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Cafe Society to continue discussion of the election

By Staff | Nov 18, 2016

The next Cafe Society’s session on Nov. 22 will extend its very active discussion from last Tuesday but focus on the administrative team that President-Elect Trump is building and the role of the news media in the election and launch of a new Republican Administration.

Everyone is aware of the fact that there is a tremendous difference between campaign rhetoric and serious articulation of political action required to rally a significant new task force that can interpret Mr. Trump’s still sketchy outline of what he hopes to accomplish. For the moment his stunning victory and non-traditional approach in seeking the mantle of National Executive leadership has given him significant momentum and few of the political obligations and constraints that have tied the hands of many of his predecessors. But the business of government is a very dynamic thing, infinitely complex, and unforgiving as each move is analyzed six ways from Sunday. That, of course is where the media comes in and the over-flowing stable of journalistic pundits hoping to pierce the veil of future White House thinking to pick the bones of every appointment or suggested policy move.

Cafe Society discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. each Tuesday morning in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center. They are an integral part of the SU Life Long Learning Program. There are no fees or registration requirements. They are intended to facilitate a dialog on current issues between the students and older members of our community.

Facilitator, Mike Austin asserted, “Mr. Trump’s personal entourage may quickly prove to be a shallow pool from which to draw necessary talent. The task of the transition team will be complicated by the vitriolic nature of the campaign and the long list of talent that took themselves out of the selection process by disavowing “Candidate Trump” when his prospects were dim at various times. High on the list is a large number of senior military and national security operatives who miscalculated and burned their political bridges. Nonetheless Vice President-select Pence has his work cut out for him to identify, vet and nominate for Presidential appointment the nearly 4,000 new senior executives or policy makers who will fill the vacancies upon President Obama’s departure. Nearly a third of those positions will require Senate confirmation “payback time” for those Democratic senators looking to get even and possibly a few critical Republicans. On the Democratic side of the ledger, a number of Obama appointees may have miss-judged and failed to burrow into senior Civil Service positions on the false assumption that there would be significant carryover from the Obama to the Clinton Administration. With the Democratic Party in chaos and retreat, that isn’t going to happen.”

Austin said, “Another significant aspect of the election as it played out was the major role that the news media played often with journalists injecting themselves into the dialog, (particularly the debates). Traditionally the media are supposed to report the news, not make it. They lose their mantel of respect and credibility when they play a direct role as actors, rather than reporters.

“Unfortunately the combination of saturation coverage of nearly every comment or gesture that Trump made, the wide assortment of misleading and speculative poll results, editorials and analysis and feature stories made it nearly impossible to get an objective picture. The practice of well-timed press leaks, directed appearances on talk shows, and non-attribution commentary further clouded issues. Finally, the explosive variety of alternative social media channel methods of communication made it possible to sustain a cloud over most political controversy contributing to the smoke and mirrors and preventing more mundane-sounding factual reporting from reaching the public.”