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Keith Olbermann: Trump wants to mimic Putin and turn White House press briefings into chaotic circus

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Keith Olbermann examined the buried lede in reports that press briefings could be moved out of the White House under the Donald Trump administration.

Trump’s team has backed away from plans to move the press room, but they could greatly expand the number of reporters — which reminds Olbermann of how those official briefings are conducted in another country.

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“The more the better, right?” Olbermann said. “Just the way it works in Russia — a giant crowd of reporters screaming for the leader’s attention, making signs indicating what organization they belong to, and even signs and props to indicate what questions they intend to ask.”

Olbermann conceded those White House press briefings won’t likely expose wrongdoing by the Trump administration or other crucial information, but he’s concerned the expansion of the press corps allows friendly plants to redirect news conferences to favor the president.

“Trump gave the stunt away at last week’s news conference,” Olbermann said. “He packed the place with people applauding for him. They have as much right to be at a presidential news conference as would people booing him — and that amount of people is none.”

Quadrupling the number of reporters at presidential briefings turn the events into campaign rallies and allow the Trump administration to more easily ignore reporters with serious questions, Olbermann said.

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“You suddenly change from difficult to impossible any coordinated action to prevent Trump from repeating the other stunt he used in New York last week, singling out and attacking one reporter the way a bully picks out one kid from the crowd,” Olbermann said.

Olbermann recalled when the George W. Bush administration paid off columnist Armstrong Williams for positive coverage of the No Child Left Behind Act and issued White House press credentials to a shady non-journalist who called himself Jeff Gannon.

“The Bush administration at media manipulation, including literally buying good coverage, was amateurish compared to what we can expect from Trump,” he said. “They didn’t work because they were too easy to spot in the crowd. The solution? Make the crowd bigger.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

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President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.

"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."

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ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

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Donald Trump in Oval Office

Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.

"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

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Trump claimed North Korea missile testing ‘would stop’ — but they just launched again: report

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The upcoming G7 summit meeting in Bairritz, France will have one more issue to grapple with after North Korea reportedly conducted missile tests.

"South Korea's military confirms that North Korea has launched a projectile this morning. From South Hamgyong Province. Japan's government reported it first," Voice of America Seoul bureau chief William Gallo Tweeted Friday.

"North Korea has now conducted nine rounds of launches since early May. But this one's notable because it comes after Trump says Kim promised "this testing would stop when the exercises end." They did end Tuesday. And yet..." he noted.

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