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Organizers Name TV Journalists To Moderate Presidential Debates

Journalists from NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox News will moderate the three scheduled debates between U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ahead of the Nov. 8 election, the nonpartisan group organizing the events said on Friday.

NBC anchor Lester Holt will ask questions at the first debate on Sept. 26 in New York, while ABC global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will co-moderate the Oct. 9 “town meeting” style debate in St. Louis, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will moderate on Oct. 19 in Las Vegas, it said in a statement.

CBS journalist Elaine Quijano will moderate the single vice presidential debate on Oct. 4 between Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence and his Democratic rival, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, the commission said.

C-SPAN’s Steve Scully will be a back-up moderator for all four of the debates, it added.

Trump, the Republican candidate, has said he will take part in the three debates but wants to see the conditions. Representatives for the Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday’s announcement.

The New York businessman, who has never held elected office, has had repeated run-ins with the media since launching his campaign last year, charging networks like CNN with “phony reporting,” sparring with MSNBC hosts and insulting Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly. His campaign has also black-listed several reporters and news outlets.

Clinton, the Democratic candidate, has said she will participate in all three debates as scheduled.

Separately, NBC has said Trump and Clinton will participate in a “commander-in-chief” forum focused on military issues on Sept. 7 in New York, appearing separately.

On Friday, Trump’s son Eric raised questions about ties between the anchor for that event, Matt Lauer, and the Clinton Foundation and said NBC and its cable offshoot MSNBC have been against his father.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of speculation because of his involvement with the foundation,” Eric Trump told Fox News in an interview. “I hope he’ll be fair.”

Representatives for NBC said Lauer was not a member of the foundation and that he had interviewed former President Bill Clinton for the network’s “Today” show, not on behalf of the foundation.

Trump’s reality television show, “The Apprentice,” debuted on NBC in 2004. NBC later cut other ties with the businessman, dropping his “Miss USA” and “Miss Universe” pageants, and Trump sued.

NBC is a unit of Comcast Corp.. Fox News is part of the Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, ABC News is owned by Walt Disney Co, while Time Warner Inc owns CNN. CBS Corp is also publicly traded.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Photo: Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump shakes hands with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper at the CNN Town Hall at Riverside Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Ben Brewer

Trump’s Cable TV Network Is The Vanity Project He Needs

If a report published Thursday in Vanity Fair — that Donald Trump is considering creating a “mini-media conglomerate,” anchored by a cable news network aimed at his current base turns out to be accurate, it confirms the worst aspect of Trump’s candidacy for president: This is all about him.

Donald Trump never wanted to be president, I figure: He wanted to be the most famous person in the world. And after achieving that goal by winning the Republican nomination, he has run a lackluster, losing campaign, race baiting presidents and federal judges even though it’s obvious that that immeasurably hurts his chances at the Oval Office; and continuously returning attention, even in his response to America’s worst mass shooting, to himself.

We should have expected as much. From the first day of his campaign, Trump has run on a platform of… his own personality.

Just a month into his campaign Trump bragged that “I’m not sure I have” ever asked God for forgiveness. “I don’t bring God into that picture,” he said.

After the bombing of a Christian theme park in Pakistan in March, Trump ominously reminded supporters of his stance on counterterrorism: “I alone can solve“.

On Tuesday, after withering criticism from within GOP when he implied the president of the United States knew in advance about the massacre of 49 people in Orlando, Trump reminded them who ought really be at the center of attention: “Either stick together, or let me just do it by myself,” he said. “I’ll do very well.”

Sure, Donald. You’ll do fine. Incidentally, recent polls show the most unpopular major party presidential nominee has gotten even more unpopular.

The move to turn the ultra media savvy campaign into an ultra media savvy news or entertainment effort would require the same skills Trump has leaned on his whole life — bullying, bluster, bullshitting — without the faux patriotism or commitment to service or charity.

