The press opposition to wild theories is belied by their obsession with them.
In this third installment of the collection of crackpot theories cooked up by the media who decry the very practice, it is a mixture of the new and some older conspiracies. One thing to bear in mind in this lengthy list is that all of these are contemporary fever dreams. Every one of these dozens of examples has played out and been promoted during the Trump administration.
Some of the choices unearthed were either forgotten or so easily bypassed as hackneyed reporting they barely registered in the memory. But this has been an educational exercise; knowing the press is dysfunctional is one thing, but having them surpass even lowly regard is a head-shaking result. So to kick off this latest batch of bat-crap craziness in the press we’ll open with the newest.
- ANDREW CUOMO IS THREATENED WITH REMOVAL BECAUSE OF TRUMP’S EFFORTS
The story here is that Trump is worried the New York attorney general will convict the former President, so in order to get off he needs to supplant Cuomo with a sycophant governor who could then pardon him. Trump staged the sexual harassment, as well as knocking off 15,000 nursing home residents and pinning the blame on Andrew in one long-con operation, goes the formula for this to work out.
- TRUMP WAS PROFITING OFF OF THE SALES OF HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE
In the early months of the pandemic, the possibility of HCQ being used to help with Covid-19 patients was a controversial affair in the press. There was all manner of claims the drug was dangerous to administer, despite it being on the market for generations and is used by millions. To further demonize the drug the New York Times led the media charge that Trump had a personal stake in the drug’s success. This was all based on his ownership of a mutual fund that, among its voluminous stocks in the portfolio, had one drug maker that was among the dozens who sold the generic drug. The president at best stood to make pennies if HCQ became popular.
- TO FIGHT OFF COVID-19 THE PRESIDENT ENCOURAGED PEOPLE TO INJECT BLEACH INTO THEIR VEINS, OR A FISH TANK CLEANER
This was one of the stupider claims to be heard, and yet it was widely distributed in the press only to scorch the President. In order for this story to take root they had to:
- Avoid providing quotes.
- Assume the general public was entirely mentally damaged.
- Ignore that those most upset were Trump opponents who never would listen to him.
- CONSPIRING TO REPEAT THE JUSSIE SMOLLETT CONSPIRACY
The ridiculously fabricated racial ‘’hate crime’’ was both easily debunked, and warmly embraced by the press. Even when the actor/singer’s plot was exposed many outlets continued to push it as valid.
- ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ SPINS MYTHS AT THE BORDER
At the height of the migrants-in-cages hysteria, AOC visited a border facility and delivered a panel truck filled with fables. She posed for pictures at the fence and wept broadly for the tragedy before her – a view of an access road leading to a building that was out of vision. Then she reported the detainees were being forced to drink from toilets. The press ran with all of her fairy tales, despite the fact they were debunked rapidly by the officials.
- TRUMP EXITING A SECONDARY STAIRWAY ON AIR FORCE ONE PROVED HE HAS MENTAL CHALLENGES
The corpulent lawyer from The Lincoln Project, George Conway, delivers this odd assessment. Trump exited The Bird at the midsection, and Conway leaps to conclude a cerebral impairment is at play. The facts; that day featured heavy wind gusts on the tarmac so the ground crew decided the rolling stairwell would be unsteady. JUST THE COVER STORY THEY WANT YOU TO THINK!
- JUSTICE KENNEDY RETIRES FROM THE SUPREME COURT AT TRUMP’S URGING DUE TO LOANS PAID OUT
This was one theory pushed out by the recently deposed Neera Tanden, back in the day, along with many others. The retirement of Justice Kennedy so bothered those on the left they had to find a problem. Well, they invented a problem. Trump had received massive business loans from Deutsche Bank, where Kennedy’s son worked, which supposedly was behind the Justice stepping down. This all unraveled when it was learned the loans began in the 1990s, the son was not a part of the loan deals, and he left the bank nearly a decade prior to his father’s departure. Then there was the small matter that loaning the money meant, if anything, Trump would have been the one to be leveraged from the deal.
