Mostly Anger and Bargaining, with only Buzzfeed still stuck in Denial.
We’re about to get hit by an ice storm, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Seriously, I did.
MSNBC was playing on the TV in the breakfast room this morning. [Featured Image above.]
It was like attending a wake. As if a member of the family had passed unexpectedly. Imagine the whispered dialogue among mourners: “He was so young, and held so much promise.” “He will be missed, but we will never forget him.” “He’s not with us physically anymore, but his spirit lives on.”
The mourning was over the collapse of the Buzzfeed’s “if true” bombshell report that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
That report was what #TheResistance media had been waiting for since Trump first rode down the escalator at Trump Tower. We’ve got him now! The walls have finally collapsed! Lock.Him.Up.
And then the unthinkable happened. They didn’t see it coming.
Robert Mueller said STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE, I’M GOING TO BREAK YOUR HEART:
“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate.”
We detailed the collapse in Mueller disputes Buzzfeed story on Trump directing Michael Cohen to lie to Congress.
Now the media is in various stages of grief.
As a reminder, the Kübler-Ross model of the Stages of Grief are:
1. Denial — The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.
2. Anger — When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, it becomes frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would this happen?”.
3. Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief.
Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
During the fourth stage, the individual becomes saddened by the mathematical probability of death. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
5. Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”; “Nothing is impossible.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.
Buzzfeed in in denial. Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith continues to insist the story is correct, and there will be more to come.
JUST IN: BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith calls into @MSNBC to discuss the special counsel's new statement, and BuzzFeed News' response to that statement, with @chrislhayes. pic.twitter.com/oYcf3Q3MQ4
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 19, 2019
Buzzfeed also is aggressively going after Mueller’s rebuke, providing emails to The Washington Post between Buzzfeed and Mueller’s office. Read the WaPo story, released tonight. It’s not helpful to Buzzfeed:
“People familiar with the matter said after BuzzFeed published its story — which was attributed to “two federal law enforcement officials involved in an investigation of the matter” — the special counsel’s office reviewed evidence to determine if there were any documents or witness interviews like those described, reaching out to those they thought might have a stake in the case.
They found none, these people said. That, the people said, is in part why it took Mueller’s office nearly a day to dispute the story publicly….
People familiar with the matter said the special counsel’s office meant the statement to be a denial of the central theses of the BuzzFeed story — particularly those that referenced what Cohen had told the special counsel, and what evidence the special counsel had gathered.”
Buzzfeed doesn’t appear to be aware of the First Law of Holes.
A lot of the media is angry.
Not that Buzzfeed ran with the report, but that Mueller’s rebuke makes the media look bad.
The people who pushed the story relentlessly for almost 24 hours, are angry this may tar the entire industry:
“The larger message that a lot of people are going to take from this story is that the news media are a bunch of leftist liars who are dying to get the president, and they’re willing to lie to do it,” Toobin said. “And I don’t think that’s true.”
“I just think this is a bad day for us … It reinforces every bad stereotype about the news media,” he added.
“Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter agreed with his latter statement but said as a media reporter, he was “desperate” for his audience to judge individuals and brands on a case-by-case basis.
“Don’t fall for what these politicians out there want you to do. They want you to think we’re all crooked,” Stelter said. “We’re not.
Chris Cuomo also is angry, because Mueller just did Trump a favor:
“Mueller didn’t do the media any favors tonight, and he did do the president one, because as you saw with Rudy Giuliani and as I’m sure you’ll see with the president himself, this allows them to say, ‘You can’t believe it. You can’t believe what you read, you can’t believe what you hear, you can only believe us,'” he said. “‘Even the special counsel says that the media doesn’t get it right.'”
Chuck Todd is pretty upset also.
Those trying to tar all media today aren’t interested in improving journalism but protecting themselves. There’s a lot more accountability in media these days than in our politics. We know we live in a glass house, we hope the folks we cover are as self aware.
— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) January 19, 2019
Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC generally, is in the bargaining phase. BUT HE’S STILL A BAD MAN! Don’t stop trying to impeach him just because Buzzfeed may have screwed up, and anyway, maybe Buzzfeed’s report is false but accurate! RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA!
It took Maddow 10 minutes to conclude “Happy Two Years of the Trump Administration” before turning to Ben Smith, who defended the story.
See what she did there? Mueller’s rebuke of Buzzfeed becomes an afterthought.
Others in the media are trying to frame Mueller’s rebuke as not really substantive, just a quibble with Buzzfeed over wording.
Glenn Greenwald pretty succinctly summed up the idiocy of that defense:
The steadfastly mute Robert Mueller decided – after 1 1/2 years – to speak out & explicitly deny a major news report because he just had a few trivial, semantic quibbles with some ancillary claims. That there are journalists pushing that bullshit exacerbates the initial debacle.
It’s coming. But not until November 2020 if Trump wins. Until then, the media is too focused on taking out Trump to allow for depression.
But when it happens, it’s going to be brutal. It will make November 2016 look tame in comparison:
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