January 26th, 2018

Parallel media universes: the MSM is obsessed with Trump and Mueller

While the right covers this, that, and the other thing, the MSM and the left is obsessed with the NY Times’ report that Trump tried to fire Mueller and was talked out of it. Go to memeorandum and you’ll see what I mean.

Once again, they seem to think this is some sort of smoking gun that will sink Trump. And they are waiting with bated breath, of course, for Mueller’s report. Meanwhile, Trump calls it “fake news.

The problem for the Times at this point is that, even though Trump is certainly capable of lying through his teeth about whether or not he seriously considered firing Mueller, the Times may have even less credibility. That’s what happens when you cry “wolf” over and over and over.

This particular story is just the latest iteration of a long series of stories saying the same thing (you can read about some of the history here). I am virtually certain that most of my liberal friends believe the stories are all true (if they follow them at all, that is).

I do not believe they are true, although they certainly might be true, and I do not believe that they are not true. There is simply no way to know. But the MSM’s track record on this sort of thing is bad. Their undisguised and virulent animus towards Trump, and the number of their previous Trump-critical stories that have never been confirmed or have turned out to be flat wrong, make it difficult for people who are not already on the left to believe them.

But I have an additional question. Let’s say that the Times report is true. Let’s say that Trump wanted to fire Mueller last June and was talked out of it by, among other things, his counsel’s threat to resign. What is the news here? The idea that Trump might have some autocratic impulses isn’t news. The idea that he might be enraged that Mueller was investigating him isn’t news, either; I’m hard-pressed to come up with any president I can think of who would take it with equanimity and a smile. The fact that Trump was talked out of that autocratic impulse makes it seem (to me, at least) as though his desire to fire Mueller either wasn’t incredibly strong to begin with and/or that he realized the repercussions would be worse than the problem. That latter possibility makes him sound reasonable, or at least amenable to persuasion/reason on a practical basis.

And that’s if you believe the Times’ story.

37 Responses to “Parallel media universes: the MSM is obsessed with Trump and Mueller”

  1. Yancey Ward Says:

    Well stated, Neo! I had exactly the same reaction- there is no way to know whether or not the story is true, and even if it is- so what? If Trump thinks he was being rail-roaded, it is entirely reasonable to want to fire Mueller and his team- entirely reasonable. You were right, Neo- it really is a kind of parallel universe one side or the other inhabits.

  2. Dave Says:

    Are they trying to say Trump is impeachable because of a possible thought crime committed. So basically they think he is guilty of thinking about firing a guy who was not going to be fair with him as he is extremely friendly with all of his political enemies like Obama and Comey, which was perfectly legal within his presidential power. What would Hillary do if she was the president under the investigation regarding clintion foundation corruptions or the server headed by someone rudy giuliani or newt gingrich? she would have fired them immediately and the media wouldn’t have said a word.

  3. OldTexan Says:

    Huh? “There is no there there.” A non-public discussion about whether to fire anyone or not and deciding not to fire the person means exactly nothing, nights, nada damn thing as stated above.

    Why does anything that is purported to be said by Trump that is not public record deemed to be more meaningful that the strange, goofy stuff he does say publicly. When the NYT attributes the stories to undisclosed sources who got their information from Fedex guy who talked to the food delivery man for the Whitehouse who spoke to one of the kitchen staff who heard it directly from an un-named associate who might be the person who maintains some of the IT equipment used by someone important who works directly with some of the staff who manage something.

    Every week we have a new disclosure that will lead to Trump being really disliked more by people who are prone to dislike him and he will most likely really, really be in double secret probation trouble and his wife probably does not care for him either which is news worthy for some reason or another because we all know how much Hillary really loved Bill when he was in office.

    In the meantime Trump, in spite of being Trump is doing a decent job of running the country where it really counts, numbers. Stock market up, jobs up, investment looking better and in a few weeks bigger paychecks for a whole lot of people who might remember next time they vote.