- THE FIRING OF ANDREW MCCABE SET OFF EVERY CONCEIVABLE CONSPIRACY ATTACHED TO IT
This was at the crest of the claims that Trump was attempting to compromise the entire law enforcement structure of the country, with experts like Max Boot claiming the President tried to ‘’Undermine the FBI, obstruct justice, and pervert the rule of law.’’ All of the wild speculating of course fell apart under the realization that it was the FBI itself that determined McCabe lied to investigators. It was actually The Bureau that recommended McCabe be fired.
- THE FIRST LADY WAS MISSING
For weeks in the summer of 2018 Melania Trump had not been seen in public and was not included in some official travel stops. Many in the press speculated – some stupidly – on her mysterious whereabouts. Note; they speculated, not investigated. The explanation was simple — she had recent kidney surgery, and was recuperating in the White House. The doltish theorizing continued for weeks, even when other journalists reported seeing her walking the halls at the residence.
- THE FIRST LADY WAS REPLACED WITH A BODY DOUBLE
This is one that has cycled through over the years. The reasons have ranged from her supposedly disenchanted with public appearances, and even worse. Many outlets apparently have felt unbothered looking asinine by covering this idiocy.
- TED CRUZ USED A RUSSIAN BOT FARM DURING HIS ELECTION RUN
Lamar White Jr. broke open the discovery that numerous Twitter accounts were retweeting the same message of support for Ted Cruz during his last Senate run. It was blatantly an example of astroturf support, and White was implying it was due to foreign agents, something Josh McCall, a Democrat running for office in Georgia, agreed in a post. EXCEPT – what had happened was Cruz supporters had merely clicked on a retweet link he had posted from his campaign account.
- THE WHITE HOUSE FAKED A ROSE GARDEN PRESS CONFERENCE WITH A GREEN SCREEN TO HIDE TRUMP’S FAILING HEALTH
The idiocy of this one was exceeded by how many outlets ran with the claim. Supposedly the intent was to fake Trump’s full recovery from Covid-19 by using technology. The New York Times even jumped on board, until they caught themselves getting caught up in the hype and then stealth-edited their report noting the alleged fakery.
To close out the list of media crackpot theories, for now, I offer one that is possibly as emblematic as any, as it typifies all that is wrong with this type of reporting.
- THE TRUMP ELEVATOR SECURITY VIDEO
For years there has been speculation and very involved searching taking place from numerous news outlets to get their hands on a copy of some security footage taken from an elevator in one of the Trump Towers. The soon-to-be-President is seen on the tape, and the chase to obtain this ‘’bombshell’’ footage has involved some of the biggest news outlets. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Bloomberg, CBS News, AP, BuzzFeed, HuffPo, Daily Beast, and TMZ, as well as reporters like Ronan Farrow, Jeff Horwitz, and A.J. Benza are among those confirmed to have looked into the matter. Michael Avenatti was said to be on the hunt at one point as well.
There is a story that a Los Angeles Lawyer contacted TMZ representing a person in possession of this tape. Deals were said to have been struck, and the site’s founder Harvey Levin allegedly secured a small fortune from the parent company Warner Media in order to purchase the video. When the meeting to purchase the tape was made the seller was said to have backed out. Speculation is that some other party bought the tape from under them.
Actor/comedian Tom Arnold has been the biggest force behind the search. In 2018 he was granted his own TV show on Vice – ‘’The Hunt For The Trump Tapes’’ — where he was supposed to expose this recording, the infamous ‘’Pee Tape’’, and another allegedly of Trump saying the N-word on camera. Any and all of these would bring down Trump. He never revealed any of these. Now, this long-sought recording from an elevator, from years ago, has one other striking detail to it:
Nobody is even aware of what is supposed to be on this tape.
All of this furor, effort, and time spent searching is all about a recording where no one has a clue what it contains. Tom Arnold has gone so far as to speculate that it involved Donald Trump assaulting an unknown female, except this is based entirely on — nothing. He has not only never seen a tape, no one is sure if it even exists. One head of American Media Inc. told Arnold flatly there is no reason to believe it is a reality.
And the press has been doggedly looking for it all this time. Good thing they take such a firm stance against those adhering to conspiracy theories.