Lies, Damned Lies, and DR

Pravda on Amager

I’d meant to post this Thursday, but the day got out of hand. The same thing happened Friday.

Turns out that’s not such a bad thing, because the story ripened a little with age.

We begin on Wednesday evening, when DR’s website featured the following headline at the top of their website:

In English:

Expert after new Trump hearing: “Probably the most damning portrait ever drawn of any president.”

The journalist responsible for the article (which is here) is one Anders Melchior Frigaard. As DR’s headline promises, however, Frigaard is really more of a curator here.  The money quotes are delivered by one of Denmark’s leading “experts” on America.

Niels Bjerre-Poulsen is “one of the most used commentators on American politics and culture” and he has “won several awards for his dissemination of American society.” 

That’s according to Niels Bjerre-Poulsen.

He’s also a relentless partisan who will happily parrot the Democratic party line on the issue of your choice.  That’s not his claim: it’s mine.  Backed up by years if exposure to his “expert” analysis.

To any American in Denmark who isn’t a fanatically devoted leftist, the most discouraging words to hear from a newscast are “…and for some American perspective, we now turn to Niels Bjerre-Poulsen.”

Like so many other Danish media leftists, Bjerre-Poulsen isn’t necessarily trying to misrepresent America.  Not always, anyway.  He just doesn’t realize how one-sided his particular vision is.  It’s all a matter of common sense to him: Democrats good, Republicans bad, Trump very very bad.  Period.  There’s no need for reflection or analytic thinking, no need for anything so onerous as independent thought.  Fish don’t know they’re wet and most academic experts don’t know they’re stuck in an ideological ghetto.

Here’s how the article gets rolling:

On Tuesday evening Danish time, the sixth hearing was held, and according to Niels Bjerre-Poulsen, associate professor at the Center for American Studies at SDU , the content was “mind-blowing”.

“It may not have altered the picture I and many others already had, but it confirmed it,” says Niels Bjerre-Poulsen.

It confirmed all his biases. He just comes right out and says so.  And Frigaard thinks that’s a great way to crack things open.

When Niels Bjerre-Poulsen does the math, the result doesn’t bode well for Donald Trump.

“It’s probably the most credible and damning portrait ever drawn of any president in a congressional hearing. We must remember that there is a difference between (criminal) charges that have to be raised by the Department of Justice, and then the stuff in these hearings here that can’t result in charges,” says Niels Bjerre-Poulsen.

Since the congressional hearings cannot end in concrete charges, the question then is what the hearings should achieve.

“There’s a constant fear that a significant number of voters will be more caught up in gas prices and inflation than in these hearings.”

That’s not a Kinsley gaffe.  It’s not a slip of the mask: Bjerre-Poulsen never even bothered to put one on.

He’s saying the big concern is that Americans might cast their votes based on their own criteria instead of the manufactured hysteria Democrats have been hosing them with for the past six years.

It’s a “constant fear.”

And we’re apparently all prepared to acknowledge that distracting Americans from the pocketbook and kitchen table issues that generally determine election outcomes is “what the hearings should achieve.”

He’s framing these as American public policy problems when they’re obviously just strategic considerations for the Democratic party.

“I think it’s a given that there are millions of Americans who don’t want to hear these things. In other words, Trump supporters who have been convinced that this is something the Democrats have invented, all lies and fabrications,” says Niels Bjerre-Poulsen.

Therefore, Niels Bjerre-Poulsen believes that it is primarily the independent voters and a small crowd of Republican voters who will take note of the hearings.

Those millions of Americans and Trump supporters may be onto something.  As early as Wednesday evening, Danish time, news was already breaking that pretty much every individual named by the Democrats’ star witness (Cassidy Hutchinson) was contradicting her “testimony” and begging for an opportunity to do so under oath.

And when I say the news was already breaking, I mean it was being vehemently dismissed by every establishment outlet—without being denied or contradicted. 

The general tenor of the establishment coverage was, “Well, these various secret service people quoted by the witness have contradicted her story, but of course they would because they’re all liars / they’re in the thrall of Trump / they’re not as smart as her / their memories aren’t as good as hers.”

In any case, it was out there before DR put this story on their website Wednesday evening.  And yet they left it there without any kind of update or follow-up—even after they had to correct a story they’d put up early Wednesday morning filed by ace correspondent Steffen Kretz with the following:

Corrections: In the first editions of the article, it appeared that Cassidy Hutchinson said that Trump took a stranglehold on the head of the security guards. We have now clarified that she said that Trump reached out for his neck. We have additionally added that parts of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony consisted of second-hand accounts.