    This stuff is playing out so far, us conservatives, like a fantastic, imaginative novel with antagonists, protagonists, side stories about foes with weird sex stuff becoming public, international nuclear tension (hope that works out for us) citizen alarms about attacks, and so far our plump hero character is getting results from unforeseen sources (nice bonus checks from corporations who have not been friendly) and approval ratings rising in spite of huge negative media stories which put us back in the what and why over nothing.

    This is almost a Shakespear play.

  4. Lurch Says:

    Being held accountable for impure thoughts is entirely consistent with the modern progressive mind set.

  5. Dave Says:

    Are progressives ever going to prosecute Muslims who have ever in their minds committed jihad against the evil America and its evil people? Silly Davey, Thought crimes are for the right.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Since they have nothing of substance on Trump, they must make much to do about it.

    It’s a variation on the Big Lie. Generate enough faux ‘Sturm und Drang’ and liberal gullibility will assume that there must be fire under all that smoke and mirrors.

  7. vanderleun Says:

    “I do not believe they are true, although they certainly might be true, and I do not believe that they are not true.”

    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?
    Which side are you on?

    Oh neoneo can you stand it?
    Don’t tell us just to yawn.
    Will you be a lousy lib
    Or will you be a new neocon?

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:


    Since when is acknowledgement that certainty is absent… a sign of indecisiveness?

  9. parker Says:

    The top echelon of federal law enforcement/invesigation has covered up for a president (bho) and a presidential candidate (hrc) who compromised national security. They are going full-bore to take down a legally elected sitting president. A thorough purge is needed at the DOJ. It must be done carefully, and with preccissio, but it must be done. How much lawlessness can a Republic suffer before it is no longer a republic?

  10. Amadeus 48 Says:

    In other news, Sec. Tillerson continues to work even though, according to the media, he was fired in December.

    These media people aren’t very good at their jobs. They take unsubstantiated gossip, get it confirmed by two people with unknown agendas, and then publish it and call it truth.


  11. vanderleun Says:

    Dear Britain, unfortunate lad, there will be loyalty tests to sort that out.

  12. vanderleun Says:

    Besides, too much perfection is a mistake.

  13. Cornhead Says:

    I only believe this story unless the WH lawyer swore it was true on a stack of bibles and on live TV. An archbishop or cardinal would have to administer the oath.

  14. J.J. Says:

    What leader, being of sound mind, wouldn’t want to fire Mueller? After all, his “team” is made up of almost exclusively Democrats with connections to HRC. He has gone after Paul Manafort for activities prior to his association with the Trump campaign. He has gone after his son-in-law’s (Jared Kushner) financial activities. He is reputedly looking into Trump’s businesses and financial records prior to his campaign. In other words, Mueller is on a fishing expedition ranging way beyond the accusations of colluding with Russia to defeat HRC. I sure as heck would want to fire him.

    If I was a part of the Russian effort to disrupt our society (And I believe there is such an effort.), I would be rubbing my hands in glee. Some hacked e-mails, some social media posts, some ads, some rumors circulated to the media, and voila, dissension and chaos pitting rival political parties at odds as not seen since the Civil War.

    If Mueller is successful in unseating Trump, the KGB will be as proud of themselves as the CIA was about unseating Mossadegh. It’s time for grownups to recognize what is going on. But there are so few in government anymore that it won’t happen. Sad!

  15. AesopFan Says:

    Lurch Says:
    January 26th, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    Being held accountable for impure thoughts is entirely consistent with the modern progressive mind set.
    * * *
    And the #MeToo whirlwind is moving that forward exponentially.

  16. AesopFan Says:

    OldTexan Says:
    January 26th, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    When the NYT attributes the stories to undisclosed sources who got their information from Fedex guy who talked to the food delivery man for the Whitehouse who spoke to one of the kitchen staff who heard it directly from an un-named associate who might be the person who maintains some of the IT equipment used by someone important who works directly with some of the staff who manage something.
    * * *
    Back in the sane world, this would constitute a “farce” and be a theatrical hit; in our world, it’s the current reality.

