By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: August 22, 2018 ~
The fact that the President’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty yesterday to an array of fraud charges and fingered the President as an unindicted co-conspirator in campaign finance fraud, which dominated cable news last night for a non-stop six hours, has failed to get front-page placement in newspapers across rural America. This news censorship may explain why suburban and urban voters give such a low approval rating to Donald Trump while rural voters continue to give the President high marks. Rural voters are simply being starved of important national news by their local newspapers.
Consider the stark difference in reporting between the digital front pages of big city papers and their rural peers this morning:
The New York Times leads today with the headline Cohen Pleads Guilty, Implicating President. The Washington Post has this: Cohen pleads guilty, implicates Trump in payoff scheme. The Los Angeles Times explains it this way: “For a president who campaigned on a platform of ‘drain the swamp’ and ‘lock her up,’ Tuesday provided a moment of reckoning that could put his administration in league with Nixon’s for the level of scandal that surrounds it.”
The Houston Chronicle wrote in a lead story that “Although President Donald Trump largely ignored it at a campaign rally in West Virginia, questions mounted about his possible legal exposure and political future.”
The President spoke at a rally in West Virginia yesterday, where he is popular because of his pro-coal stance. We looked to see how a newspaper in Clarksburg, West Virginia, the Exponent Telegram, was covering the Cohen story today. It had zero news on the matter on its digital front page. Its digital front page did have this, however: “Woman charged with disorderly conduct at Bridgeport city hall; later carried shouting off to jail.”
The Sioux City Journal in Iowa also has nothing about the Cohen arrest, guilty plea and campaign fraud allegations against the President on its digital front page this morning. It shows the following as its “trending” news stories: “recent arrests booked into Woodbury County Jail”; “9-year-old severely injured in ATV crash”; “Investigators find body of Mollie Tibbetts in cornfield”; and “Former Siouxlander claims Roundup caused cancer; seeks damages from Monsanto.”
The Keene Sentinel in New Hampshire, which covers both suburban and rural areas, also had nothing about Michael Cohen. Its digital front page led with a story about an owl protecting its nest by swooping down and harassing hikers on a local trail. Let that sink in for a moment — a menacing bird beat out the President of the United States being implicated in campaign finance fraud and a hush money coverup.
Make no mistake about it, regardless of where you stand on Donald Trump’s fitness for the highest office in the nation, the Michael Cohen story deserves to be front page news on every newspaper in America.
At a hearing in Federal District Court in Manhattan yesterday, Cohen told Judge William Pauley in open court in front of dozens of reporters that “in coordination with, and at the direction of, a candidate for federal office,” he facilitated hush money payments to two women alleging affairs with Trump to buy their silence “for the principal purpose of influencing the election.” An audio tape between Cohen and Trump had previously been leaked where Trump is heard agreeing to paying money to silence one of the women.
Porn star Stormy Daniels was given $130,000 while former Playboy model Karen McDougal was paid $150,000 by the parent company of The National Enquirer (with the understanding that the story would be killed) and with the promise of reimbursement by Cohen. The sums exceeded the amounts that Cohen could legally give to a Federal candidate as an individual and the monies were never reported to the Federal Election Commission, as required by law. According to the prosecutors’ charges, the Trump Organization, of which Donald Trump is the principal owner, agreed to repay Cohen at the rate of $35,000 a month. Corporations are not legally allowed to make campaign contributions to Federal candidates.
In the government’s “information” that specifies the charges against Cohen, Trump is referred to simply as “Individual-1.” After the hearing, however, Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that Cohen was referring to the President. Davis said that Cohen “stood up and testified under oath that Donald Trump directed him to commit a crime by making payments to two women for the principal purpose of influencing an election.”
On the same day that Cohen’s riveting testimony was playing out in a Federal court in Manhattan, Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was convicted on eight criminal charges in a Federal court in Virginia. The convictions include five charges of tax fraud; one charge of hiding foreign bank accounts; and two counts of bank fraud. The jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision on 10 other counts that had been brought by prosecutors. Federal Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on just those 10 counts.
Despite the convictions coming from a jury of 12 men and women representing mainstream America, who deliberated over four days and reached a unanimous decision that Manafort was a criminal deserving extensive prison time, Trump said after the announcement of the convictions that Manafort was “a good man.” At the same time, Trump called Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and a “disgrace.”