Posts tagged ‘MSNBC’

In Other News…

The news channels I watch, mostly CNN and MSNBC have a fix on the VIIC (Village Idiot-in-Charge).  The lies and inconsistencies are starting to cascade so I thought I would turn to other news while the VIIC is in Saudi Arabia and Israel.  I mean, what harm could he possibly do there?  Obviously we need to sell them more arms to keep our war machine happy, but does anyone  then wonder why peace is so hard over there?  I just hope when he goes to Israel he doesn’t try to plant an American flag at the Wailing Wall.

So my first thought is on driverless trucking of the very near future.  As I drove back from Monterey yesterday on I-5, it occurred to me that there is so much trucking traffic that the drive could be described as cruising between truck passing zones.  Truck passing zones are those places where one truck must pass the other and for the next seven or eight miles they block both lanes as one creeps by the other.  So what happens on our two lane interstates when massive lines of trucks, driverless, chug along, I assume in the right lane actually doing the speed limit, so that the only available lane for travel is the left lane (pretty much as it is now)?  I would think we would need a massive building project to add another lane so that traffic is not totally controlled by trucks as it is now.

My second thought is the new study of the Antarctica ice sheet.  Did you know that it contains 60% of the fresh water on the earth and if it completely melted it would raise sea level by 160′.  Did you know it is melting much faster that we thought so what does that do to our predictions of a foot or two in the next 50 years?  Scientists are studying what is happening there so they can make better predictions.  Meanwhile our government under the VIIC and idiot minions are removing scientific data from websites so we won’t know what is coming until it is up to our…

On MSNBC, WTF.  First they bring in Greta to attract maybe more conservative listeners, but her bias is so pronounced conservative that she has a hard time processing all the stuff coming out about the VIIC and tries to make excuses. Chris Mathews processes information like it was still the 1990s, and Chris Hayes tries to present both sides to be fair and balanced when there is only one side. I switch over to CNN which seems more realistically in the hunt.  Now I hear they want to move Lawrence out of his prime time spot so they can give Brian William’s a better time slot. Lawrence is not having it.  Lawrence and Rachel are the heart of intelligent and thoughtful coverage.  Brian Williams’ coverage is fawning and lacks a there, there.  So we are again what, trying to dumb down news so we can dumb down America and make conservative palatable for idled brains?   Goodbye MSNBC if you pull that one off.

Finally, just a thought about the special counsel.  He, like the FBI, will be doing his investigation in the back room.  We still need to continue to dig in the committees if the Republicans will let them.  Last night it was reported that there were 18 more contacts with the VIICs campaign than earlier reporting.  You know there are recordings of those conversations somewhere.  How long does this take?  We the people need to see the truth, the earlier the better.  And as Bernie Sanders reminded us yesterday, focusing on the VIIC as Hillary did in the campaign as unfit to serve, does not provide an alternate path that most voters who don’t read this blog really care about.  It is still, was, and eternally about the economy.  Democrats have to pay attention and attack Republicans for their ideological necrophilia:  passionate love for the dead, ineffective political ideas. America needs options.

Oh, and one final back to the news of the day:  Joe Lieberman for FBI.  Yuck!  My first thought was the VIIC picked someone who was a member of the Senate Club, like Sessions, who would get a free pass.  No smell check required. Apparently that is not the case thankfully.  Why keep putting these old politicos in these positions and expect that anything will change?  Aren’t there professional/non-political people in either the Justice Department (think of all the U.S. Attorneys) or the FBI?  Lieberman is another political hack with a political agenda.  I wonder what those people who voted for change, think about this.  Oh, wait, they don’t think.

The White House Correspondents’ Dinners, The Real One and the Not One

While Cheeto-Head was up in Pennsylvania doing his best interpretation of Hitler to a crowd of sycophants and idiots, the media was gathering in two places to have a little fun.  First some thoughts on the Pennsylvania rally.  What president in his first 100 days is out giving a campaign speech full of lies to his base? Adolph Hitler. See, he his the same guy you elected, full of hate and lies, working diligently to tear down democracy by going after the free press.  I watched some of the rally and was filled with hate and divisiveness.  I was filled with a sense of revulsion for my fellow Americans in Pennsylvania.  Somehow in my little mind, I did not think that was what a president was supposed to do.  Yes we have entered a different era.  Of course he did his best to undermine the free press and (getting ahead of myself) as Samantha Bee pointed out about the Press:

“You basically get paid to stand in a cage while a geriatric orangutan and his pet mob scream at you. It’s like a reverse zoo, but you carry on.”

