That was a Great Journalism Day: MSNBC Captured the Hearts & Minds of Americans

March 26, 2017

Recently, Trump advisor Kelly Ann Conway gave her opinion on the Nordstrom ditching Trump’s daughter line of products. That was big news & on twitter, most of my friends and followers opinion of what occurred, was similar to MSNBC’s Steve Benen.

I was surprised, not often do news people capture most of the heart and mind of people, except for such event as, i.e.  natural disaster or conflict situation casualties.

So MSNBC’s Steve Benen Likely Captured What Much of Americans Thinking on Nordstrom Case. He wrote about the need of Congressional Oversight in case like Trump and Kellyann on Nordstrom, and said: “Congress’ oversight of the White House is put on indefinite hold”

Steve Benen is a producer for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and an MSNBC contributor. Before joining MSNBC, Benen was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the “Political Animal” blog. His background includes writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. He is also the former publisher of The Carpetbagger Report.

Benen has been a frequent on-air media guest, appearing on several national television and radio programs. In July 2009, The Atlantic named Benen one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. Benen got his Master’s degree at the George Washington University while interning in President Clinton’s White House. He has experience writing for several congressional campaigns and having been part of the communications department at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The following is from MSNBC’s Steve Benen (source):

Congress’ oversight of the White House is put on indefinite hold.

The Atlantic’s David Frum, lamenting the “ominous indicators of a breakdown of the American political system,” recently noted that raw partisanship has led to a collapse in congressional oversight of the executive branch. “Congress has increasingly become a check only on presidents of the opposite party,” Frum wrote.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) seems a little too eager to prove the thesis correct. TPM reported yesterday:

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said Wednesday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump’s tweet attacking department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line is “a big deal.”

“Is it appropriate, do you believe, is it ethical – and you oversee the executive branch of the government – for the President to be commenting about his daughter’s business like this?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Chaffetz.

“I think most people can relate to the fact that a father, a doting father with very successful children is going to look after those children and, you know, if he sees something going wrong, he’s going to call it out,” Chaffetz said. He said that he doesn’t “pay much attention to it.”

The chairman of the Oversight Committee went on to compare Trump’s comments yesterday about Nordstrom to elected officials giving their opinions on the Super Bowl and “which hamburgers they like.”

It’s hard to imagine Chaffetz actually believing his own rhetoric. The president went on the offensive against an American company for no longer selling his daughter’s merchandise, effectively using his powerful platform to interfere in his daughter’s retailing opportunities. This bears little resemblance to tweets about someone’s lunch preferences.

If this were Hillary Clinton’s administration, is there any doubt the Oversight Committee would’ve scheduled hearings before close of business yesterday? [Update: See below.]

Indeed, when Kellyanne Conway used her official position to endorse Ivanka Trump’s product line on national television this morning – in apparent violation of the law – she did so with the comfort that Jason Chaffetz seems prepared to look the other way no matter what White House officials do.

He hasn’t even been subtle about it. When Team Trump considered getting rid of inspectors general through the administration, Chaffetz dismissed it as little more than a “mistake” from a low-level staffer. When the head of the Office of Government Ethics did his job in advising the White House, Chaffetz took an immediate interest – in targeting the ethics chief instead of the West Wing.

When Democrats asked the Oversight Committee to take a closer look at Trump’s conflicts of interest, the GOP chairman responded soon after that he remains interested in Hillary Clinton’s emails.

 

The Washington Post reported last week that Chaffetz’ committee has unveiled a list of 43 areas of interest to explore over the next two years, but the list “includes no planned inquiries into the Trump organization’s global entanglements and the potential for conflicts of interest.”

 

The New York Times’ David Leonhardt made the case for alarm yesterday:

 

This combination – an anti-democratic president and a quiescent Congress – is very dangerous. Even though many members of Congress think [Trump’s] approach is wrong, they have refused to confront him because he is a member of their party. He has the power to sign bills that Republican legislators have long favored, and their political fortunes are tied to his popularity.

So they look the other way. They duck questions about him, or they offer excuses. They enable him.

Vox’ Ezra Klein added, “[F]or now, the crucial question – the question on which much of American democracy hinges – is not what Trump does. It is what Congress does.”

And as we look to Chaffetz, the answer to the crucial question, apparently, is that Congress intends to do very little.

Update: Though Chaffetz has gone out of his way to avoid criticizing this White House since Inauguration Day, the Oversight Committee chairman changed direction this afternoon, saying Conway’s promotion of Ivanka Trump products was “unacceptable” and “clearly over the line.” A bipartisan letter is reportedly in the works, and it’s unclear if any additional actions are on the way.

