that bombshell book rocking the whitehouse Michels fire engineMusichello I’m Richard Gilbert and you’re atthe listening post here are some of thestories we’ve been tracking this weekMichael Wolfe throws the book at DonaldTrump exposing a dysfunctional whitehouse and a thing or two about the USmainstream news media Egypt and the talkshow hosts on the front lines of the CCgovernment’s propaganda efforts nightafter night after night the protests inIran and the social media battlegroundsthat matter there plus oppressors of thepress the worst of the worst in the ageof Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle abook launch might seem like a story fora slow news day unless it’s fire andfury by Michael Wolfe a journalist whodivides opinion on his approach tosourcing and to the facts havinginveigled his way into the Trump WhiteHouse to tell the inside story of theadministration he describes a presidentwith the barest grasp of hisresponsibilities suffering from agradual loss of his faculties in shortWolff goes there using the D word thatmainstream news outlets had shied awayfrom dementia while Wolf’s publishersstand firm against Donald Trump’slawyers and the threat of litigationcopies of the book are flying off theshelves the American mainstream newsmedia remain hypnotized by a spectaclethey did much to create our startingpoint this week the White HouseMusicthe president has set fire and fury wasmaking headlines before the first copywas sold bombshell book raucous book hascome out and everybody’s head explode itis a devastating portrait of the Trumpfamily the excerpt alone fueled twoentire news cycles 48 hours of coveragepeppered with angry tweets coming out ofthe Oval Office or perhaps thepresident’s been winning the presidencyqualifies him is not smart with geniusand a very stable genius at that if theWhite House actually thought thatthreatening the publisher with a lawsuitwould stop the inevitable it was wrongthe publication date was moved up thebook is published as of nine o’clockthis morning the president’s lawyerssent a cease and desist letter to whichyou say actually what I say is is wheredo I send the box of chocolates thisparticular book is the kind ofpresidential history that thisparticular president deserves thecalamity of this particular presidenthas generated a kind of journalism whichis not predicated on the politics ofsubstance but on the politics ofsubterfuge and show there is nothing inthis book that actually addresses thefundamental issues of this presidencybut actually banks on a kind ofsensationalism that now is extended intothe formation of a book just between twocovers we can’t get enough of thiswhether or not every one of thoseanecdotes can be trusted you know wewill see I’m sure that more reportingwill continue to play out but what wolfhas offered is this behind-the-scenesfly-on-the-wall look at a anadministration that people are stilltrying to figure out just how itfunctions on a day to day basis we’veseen a lot of confirmation bias bypeople who want to believe that DonaldTrump is exactly as depicted in the bookand others who are saying well franklythis is really not all that new theyalso see some jealousy perhaps ofMichael wolf by other journalists whohave covered Trump very good closely andthen perhaps saying they’re upset thatthey’re not the ones getting all theattention nowthe idea that michael wolf merelygathered known journalistic tidbits andrepackaged them in book form is onlypartly true inevitably there is some ofthat both the New York Times in theWashington Post have new reports aboutthe mind of Donald Trump there has beenplenty of reporting on president Trump’smental stability his temperament howeverwhen it came to the possible signs ofdementia news outlets have treated thatwith caution and no one had ever quotedSteve Banat Trump’s former adviserdescribing meetings with Russiancontacts as treasonous before that ledto a series of attacks from Trump andbannon’s oyster from Breitbart news oneof the online voices of the Americanalt-right journalists covering the WhiteHouse either did not find those storiesor if they did their editors chose notto publish them mainstream news outletslike to say they hold power to accountbut they also tend to build bridges topower and burning those bridges can meanlosing future access that can come backto burn then some journalists decided tosacrifice their integrity for accesswolf kind of had the same idea he wentin there to do access journalism andthen realized he would burn his bridgesat the end of this by publishing theresults and so I think that if anythingwe should be having a broaderconversation about what the purpose ofaccess journalism is in a governmentthat wants to essentially function as anautocracy a government that routinelyattacks the press and threatensjournalists so we were talking beforethe break on the media’s reluctance todiscuss Donald Trump and the possibilityof dementia here’s MSNBC’s morning hostjoe scarborough regarding a column thathe writes for The Washington Post I’vewritten twice in my column a quote aboutone of