took them to task). No discussion of climate change. No discussion of GOP efforts to destroy the social safety net. No discussion of Republican candidates (or, for that matter, Democratic candidates) who were in the pockets of particular billionaires or industries. No discussion of net neutrality (the companies that own our big media are unanimously opposed to net neutrality, so their millionaire News Stars never, ever discuss the topic). No discussion of corporate consolidation or control over Congress. No discussion of the role of billionaires in the election.

Instead, we got a reality show, filled with drama and name-calling, and devoid of information necessary to know who'd govern on behalf of whom.

The average person watching the news would never know that the billionaires almost certainly got a big tax cut (ultimately at the expense of poor working people on Medicaid/Obamacare) while first-time homebuyers just got screwed with two of Trump's first official acts in office. And Fox News viewers, of course, will probably never know such things.

Throughout the campaign season, Donald Trump (and team) displayed both their contempt for and their domination of the corporate media in America. Whenever things started to get serious in ways that might actually bring up issues, Trump was off with another new tweetstorm, and the millionaire TV News Stars ran, stampede-like, to cover it.

There's a simple reality here: The Republican Party is the wholly owned front for billionaires and transnational corporations. The Democratic Party, since the creation of Al From and Bill Clinton's DLC, have aspired to become the same only for the "white collar top 10%" (as Thomas Frank so brilliantly documents in his new book Listen, Liberal) - although there are still Democratic politicians who are relatively or entirely independent of corporate/billionaire control.

But the press won't ever tell you this. Why?

Why won't the press point out that our national debt is also the principal place for private savings to be safely parked - but Wall Street banksters want competition for a place to put savings ended by ending the national debt? Why don't they even bother to note that the one and only time the national debt was paid off and thus the only place private savings could go was to the banks, during the administration of Andrew Jackson, brought us the longest and deepest depression in our nation's history?

Why won't the press point out that the same Wall Street banksters (at least five of them within Trump's inner circle) also want all retirement savings to be in their hands via the privatization of Social Security?

Read more here.


Old_Curmudgeon 6 years 8 weeks ago

The "Powell Memo" was among my-era poli-sci's clues that a "sea change for the worse" was beginning. Sure 'nuff. Along came Reaganism and the early Neo-Cons and the WallSreet-oricurrented Democratic Leadership Council, and and and, - and now the Kochs and the current Heritage Foundation and Trumpismo and current mainstream Republicans and and and ....'s picture
dlittle75@earth... 6 years 8 weeks ago

Hi Thom- Another terrific piece. After your last piece about voter purging & crosscheck scandal and the video of you and Palast- I forwarded your piece on to Emily's List, Sierra Club, LCV, Wilderness Society, Move On, Our Revolution, Diane Russell (in Maine). I did this after the revelation of the letter sent by the Black Caucus to the Justice Dept. What if all the progressive organizations actually informed their members about what Greg Palast has uncovered and if they thought they should find out the truth all sent in similar letters to the Justice Dept?? My point is that we need to have a way to communicate directly- share info/news like your Greg Palast story with people at these organizations that will actually read them and watch the video. I have a small group of friends and family here in Maine who I share your opinion pieces with- My brother John, who lives in Seattle, says he is, like me, an ardent fan of yours. Keep it up Thom- Keep hammering it. I honestly believe that the interstate crosscheck scheme is grounds for impeachment. D

Legend 6 years 8 weeks ago

Waiting for Dianereynolds comment.

Kend's picture
Kend 6 years 8 weeks ago

Hoping some can help me out here. When America goes into debt, almost 20 trillion now who do they owe that money to. When I google it, it says mostly forgein countries so what does this mean Thom said " the national debt is a place for private savings" is the debt raised by some kind of bond or something

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 8 weeks ago

Thom: When the first sentence in your post is totally incorrect, how are we to believe you?

Presidentt Trump did nothing to make mortgages more expensive from what they are currently.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 8 weeks ago

The not so "Great" White Chief, after only one week on his toy throne, has to order boxes of new pens from China for his tiny pussy-grabbers to keep on signing executive orders against the whole disgusting existence of all those gawdamn little black, brown, olive, yellow, red, purple, green-skinned alien invaders, and anyone else who is not a rich, privileged, bigoted asshole or who doesn't look like him and a bowl of mashed potatoes.

Sooo ... where is all the same hue and cry of outrage when the "Black King" (who actually signed less executive orders than most modern-era Republican presidents) was supposedly "ruling by degree" -- according to rabid dogs howling at the moon?

Nothing but crickets heard from the swamp now...

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 6 years 8 weeks ago
Quote deepspace:who doesn't look like him and a bowl of mashed potatoes.

And yet everyone knows mashed potatoes are soooo much better with "yellow" butter and brown gravy.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 8 weeks ago

Thank you Mr. Ed. You just made it another Christmas morning.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 6 years 8 weeks ago

Isn't "a royalist controlled free market" within any government setting, just kind words for Fascism? In fact the Powell memo seems to be nothing more than a modern day Fascist manifesto....a roadmap for out of control individuals like the Kochs and Rupert Murdoch to follow.