Trump won’t be alone in monetizing his political success: After Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign, he got his own Fox program, Huckabee, and his own daily radio show. Ben Carson went on a book tour during his presidential campaign. Joe Scarborough turned the charm of a brief congressional career into a much more lucrative morning spot on MSNBC.

And Sarah Palin, perhaps the closest in style and lack-of-substance to Trump’s verbal spasm of a political career, ended her governorship of Alaska a year early to star in Sarah Palin’s Alaska on TLC and publish a book, Going Rogue. In 2014, The Sarah Palin Channel began a one-year life online before crashing and burning.

Donald Trump obviously marks somewhat of a departure from the conservative media industrial complex: He was famous before he was political, for one, and if anything his surely-brief career as a conservative figure has so far made him much less popular than the cruel boss he played on The Apprentice. Most people don’t want that guy running the country.

But Trump’s supporters do. Which begs the question: Assuming Trump loses the presidency — which he seems to believe, unless he plans on running a media company from the White House, breaking more than a few federal laws in the process — will his supporters feel the same loyalty to a Donald Trump neutered of all potential political power?

Here’s my guess: Without the potential for political control, Trump will turn into a sad echo of his current persona — neutered, powerless, and sad.

But he will still be Trump, and so he will continue to constitute his own identity through the eyes of his “audience,” whether they be voters with the ability to ruin the course of American history, duped wealth seminar enrollees, tourists passing in front of his goofy buildings, or a brand new TV audience.

God willing, Donald Trump won’t step foot in the White House. From all indications, he’d be much happier delivering his opinions to households around the country without the burden of responsibility. So let him get his ego fix, just don’t give him the launch codes.

 

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump departs after he was deposed for a lawsuit involving partners in a restaurant venture at offices in Washington, U.S. June 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   

‘Roots’ Kindles In Us The Courage To Confront The History That Made Us

Everything was different, the day after.

If you are a child of the millennium, if you’ve never known a world without 500 networks, it may be difficult for you to get this. You might find it hard to appreciate how it was when there were only three networks and no DVR nor even VCR, so that one major TV program sometimes became a communal event, a thing experienced by everybody everywhere at the same time.

So it was on a Sunday night, the 23rd of January, in 1977. I was a senior at the University of Southern California, working part time at the campus bookstore. When I went to work the next day, you could feel that something had shifted. Your black friends simmered like a pot left too long on the stove. Your white friends tiptoed past you like an unexploded bomb.

We had all watched the first episode of “Roots,” had all seen the Mandinka boy Kunta Kinte grow to the cusp of manhood, had all borne witness as he was chained like an animal and stolen away from everything he had ever known. Now we no longer knew how to talk to one another.

I had a friend, a white guy named Dave Weitzel. Ordinarily, we spent much of our shift goofing on each other the way you do when you’re 19 or so and nothing is all that serious. But on that day after, the space between us was filled with an awkward silence.

Finally, Dave approached me. “I’m sorry,” he said, simply. “I didn’t know.”

It is highly unlikely the new version of “Roots,” airing this week on the A&E television networks, will be the phenomenon the original was. There are, putting it mildly, more than three networks now and, with the exception of the Super Bowl, we no longer have communal television events.

But the new show will be a success if it simply kindles in us the courage to confront and confess the history that has made us. I didn’t know much about that in 1977. Sixteen years of education, including four at one of the nation’s finest universities, had taught me all about the Smoot-Hawley tariff, but next to nothing about how a boy could be kidnapped, chained in the fetid hold of a ship, and delivered to a far shore as property.

As a result, I had only a vague sense of bad things having happened to black people in the terrible long ago. It stirred a sense of having been cheated somehow, left holding a bad check somehow, but I didn’t really know how or why.

I was as ignorant as Dave.

Small wonder. The history “Roots” represents embarrasses our national mythology. As a result, it has never been taught with any consistency. Even when we ostensibly spotlight black history in February, we concentrate on the achievements of black strivers — never the American hell they strove against. So you hear all about the dozens of uses George Washington Carver found for a peanut, but nothing about Mary Turner’s newborn, stomped to death by a white man in a lynch mob.