  17. Griffin Says:

    Who knows if any part of this is true but the long, long list of erroneous reports makes me question anything they report at this point.

    As mentioned above Tillerson has been near firing or resignation about seven times and is still on the job and of course my favorite was the time a few months back when John Kelly didn’t accompany the president on a flight somewhere and that definitely meant he was going to be out by the end of the week.

  18. Sam L. Says:

    I don’t believe the NYT. Nor the WaPoo. How come the NYT hates the local boy?

  19. FOAF Says:

    “makes him sound reasonable”

    Gotta stomp on that narrative, quick.

  20. Manju Says:

    Fox News has independently confirmed the story.

  21. Fractal Rabbit Says:

    “Fox News has independently confirmed the story.”

    Well, that settles it…

  22. Andy Valentine Says:

    Well said, Neo. A good leader surrounds himself (or herself) with smart advisers who will do exactly that, advise. A good leader will listen to their advisers and examine their decisions. Sometimes they will be persuaded to change their mind. Trump is a good leader. This is a pleasant and good changed from the previous administration.

    A poor leader can’t make a decision quickly and often refuses to change when the decision made turns out to be wrong. Studies about CEO’s facing difficult problems have shown a good CEO makes more bad decisions than a poor CEO. Good CEO’s were shown to make more decisions period. They are willing to do SOMETHING, even if it was wrong, and change their direction if warranted. Again, a pleasant change. Good leaders realize criticism takes a distant back seat to success.

  23. SouthofReality Says:

    Heck, I wanted to see Mueller fired. I guess that makes me a co-conspirator in this “crime”.

  24. Tuvea Says:

    OldTexan opined:

    “This is almost a Shakespear (sic) play.”

    “Life imitates art …”
    – Oscar Wilde

  25. Otto Says:

    Does autocratic mean hitlerism or presidential ?

  26. Steve S Says:

    I read the story, not as a breathless revelation to attack the President, but as the President inquiring about the likely outcomes if he were to fire Mueller.

    There were a lot of folks on the Right who were pushing for him to do just that, so it would be quite natural for him to ask about possible consequences. To which McGahn might well reply “it would be a s**tstorm, and I would probably have to resign.”

    Now read that statement through the lens of the NYT: “…but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign.”

    It’s so easy when you have unnamed sources.

  27. Ymar Sakar Says:

    The FBI used the MSM as tools for the coup de tat against Nixon and it worked.

    So they are kind of befuddled and confused why it works less well against Trum. Well, that’s because of the Deep State. Part of it supports Trum, while the others do not.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    How dare you say the FBI is unpatriotic or treasonous, you’re crazy.

    That would be the classical gut reflex reaction… before various FBI “Things” were disclosed to you in the public.

  29. Idle Observer Says:

    What interests me is that none of the coverage (or even the comments here) considers the hypothetical “What if Trump knows that he is innocent and that the only just outcome is that no one is charged with anything?” All the coverage and commentary seems to be based on the idea that Trump is guilty, or that Trump can have no idea whether the investigation is fair, because he doesn’t know what Mueller has found out. This is what seems increasingly bizarre, the inability to entertain the idea that the president of the United States is not a crook.

  30. R.C. Says:


    Unless you’re doing it for some well-thought-out strategic reason, there’s no reason for you to live your life thinking that there is a periodical called the New York Times.

    I mean, nothing of substance is said there any more.

    Nobody with a sane world-view finds that periodical much more reliable, than, say, a “Bat Boy” story from the old Weekly World News. (I suppose it is, technically, more reliable, but not by an order of magnitude. And it’s far less entertaining.)

    Perhaps…I don’t know. Maybe the classified ads run in the Times are sufficient reason not to bulldoze the building where the Times used to operate.

