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Kurtz: A President who says, ‘What you read is not happening’
‘MediaBuzz’ host Howard Kurtz weighs in on the Michael Cohen Band, fueling the debate over the trump card, cash and credibility.
Lordy, there are cassettes—along with a whole new wave of media questions about Donald Trump, his truthfulness, to say the rupture with his former lawyer, his current lawyer: “the President is not an idiot.”
Michael Cohen-tape, broadcast by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, has a lot of games who says what to whom about a possible repayment to a former Playboy model, and Rudy Giuliani’s earlier assertion that the tape would justify the President.
But set that to the side for a moment. To deal with the larger media narrative, the much-overused phrase, is that Trump creates its own reality. He is, as The New York Times yesterday, “is increasingly selected information and turn to live in a world, the truth of his own narrative. As his helpers working to get him isolated from the outside world, Mr. Trump is to say a doubling in its efforts to trust supporters, to him, about the words of the critics and in the news.”
The chief examples mentioned in the story are these:
–Trump, is about an ABC story in front of a VFW audience, when he said: “don’t believe the shit you see, these people—the fake news … What you see and what you just read is what happened.”
– The President “raged” against its employees for violating a rule that all of the TVs on Air Force One tuned to Fox, according to Melania Trump, the set on CNN. (The first lady’s spokeswoman said in a statement, you will see “with any channel you want.” So it’s just like an average couple fights over the remote control, or?)
– The President has his concerns, that the Russian have an effect on the midterm elections: “Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will push very hard for the Democrats. You definitely don’t Trump want!” Uh, except for the fact that Vladimir Putin said he wanted to win the Trump in 2016 and there are no discernible signs that he suddenly wants to help the Dems.
So that brings us back to the Band, which is now being discussed by lawyers on cable 24/7. On one level, it is hardly a smoking gun, because the payment, Trump and Cohen discuss that never actually happened.
It is also not 100 percent clear from the crosstalk, if the candidate is to say, the payment (reimbursement to the National Enquirer, which is owned by Trump pal David Pecker, who spent $150,000 to buy and bury the rights of Karen McDougal’s story) should be made in cash. We hear Trump say “pay with cash,” we hear Cohen say: “no, no, no,” says someone, “check”, and the thing ends suddenly.
The President seized on this point, tweeted: “What a lawyer the Band would a client? So sad! … Why was the end of the Band so abruptly (cut), and while I probably say positive things?” Fair Question.
Rudy Giuliani said to Laura Ingraham, it was “unheard of”, for Cohen, to scream Band to its customers, secretly and “foolhardy for you to try, and cry, and make believe, what is on the tape.”
But Lanny Davis, Cohen’s lawyer, said Cuomo, “Richard Nixon could not turn the Band to re-invent the him in … whatever spin Mr. Giuliani tried, it says ‘cash’, and Michael Cohen says: “no, no, no.'”
But Trump’s not act surprised by the conversation that contradicts his campaign’s insistence that he knew nothing about the Karen McDougal’s business.
These controversies come and go, rarely seemingly Trump influence with the Republicans. And he is entitled to hit back at the press, without the creation of an alternative reality.
But the tormenting questions about the president’s credibility can not only be pivoted away by means of speeches and tweets.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 p.m.). He is the author of “media madness: Donald Trump, the press, and The war for the truth.” You can follow him at @Howard Kurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.