Marble Halls & Silver Screens With Sarah Lee Ep. 20: The 'Collusion Illusion of Invulnerability, Skywalker Rising, and Armchair Expert' Edition

Visual representation of groupthink. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

First, a correction. In today’s show I say Rep. Devin Nunes sits on the House Oversight Committee. He actually sits on the House Intelligence Committee. Mea Culpa ~ Ed.

I got a book for Christmas and I’ve gotten about a third of the way through in two days. It’s Lee Smith’s “The Plot Against The President: The True Story of How Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in US History.” And it’s fascinating and, from what I can tell, well-researched and argued.

And will very likely be memory-holed and, if it starts getting more attention, will quickly be termed conspiracy theory, MAGA nonsense. Because it spares no concern for how the press, the entrenched bureaucracy, and Hillary Clinton political operatives plotted, planned, and promoted the Russia collusion  hoax in an attempt to smear the Trump campaign and, later, accuse the sitting president of deeds so worrisome that he must be removed from office.

On today’s show, I talk about the book and how the press engaged in groupthink, falling into the trap of the “illusion of invulnerability” that goes hand in hand with following the groupthink crowd. In short, the media — buoyed by their preferred political ideology — decided to abstain from their professional credo, eschew investigating talking points, and bathe themselves in the feeling that they had the right opinions and no other opinions could matter. And so they chose to engage in professional malfeasance and simply regurgitate talking points without attempting to confirm them or investigate them at all.

It’s been one of the more disturbing parts of the Russia collusion madness because it was essentially a gaslighting of the American public. And I’m not sure anyone will be held accountable given how the press — illustrated beautifully in the film, “Richard Jewell” — can claim they were simply reporting the facts as they knew them at the time.

So, while John Durham will hand down his indictments in due time (we hope), how do Americans deal with a press that lies to them?

It’s a question I ask on today’s show, and there are no easy answers of course. But it’s a good thing to begin thinking about.

There’s also a review of “The Rise of Skywalker” (I LOVED it, but I try to answer why I think many people did not); and I also talk about the great podcast that anyone with a passing fancy in film and theater should check out, “Armchair Expert.” Host Dax Shepard (that’s Mr. Kristen Bell) is simply charming and hilarious and his guests are the Hollywood types you might actually like.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and were able to reflect and relax and enjoy families and find your peace. Because 2020 looks to be a corker!

The show lives below on Spotify and you can also find me at iHeart radio, Apple PodcastsFCB Radio’s Spreaker, and Deezer.