The News Below The Fold

Above the fold is the upper half of the front page of a newspaper or tabloid where an important news story or photograph is often located. Papers are often displayed to customers folded so that only the top half of the front page is visible. Thus, an item that is “above the fold” may be one that the editors feel will entice people to buy the paper.

Yesterday, and the day before, all the news that anybody saw was about the U.S. airstrike on Shayrat air base in Syria.  Until some questions are answered, until additional facts are forthcoming, I have said all I can say on that topic and have frankly tired of the speculation.  However, behind the smokescreen that news provided, there was other news that I would like to take a further look at, as it was largely (completely?) overlooked for the past two days.

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into whether Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election and to what extent the Trump campaign colluded in that effort derailed at the end of March, after Representative Devin Nunes’ credibility was called into question by his exchange of classified information with the White House.  On Thursday, Nunes announced that he is stepping down from the investigation.  This is still not a guarantee that the committee will be able to do its job and hold an impartial, unbiased, bi-partisan investigation, but it is a step in the right direction.

In other related news, the New York Times reported on Thursday that as early as August of 2016, CIA director John Brennan had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald Trump.  The article is lengthy, but well worth the read.    According to the report, Brennan was so concerned about increasing evidence of Russia’s election meddling that he began a series of urgent, individual briefings for eight top members of Congress.  Brennan indicated that Russia’s hackings appeared aimed at helping Mr. Trump win the November election, and also that unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election. The FBI, conducting its own investigation at the time, was convinced Russia’s cyberattacks were aimed primarily at disrupting America’s political system, and not at getting Mr. Trump elected.  In and of itself, the suspicions posed here are nothing new, but what is new … and disturbing … is that this information was known by the CIA, the FBI, and at least eight members of Congress some three months before the election!

gorsuchNo surprise, but Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court on Friday.  There was really never any doubt that this confirmation would take place, despite the efforts on the part of Democrats in the Senate to filibuster that, had it been successful, would have forced a 60-vote majority rather than a simple 51%.  Senator Mitch McConnell made sure to change the rules, thus effectively blocking the filibuster and ensuring Gorsuch’s confirmation.  It reminds me of my sister-in-law trying to teach me a card game, while she changed the rules to her advantage nearly every hand. Sigh.  McConnell has outlived his usefulness in the Senate and is no longer a representative of the people of his state (Kentucky), but rather represents only the Republican Party and his own interests.

As early as next week, the court will be deciding whether to consider expanding the breadth of the Second Amendment. Other cases on the docket include a case about whether business owners may refuse to offer their wedding services to same-sex couples, voting rights issues, and a case involving the concept of separation of church and state.  Gorsuch is a strong conservative, but has been noted as being fair, so we can only hope that he is driven by his conscience rather than political motives, especially once Trump’s travel ban comes before the Supreme Court, as it is almost certain to eventually do.


And finally, what would otherwise have been the day’s big news, was barely a blip on the radar:  the meeting between Trump and China President Xi Jinping.  According to foreign policy expert Richard Bush, writing for Brookings Institute, the talks covered four major areas:

  • Trump’s commitment to visit China this year
  • The restructuring of the senior-level dialogues
  • The declaration of a 100-day process for addressing economic frictions
  • Agreement to coordinate actions on North Korea

On North Korea, Trump repeated his warning that if China did not do more, the United States would act on its own to constrain the belligerent actions of North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un. According to Bloomberg, the biggest accomplishment to come out of the meeting was the two leaders sizing each other up, ‘getting to know’ each other.  There were “no trade or investment deals announced, no agreement to contain North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, no plan stitched together to reduce tensions in the South China Sea.” 

While Trump tweeted that the meetings had created “tremendous goodwill and friendship”, the Chinese state-run media wasted no time in denouncing the U.S. airstrike on Syrian air base Shayrat, calling the move an act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles. Some Chinese political analysts posed the same thought that I had, considering the timing to be no coincidence, but rather a well-timed message to Xi Jinping that the U.S. could attack North Korea, if they saw fit.

One problem I see with the media, but also with the news-consuming public, is that one story can, and often does, dominate the headlines to the exclusion of most other news.  We gobble up any tidbit, even if it is only a repetition of what we read two hours before, and in the chaos created by something as big as the Syrian air strikes, all else becomes insignificant.  While I am not suggesting the major stories are not important, they should not blind us to what else is going on in the nation, the world.  This is the intent of the administration with their smokescreen policy to detract as much attention as possible from their own foibles and antics.  We need to follow the big stories, but we also need to read “below the fold”, for often that is where the real news is.


16 thoughts on “The News Below The Fold

  1. Absorbing news coverage has always required discernment. There was never any era when the facts were reported as they happened, for all sorts of reasons, for of them to do with memory, visual perception and of course how the writer conducted the interpretation.
    I personally trust the BBC Radio above all others (although their TV news channel is a great disappointment as it dumbs down with theme moozik, flashy graphics and an infuriating habit of running a loop of two minutes of film over and over; which is in terrible taste when a disaster or tragedy is involved). It does come in for a lot of knocks, but since those are from both Right and Left and for the same reasons, well it must be doing something good.
    Even so at the end of the day to get an idea of what is going on requires your own mini-journalistic approach, absorb as much as you can and think it over. I would also recommend reading (or audio-booking) a great deal of history; it’s uprising how trends and comparisons can be gleaned from even thousands of years ago.
    Oh My Sainted Aunt! WE still keep making the same mistakes!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes … flashy graphics and 2-minute loops … sounds just like CNN! I never watch t.v. news for that reason, but read a vast amount from at least 10-12 sources that I consider reliable each day, then, as you say, think it through, ask myself questions and try to find the answers. And I do read mostly history, because it is what interests me most, though admittedly my main interests are the Civil Rights Era, and the two World Wars, particularly WWII. But, I try to diversify. There are many lessons to be learned, but as you said, for some reason we keep making the same mistakes over and over. I often wonder if we tend to forget the lessons because over time they begin to seem less important. Memories dim, those who lived through a period eventually die out, and the successive generations are left with what they learn in school from history books. History textbooks … one of my pet peeves … history is so exciting, so fascinating, but the writers of history textbooks seem to go out of their way to turn it into dry, dull, and dreary! Woe, woe, thrice woe!!! But I digress. I think that probably means I need sleep … I tend to ramble when tired. 🙂 But then, some would say I tend to ramble all the time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Jill.
        This was definitely a ramble-free zone; one line of thought followed another quite succinctly; I’m in agreement with you all the way.
        I think there is a lot of hubris about the place too, folk tend to think…’uhh, we’re smarter than those back then’….wrong!
        I tend to drift to audiobooks these days because I am a lazy reader and also it’s good to hear something when on the move; the real bonus is the reader, who being an actor puts that ‘extra’ into the work with accents and inflections.
        Hope you had a good night’s sleep.
        Best wishes

        Liked by 1 person

        • I did indeed! I actually slept a full 8 hours for the first time in months … I think all my late nights caught up with me.

          I have tried audiobooks, but I find that I cannot stay focused … my mind wanders along meandering paths, then I realize I have no idea what I just read/heard, have to go back to an earlier point, re-start, listen for about 90 seconds, then my mind wanders off elsewhere and … well, you get the picture. However if I read a book or on my Kindle, I can usually stay quite focused and get lost in whatever I am reading, effectively tuning the rest of the world out. I suppose that if I eventually lose my sight completely, I will become a huge fan of audiobooks and learn to corral my wandering mind … 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jill,

    Thanks for some other real news of the day.

    I am disgusted with the media coverage of DDT’s retaliatory action against Syria which had resorted to the use of Sarin gas on its own peoples. For the most part the media covered this like an exciting football game instead as the serious event that it was. Lives were lost.

    You can tell that the media is run by a bunch of men with too much testosterone

    The CIA Brennan news is upsetting because the CIA had this data in August 2016. Why were “we the people” not informed in a timely manner.

    Other good news is that another ideologue Ms K. T. McFaland, formerly of FOX TV has also been kicked off the NSC with the assistance of General McMaster. She has been assigned as the Ambassador to Singapore.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I was disturbed that not only the CIA, but also at least 8 congressmen knew, but we were not informed. I am assuming both majority and minority leaders were among those informed. Shame on them all!

      I agree with your take on the media coverage of the Syrian bombing. Sigh. I guess whatever sells news, yes?

      That is good news about KT McFarland … I had missed that one. It looks like McMaster is perhaps showing both some good sense and some backbone!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting… “Chinese state-run media wasted no time in denouncing the U.S. airstrike on Syrian air base Shayrat, calling the move an act of a weakened politician who needed to flex his muscles… [or] a well-timed message to Xi Jinping that the U.S. could attack North Korea, if they saw fit.” Probably both! Either way, 45 surely wants the world to see that he is a president-of-action.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. I find, however, that I trust BBC, Reuters and Guardian more than any of the U.S. media. But yes, they are all in business for profit, so they will report the most sensationalistic stories and in the most sensational manner possible. Makes it hard to find the nuggets of truth.


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