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[English Geoscience Café No.14] New American President and the American Media

发布日期:2017-12-26 15:53:20 阅读次数:[1590]次 作者:

核心提示:Trump on twitter bypasses main stream media (msm) to directly communicate with his base-denigrating mainstream media, including the New York Times (NYT), Washington Post (WP), and CNN. All kinds of American media are full of his countless and endless falsehoods and lies. MSM and former F.B.I. director James Comey gave Trump bad reviews and strongly disapproves of him. Trump is considered by many as sexist and appeals to bigotry, fear, ignorance, anti-immigrants and anti-Muslim sentiments. So how did he win? Some evidence suggests that he has ties to Russia in laundering money and helping his victory in President Election. Therefore, being a qualified journalist in Trump era is dangerous, challenging, difficult, honorable and of great significance at the same time.

Host: Pray

Text: He Bin(何斌)

Photo:Uqba Ramzan 

Record: He Bin(何斌

Editor:Prosper, Stephen C. McClure

>>>About the Speaker:

Bill Berkeley is an American journalist, author and professor. He has taught international journalism for many years as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University in New York, at both the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and the Graduate School of Journalism. He is a former editorial writer for the New York Times and was a foreign correspondent for The Atlantic magazine in Africa and the Middle East. He wrote a book about war and genocide in Africa called "The Graves Are Not Yet Full". He has taught international journalism as a visiting professor in China since 2010, at both Fudan University in Shanghai and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. He  currently teaches at Wuhan University as a Fulbright Senior Specialist.

Fig.1 Prof. Bill Beerkeley is Giving the Talk of EGSC Session 14

>>>About this English Geoscience Café session:

At 19:00, 8th Dec, 2017, Prof. Bill Berkeley attended English GeoScience Café No.14 and spoke about American media in the Trump era. Kicking off his presentation, Prof. Berkeley talked about two things. Firstly, he clarified that, although he is an American citizen, his views do not represent the American government and neither does he speak on behalf of the American government. Secondly, he stated he does not speak on behalf of the American media which is vast, diverse, competitive and sometimes contradictory but instead his view may at times represent the main stream media which he refered to as “old fashioned media”. 

His presentation was divided into eight parts: 1) Trump’s attitude towards American media; 2) Two falsehoods, three big lies and others small lies from Trump; 3) Comments on Trump from some mainstream media and former F.B.I. director James Comey; 4) How did Trump win the election? 5) What is objectivity or truth? 6) Trump’s ties to Russia in laundering money and helping him win the election; 7) Presidient impeachment; and 8) Conclusion.

Fig.2 Audience Listening to the Talk Carefully

    1) Trump’s attitude towards American media

Prof. Berkeley explained that on his first full day in office, Trump declared he is in a “running war with the media” and calls journalists “most dishonest people on earth”. He said fake news media (NYT, CNN, CBS, NBC) are enemies of the American people.

    2) Two falsehoods, three big lies and others small lies from Trump

The presenter said that Trump advanced two falsehoods on his first day in office. The first falsehood is that the media invented rift between him and Intel agencies, whom he compared to Nazis. Second is that media deliberately understated his his inauguration crowd. But truth can be seen clearly and easily from Fig.3 that compares former President Obama’s crowd and that of Donald Trump. He also lied countless all kinds of lies with respect to Muslims, immigrants, Obama, unemployment, healthcare rollout, etc.

2017 Trump’s inauguration               2009 Obama’s inauguration

Fig.3 Comparison of the Inaugural Crowds

 3) Comments on Trump from some mainstream media and former F.B.I. director James Comey

      The presenter summarised that Washington Post fact-checkers concluded about Trump’s first six months in his office, Trump made 800 false or misleading statements and NYT fact-checkers in March enumerated dozens of false or misleading claims by the administration in healthcare rollout. The ninth week of Donald Trump’s presidency began with the F.B.I. director James Comey calling him a liar.

    4) How did Trump win the election?

Trump lost popular vote by 3 million, but he won electoral college by a narrow margin. So how did he win? According to the presenter, Trump is considered by many as sexist, a populist demagogue and he stands for GOP cynicism. Moreover, he appeals to bigotry, fear, ignorance, anti-immigrants and anti-Muslim. Meanwhile, Hillary was exhausted among seemingly endless scandals at the crucial stage of the election. With the news of Russian intervention, Wiki-leaks drip, FBI last minute intervention renewed investigation of emails and this action decided Trump’s victory in the election to a great extent.