In other words: originally we reported that Trump had been trying to strangle a security guard and we said or implied that Cassidy Hutchinson was a witness rather than a gossip. Our bad.

Bjerre-Nielsen’s expertise doesn’t require any such correction, since he’s only expressing his own intepretation of events. But if those events were apparently thick with falsehoods and misrepresentations and nevertheless confirmed what he already believed, that tells us something about his previous beliefs.

The questions of Hutchinson’s veracity are legitimate enough that even CNN published a piece to address them:

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that aired Thursday, Cheney was pressed on Hutchinson’s remarks that former President Donald Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent in a vehicle traveling to the White House on January 6, 2021, and the committee’s vice chairwoman was asked whether the panel had followed up with the Secret Service.

Cheney told ABC that the panel had spoken with Tony Ornato, then-White House deputy chief of staff, and Robert Engel, who was the Secret Service agent in charge on January 6, 2021—and at whom Hutchinson testified that she was told by Ornato that Trump had lunged.

“I don’t want to get into too many details,” Cheney said. “The committee has spoken to both Mr. Ornato and Mr. Engel, and we welcome additional testimony under oath from both of them, and from anybody else in the Secret Service who has information about any of these issues.”

Cheney’s comments are consistent with those other members of the January 6 committee had told CNN and other outlets earlier this week.

Cheney added, “We have been working with the Secret Service, we have interviewed, as I said, a number of individuals in the Secret Service. We will continue to do so. And I think it is important that their testimony be under oath.”

Give ‘em the ol’ Razzle Dazzle, razzle dazzle ‘em….

Cheney’s answer is almost deliciously evasive. It’s also redolent of Kamala Harris: “We’ve talked to people.  We’ll talk to more people.  We welcome talking to people, and it’s important to talk to them.  The people.  Whom we will continue talking with.”

All of this actually underscores the farcical nature of the so-called J6 hearings: were there actually two sides, one attempting to prove a proposition and the other attempting to disprove it, with both sides permitted to call witnesses, offer up evidence, and so on—then the hearings might be useful.  But from the moment Nancy Pelosi forbade the minority party to choose its own members for the committee, and she instead appointed two unhinged NeverTrumper “Republicans” (one about to retire, the other more or less campaigning for re-election as a Democrat), this whole mess has been a foregone conclusion.

Niels Bjerre-Poulsen points out that the DoJ can probably not live with the fact that many (January 6 rioters) are being charged with various crimes from vandalism to planned coup attempts after the storming of Congress, but none from Trump’s inner circle are.

“If one is to believe what Attorney General Merrick Garland has said, then there is an intention to go higher up in terms of prosecutions” he says.

“If one is to believe” indeed.

I for one do not believe it, because unlike Congressional hearings there are actual rules for criminal prosecutions.  The biggest obstacle Democrats would face in putting together a criminal case, which I have no doubt they would genuinely love to, is that the discovery process would allow Republicans access to a lot of information I don’t think Democrats want them anywhere near.

By falsely perpetuating the possibility of such criminal prosecutions, however, the Democrats get the best of both worlds: they can continue issuing smears without ever having to back them up—a tactic that worked very well for them from 2016 to 2020, when we were constantly being told how the walls were closing in on Trump and the end was near and yada yada yada—and all of it accomplished nothing in legal terms but certainly kept their base fired up (if not entirely deranged). It wasn’t good for America, but it was excellent for the Democratic party and that’s what really matters.

(Incidentally, there are several places where all January 6 related charges and convictions are being tracked. For example here and here. I’d encourage anyone who believes there was a genuine coup attempt in progress on January 6 to take a long hard look at that data.)

In any case, at 6:11 Friday morning DR put out a new story as part of their news stream, which is always hard to link to because it’s a stream of smallish news items.

But it was promoted at the top of their website:

It’s the middle item of that banner:

Trump accuses Congressional witness of lying: She must have ‘serious mental problems.’ ”

Here’s the full text of the item, which is credited to Nana Fischer:

A liar with mental problems.

That’s more or less how former US President Donald Trump describes former White House adviser Cassidy Hutchinson.

