Thursday, September 15, 2016

Holding him accountable

The US news media has done a terrible job of holding Donald accountable for his lies, among other things. But among its worst performance has been in allowing Donald to lie about his refusal to release his tax returns. Maybe that’s starting to change.

In the video above, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell tells of one of his biggest annoyances with the US news media: They have never pushed back against Donald’s absurdly stupid assertion that he “can’t” release his tax returns because he’s “being audited”. No journalist has ever asked Donald to prove it.

It’s so obvious that I admit I’ve never thought of it, but journalists should have: There’s absolutely no reason that Donald can’t release the form letter the USA’s Internal Revenue Service would have sent him to tell him he’s being audited—if, in fact, that’s actually true. As Lawrence a journalist finally brought this up, Donald’s campaign was not expecting it. It’s a good start.

But it’s also worth noting that this is actually irrelevant on the subject of whether Donald can release his tax returns, because he absolutely can: There is NO law or rule that prevents him from releasing his tax returns, even if, as he and his surrogates constantly claim, he’s being audited. In 1973, even Richard Nixon released his tax returns while being audited, and this was during Watergate. It’s worth letting that sink in for a minute: Donald is less honest and open than Richard Nixon.

Meanwhile, today Newsweek published an extensive exposé of Donald’s many, many conflicts of interest that have far reaching consequences. The magazine concludes:

Never before has an American candidate for president had so many financial ties with American allies and enemies, and never before has a business posed such a threat to the United States. If Donald Trump wins this election and his company is not immediately shut down or forever severed from the Trump family, the foreign policy of the United States of America could well be for sale.

Maybe these are hopeful signs that the US news media will start being better about reporting about Donald, and maybe they’ll start asking tougher questions. Or, maybe not: As far as I’m aware, no one else in the mainstream news media has asked for proof that Donald is being audited (or pointed out that even if that really is true, which we have no reason to believe without proof, that still doesn’t prevent him from releasing his tax returns). And, the Newsweek story has hardly been covered by any mainstream news outlets, and it should be.

There’s still time for the US news media to start doing its collective job. The question is, will they?

Related: Political Notebook 4: Media rare – my recent blog post about the news media not doing its job.


Jason Peaco said...

I would say probably not.

The Commander-In-Chief Forum on MSNBC is a perfect example. Trump got to repeat the lie that he always opposed the Iraq War when that is completely false. Matt Lauer didn't even blink when Trump said that. Lauer just went on to the next question.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yeah, I'm not particularly optimistic. And yet, the pushback against Lauer's failure may make journalists being to be more careful, and also more thorough in doing their jobs.