Yesterday’s House sleazefest featuring Michael Cohen was trumpeted far and wide across the media for all the “revelations” about Trump that Cohen allegedly made. But were they really “revelations”? Doesn’t that imply that we learned something both new and verifiably true? Actually, all we heard were the same anti-Trump attacks that have been retailed on leftwing media outlets and websites for over two years, only this time, spewed into the Congressional Record by a convicted liar. Is this really what the media accept as “evidence” these days?
I have a couple of writers who have worked with me for years, first on my radio show and then my TBN show, and they also contribute to and do background research work for my newsletter. I first came to know Pat Reeder and Laura Ainsworth from their daily syndicated radio service, the Comedy Wire, which impressed me not only with the wit of the one-liners but also their depth of understanding of the news and their research and fact-checking, which was often better than serious news prep services. They seemed to have a sixth sense for spotting “fake news.” So I asked Pat how they would apply their methods of vetting stories to the Cohen hearing. While I’m glad they work for me, I think you’ll agree that CNN and many other news outlets could use their services, too. Here’s Pat’s response:
In writing a subscription radio prep service, we knew that every day, if we sent out a story that was false or even had an incorrect fact, our radio host clients who repeated it could get into big trouble, cancel their subscriptions and we’d be out of business overnight. So we learned to be scrupulous about using reliable sources (preferably more than one), reading takes on the same story from different viewpoints and getting quotes 100% accurate from original sources. We also developed a nose for fake news that’s gotten quite a workout recently, and we compiled our own list of red flags that a story might not be kosher. Our warnings to clients about some "hot" but fake stories saved them from defamation lawsuits that less cautious outlets faced.
Here are some red flags that were waving frantically at the Cohen hearings:
1. Extraordinary claims from an unreliable source (speaks for itself.)
2. Does anyone involved have an ulterior motive? Well, the Democrats who called the hearing have been searching for anything to impeach Trump over since the minute he was elected. Cohen is obviously looking for some way to please Trump’s critics and shorten his sentence. And since he lost his law license and refused to go on record that he won’t sign a book or movie deal or become a “correspondent” for some liberal TV network, this is a no-brainer.
3. Is the story “too good to be true”? Specifically, does it fit someone’s agenda so perfectly that it sounds like a script written by the target’s harshest critics (the way that opening statement reeked of being written by Lanny Davis, although after listening to Cohen talk, I wouldn’t rule out Damon Runyon.) Like the Jussie Smollett claim that he wasn’t merely attacked by men shouting “This is MAGA country” in a liberal neighborhood of Chicago, but they also just happened to be carrying a noose at 2 a.m. in -20 degree weather.
In this case, what names have Trump’s most partisan critics been calling him for two years? He’s a “racist!” A “con man!” A “gangster!” And what did Cohen call him? A “racist!” A “con man!” A “gangster!” Trump had been accused of calling some nations “bleep-holes.” Why, Cohen just happened to hear Trump use that exact same term, only in the context of an even more stereotypically racist rant that only Cohen witnessed. That’s as unbelievably convenient as finding a clean public bathroom in a 7-11.
4. Evidence that isn’t really evidence. Cohen promised shocking new evidence, but he couldn’t really show any new evidence because there are ongoing investigations and the prosecutors wouldn’t let him. So he showed us canceled checks signed by Trump and his son! A-ha, proof of hush money payments to a blackmailing porn star! But wait – the Trumps claim those were just standard retainer payments to Cohen as their personal attorney at the time. And I didn’t see “Bimbo hush money” written on the memo line. But we know that’s what it was because we have the word of…convicted liar Michael Cohen!
Trump must’ve known about the meeting with the Russian who claimed to have dirt on Hillary because Don Jr. allegedly told his dad that an unspecified meeting was on, so what else could that possibly have referred to other than a Russian conspiracy, according to the only alleged witness to this vague exchange…Michael Cohen.
Likewise, we learned that Trump was told in advance by Roger Stone about that Russia/Wikileaks/email dump. He offered no actual evidence, and Stone quickly refuted his claim, but we have the “suspicions” of…Michael Cohen.
And as noted, we know Trump said horrible racist things in private because we have the word of...Michael Cohen (you’d think he of all people would have secretly taped some of this stuff.)
Every alleged “revelation” was backed by nothing more than Michael Cohen’s “word.” That and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
5. Has the source not only lied in the past, but can’t even stop lying when he’s testifying about how he’s no longer lying? Granted, this one is likely unique to Cohen.
In summation, none of this proves that President Trump is not a selfish, racist, unpatriotic, bimbo-paying-off, Russia colluder. But it also didn’t prove that he is one, any more than it proved he’s a space alien from a planet of creatures with gravity-defying hair. The Democrats set this up to throw mudballs at Trump, but as often happens, ended up covered with mud themselves for hosting this embarrassment to the US House.
As I watched this depressing flea circus drag on, I kept thinking of the scene in the Rat Pack movie, “Robin and the 7 Hoods,” where Sinatra's character has been framed for killing the Chicago sheriff. After hearing all the shady testimony fingering him by crooked city officials and colorful mobsters, the jury returns and the foreman says this:
“According to the witnesses, the defendant not only killed the sheriff, but he sunk the Lusitania, started the Chicago Fire and polished off Cock Robin. Now, I have been a house detective for 34 years, your honor, and I have seen some pretty good ringers in my time. But I think the prosecution should be congratulated on bringing together under one roof the greatest collection of shifty-eyed, double-crossing, two-faced liars…This jury has no alternative except to declare the defendant innocent.”
Congratulations to the Democrats for managing to find a witness who combined that entire rogue’s gallery of shifty-eyed, double-crossing, two-faced liars into one sad excuse for a human being. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a shower and wash that hearing off of me.