The cries over the demise of journalism have proven to be overblown. While the content of the local dailies is often disappointing, a surprising number of excellent journalists have risen to the challenge posed by Trump. I have noted several of them in my “related links” site and have referenced many in my blogs over the past several months. The New Yorker in particular deserves notice for the articles by Jane Mayer – “The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency” and by Adam Davidson – “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal”. Mayer’s article exposes the role of right-wing oligarch Robert Mercer in funding the rise of the alt-right. Davidson writes about Trump’s partnership with the organized crime Mammadov family in Azerbaijan. But the fact is that investigative jounalists publishing through numerous sites are making a difference. Recent articles by Michael Winship, Steve Harper, and others at Bill Moyers’ site Moyers and Company, have been connecting the dots on Trump’s collusion with Russia. Maggie Haberman just wrote an excellent piece for The New York Times , “Roger Stone, the ‘Trickster’ on Trump’s Side, Is Under F.B.I. Scrutiny“ setting the connections between Roger Stone, Trump, Manafort, and the Russians. Less known web sites like Slate turn out fine articles. In “Gutter Trash Sebastian Gorka’s ties to a group of Nazi collaborators is a new low for Donald Trump’s administration”, Michelle Goldberg helped detail the contacts of Trump aide Sebastian Gorka with the Hungarian-Nazi Vitézi Rend. See also David Cay Johnston’s May 23, 2016 article in Politico “Just What Were Donald Trump’s Ties to the Mob?“.
Today, I’d like to cite Michael Tomasky’s article in the April 6 New York Review of Books, “Trump: The Scramble”. Tomasky does perhaps the best job yet in describing the dynamics of Republican complicity with the non-ideological Trump. Here’s an excerpt from his analysis of Mitch McConnell: “McConnell is one thing. He has no policy commitments, beyond his hope that all campaign finance regulation might someday be wiped off the books. He just wants the power of his majority, and if it’s Trump who happens to be the facilitator and guarantor of that power, fine by him.”
And, by contrast, Tomasky on Paul Ryan: “Ryan is another matter, indeed the opposite: he has many policy commitments. You might think that would give him reason to take stands against Trump, but in fact it is precisely his policy commitments that keep him tethered to Trump. Ryan wants to dismantle the welfare state. So the devil’s bargain he has made, and this is true of many congressional Republicans, is that they will support Trump, let him deport Muslims and crack down on undocumented Latinos, let him depart from party orthodoxy on trade, let him pursue risky and maybe even sinister policies with Vladimir Putin, turn a collective blind eye to the manifold ways in which he dishonors the office, as long as the president signs whatever legislation they bring to his desk that rips the bricks out of the wall of the liberal state. They will hope in the meantime that he doesn’t start World War III or hand state secrets to the Russian FSB.”
This is all good stuff. Read Tomasky. Read them all. The journalists are back. I’m hoping they bring Trump and his cronies down.