Meanwhile there were two White House Correspondents Dinners, the official one and Samantha Bee’s Not the WH Correspondence Dinner and I watched both (oh the miracle of DVR).  I am not sure who got roasted more, Cheeto-Head or the media itself, which is fair because their endless coverage of him in the campaign without fact checking him and using competing pundits got him elected.  Policy and facts did not matter anymore, just outlandishness.  What was nice about the Pennsylvania rally was that it reminded you this presidency is not normal and what a true pig he really is.  But I get distracted.  Here is Hasan’s full speech:


Hasan Minhaj did a splendid job at the real dinner as he spent most of his time on the press itself.  He started by saying the obvious:

“This event is about celebrating the First Amendment and free speech. Free speech is the foundation of an open and liberal democracy from college campuses to the White House. Only in America can a first generation Indian American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the President.”

Then he got real:

“I would say it is an honor to do this, but that would be an alternative fact. It is not. No one one wanted to do this so of course it falls in the hands of an immigrant. That’s how it always goes down.”

My favorite was when he made fun of the endless viewer polling CNN (and MSNBC) do.  “If you think attacking Korea is a good idea, text 1.”  As he asked are they trying to get us to give them the news?  Both he and Samantha Bee decried the nonsense of shouting pundits that has taken the place of real news and informed analysis (He said/she said news) and here is their take:

Hasan Minhaj:

“Don [Don Lemon of CNN Tonight], every time I watch your show, I feel like I’m watching a reality TV show. ‘CNN Tonight’ should just be called ‘Wait a second! Now hold on! Stop yelling at each!’ with Don Lemon.”

Samantha Bee:

“With so much excellent reporting out there, why do 96 percent of Americans believe the media should be strung up by its own bowels?” she asked. “I don’t know — maybe because when they turn on the TV looking for news, all they can find are journalists trying to referee a pack of well-coiffed message robots shouting at each other all day from increasingly tiny boxes.”

And I think that gets to the heart of our problems today.  We are not looking for the truth through carefully researched journalism, but a mud wrestling contest, winner has the best costume.  Ratings are king if some cloths are ripped off.  Samantha made the point most effectively by quoting Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide and then making the point that they had effectively turned news into a sporting event (news as entertainment):

“There’s no truth or falsehood in sports. There’s just winners and losers, and people giving 110 percent because sports thinks that’s a number. The difference is, on CNN, the cheerleaders get paid.”

His barbs at MSNBC and CNN were well deserved:

“MSNBC is here tonight. And I’m glad you guys are here. That way if I’m bombing, Brian Williams will describe it as stunning.”

— “MSNBC. It’s hard to trust you guys when you send so many mixed messages. On the one hand you tell us the prison industrial complex is the problem, and then you air five straight hours of ‘Lockup.’ You can’t be mad at corporations profiting off of minorities in prison when you’re a corporation profiting off of minorities in prison.”

— “I had a lot more MSNBC jokes, but I don’t want to just ramble on, otherwise I might get a show on MSNBC.”

“CNN is here, baby. You guys got some really weird trust issues with the public. I’m not going to call you fake news, but everything isn’t breaking news. You can’t go to DEFCON-1 just because Sanjay Gupta found a new moisturizer.”

Yes, the press was on trial here and mostly they were (TV media) guilty as charged.  Maybe they learned something, I just don’t know.  We know Cheeto-Head is a disaster for this country, but last night was a reflection on how we got an ignorant racist misogynist for a president and sadly news and the way it is presented is a large part of the problem.  But they are also our only hope.  Samantha wondered why CNN, who has many great journalists, would just stop with the reality show and let them do their job.  Hasan probably summed it up best and maybe we need to hear it from a 2nd generation immigrant Muslim who does really appreciate what America should be and was about (here is the only copy of a video I could find and it was on twitter and I could not find the embed code):

Even though Mr. Minhaj said he had been told not to mock Mr. Trump or his administration in absentia, he felt he had a duty to “get on this stage and make fun of the president.”

“But the president didn’t show up,” Mr. Minhaj said. “Because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech. The man who tweets everything that enters his head refuses to acknowledge the amendment that allows him to do it.”

A few hours from now, Mr. Minhaj said, “Donald Trump will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner. And he’ll be doing it completely sober. And that’s his right. And I’m proud that all of us are here tonight to defend that right, even if the man in the White House never would.”