people closest to Donald Trumpduring the campaign saying he’s gotearly stage of dementia he repeats thesame stories over and over again hisfather had it but twice the WashingtonPost would not let me put that in mycollar would and until your book cameout this was something we were notallowed to speak about like so many inthe mainstream media Joe Scarborough hascome a long wayon trunk compared to the early days ofthe election cycle when his program wasaddicted to the candidate the ratings hewould draw the revenues he wouldgenerate scarbrow has a lot of blood onhis hands because back when it was injoe scarborough’s self-interesthe gave Donald Trump enormous access tohis show with very very lightquestioning now all is that he wants tosay that he has a sort of saying thatTrump has early onset dementia to methat would be something that you wouldneed an on-the-record source for MichaelWolfe admits in his preface that onquestions of sourcing and verificationmany of the accounts in the book are inconflict with one another that in somecases they are for the reader to judgeand that he had settled on a version ofevents I believed to be true that’s notso much of a preface as it is adisclaimerhowever while Wolfe has become alightning rod for those critical of thestate and standards of Americanjournalism today the role of hispublisher Macmillan has been largelyignored which is odd since without thepublishers distribution network thewriters words would go unread Macmillansays it had one editor and three factcheckers working with Woolfhowever some basic errors includinggetting names wrong still made it intoprint Michael Wolfe is not a popularfigure both for personal andprofessional reasons he certainly playedfast and loose with facts in the past hedoesn’t follow some of these samesourcing guidelines that a typicalnewspaper reporter would Wolf’s book isat times thinly sourced at times simplya stenographic repetition of whatcertain sources have told Woolf theirresponsibility of the publishinghouses is worse than theirresponsibility of the authorTocqueville said 150 years agodemocracies treat their authors the waykings treat their jesters they enrichand despise them at the same time thesepublishers don’t care so far as they arelaughing all the way to the bankMichael Wolfe did not make his namecovering politics his best-known work todate was a biography of Rupert Murdoch anews Barrett Wolfe understands themeeting the role they have played in theTrump story and he would have known thatthey would find his version of the storyirresistiblefire and fury in many ways is a realityTV book about a reality TV presidentthat’s kind of the nature of MichaelWolfe style you see things in the bookthat are reminiscent of reality TV castof characters who are constantly at warwith each other who are plotting witheach other wolf knows how did sellscandal to the public versus for examplea serious investigation of crime andabuse of powerheart the foundation the essence of themedia’s fascination for Donald Trump isall about ratings mr. president evenretweeting Trump is effectively asteroid shot for the news media’s brokenbusiness month the deep dysfunctionnow gripping this White House in theshort run he can help them survive wewon the election we’re going to win thenext and where do you go from that Idon’t know blow this once you’ve hadTrump you can never go back just like adrug unless you go through a massivecatastrophic overdose he is bodyslamming CNN which maybe is what we’reheaded towards because I don’t think anyof this is healthy and this will not endwell it cannot end wellMusicwe’re discussing some other mediastories that are on our radar today withone of our producers Johanna who’s Joeover the past couple of weeksIran has seen some of the biggestpolitical demonstrations it’s seen inalmost a decadesocial media is among the platformswhere this battle is being waged whatare we seeing therewell government critics have been on thestreet since late last year and they aredemanding political social and economicreforms now the government has respondedwith force at least 21 people have beenkilled and over a thousand have beenkilled now both sides are also usingsocial media to spread their messagesdespite the fact that Facebook Twitterand YouTube have been banned in Iransince 2009 now this was the last timethat we saw protests on this scale nowInstagram and telegram which is acountry’s biggest social media platformare also being temporarily blocked butpeople in Iran are used to finding waysaround these kind of censors and theyare actually still using these networksfunnily enough so is the government sothe protesters are using social media toshare information imagery and to getorganizedwhat about supporters of the governmentwhat are they doing on social mediawell dozen of Twitter BOTS have beencreated now these are accounts that havevery suspicious profile names they don’thave any profile pictures there are veryfew followers and what these accountsare doing is they are tagging certainimages as fake and they are discouragingIranians from joining these protests