Speaking of Murdoch, never underestimate how the demise of the Fairness Doctrine gave rise to Fox News and the era of mainstream alternative facts. In my opinion this single individual and his broadcast have done more to undermine our democracy than even money in politics. It's very clear to me that the Fascists purposefully created a news environment where ordinary citizens would have difficulty untangling fact from fiction.

Freedom of speech in the network media is fine as long as it comes with a warning label to all citizens who choose to consume it. Fox News needs to by law forced to drop the News part and rename itself Fox Right-wing Opinion..... I'm being kind.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 8 weeks ago

Yup. It's pretty easy to spot avid consumers of Fox Faux News and their inbred cousins of anger/hate/fear/lie radio and internet indoctrination centers.

My corner of the pasture happens to be ground zero in a bastion of redneck alternate reality. The sad little Trumpesque clowns, moseying along the rutted roads and broken sidewalks of our one-paper town, even dress up for the minor part they play as one dimensional characters in a fictional narrative of a poorly written dime novel. Somewhere north of middle age, white, male, look-alike ladies, gun belts tucked under big bellies, lots of camo, funny hats, wrapped in flags, and carrying crosses, these poor souls always seem so angry, hateful, fearful.

It's a struggle to see into the real human being past the glaze of hollow eyes and adopted attitude. Forget having meaningful conversation; once they open their tobacco-stained lips, belch out beer breath, and begin grunting the monosyllabic monotones of their narrow worldview, it is obvious right away where they get their ...ah... "information." It doesn't even matter which character on the stage is repeating his or her rehearsed lines; it all sounds the same.

One must love and respect the innocent souls hiding behind the cartoonish facades, of course, but the universal thought waves of wing-nuttery, which their over-stimulated, solidifying cerebral cortexes have naively absorbed from the non-news sources of "alternative facts," are certainly fair game for much mirth, merriment, laughter, and ridicule. It is so well deserved!

Rarely do they see the humor they inspire, which is too bad. It would be good for them to lighten up and look around at the wider pond in which their tiny bubble floats.

Come the revolucion!, this faction of fascist followers will no doubt be on the wrong side of the yellow police tape.


deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 8 weeks ago

Thom's first sentence Is totally correct (as are the rest of them):

"One of Donald Trump's first official acts as president was to sign an executive order that will make it more expensive for first-time and low-income homebuyers to buy and keep their homes."

Diane's #5 entire post is totally incorrect (as usual):

"Thom: When the first sentence in your post is totally incorrect, how are we to believe you?

President Trump did nothing to make mortgages more expensive from what they are currently."

Woefully deceived and/or willfully dishonest troll: How are we to believe you?!

Below is just one quick and easy search of only a half page of Google -- a simple task that even Trumpist simians might be minimally capable of performing, at least on a good day when they get bananas for rewards. (Say, now there's an idea for your troll avatar...)

~~ Compliments of Mr. Ed ~~ }:--))

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 8 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Ed: I knew horses wore blinders but apparently so do jackasses. Apparently you and Thom Hartmann, who only publishes his outlandish statements in an attempt to replicate Drudge, are the the last two who do not grasp the fact that President Trump just prevented the Obama administration's last minute land mine gift from becoming effective, not raise the current existing rate.

Try and get this through your large head. An FHA mortgage does not cost anyone any more now than it did thirty days ago. It just eliminated a cut that Obama signed without consulting the incoming administration. President Trumps move was sound and based on the fact none of his people had a chance to evaluate what this does to the budgets of the FHA. Another bailout is not what this country needs and it eliminates the "I told you so" rhetoric from the leftie/socialists. Good job President Trump!

We at this time do not to rehash the housing mortgage crisis of years ago when Barney Frank, Fannie, and Freddie ran amok do we?

Legend 6 years 8 weeks ago

Average $37 per household of middle and lower class. Just one example that could have paid for this. Rex Tillerson tax loopholes. One person.

Vegasman56 6 years 8 weeks ago

This is a question I have for you, Are we a just society, if we have hungry people among us, Are we a just society, if we call America a Christians nation, and we do not heal the sick, Are we a just society, if we do not shelter the homeless, Can we call ourselves liberals if we do not protect the ones who can't protect themselves.

We have to have a set of standards, of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable, this is the way we make America great, by not building walls, walls will only divide us. Pres. Trump is always saying he wants to make America great, but he never says for whom. Pres. Trump, he knows one type of lifestyle, that of the aristocrat class, and not of the working American family.

The American working class they are the ones who actually built this country, the American working class are the ones who put their lives on the line and suffered hardships to make the 1% lives, a lifestyle that is fit for a king like Pres. Trump, to live in his golden palace over New York City.