After thanking the White House Correspondents’ Association, and thanking Mr. Woodward and Mr. Bernstein “for inspiring a generation of journalists,” Mr. Minhaj concluded by saying, “I would like to thank Donald Trump for inspiring the next.”

Finally, I would like to leave with Woodward’s comments about what journalism is about:  Trying to find the best obtainable version of the truth we can.  We have a large portion of our citizenship who does not have a clue what that means.  A nobel endeavor and they are our only hope against ignorance and fascism on display in Pennsylvania that same night. A lot of things that needed to be said to powerful people was said.  I only hope they were listening.

The News

Yesterday I was watching a very good interview of the Mayor of Santa Fe New Mexico speak on the reason for sanctuary cities and how they would resist Trump’s Executive Order when they interrupted it to bring us the news of the death of Mary Tyler Moore.  Say what?  And then the rest of the news was dominated by it.  Is this the “E” network?  I think every one my age was at one time in love with Mary Tyler Moore, but the nation is facing a crisis and entertainment news takes precedence?  People’s live could be severly disrupted, family separated, kids who have never lived in Mexico sent there, and we focus on the a TV star’s death?  It swamps everything else?

Of course it does when corporations own News and the measure of success in quarterly profits.  Think about priorities.  News, real news, is to inform us, educate us, get the real truth of what is going on.  That requires reporters and satellite trucks, and people on the ground.  Sometimes the news is not what people want to hear. It’s measure of success is whether it is getting the real story and exposing the truth.  Entertainment’s priorities is to entertain and distract us.  It’s measure of success is ratings.  I am sure you have heard the statement that news is whatever people want to know.  It’s an excuse for covering things that are interesting (read ratings) but not important (won’t affect our lives).  Sure there is room for it in news, but it shouldn’t take it over.

When news got taken over by corporations and became profit centers, cost cutting was in order.  What I saw on MSNBC was a great sample.  Richard Engles has been their reporter in the Middle East.  So now there is a story of Russia and how they are reacting to Trump and there is Richard Engles again.  Not that Richard is not a great reporter, but do they only have one foreign correspondent?  CNN, which was the place to go for news around the world has fallen so far.  They got rid of people in the field and gave us panels of pundits (much cheaper than real people out there getting the story) and reporting on twitter tweets instead of real reporting on real issues.  And what we get is incestuous thinking and narratives instead of facts and real reporting.

My favorite example of how far they have fallen is the almost weekly hijacking of any news by some shooter in some place who just shot down, say 10 people.  It is tragic for sure, but should it consume the rest of the news day with endless speculation about who it was, what were their motives, what are the police procedures?  After a couple of hours of this, the story has completely changed because they did not have the facts to begin with.  Why not report what happened, what we know, and come back to it when more details (verified) come it.  Because it is not as entertaining of crowd shots of people milling about.

So how do we get the news media out of the hands of Corporations and for profit entities.  Well, I do watch Vice News now every night and I learn all kinds of things going on in the world that mainstream media is ignoring.  Then there is PBS and NPR, although we have to see if Trump and the Republicans further gut their budgets.  Jessica Yellen wrote a similar piece this morning focusing on CNN and suggested that they might survive as non-profits like PBS and NPR.  I have another idea which would not force corporations to divest their news organizations.  We always forget that the government basically gives away the airways so why not say that as part of your entertainment programming for which profits are good, you have to provide news independent of ratings?  

I really don’t know what the answer is with entertainment going to the streaming mode and pay for individual shows.  But I do know this.  We got Donald Trump because a large majority of Americans are ignornant of basic facts and lack critical thinking skills.  If a democracy is going to survive they have to have an informed electorate.  So we have to do something.  Personally I subscribe to four newspapers (e-versions), but nobody reads as I have once again had it affirmed after the last election.  Facts are facts and there are not alternative facts.  News is what makes us understand this, and apparently even at the highest levels of government, they have lost this ability.

