The Keyboard Is Not Mightier Than The Gun

My immediate, unvarnished reaction to news that a mass shooter has killed five journalists in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland is that an authoritarian reactionary is responsible.

I want to be clear that I don’t know if this is true. It’s a gut feeling, and gut feelings are notoriously unreliable. What’s remarkable to me is it’s so easy to jump to this (perhaps erroneous) conclusion. We’re living under the rule of a would-be autocrat who has branded the media the ‘enemy of the American people’. On a nearly daily basis, he slanders media outlets that take a critical stance, sometimes assassinating the character of individual journalists who really get under his skin. And the fashies who cheer their dear leader’s maneuvers to obliterate a society that allows dissent go even further. Only two days ago, Milo Yiannopoulos encouraged vigilante squads to gun journalists down.

I could be wrong, and I hope I am. No matter the cause, it’s a needless waste of human lives. My thoughts are with the staff of the Capital Gazette, their friends and their families.

The Miracle Workers

Oh great creator above, how did they do it? How did they convince not enough Senators to authorize rapid-fire discussion and voting on zombie Trumpcare, requiring Vice President Mike Pence to vote to break the tie? How did they then proceed to vote down plans that, although they didn’t make much sense to begin with, seemed almost competent compared to the ideas Republican Senators began pulling from their anal canals because fuck it, it’s not like the president, though adamant something gets passed, actually understands how health OR insurance work? What magisterial control of the situation! What daring!

With the passage of Okay Let’s Talk About It I Guess, Washington insiders agree that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a strategic genius with an incomparable understanding of procedural maneuvers. Washington insiders agreed last week that Mitch McConnell was a dismal failure whose reputation had been oversold to the detriment of the GOP’s political fortunes.

See how this works? Nothing is real! Perception is paramount! I don’t know what’s in the town’s swampgas, but it seems to make the national political press change their minds about what’s actually happening every five minutes. Either the journalist are 1) swamp-high or 2) in jobs that require them to have a fresh take to offer readers every single day.

Take your pick.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Eighty-Eight)

Ledes At The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench

The ledes in news reports, like pocket change, are sometimes found much further down than was hoped. In two recent stories of national import, the ledes weren’t buried; they were deposited at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Let’s survey the inhospitable depths.

Story One: Four top law firms turned down requests to represent Trump by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo News.

The opening paragraph: 

Top lawyers with at least four major law firms rebuffed White House overtures to represent President Trump in the Russia investigations, in part over concerns that the president would be unwilling to listen to their advice, according to five sources familiar with discussions about the matter.

 

The lede: 7 paragraphs in, we’re told

Others mentioned potential conflicts with clients of their firms, such as financial institutions that have already received subpoenas relating to potential money-laundering issues that are part of the investigation.

State or federal investigations into Trump-connected money laundering have entered the subpoena stage. But let’s talk about how the president is high-price lawyer kryptonite. Good plan.

Story two:

Intelligence Contractor Is Charged In First Leak Case by Charlie Savage for The New York Times.

The opening paragraph:

An intelligence contractor was charged with sending a classified report about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election to the news media, the Justice Department announced Monday, the first criminal leak case under President Trump.

The lede: A staggering 15 paragraphs in, it’s confirmed

The American intelligence community has concluded that Russia conducted a broad influence campaign for the purpose of undermining Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sowing doubts about the democratic process if she had won.

In October, when the Obama administration accused Russia of stealing and releasing Democratic emails, it also said there was a pattern of probing of voter registration-related systems that was traceable to Russian servers but stopped short of saying the Russian government was behind it. The intelligence report, citing unspecified information the N.S.A. obtained in April, suggests the government is now satisfied that Moscow was the culprit.

The leaked report shows Russian interference with the 2016 election extended to hacking voting machine software, so you’ll excuse me if I forego the obvious “Reality Winner” jokes.

One shouldn’t stay in the Mariana Trench too long. The pressure is immense. The human body is not designed to withstand it for too long. Remember to take your time returning to the surface, as you most certainly don’t want to get the bends.

(Year Zero/Day One Hundred and Thirty-Eight)