We don’t know what to do with those stories, so we ignore them, hoping that time, like a tide, will bear them away. But invariably, they wash up instead in mass incarceration, mass discrimination and the souls of kids who know their lives are shaped by bad things from long ago, even if they can’t always say how.

Almost 40 years later, I’m embarrassed by the righteous vindication I got from Dave’s apology. Dave Weitzel, the individual man, had not done anything to me. But like me, he had never been given the tools to face the ugly truths America hides from itself, had never been taught how to have the conversation.

So we had only his shame and my anger. Had we managed to push through those things, we might have found common humanity on the other side. But we couldn’t do that because we didn’t know how.

Indeed, as best I can recall, we never talked about it again.

Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at lpitts@miamiherald.com.

(c) 2016 THE MIAMI HERALD DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Photo: PBS. 

Donald Trump’s Philosophy On Success Was Inspired By A ‘Twilight Zone’ Episode

Published with permission from Alternet.

If Americans feel like they’re living in a “Twilight Zone” episode thanks to Donald Trump, well, that’s kind of how he intended it. The presumptive GOP nominee is a big fan of the series, and for some time cited an early episode as a major inspiration for his lifestyle choices.

Notice how Trump often says, “If I’m president we’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with winning?” Sounds bizarre, right? Well it should: It’s adopted from the hallmark series of bizarro television.

Watch a clip of the Twilight Zone episode, “A Nice Place to Visit”:

In 1992, Wayne Barrett, a reporter for the Village Voice, wrote an epic biography of Donald Trump tited The Deals and the Downfall (HarperCollins). Like many Americans, the book grapples to understand Trump’s rationale.

Below is an excerpt:

“What are your goals?” he [Trump] was once asked in a television interview when he was at the peak of his success. “Goals?” he repeated, apparently taken aback by this foreign concept, unable to imagine a sense of purpose grander than a scorecard. “You keep winning and you win and you win,” he said in the midst of the crisis, reflecting on his better days. “You keep hitting and hitting. And then somehow it doesn’t mean as much as it used to.”

Donald liked to recall his favorite “Twilight Zone” episode, which featured a venal man who died in an accident, was offered any wish he wanted, and declared: “I want to win, win, win. Everything I want. I went to get. I want to get the most beautiful women. I want to get the beautiful this and that. I want to never lose again.” Then, as Donald recounted the story, the man was shown playing pool, winning every time. “Everything he did, he won,” said Donald, until the godlike figure who’d granted his wish came back to the man. “And the man said, ‘If this is Heaven, let me go to Hell.’ And the person said, ‘You are in Hell.’ (pp. 31-32)

The episode Trump is referring to is called “A Nice Place to Visit,” which aired on April 15, 1960. The episode revolves around Rocky Valentine, a thief who is shot to death during an attempted robbery. In the afterlife, he encounters Mr. Pip, who gives Rocky everything he wishes for.

But it’s not just similarities in dialogue that the episode and Trump have in common. In fact, every scene closely echos a quintessential part of Trump’s brand.

Rocky is first given a million dollars by Mr. Pip, a white-haired sort of father figure, similar to how Trump was given a “small loan of a million dollars” by his own father. And the first place Rocky goes upon recieving the money is—you guessed it—a casino. Even the bit about Rocky’s name being written on the wall of the building screams “Trump.”

“I’ve had a lot of victories,” Trump told People Magazine, explaining his minor obsession with the episode’s plotline. “I fight hard for victory, and I think I enjoy it as much as I ever did. But I realize that maybe new victories won’t be the same as the first couple.” Maybe Trump is getting so sick of winning, he won’t want the presidency, even if he’s elected.

Watch the full episode of The Twilight Zone’s “A Nice Place to Visit”:

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor

Photo: Flickr user “please”