Normal Times, Not

I picked up my digital copy of the NYT this morning to read the following:

  • “The leader of the Office of Government Ethics said he knew of no occasion when the Senate had held a confirmation hearing before his office completed its review…Republlicans, who are expected to hold up to five hearings on Wednesday alone, say they simply want to ensure that the new president has a team in place as soon as possible.”  Remember how these same Republicans failed to hold hearings for months and months or not at all once they  won the House and Senate?
  • “Supporters of President-elect Donald J. Trump have dismissed a report by the U.S. intelligence officials accusing Russia of interfering in the election to undermine Hillary Clinton.” Turn the tables and what do you think we would see?  Not the cry babies and sour grapes, but calls to declare war.  What a bunch of hypocritical assholes.  No I do not want to understand or even tolerate my rural red friends.  They are not my friends anymore.  That is what this is about.  No more enabling.
  • Jeff Sessions, a life long outsider, finds the inside track. “He argues that immigrants are siphoning billions in welfare payments, committing crimes and snatching jobs from Americans. He has questioned whether the Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, as the 14th Amendment states, and has insisted that the First Amendment doctrine of separation of church and state has been too broadly interpreted. He declared same-sex marriage an indisputable threat to American culture and once went to court to deny funding for gay student groups. Overreaching by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, he has said, at times has led to “civil wrongs.” That is going to be our attorney general.
  • Jared Kushner, a Trump In Law and Adviser, Chases Chinese Deal.  So that won’t affect policy just like our Secretary of State Candidate, Rex Tillison, oil deals and close ties with Putin won’t affect policy either.
  • Meanwhile, “Trump Calls for Closer Relationship Between U.S. And Russia.  The president-elect said only “stupid” people would reject an embrace of Russia which has been anything but a wiling partner of the United States for years.” Huh.  Boy how they helped in Crimea, Ukraine, or Syria.  People of Eastern Europe better start packing.  This is a businessman running government.  He sees $.
  • “Russia ridicule U.S. Charge that Kremlin Meddled to Help Trump.”  Now we know where the Donald gets his news.

No these are not normal times.  Did you see where after the attack at the airport in Florida, Governor Scott, that giant asshole, called Trump for support.  Who does he think the President of the United States is?  Just another Republican dismissing the President as irrelevant and showing his distain for our government.  While the press tells us we must respect and listen to rural rubes, Republicans continue to trash our Constitution.

Oh, and there is one other thing I would like to hit on this morning.  Joy Reid, the MSNBC journalist who usually does an excellent job, once again showed her blind spot about Edward Snowden.  She tried to equate Wikileaks and Assange to Edward Snowden.  Let’s see, Edward Snowden was an American, tried to blow the whistle for illegal activities internally and was shut down, then when he released his trove of information, vetted and released it to responsible journalists so that any damage or danger to individuals was reduced.  Assange, a stooge of the Russians, was out to destroy American democracy in a partisan way.  No Joy, they are not the same.

Finally, since I am cleaning out my closets this morning, there was an article about how slow the United States has been to respond to cyber attacks.  Here we have a failure of leadership at the very top.  I think one thing you can say about President Obama is that no drama Obama is no drama to a fault.  When bold decisive action is required, it is not in his DNA.  In most cases that is a good thing considering the consequences of being Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on earth, but sometimes you have to lead.  While he has tried to steer the nation in a thoughtful and careful way, too many times he has missed the boat of opportunity that could have just made sure a Trump or a Syria or a Russia never was a real threat.  No we have almost a total Republican nation and they are taking us off the cliff.  Whose fault is that?

I have two blogs that must now be written.  One that chronicles where this administration let us down and helped create Trump, and one that list all the things President Obama could do on his last day to right the ship.  I am thinking about that one.

They Just Don’t Get Him

I watched only some of the debate last night, but did partake in the post-debate autopsy done by the pundits.  I think at this point you can permanently turn off MSNBC.  Chris Mathews is mired in the politics of the last century and when he does let his panel get a word in edgewise, he is carefully crafting his questions as a soliloquy on his point of view so that his panel cannot disagree or put in something new unless they out shout him.  He keeps trying to find the “take down” moment that has little meaning to people who are looking for hope in their lives.

On CNN it was not much different except Anderson Cooper lets other people talk.  The trouble is those other people are the very pundits mired in establishment politics.  Bernie is an “idealist” meaning in their vernacular unrealistic, whereas to the new young voters he is telling them the obvious, that the old way has failed and his “idealist” ideas are the only way forward.  Major media have really failed to grasp what this election is about because they are about personality politics of access to the establishment that is their bread and butter.  The fact that that political system that they make entertainment and cash out of is what is on trial in this election is just not a palatable idea to them.