 

The Resistance Reports

March 9, 2017

Recently, Trump advisor Kelly Ann Conway gave her opinion on the Nordstrom ditching Trump’s daughter line of products. That was big news & on twitter, most of my friends and followers opinion of what occurred, was similar to MSNBC’s Steve Benen.

I was surprised, not often do news people capture most of the heart and mind of people, except for such event as, i.e.  natural disaster or conflict situation casualties.

So MSNBC’s Steve Benen Likely Captured What Much of Americans Thinking on Nordstrom Case. He wrote about the need of Congressional Oversight in case like Trump and Kellyann on Nordstrom, and said: “Congress’ oversight of the White House is put on indefinite hold”

Steve Benen is a producer for MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and an MSNBC contributor. Before joining MSNBC, Benen was a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, headlining the “Political Animal” blog. His background includes writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, and Salon.com. He is also the former publisher of The Carpetbagger Report.

Benen has been a frequent on-air media guest, appearing on several national television and radio programs. In July 2009, The Atlantic named Benen one of the top 50 most influential political commentators in the United States. Benen got his Master’s degree at the George Washington University while interning in President Clinton’s White House. He has experience writing for several congressional campaigns and having been part of the communications department at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

The following is from MSNBC’s Steve Benen (source):

 

Congress’ oversight of the White House is put on indefinite hold.

The Atlantic’s David Frum, lamenting the “ominous indicators of a breakdown of the American political system,” recently noted that raw partisanship has led to a collapse in congressional oversight of the executive branch. “Congress has increasingly become a check only on presidents of the opposite party,” Frum wrote.

 

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) seems a little too eager to prove the thesis correct. TPM reported yesterday:

House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said Wednesday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump’s tweet attacking department store Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line is “a big deal.”

“Is it appropriate, do you believe, is it ethical – and you oversee the executive branch of the government – for the President to be commenting about his daughter’s business like this?” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Chaffetz.

“I think most people can relate to the fact that a father, a doting father with very successful children is going to look after those children and, you know, if he sees something going wrong, he’s going to call it out,” Chaffetz said. He said that he doesn’t “pay much attention to it.”

The chairman of the Oversight Committee went on to compare Trump’s comments yesterday about Nordstrom to elected officials giving their opinions on the Super Bowl and “which hamburgers they like.”

It’s hard to imagine Chaffetz actually believing his own rhetoric. The president went on the offensive against an American company for no longer selling his daughter’s merchandise, effectively using his powerful platform to interfere in his daughter’s retailing opportunities. This bears little resemblance to tweets about someone’s lunch preferences.

 

If this were Hillary Clinton’s administration, is there any doubt the Oversight Committee would’ve scheduled hearings before close of business yesterday? [Update: See below.]

 

Indeed, when Kellyanne Conway used her official position to endorse Ivanka Trump’s product line on national television this morning – in apparent violation of the law – she did so with the comfort that Jason Chaffetz seems prepared to look the other way no matter what White House officials do.

 

He hasn’t even been subtle about it. When Team Trump considered getting rid of inspectors general through the administration, Chaffetz dismissed it as little more than a “mistake” from a low-level staffer. When the head of the Office of Government Ethics did his job in advising the White House, Chaffetz took an immediate interest – in targeting the ethics chief instead of the West Wing.

When Democrats asked the Oversight Committee to take a closer look at Trump’s conflicts of interest, the GOP chairman responded soon after that he remains interested in Hillary Clinton’s emails.

 

The Washington Post reported last week that Chaffetz’ committee has unveiled a list of 43 areas of interest to explore over the next two years, but the list “includes no planned inquiries into the Trump organization’s global entanglements and the potential for conflicts of interest.”

 

The New York Times’ David Leonhardt made the case for alarm yesterday:

 

This combination – an anti-democratic president and a quiescent Congress – is very dangerous. Even though many members of Congress think [Trump’s] approach is wrong, they have refused to confront him because he is a member of their party. He has the power to sign bills that Republican legislators have long favored, and their political fortunes are tied to his popularity.

So they look the other way. They duck questions about him, or they offer excuses. They enable him.

Vox’ Ezra Klein added, “[F]or now, the crucial question – the question on which much of American democracy hinges – is not what Trump does. It is what Congress does.”

And as we look to Chaffetz, the answer to the crucial question, apparently, is that Congress intends to do very little.

Update: Though Chaffetz has gone out of his way to avoid criticizing this White House since Inauguration Day, the Oversight Committee chairman changed direction this afternoon, saying Conway’s promotion of Ivanka Trump products was “unacceptable” and “clearly over the line.” A bipartisan letter is reportedly in the works, and it’s unclear if any additional actions are on the way.

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