Hutchinson testified Tuesday about the former president during a hearing on the onslaught against Congress on January 6 last year.

And now Trump is calling her a liar in an interview with the right-wing media Newsmax.

“For this girl to come up with these kinds of stories, she must have serious problems. Mental problems,” Trump tells the media, according to Ritzau.

Trump’s accusations come after Hutchinson said under oath, among other things, that Trump did not care that his supporters were armed when he had to speak on the lawn behind the White House on the day of the deadly onslaught against the US Congress.

And… that’s it.

No mention at all by the left-wing media DR that much of what Hutchinson had so say under oath has already been publicly contested enough (by people closer to events than she was) that even the “left-wing media CNN” had to fart out a little piece using Liz Cheney’s non-repudiation repudiation to appear as though they were addressing those obviously substantial critiques of Hutchinson’s testimony. There’s no reference to their own earlier correction to left-wing journalist Steffen Kretz’s earlier piece in which they’d had to acknowledge that in one case they’d misrepresented Hutchinson’s testimony, and that throughout the piece they’d neglected to mention that all of her testimony was just hearsay—unsubstantiated, second-hand gossip.

It was just a chance to shiv the Dread Tyrant Trump for saying mean things.

Here are the salient take-aways: DR is presenting only the Democratic perspective on a Democratically-controlled Congressional hearing whose entire purpose, as even their own avowedly biased “expert” acknowledges, is to distract Americans from the disastrous effect that Democratic policies are having on their lives.

I should be used to it now, and to some degree I am, but it still burns. Danish public opinion about America is obviously strongly affected by the coverage they see, read, and hear in the Danish news media, and so much of that material—very nearly all of it—is just as bad as all this.

At the same time: DR has to this date published no stories on the attempted assassination of Brett Kavanaugh by a leftwing extremist. Their last article mentioning the name Kavanaugh was published on May 8 and was fawning coverage of the protestors gathered around his private home… the same home a young man traveled across the country to visit so he could kill a sitting justice of the Supreme Court.

But I suppose DR’s “big concern” is that such a story, like inflation and high gas prices, might distract Danes from the only thing that really matters: Democrats good, Republicans bad, Trump very very bad.

If Congress flips in November and Republicans take control of both houses of Congress, as now appears likely, there are three things in particular I would very much enjoy: I want the hapless lame-duck Biden to be legislatively emasculated, I would like to see America put back on its feet with policies driven by economic and geopolitical reality rather than utopian fever dreams, and I would love some political payback for the grotesqueries inflicted on America for the past six years.

But I’ll happily rise above my baser instincts and let the third thing slide if the 118th Congress can do the first two. And as tempting as it may be to be go after Democrats with all the passion and fury with which they’ve been going after Republicans, I think it would be a strategic mistake.

I’ll tell you why.

If the American public is wise enough to send today’s Democratic party into the political wilderness, then there’s hope for the ol’ republic yet. After all, should the expected political tsunami arrive, it won’t be despite the Democrats’ stranglehold on things, but because of it. It will be an absolute repudiation of the Democrats having overplayed their hand.

It therefore stands to reason that if Republicans use their control of Congress to overplay their own hand, the cycle will just repeat: the electorate will reject them in 2024, and then the incoming Democrats will overplay their hand, and so on, on and on, forever and ever.

I know the Democrats have been awful these past several years. I’d love to see Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler, the “squad,” and plenty of other members of Congress—and Ole Puddinhead himself—treated by a Republican congress exactly the way so many Republicans have been treated by this Democratic congress. But it would also be suicidal.

Having won the trust of the American public, or having at least persuaded the public that they’re the lesser of two evils, it will be incumbent on Republicans to show themselves worthy of the faith Americans have invested in them.

Let’s see Republicans eschew the political melodrama and character assassination so beloved by the left and focus instead on getting the country moving in the right direction again. Let’s see them reward politically centrist and independent Americans for their support by doing things that help them, rather than things that make Democrats look bad. It ought to be punishment enough for Democrats to be driven out of office: don’t waste time impeaching Ole Puddinhead or launching a thousand and one investigations into Democratic malfeasance (even though I certainly believe there’s been far too much Democratic malfeasance for the health of the republic).

The current administration and Congress have been so catastrophic for the country that Republicans don’t even have to make America great again: they just have to make it not suck.

That’s setting the bar low enough that even Congressional Republicans ought to be able to clear it.

But you never know.