So my guess is Bernie will continue to surprise these diddle heads as he speaks a language foreign to them while he connects with the voters of tomorrow.  But I am not surprised.  With the demise of Al Jazeera America, I have to watch BBC America on PBS to get any real news both in our country and the world.  Remember way back in the 50s when shortwave radio and listening to foreign broadcasts was all the rage?  That is how I feel today, being in some third world country and depending on shortwave radio to get any real news of what is going on in the outside world.  But you can turn on our news and hear the name Donald Trump within 10 seconds of the TV coming on.  How’s that for informative?

Oh Our Miserable Press

Erica Hill of MSNBC decided to interview (or her producers did) a Republican Congressman after the attacks in Brussels.  Of course this is all President Obama’s fault was the implication he kept making when he claimed we have no strategy against ISIS.  Actually we do and it is a long term engagement not an invasion which might not be as dramatic or as ineffective.  But here is the part that drove me to frighten my cat by shouting at the TV.  The Congressman said our southern border is a sieve and refugees really don’t get background checks.  Erica or the earphone in her ear was then braindead to challenge either one of those statements.

How many terrorist have either come from refugees or from our Southern Border?  None.  Why would they when it is much easier to get a visa.  Did the 9/11 guys get into the country from our Southern Border or from being refugees?  No, most came from Saudia Arabia our good friend.  In the last terrorist attack were the two in San Bernadino refugees or come in from our southern border?  No, one was a born in the U.S. citizen and the other was his wife, again entering the country legally.  So why the focus on the Southern Border, which by the way has 21,ooo border guards, or focus on refugees who have done nothing? We don’t even know if any that carried out the attack in Brussels were refugees.  It stokes up fear and feeds the White Mob.  If Erica had done her job, and fact checked this moron, this might not be the case.

So it goes in all news reporting today except for Al Jazeera where they do real reporting and fact checking.

Aaargh!

I don’t know why I don’t learn.  I turned on MSNBC this morning and there was Tamron Hall interviewing a spokesperson from the John Kasich campaign.  She quotes a claim made by Donald Trump on Kasich’s record on job creation and asks for a response from the Kasich spokesperson, who of course, refutes the Trump claims.  There! Feel informed?  I am sure Tamron feels she is doing real journalism and asking hard questions. Except we have no idea which claim or refute was correct.  Where is the fact checking?  We are left with he said/he said (in this case) and are no more enlightened than when we were still sucking our thumbs.

This goes on all day and is considered “news” and covering the election.  And of course it is fair and balanced because both sides got to lie to us.  But somewhere in there journalism got murdered.  There was no fact finding or research so instead of just repeating each other’s claims, the reality of the facts could be used to judge each claim  But wait! Judgement based upon the facts would make us no longer fair and balanced, so let’s just continue shouting out each side’s propaganda and calling it fair and balanced.

Once again if you want some real world news, or even what is happening in this country, investigative journalism, you know, real journalism, you have to turn to Al Jazeera. Corporate media is going to be the death of us.

The Demise of MSNBC

What happened?  There used to be important policy discussions on shows such as The Ed Show, or Now with Alex Wagner where we really looked at important issues and heard informed discussions.  Now it is 24/7 Donald Trump.  It is 24/7 who is up, who is down, what this or that candidate said, with no analysis or fact checking.  It is pretty young women following the campaigns around and reporting its sound bite of the day.  It is 24/7 noise.  Tamron Hall, their morning star, was actually challenged by a spokesman from Ted Cruz on why they cover Donald Trump so much and why they don’t challenge his statements like when he calls Ted Cruz a liar, you know, ask him, lie about what so it could be fact checked?  She went into a defensive crouch and claimed they do that.  Not that I have ever seen. If Donald Trump coverage were a drinking game, you would be blatto long before your morning coffee.

What is informative about what a candidate says at every stump speech if you are not going to fact check it?  What is informative about interviewing spokespersons for a particular candidate who is going to spin their answers while you just soak it in?  What informative if your own coverage eschews critical thinking and thinks your listener will apply his own? What is informative about the latest poll when the vote tells us the story and why do we need all the analysis while the vote is going on about what you think the vote is.  Again the final vote is the story.  Meanwhile there is a whole world out there where things are happening and you are oblivious to them.  Did you know Mark Kelly and a Russian cosmonaut is returning from space today after a year there?  Did you know that Iran voted in a more moderate wing of the government? I got that on Al Jazeera along with a rampaging elephant in India.  All are way more interesting than the drivel we are getting from MSNBC.