Trump on twitter bypasses MSM to directly communicate with his base - denigrating mainstream media, including NYT, WP, CNN, etc. Mainstream media is doing its job, holding Trump accountable, documenting his lies, chronicling his failure to deliver on his promises.

Prof. Berkeley stated that development of right-wing, hyper-partisan media, Fox news(supports Trump), social media and partisan websites contributed to Trump’s victory. The right wing media spent last 20 years demonizing liberal mainstream media.

    5) What is objectivity or truth?

Based on the above comes a serious question: What is objectivity or truth? NYT create the first enterprise advertisement of the past ten years: “Truth, It’s more important now than ever.”. “Forget about traditional skills of Washington DC access political journalism, think of covering trump’s Washington DC like a war zone, where conflict follows conflict, where the fog prevents the collection of reliable information from the combatants, where the assignment is a matter of life and death” wrote by Jack Shafer, Politico columnist.

    6) Trump’s ties to Russia in laundering money and helping him win the election

Prof. Berkeley discussed the investigation by intelligence agencies, Congress, and media of alleged or suspected Russian connections. National security adviser Michael Flynn resigned in the first month after WP reported his contacts with Russians. He pleaded guilty two weeks ago. Trump doesn’t hide his admiration for Putin. Putin also speak publicly that Trump is better than elected U.S. Pres. Obama.

Prof. Bekeley rasied following questions: “What is the president hiding? If campaign is innocent, why not welcome investigation to clear air? If Flynn’s phone call with Russian AMB was innocent, why lie about it? Why not release tax returns? ”

One day after FBI chief Constable Comey was sacked, Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador in United States. Only the Russian national news agency-Tass is allowed to enter the scene without any U.S. media being allowed to enter.

Fig.4 Left One is Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Right One is Ambassador Sergey Kisliak. This Photo Was Taken at U.S.Oval Office, from Tass.

“His personality is the kind they understand, his cynicism and his dishonesty are familiar, his greed is the same as their greed. Above all, his lack of respect for the law is their lack of respect for the law. Trump fired the FBI director to get him off his television screen; Russian police lock up dissidents to get them out of public view. No, it’s not the same thing. But it’s not that different either.” from Anne Applebaum, WP.

Donald Trump Jr., President’s oldest son, who organized unreported June 2016 Trump campaign meeting with Russians promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. “I love it,” he said in an email when told Putin’s Russia was seeking high-level assistance to Trump campaign.

Fig.5 Donald Trump Jr., President’s Oldest Son.

After NYT reported on emails and meeting, Trump Jr. brazenly lied about its purpose. Caught in the lie, he claimed nothing came of the meeting. WaPo later reported that Trump Sr., the President, helped draft the misleading statement given to the NYT.

The TNR investigative feature regards Trump real estate biz as money laundering haven. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used Trump’s apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. Some ran a worldwide high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower—in a unit directly below one owned by Trump. Others provided Trump with lucrative branding deals that required no investment on his part.

So a conclusion was drawn by Prof. Berkeley: taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics.

But how did Russians know where to target Facebook users in swing states who Trump needed to win election?  Prof. Berkeley said that there is suspicion: Trump campaign had digital data, which helped steer Russian interference.

Therefore, Robert Mueller, former FBI Director, now Independent Counsel, appointed by Justice Department to investigate Russian interference in U.S. election and whether Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome in Trum’s favor.

    7) Presidient impeachment

U.S.Constitution says President may be removed from office on impeachment by Congress for “Treason, Bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”. Impeachment is basically a criminal trial by the Senate. House of Representatives votes on Articles of Impeachment and majority vote is needed. Senate conducts trial according to legal rules of due process and 60 Senate votes needed to convict.

Continuing, Prof. Berkeley said that impeachment is a legal process, but ultimately it is political, since jurors are Members of Congress, eg politicians beholden to voters. Republicans now control both Houses of Congress, it’s unlikely to impeach Trump unless Republican voters turn against Trump.

    8) Conclusion

Prof. Berkeley concluded his presentation that “It’s a great time to be an investigative journalist. Sure, no president has done more to demonize media than President Trump. But nor has anybody done more to boost our standing than Trump. Millions of Americans have put their faith in us.” quoting words from ProPublica.

Towards the end of session audience asked a number of questions from Prof. Berkeley regarding the American media, the relationship between Trump, American citizens and the media, Trump’s decision on Palestine etc, which were answered in great detail. In the end, the Session ended with a smiling group photo.


Fig.6 Mutual Interlocution in Q&A Session

Fig.7 Group Photo of Speaker, EGSC Members and Some Audiences

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