Pompeo has escalated the war against NPR by barring a different NPR reporter (Michele Kelemen) from covering his trip to Europe and Central Asia. Here’s the strongly worded statement from the State Department Correspondents’ Association:
“The removal of Michele, who was in rotation as the radio pool reporter, comes days after Secretary Pompeo harshly criticized the work of an NPR host. We can only conclude that the State Department is retaliating against National Public Radio as a result of this exchange,” Shaun Tandon, the association’s president, said in a statement.
Let’s just file that under “N” for “No Shit, Sherlock”, or perhaps “G” for “Get a Fucking Clue”, and move on.
Of course, as far as we know, every other reporter is staying on the trip. I gotta go set up my positive pressure room so I can hunker down through the coming plague that will be spread by McDonald’s Happy Meal toys and contaminated dog food, so I’ll just bullet point this one (as Mayor Pete would say):
- No major news that isn’t predictable will be generated on this trip. Sending a couple of pool reporters and photographers to transcribe the lies and cover the protests and photo ops, would keep us as informed as we need to be about this event. (cf. Jay Rosen, mutadis mutandis)
- Therefore, the right response is to send a pool and let Pompeo pack the plane with Fox News, Breitbart and similar scum, but the press won’t because of a few reasons:
- The press is addicted to “scoops” that are regularly spun off from the leaky scow that is Pompeo’s State Department. What counts as a scoop is generally a lie reported first and/or gossip that has no real news value, generated by people who would be on this trip and drunk in the hotel bar at night. The value of the scoop is to help the scoop recipients to attain the aura of a “connected insider” so they can get Twitter followers and clicks from people who give a shit about what just happened 5 minutes ago, i.e., not normal people.
- Reporters and their editors are under massive financial pressure to get clicks and eyeballs, blue checks, and all that shit, but in the current Internet environment, it’s not clear that clicks, being a “thinkfluencer”, etc. is really worth anything. The new working model for media is subscriptions and a tight paywall, and it’s not at all clear that the kind of gossipy scoops that fuel the Twitter fire translate into subscribers.
- To be fair to the media, it’s hard for competitors to join together to fight an existential thread, so if Fox gets on the plane, and predictably is the recipient of tons of bullshit “scoops”, other outlets would perceive that as a competitive loss. This ignores the fact that that Fox and mainstream media compete for a completely different set of eyeballs. Fox et. al. has a lock on ~40% of the population. The rest of the media is fighting for the other 60%.
- Whether or not the “scoops” that would be gotten on this trip would actually help the publications sending reporters on the trip, it is fucking lunacy for the press not to clap back hard at stuff like this, because it’s clear that any press outlet connected with the real world is an enemy of Trumpland, and the Trumpers will continue to pick off “lieberal” outlets like NPR whenever they need to make noise with their base. Perhaps a really strong response would help, probably not, but a weak-ass response definitely won’t do shit. So, fucking fight.
If that all makes sense or not, it doesn’t matter, because no organization venerates bullshit traditions and status quo like the DC media, and they’ve all convinced themselves that things will be back to normal once the Trump storm blows over.
In conclusion, we’re all going to die. Thank you for your time, and don’t miss the snacks on the buffet table on your way out of the auditorium.