The exploitative coverage of Sam Nunberg: Narrative over compassion, always

· March 6, 2018  
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Disturbing …

In yesterday’s newsletter I highlighted a quote from an interview that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., gave to LevinTV host Mark Levin on his Fox News program Sunday evening. In light of the exploitative nature of the coverage of former Trump campaign associate Sam Nunberg yesterday by the media, here is the quote again:

The media in this country is dead. It no longer exists, and the American people need to understand this. I don’t know where it’s going to all end – if it’s dead forever – but 90% of the media is far-left-wing, and they are totally reliant on getting clicks and playing to their base and to their owners to support what their owners want.

What media owners and their leftist allies seemingly “want” is the destruction of President Donald Trump, no matter what the collateral damage is. This played out yesterday in a series of ugly interviews of Nunberg on cable news. Nunberg first appeared in the afternoon with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, then in back-to-back phone interviews with CNN, including one with Jake Tapper.

Then Nunberg appeared in the studio on MSNBC and with CNN’s Erin Burnett. Throughout all the interviews, there was clearly something wrong with Nunberg, as he described how he was going to defy special counsel Robert Mueller.

Nunberg’s friends told the Daily Beast that they fear for him.

Rarely, if ever, has a political operative acted so brazenly when facing the very real prospect of being tossed in jail. Nunberg seemed not to care about how the chips would fall. But several of his friends told The Daily Beast they were concerned that he was putting himself in severe legal jeopardy by going on multiple live cable-news programs Monday afternoon.

They also said that they were worried Nunberg had been drinking prior to dialing in to MSNBC and CNN.

Starting Monday morning, Nunberg began [telling] several close associates that he was flatly refusing, at this time, to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Three Nunberg friends said they walked away from those conversations fearful that he was “drinking again” and was about to embark on a personal tailspin. They didn’t know it would play out on daytime TV.

Burnett brought up the possibility that Nunberg had been drinking on the air. Nunberg denied it and said he was on anti-depressants. That’s when Burnett should have pulled the interview. At what point do media types owe it to someone to stop them from spiraling into self-destruction? At what point does humanity come in?

Are ratings so important that they need to have a clearly troubled guest on, over and over again, to say the same things? Are ratings so important that you need to dedicate long segments over three shows to the same person?


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Exploitation for the Narrative …

Stopping Trump … Why was Nunberg, who was clearly having some sort of mental breakdown, exploited? Yes, ratings had something to do with it, but it was also because media types thought they were getting information that they could use against Donald Trump. That has been the media’s primary mission for over a year.

CNN’s media critic/cheerleader Brian Stelter joined in the media circus all day long via Twitter. Then in his daily newsletter last night, he had the temerity to ask, “If your source seems drunk or drugged or just plain out of his mind, what is your responsibility?” Of course, Stelter used quotes from people who said the networks have a duty to put such a person on.

Axios slams … Axios founder Mike Allen teamed up with Jim VandeHei to take the media to task for its “Awful scandal porn.” Here’s the key part:

Why it matters: This is one of the reasons America hates the media. Our entire industry lit itself on fire because a troubled Trump hanger-on made an ass of himself — live.

One of Nunberg’s friends was furious, telling Axios that the anchors were knowingly taking advantage of an obviously fragile man.

This is absolutely “one of the reasons America hates the media.” And media types don’t seem to get that hint.

Entering treatment … Fox Business’ Charles Gasparino tweeted on Tuesday morning that Nunberg had told him, “he’s fully cooperating now w Mueller’s team and he’s intending to go get treatment following his grand jury appearance on Friday.” Hopefully he gets the help he needs.

Final thoughts … Yes, the notion that someone chose to publicly defy a grand jury subpoena is news. But as Gasparino said in a follow-up tweet, beyond that bit of news, “what was so terribly newsworthy about what [Nunberg] said?” The folks in the media often talk about the growing partisan division and balkanization of America. They often do so without looking at themselves in the mirror. Maybe, just maybe, we can move towards uniting Americans by treating our fellow Americans with human dignity and respect.

Please share …

Normally I try to write something witty here. But after recapping this sordid affair, I’m not feeling it. Still, I’d love your help in spreading the word about WTF MSM!? Could you please send your friends over to the WTF MSM!? signup page and ask them to fill out the form? Also remember to email me at [email protected] with story ideas and things you’ve seen the MSM do that make you scream WTF!

Author: Rob Eno

Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC.