Monday, May 15, 2017

TASS Grants U.S. Press Access to Monitoring Devices Planted in Oval Office


SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The day after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in a startling and virtually unprecedented decision, he raised further suspicion by hosting a closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak -- during an active investigation into his possible collusion with Moscow. More troubling, the White House blocked U.S. reporters from attending the conference but allowed members of TASS, Russia’s state-controlled news agency, to be present. Intelligence officials condemned the action as a major security breach, explaining that Russian crews could have brought in concealed electronic monitoring apparatus. But in a largess to the beleaguered U.S. press, TASS has agreed to give American journalists access to the live-streaming audio and video devices it planted in the Oval Office last week.

Enemy of the Enemy of the American People

Donald Trump, despite enjoying the celebrity he attained as a reality television personality, developed a disdain for that same level of visibility as a presidential candidate. Shortly after taking the Oath of Office in January, the newly enthroned president lashed out at the media, declaring the nation’s free press an “enemy of the American people.”

A man who spent his life craving attention suddenly found the uncontrolled transparency of news coverage an intrusive watchman whose unflattering depictions could not be edited away in post-production -- a mirror unable to be masked.

In February, the Brookings Institution published a revealing story about Mr. Trump’s troubling relationship with the media.

The press, overall, he says, is a “disgrace,…false, horrible, fake reporting.” It is “out of control…fantastic.” Reporters are “very dishonest people,” their coverage he describes as “an outrage.” The New York Times—a “failing” newspaper. CNN—“terrible.” Buzzfeed—“Garbage.” Then, on top of it all, this presidential tweet, dripping with anger and threat:

The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Trump’s venomous attitude toward journalists began festering before the events of February. Media experts believe the president’s appointment of Ajit Pai as FCC chairman formed an essential step in his plan to limit the reach of the press and suppress voices of dissent within its ranks. Clamping down on the generally free distribution of information across the Internet, Trump understood, could prove instrumental.

“The real peril is uncensored access to vast amounts of information and facts, which is killing the economy and thwarting governmental efforts to keep people on the right path,” Kellyanne Conway said. Pai immediately vowed to take a “weed whacker” to the electric communism of net neutrality, ending the free flow of fake news that is destroying the nation and undermining the alternative facts Americans need.

The unfettered and unchecked Internet has played a pivotal role in undermining American values and perverting the truth, which only President Trump grasps. A lack of curation has allowed malicious Internet trolls like the Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, CNN and others to hide clear instances of rampant voter fraud, champion the widespread dissemination of fake news, and force the president’s staff to rely on alternative facts to keep the public informed.

Since Trump took office, the problem has only worsened. Journalists now are routinely ejected from press briefings or even arrested for asking questions. Dan Heyman, a reporter from West Virginia, was apprehended by alert security personnel when he asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about the administration’s new health care plan -- a clear move in the direction of sedition.

Russian Reporters Sympathetic to Plight of State-Controlled Media

Trump’s private meetings with Russian officials last week raised more than a few eyebrows. Had TASS not received authorization to broadcast photographs and social media posts, no details about the discussions would have been known.

Thankfully, TASS was in the room to document the conversations. As the Washington Post discovered, President Trump “revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.”

Despite picking up the slack left by the absence of U.S. media, TASS emerged as the villain of the story. American intelligence officials criticized the ability of Russian reporters to enter the White House as a potential major security breach: “Surveillance equipment like listening devices can be concealed in electronic equipment like cameras, according to these experts, and it was irresponsible at best for the White House to allow a foreign government with a history of spying like Russia to enter a sensitive government building with them.”

Some TASS employees, however, expressed their sympathy for the plight of American journalists living through the constraints of the Trump administration. They have agreed to grant U.S. press access to the bugs they planted while in the Oval Office.

“We know what it is like to be censored, arrested and sometimes killed for trying to report stories,” said Alexey Semenov, an editor at TASS. “When we found out that your puppet dictator liked to be urinated on by Russian prostitutes, and that those prostitutes were really cross-dressing men with tiny hands, and that they were all forced to wear name badges that said ‘Ivanka,’ we desperately wanted to run that article. But our leaders refused. Still, we consider the United States a friend. Your new leaders -- people like Michael Flynn, Jefferson Sessions, Mike Pence and even Donald Trump -- they have shared so much with us. We want to return the kindness. So to our brothers and sisters in the American media, we are granting you full access to the livestreaming audio and visual spying devices that we planted in the Oval Office. Even if you are expelled from the White House, you will still be able to cover everything your commander is doing, saying, ingesting and, uh, bathing in.”

(c) 2017. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. All articles are works of satire. See disclaimers.

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