Thursday, February 23, 2017

Blatant abuse of power and conflict of interest

We've been worried about this president's conflicts of interest, but mostly in how he might make decisions, or use his influence, as president to benefit his private business.  Here's an example of a different type -- the abuse of power that he has as president to influence the way he is covered by the media.

When it was announced that son-in-law Jared Kushner would become a senior adviser to the president, I had mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, for all the reasons we think nepotism is a bad thing and actually have laws that forbid it for every government official except the president.

On the other hand, Jared seems like such a nice guy, and there are all those reports that he and Ivanka were really liberals and maybe even Democrats before Daddy decided to levitate to the Oval Office.    It seemed like the two of them were among the few rational people that Trump might listen to.  So, I thought, maybe all in all, Jared would be a good influencemaybe even a calming and reasoning influence.

Well, now it looks like the influence has gone the other way around.  Yes, I'm suggesting that daddy-in-law may have corrupted son-in-law.   Because here is such a blatant example of abuse of power, executed by Jared for the president, that I am dumbfounded that it hasn't gotten more coverage.

It's well known that Trump is furious with CNN and its coverage of him.   He's barred CNN from the press room, he broadcasts derogatory tweets about them, he denounces them at his rallies.

It turns out that CNN's parent company is Time-Warner.   And Time-Warner is in negotiations to be bought out by AT&T in an $88.4 billion deal.   There's one hold-up.  The deal is awaiting government approval.   Mergers and buyouts at this high level that might affect the overall economy or a particular industry are regulated and must be approved.

You see the set up here?    Time-Warner very much wants this deal to go through.   Their subsidiary company CNN is displeasing the president.   Or, as one reporter (whose name I regret got lost in my transferring saved articles) put it:   "What the fuck is the WH doing whining to a corporation about bad press from their owned subsidiary when that corporation is right now under federal review for a proposed merger?

That's right.   According to a Wall Street Journal report, Jared Kushner "met with top executives at Time Warner . . . to express his concern about 'unfair coverage slanted against the president.'"   Kushner met with Time Warner VP of corporate marketing and communications Gary Ginsberg in a meeting at the White House and complained about the 'unfair coverage slanted against the president.'  Kushner has also met with Jeff Zucker, CNN Worldwide President, the same Jeff Zucker who first put Trump's "The Apprentice" on the air. 

Add to this the fact that, during the campaign, Trump himself had said that he would not allow this deal to go through.  Is there any mistake in the current message from the Trump administration?   If you want this dealcall off your reporters and pundits and make them say nice things about the president.

Apparently, despite his clean-cut, devoutly observant, Nice Jewish Boy image, Kushner is quite willing to use the power of the presidency to get what the president wants.

According to the reports, the complaint was general about the CNN coverage but also specifically referred to Ana Navarro and Van Jones.   Navarro was not silenced.   Using the president's favorite means of communicating, she sent out scathing tweets, calling him "Little Jared" and "baby boy," laughing out loud that "Little boy Kushner, tough guy who's supposed to achieve Middle East peace, is complaining about me to CNN.   Boo-hoo!"

Risky?  Probably not.   By going so public with it, she practically guarantees that CNN cannot fire her, or even publicly chastise her, without exposing the Trump team's attempt to blackmail a network.


No comments:

Post a Comment