Over the past several years, we have often written about our amazement at how frequently all the major news platforms, with the exception of Fox, use identical language to describe a certain event or statement by the President or White House on their evening news coverage. We struggled with how this could occur and who it was making it happen.
We may now have some insight into the answers, or at least a partial explanation. In the major nightly TV news shows, there have been references to “talking points” delivered by email to all the top news outlets. This is not to be confused with the independent news organization, “Talking Points Memo,” because the references actually refer to email memos directed to the news outlets by none other than the Department of Justice.
It is no shock that these directives are coming from Washington, D.C., but it does tweak the soul a bit to have the DOJ leading the charge since its statutory mandate says nothing about being the publicist for the White House. To the contrary, according to Google this Department, which was established in 1870 and headed by the Attorney General of the United States, “was created to control federal law enforcement, and all criminal prosecutions and civil suits in which the US has an interest.” Nothing there mentions developing “talking points” to “clarify” statements or actions by the White House or some arm of the federal government that has painted a poor picture of someone, usually the President.
If you research the term “Talking Points disseminated by the DOJ” or similar descriptive language, you’ll need to read volumes before you come across a discussion about such actions recently taken by the DOJ. But they are there by the dozens if you look hard enough.
In short, “federal law enforcement” has acquired a new definition, which is “media advisor to the President and the White House.” How times have changed! At least now we understand where these media directives are originating and, make no mistake, when they emanate from the DOJ it is with the unspoken promise that, if not adhered to, the enforcement arm of the agency will be at the door of the offending media to make accusations that will take years to decipher.