Pres. Trump will make America great again, for the 1%, taking this country, the American working class back to the gilded age, denying us Thomas Jefferson's famous words that he wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the basic rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I leave you with these last words, beware of the East India company, that has just recently gain control of the White House.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 8 weeks ago

@ Dianereynolds #12:

Oh Diane, Diane, Diane ... will you never learn? The more patronizing, condescending, and insulting you are -- making up 90 percent of your trollings (i.e., "replicate Drudge ... outlandish statements ... jackasses ... leftie/socialists") -- the more you'll get a taste of your own medicine, which you can't seem to handle in good humor.

You always sound so angry, hateful, and ... well, wounded. Gee, I'm sorry. If your little feelers are that sensitive, you should ask your therapist to either increase or decrease your meds; clearly, the current dosage is not working.

You're so cute when you're mad, but you'd probably be much happier if you would just lighten up a little and then face up to the lies, half-truths, and hypocrisy emanating from the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, or whatever other propaganda arm of the Republican Party dumps stinking piles of garbage onto the little heads of gullible trolls.

When you're seeing so much red, your reading comprehension also seems to suffer.

For example, in the sentence to which you took so much exception, Thom clearly stated, "... executive order that will make it more expensive ..." Obviously, he was speaking to the fact that the Trump cut will make it more expensive to secure a mortgage not only this upcoming buying season but, more significantly, in the future when rising mortgage interest rates will hurt first time and low-income buyers even more.

Your disingenuous obfuscation is a sophomoric attempt to confuse the issue by putting words in Thom's mouth. A Trump cut that would "raise the current existing rate" and "An FHA mortgage does not cost anyone any more now than it did thirty days ago." are your words, which you inserted to pivot to your own (or some right-wing think tanks's) talking points.

Real facts, as opposed to "alternative facts":

The law requires capital reserves of 2%, which was achieved in 2015. After four years of growth, with plenty of reserves on the books, this is a good opportunity to pass along the savings to help people buy, which also helps the economy.

It is not "another bailout ... land mine gift." Using inflammatory, accusatory weasel words does not change statistical realities. A relatively tiny reduction to the annual fee of only 1/4% to make it 0.60%, in order to offset rising mortgage rates, will not at all significantly affect the ability to handle hypothetical spikes in mortgage defaults.

The Trump cut only benfits private mortgage insurers and Wall Street. By making FHA loans more expensive, it makes private banks more competitive in selling their more expensive, traditional loans, thus increasing their profits.

The outgoing administration notified everyone in the friggin world about the reduction in the annual fee! It was announced Jan. 9, effective Jan. 27. How is it Obama's fault that the incoming administration wasn't paying attention to the business of governing the country? Perhaps if the Court Jester had spent less time Twittering insults to celebrities and watching Fox Faux "News," and paying more attention to the transition teams' briefings, his ship of fools wouldn't have been caught so flat-footed.

Don't accuse Democrats of playing politics with an issue that was supposed to help hard-working Americans (as Trump promised to do). If anyone is playing politics, it is these rabid partisans who had no idea what or why they reversed that executive order-- other than hatred of everything Obama. In their own words, they stated that the issue requires "more analysis and research to assess future adjustments."

And finally -- in regards to your snide, throwaway comment pinning "the housing mortgage crisis of years ago" on Democrats and liberal policies, which were initially designed to help low-income and hard-working citizens participate responsibly in the so-called "American Dream," before the Republican Party and their billionaire buddies turned it into a nightmare -- I will leave you with this quote from Sarah Edelman, director of housing policy at the Center for American Progress:

"So-called reckless homeowners didn't cause the housing crisis—but predatory lenders who tricked consumers into mortgages with exploding interest rates and other harmful features did. More than seven million Americans lost their homes during the foreclosure crisis, largely because of predatory mortgages and incompetent servicing practices. As we were reminded yesterday at Steve Mnuchin's Senate confirmation hearing, Trump's own Treasury secretary nominee made millions from the crash, and today's action is all the proof we need to know whose side the Trump administration is on."

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 6 years 8 weeks ago

I have been buying oats to feed my jackass and paying $50 per bag for years. The store owner was in the process of selling his store to a new owner. While I was in the store for other items the old store owner mentions that he thought the oats should really have a price of $48 per bag and he was going to print new pricing labels just before the store changes hands. The new store owner finds out and says “I’m not going to lower the price on those oats, they will still be priced at $50 per bag.”

Has the cost of my jackasses dinner gone up or has it remained exactly the same as it was?

I suppose I could send the old jackass to the glue factory and buy one that was less stubborn and more reasonable to feed, but any way you look at it, a new jackass in a couple of years is really no different than keeping the old jackass. You can't really do anything with them but they are fun to listen to rant.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 6 years 8 weeks ago

Haha ... sounds like a lot of horse pucky.

Although rather entertaining, your phantasmic hypothetical at the feed store (made me hungry) still misses the point about actual rising mortgage rates in the real world, which Obama's executive order would have helped offset to help working people, and which Predator Trump's countermanding order only comforts the already comfortable.

At this point in the thread, however, we are just beating a dead horse ... or, if you prefer, a jackass. Ow! Stop!

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