nowthey are also putting up tweets sayingthings like oh I just arrived here atthe protest but nothing seems to begoing on and why are you lying nobody isactually here now on top of that they’vebeen identifying protesters in videosand pictures asking authorities toarrest them but the protesters areactually fighting back they have createdaccounts in which they share details ofthe security personnel who isconfronting them in the demonstrationsturning now to another story that you’vebeen looking into in India thegovernment there has filed a criminalcomplaint against a journalist over adata breach something to do with a veryambitious identity card scheme thegovernment’s working on that involvesbiometrics what are the details wellthere seems to be a very clear case ofshooting the messenger now this campaignby the Indian government is called atheart and it basically stores veryelaborate details of virtually allIndiansonline now last week a reporter for TheTribune newspaper watch Akira publishedan investigation in which he actuallyshowed that she could buy these personalrecords online for less than ten USdollars now these records includecontact details but they could alsopotentially include fingerprints andretinal scans now the uniqueidentification Authority of India UID AIwhich is supposed to safeguard that datasaid that the reporter violated India’sprivacy laws by trying to get access tothe database and is now actuallydemanding police action against her sothe government’s been getting someblowback on this and not all of it iscoming from within India no it’s not alot of people are saying that this caseis an attack against press freedom andwhistleblower Edward Snowden actuallyweighed in on this case from Moscow onTwitter last week saying that thejournalists that are exposing the otherbreach deserve an awards not aninvestigation do you want to arrestthose responsible they are called theUID AI thanks Joe Egyptians call themEmperor’s and every night millions tunedin to watch them lecture entertain rantand even cry their way through hours oftelevision output they are talk showhosts and as a group they form a keyfilter through which Egyptians have cometo view their politics under the rule ofAbdel Fattah el-sisi talk shows are usedto legitimize his presidency and tovilify his critics television audiencesmay be dwindling in many countries butgiven the high rate of illiteracy inEgypt TV remains the medium of themasses and few institutions are moreinfluential than the evening talk showsnot everyone in Egypt is buying what theTalking Heads are selling though giventhat they frequently venture into therealm of the absurd the listening-postsTarek NAFA now on the highly politicizedworld of TV talk shows in Egyptto say that talk shows are the mostimportant phenomenon in the way thatgovernment communicates with the publicwill be an understatementand oh my baby we shall feed and waterraise a city many they must read it’sconsistent it’s entertaining you get thefeeling as though you’re sitting at acafe with them and don’t mistake it fora moment this is not about bringinginformation to the people this is aboutbringing the government discourse intoyour home’s good luck AHA Drayton youshould the rice elephant case in pointan Egyptian intelligence officer on thephone to a number of TV personalitiesdirecting them on how to report the u.s.decision to recognize Jerusalem as thecapital of Israel its opponent insteadof condemning the decision they shouldpersuade their viewers to simply acceptthe tapes obtained by the New York Timesshow just how involved the state can beand what goes out on the country’sairwaves magician talk shows are anaccidental byproduct of state censorshipwhen former President Hosni Mubarakallowed more private channels on the airhe made it clear that news bulletinswould remain in the hands of state-ownedbroadcasters private stations got aroundthat by creating discussion programsfocusing on the newsthe hosts of these shows were everythingtheir monochrome counterparts on fake TVnot come on sob Australia via a littlebit higher and no yet humble hailed as ayesWilliam can yet deliver Buddha they wereengaging emotional and opinionated anduniquely Egyptian in that they start outwith a monologue that goes on and on andonthe monologue can be up to a half-hourin some cases 45 minutes well you have ahost not only talking but workinghimself or herself up emotionallysometimes you would have some verytheatrical props a bullet a picture avideo and the other thing is theinteraction not only with the in studioguests but also with viewers at home forexample we’ve seen relatives of some ofthe victims of the terrorist bombingswhere an audience member calls beginscrying on the air and a host beginscrying as well and as a result the housebecomes this emotional link thisconnection that brings people in theirhomes together I can see at least 80% ofjournalists I interviewed initiate oldme that they see themselves to be firstcitizens and only second professionaljournalists say there is a strong callfor subjectivity within the journalisticcommunity