    But don’t get wound around the axle about a rag that, currently, has less influence on national public opinion than Vox.com…and the content of which is entirely redundant with Vox, to boot.

    I know, I know. Your neighbors still think it’s “important,” because of where they live, and their longstanding habits, and the inability of the aged to adapt to social changes. And because they think it does, that rag has an outsized impact on your immediate neighborhood.

    But there’s a great freedom in being what your neighbors will eventually call an “early adopter,” especially when it’s not because you’re early to something new, but because they’re late.

    People who adopt the ignoring of the Times now are better informed than those who don’t: They have other opportunities to read news items elsewhere, and better odds that those news items will be factual. And even if they drop the Times and replace it with nothing, a person is still better-informed if they learn zero things this week, than if they learn ten things that aren’t true.

    Think of it like “cutting the cord” on cable. For a dozen years or more there’s been no serious reason to have either cable or satellite, and significant improvements in quality-of-life by having neither. Stick with Internet streaming and you find that having choice allows you to reject the crap which you used to passively accept because it happened to be on.

    The same thing is true with newspapers. The sole value of the Times is as a report on the inner psychology and obsessions of some leftist editors whom you probably don’t personally know.

    If you like that sort of thing for the same reason people used to watch Jerry Springer, well, then, have at it. But if not, ditch it like a bad prom date and feel relieved about it. Get those fifteen minutes of your life back and read some classics, or do yoga, or pray, or in some other way pursue edifying and life-affirming activity.

    You won’t regret it.

  31. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I for one long ago concluded that Trump is entirely innocent of collusion with the Russians. I take it as a given that Putin would have far preferred Clinton to Trump.

  32. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Idle Observer Says:
    January 27th, 2018 at 12:27 pm
    What interests me is that none of the coverage (or even the comments here) considers the hypothetical “What if Trump knows that he is innocent and that the only just outcome is that no one is charged with anything?”

    They are merely obeying their orders. They don’t discover anything, they follow a script.

    What is the script?

    Compare the Valerie Plame “arrest”.
    I take it as a given that Putin would have far preferred Clinton to Trump.

    Putin is too busy digging up Ancient asymmetrical technology to counter US technical superiority (Such as that Ark of Gabriel incident). Russia is doing it now everywhere, same as the Germans with Ahnerbe. When top German rocket scientists were asked where they got this tech from, was it because Germans were born with superior mathematical and scientific brains. They answered, “no, we are not superior, we had help”. Help from what or whom…

    All roads lead to Antarctica, even J fing Kerry was doing something there.

  33. neo-neocon Says:


    It has nothing to do with whether my neighbors are influenced by reading the Times itself. The NY Times doesn’t just influence its readers, it influences the entire MSM and many many pundits, on TV and elsewhere, and sets the tone for what is discussed and how its discussed. It still has enormous and outsize influence.

  34. neo-neocon Says:


    Sometimes you are quite funny, perhaps unintentionally so.

    This is one of those times.

    Ah, Fox News has independently confirmed it! That must make it so, because everybody knows that stupidhead conservatives believe everything they hear on good old Faux News! Or something like that.

    But the main point isn’t whether it’s true or not that Trump thought about firing Mueller. The main point is in the paragraph
    that begins “But I have an additional question.” In other words, so what?

  35. om Says:

    The Penguins know all.

  36. richard40 Says:

    Yes, talk about nothing stories, Trump considered firing Meuller, something he could have legally done, but did not do it. So how many other breathless stories will they report about things Trump did not do.
    Stop the presses, Trump did not start WW3, Trump did not put people in concentration camps, but we think he thought about it sometime, how horrible.

  37. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Trum did not get enough Goldman Sachs boys on his admin roll.

    People like me told everyone that Trum should fire everyone first, to purge the place of Hussein boys. They don’t listen. Instead, they listen to the idea that the media would hold Trum accountable, or Congress would hold Trum accountable, in the primary season.

    That was never gonna happen.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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