Meanwhile Morning Joe cozies up to the Donald and this is seen as journalism?  Did any of you see Spotlight? Then there is the Melissa Harris Perry mess.  Okay, maybe her show was not a ratings burner, but the way it was handled?  The show provided some really interesting discussions, and yes, maybe it got too black, but maybe that was the point.  That was what news is supposed to be about, to give us perspectives that educate us.  But of course I jest.  News is about making money and make no mistake, MSNBC has helped create Donald Trump and kill real journalism.  Yeah there is still Rachel and I have Fareed on CNN.  But other than that and a few other exceptions, except for print, which is dying out, journalism is a dying profession. And it is the beating heart of a viable democracy.

How the Press is Playing the Republican’s Game

You hear all the time, “The liberal media”.  It is anything but.  Sure, conservatives hate it when anyone fact checks their candidates or using facts instead of fiction to counter misstatements.  But in reality, the media plays right into the Rights hands as it covers the Republican Candidates.  Let me give you an example.

I watch MSNBC most of the time when I watch news, which is three times a day when I have to exercise and stretch out my new knee.  What I get is almost continuous political coverage of the Republicans.  They have assigned reporters to Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson.  Oh, and of course they are eye candy.  I can name them (but I won’t).  Can you name the reporters assigned to the Democratic candidates?  I can’t because the Democrats are talking sense, and the Republicans are making wild ass statements that make good news.

It gets worse.  These reporters try to be, well reporters.  Just report what they say and let the viewers decide.  And that works right into the Republicans hands because you have reporters repeating points made by the candidates with no fact checking.  You have reporters reporting on how they connect with the local voters with once again no analysis of what they are saying to them.  It is why lies are working so well for the Republicans.

Let’s face it, Trump et. al. make good entertainment.  But in presenting news as entertainment, our media is failing to provide facts, and fact checking to the public.  Instead, by repeating obvious lies as being unbiased, they are lending credence to the lies.  Say it enough and the people start to accept it.

I did see one news report on Ben Carson this morning that was making the anchor nervous.  Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post was commenting on Ben Carson’s latest, that he never said we should reject Syrian refugees, just that accepting them won’t solve the problem.  Ryan called it what it was, a lie, bold faced, and you can Google his Time Magazine op-ed to confirm.  Jose Diaz-Balart, the morning anchor was obviously uncomfortable with that level of truth telling.  Sad isn’t it? When you get the story right, it appears biased.  The truth has a tendency to do that to conservatives.

The News!

Covering the shooting in Oregon MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts did what they all do when he said, “Well some people say less guns would help, others disagree.”  Oh horse shit.  Equivalency to both sides.  See we are fair and balanced, except it is a total distortion of the facts about what gun availability really says.  Yes it is true some people say those things.  They are wrong and our news media should promote the facts not competing opinions. Here is the link to the latest data.  Help yourself. Tougher gun laws work because there are fewer guns. Fewer guns means less gun violence.

Oh and Tamron Hall, again on MSNBC, opined that maybe the problem with getting nothing done on gun laws are that the two sides take extreme positions and nothing gets done.  We just need to talk. Holy Shit!  Again false equivalency.  After Sandy Hook all they wanted was background checks and all Republicans and “Moderate” Democrats (Read 1980’s Republicans) were against it.  It was defeated by a filibuster by Republicans.  When most of the nation wants something and we can’t get it through Congress, this has nothing to do with both sides.  It has to do with money in politics, and of course, Republicans.

On the Pope meeting with Kim Davis, here is what the Vatican is putting out:

Vatican officials announced on Friday that Pope Francis did not hold a private meeting with Kim Davis last week in Washington — as has been widely reported — but that Ms. Davis was among dozens of guests ushered into the Vatican’s Embassy in Washington for a brief meeting with him.

Francis was unaware of the specifics of the case of Ms. Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk who has refused to grant a marriage license to a gay couple, despite a judge’s orders that she do so. The case has become a focal point in the debate over the tensions between religious liberty and marriage equality in the United States.

… “The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis, and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” the Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a statement released on Friday morning.

Well it is being taking as a form of support  and somebody in the Vatican knew and set this meeting up, playing major league politics in the United States and sullying the Pope’s non-political message.  If I were the Pope and my organization tried to undermine my message with this blatant political move, they would be looking for other work and I would be putting out a statement distancing myself from those politics.  What we have above is going to turn into a he said/she said between the political folks in Kim Davis’s camp.  And the damage is done.