On The Media
The latest edition of WNYC’s public radio show “On the Media” provides an excellent overview and summary of the Donald Trump constitutional crisis. In less than an hour the OTM team produced a powerful roundup of the sad state of affairs and the decisions we are facing.
The entire broadcast is worth the time, but you can also listen to each segment individually:
Paper Trail – In the midst of the news about attorney general Jeff Sessions’ previously undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador, another set of revelations emerged. This week, the New York Times reported that in the waning days of the Obama administration, White House and intelligence officials scrambled to document and preserve evidence of Russian interference in the election, both to leave a clear trail for future investigators and to ensure that the information couldn’t be destroyed or covered up by the new administration. Brooke talks with national security and intelligence reporter Matthew Rosenberg, who co-wrote the Times story, about this new chapter in the Trump-Russia saga. (15 Minutes)
What Russian Television Tells Us About Trump – Russian state media was awash in fawning coverage of President Trump in the weeks after the election. According to one tally, Trump’s name was mentioned 55,000 more times than Putin’s in the month of January.
Russian editorials and pundits described Trump as a champion for a warmer relationship between Moscow and Washington. Then, the tone shifted dramatically. Alexey Kovalev of The Moscow Times talks to Bob about how the Russian press have tried to rationalize anti-Russia statements by Trump and his cabinet members, and what the shift says about the Kremlin’s approach to Trump.
Ukraine’s Remedy For Fake News: News About Fake News – In 2014, in the aftermath of the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, the vacuum of reliable information in the Ukrainian media was filled by a deluge of misinformation and propaganda from Russia. To counter this, a small group at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kiev started StopFake, a media organization devoted solely to debunking fake news and Russian propaganda. Today, three years later, StopFake is a multi-platform media outlet with a nightly TV show broadcast on 30 local channels, a weekly radio show, and a strong social media following.
Brooke talks to Yevhen Fedchenko, co-founder and current editor-in-chief of StopFake, as well as director of the School of Journalism at Kiev-Mohyla Academy. He says that StopFake’s goal isn’t just to debunk fake news — it’s to make news consumers smarter and more critical of their news.
America’s Lost Anti-Corruption History – With a president who is also a real estate tycoon, reality TV star, and personal brand — and who actively receives revenue via each of these personae — the possibilities seem endless for political corruption, particularly in light of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which forbids the receiving of gifts, titles, and emoluments from foreign countries without Congress’s consent.
The problem, according to law professor Jed Shugerman, is that without access to Donald Trump’s tax documents, it’s impossible to know the full extent of his financial dealings — and thus difficult to move forward on any potential corruption charges. Bob talks with Shugerman about a legal strategy that could bring Trump’s entanglements into the light.
But Trump’s taxes are only necessary if we define “corruption” as the explicit exchange of payments for favor, or “quid pro quo.” This definition, which the Supreme Court used in the controversial Citizens United ruling and which countless politicians have leaned on ever since, argues that unless you can demonstrate explicit exchange, you can’t prove, or prosecute, corruption.
But according to Zephyr Teachout, author of Corruption in America, this was never what America’s founders envisioned when they set out to fight corruption. Brooke talks with Teachout about the overwhelming passion for anti-corruption present at the founding of the nation, the “bright line” rules it inspired, and how we have drifted so far from our original understanding of the concept. (17 Minutes)