that perceives the issue ofthe ideal of objective journalism astreason the importance of thepersonalities at play or beyond crucialwithout them these shows would crumbletwo of them happen to be the powercouple of Middle Eastern talk showsUmbra Adeeb is the first he is verylikely the most handsomely paid he has anatural instinctive intelligence and theintelligence agencies recognize that hiswife is Lamesa Hadees she is a study inupper middle class decorum and deliversher messagenot as opinion but as fact it blocks ourpower the third person that comes tomind is the most grotesque figure ofexplicit propaganda I had to shoot overa Lafittewell sooner I defended who’ll amateurMedusa is loud fascist noon onapologetic oh well better he excels ather hyperbolically nationalistic form ofdiatribe that appeals to the lowestcommon denominator president afterFattah al-sisi took power four years agowith a vow to return stability to Egyptstaking his legitimacy on combatingterror TV personalities play a leadingrole in echoing the government’s linethey create a shared sense of panicpurpose and victimhood one of the keyaspects of these talk shows is the waythey whip up a sense of nationalemergency machine a machine PID as I useso do they react in a very emotionalsensationalistic way to very atrociousevents lad a sharp and must door buckwho are boarded up that mirac theirkkeok you not only support thegovernment you bend over backwards so tospeak so dissidents political prisonersare typically vilified they areportrayed as enemies of the nationit’s the woman shall a good and I dowhat guess and if you portray anybody asan enemy of the nation in a time ofemergency what you’re saying it’s ok tojail then it’s okay to beat them up andin some cases it’s okay to kill themtalk shows are a very prominentpolitical tool or political platform formessaging youneed to support a regime because theregime is facing unprecedented dancerscoming from the outside but also andmainly from the inside there is aconspiracy coming from some of theBrotherhoodI mean despite they are under fiercecrackdown by the regime every criticalvoice can be linked to some of theBrotherhood the roster of the bad guysreal imagined and otherwise isconstantly evolving to suit the needs ofthe state Qatar is now public enemynumber oneturkey is public enemy number tun Iranis public enemy number threedoll air heavy and depending on the dayof the week Israel isn’t so bad or ispublic enemy number oneand of course the ruler is featuredprominently one way or another veryrarely do you hear criticism and whenyou do it is measured ie the critiqueisn’t leveled at the president maybehalachade novo hamburgo caliber BR a fewchicken limo there has always been aconsistent awareness where the red linesare precisely and right now there aremore red lines than there ever been andfor the most part presenters know not tocross those red lines they know thattheir jobs depend on it direct criticismof the president the military or theintelligence services are all off-limitscross one of those red lines and youcould end up disappearing from theairwaves like lily underwood a prominentBritish Lebanese presenter who had hercontract ended before being kicked outof Egypt in 2016 well Ibrahim Ariza ajournalist who despite shifting hispolicecore positions to suit the times at hisshow councils last year and they’re notthe only onesIbrahim Issa is sort of the the type ofmuckraking investigative journalistwho’s not afraid of speaking truth topowerlateral mudra is Godman masalas Korea inOmahaAlaska home you know give me littlemannish as Mahalo to Alaska before theRevolution for example he became knownfor basically confronting Mubarak andhis sons so that’s one example anotherfamous talk show is amber Lacey she’snot afraid to push controversial issuesand that was his undoingfor airing a very famous interview Imust’ve Enda dancing for Sharon theyhaven’t I’m assuming that got mr. Alessia fired you have to keep in mind that itall comes down to information who has itwho doesn’t how it’s deliveredhats off to the Sisi regime forunderstanding the 21st century forunderstanding the link between lack ofeducation ease of a disseminationobstruction of information thegovernment has created an environmentwhere disbursement of information unlessit is tightly controlled by governmentis all but impossibleMusicfinally it’s award season Hollywood’sgolden globes have just been handed outand President Trump wants in he recentlytold his Twitter followers that his ownawards for bad reporting from the fakenews media will be coming out soon thatinspired the new york-based Committee toProtect Journalists to announce theirown cpj global press oppressors Awardsthreats against journalists are nolaughing matter the cpj says 2017 saw arecord number of them jailed andjournalists are being censored attackedsometimes killed over their work we’llleave you now with some politicians whohave made it into the sea PJs Hall ofShame and we’ll see you next time hereat The Listening PostMusicMusicOh


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