Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy (bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Sep. 14, 2019 6 min read

The *real* Trump Turnberry story is about how Trump is paying for that enterprise. The refueling stops are a red herring, given that there were 240 *prior to Trump being president* and when *Turnberry was closed*. So the implication Trump initiated the practice as POTUS is false.

1/ Here's a problem that major media is having: if a journalist uncovers a story, every network wants to cover it to celebrate media itself, i.e. the fact that a story was uncovered. That holds even if the news is minor and if the same journalists are ignoring far bigger stories.

2/ I've now seen 12 to 15 media reports online and on TV about these Trump Turnberry refueling stops, and no one wants to acknowledge that the story begins well before Trump would have had any juice with the military. But it's just too much fun to run these reports over and over.

3/ Meanwhile, MSNBC refuses to cover even *once* (just as an example I happen to be very familiar with) PROOF OF CONSPIRACY, though *that's* a compilation of *3,250 news stories* that are *all* confirmed to have real, significant, *lasting* meaning for the story of Trump's graft.

4/ I don't direct this ire at the journalists themselves, who will *always* try to get their stories on TV/online no matter their value, but to news directors like those at MSNBC, who are clearly doing *no calculus at all* as to which news stories have meaning, impact and weight.

5/ None of this would matter if Congress were proceeding briskly through its investigations, rather than dragging its feet, refusing to go to court as quickly as it should, and dithering about whether it's engaged in an impeachment probe. But it is. So we need media to shape up.

6/ If across 12 to 15 digital and TV reports on the refueling stops at Trump Turnberry you can't successfully explain to the author of two books touching on Trump's golf courses what your "theory of the case" is on these trips, you don't have a story yet and need to realize that.

7/ If Trump had been orchestrating these trips via the military using his post-election political power, even an elementary school student would say that there should've been *no such refueling stops whatsoever in 2015 and 2016*. But now MSNBC reports that there were *hundreds*.

8/ Meanwhile, besides in my book I can only find 1 or 2 discussions of Trump's *incredibly suspicious golf-course dealings with the Emiratis* in Europe and the UAE *after* his decision to run for POTUS and during a period UAE offered him illegal pre-election financial assistance.

9/ But put aside my book. If MSNBC brought on its air *12 to 15 times* the *authors* of the Trump-UAE golf-course stories I cite in the book, America would be having a *massive* conversation re: an *actual* pre-election collusion scandal, rather than meaningless refueling trips.

10/ In a competitive news marketplace, the refueling story would have gotten one attempt online and one attempt on TV to explain to viewers how it is that Trump could have orchestrated inconvenient trips by the military to Scotland *before he was president*. We still don't know.

11/ At worst what we have is the military stupidly deciding—in 2015 (or 2014)—for reasons unrelated to Trump, to refuel in Scotland, then amping up the practice to try to please Trump and get more military spending. Now compare that to *illegal pre-election Trump-UAE collusion*.

12/ Again, it's not that the two stories—(1) the refueling red herring, (2) the Emiratis bribing Trump (an impeachable offense) via golf course-related business deals, permitting, and financing—are getting equal time. The first is getting wall-to-wall coverage, the second *none*.

13/ Nor is the issue, finally, the refueling story versus the Emirati-financing story, as the disparity between two such stories—the one getting wall-to-wall coverage despite meaning little, the other getting none despite meaning everything—*repeats* 100 times a month with Trump.

14/ So when Americans scratch their heads and say, "Hmm...I can't easily understand what Trump did wrong and why Democrats are so upset," it's *not* that the case was presented to America and failed to persuade, it's that *it was never presented* while we all focused on nonsense.

15/ Lest you think this is about me, I'll bring up someone who hates me, has no respect for me, doesn't read my work, and disagrees with me on much about the Trump-Russia case: Marcy Wheeler. I'd rather have Marcy on MSNBC 100 times a day than hear the refueling story once more.

16/ The independent journalists, foreign journalists, citizen journalists, freelance journalists, and non-journalist experts researching the Trump-Russia case are breaking bigger, more impactful news about U.S. national security than mainstream journalists—but can't get coverage.

17/ If you wonder how that's possible, the answer is curatorial journalism—or in the case of foreign journalists, investigative reporting on topics our journalists ignore. Curatorial journalists *network* major-media stories whose significance even their authors don't appreciate.

18/ For instance, the refueling story involves Trump pressing folks to aid his business, but we already have 100 examples of that; it's *important* in that it underscores that Turnberry's a failure—and directs us toward the idea it's being bolstered by illegal business practices.

19/ But don't trust my word for it: THE NEW YORKER did a massive expose on Trump's golf-course empire and concluded that there's *no discernibly plausible business explanation* for how that empire continues to stand. Additional research provides *mountains* of other explanations.

20/ Had we networked the refueling story with these other stories, we would've said, "OK, Trump is *so* desperate to keep his golf empire afloat, and *so* willing to use illegal means to do so, it appears *one* method is pressuring the military to augment an already bad policy."

21/ *That* line of thinking would've *naturally* led reporters to another: no matter how much money Trump makes off our military at Turnberry, it's *hundreds of millions of dollars shy* of explaining how that course even still *exists* as a going Trump concern. Let's investigate!

22/ Instead, MSNBC tells us the story is the refueling—which again, looks to have begun when Trump would've *had nothing to do with it*—or, at the outside, Trump marginally increasing an existing bad practice to enrich himself, *not* whether he *committed crimes to become POTUS*.

23/ Just as I would've been less angry about Bill O'Reilly for all those years if he'd simply said on-air, "I'm a radical conservative entertainer"—not an "independent" who's a "correspondent"—I'd respect media more highly if it just said, "We ignore any stories we didn't find."

24/ But that's what I've learned, and what I'm fed up with daily: it doesn't matter if reporting the best and most significant information it can find anywhere in the world would *save American democracy*, major media won't report it if it comes from outside the major-media club.

25/ So let's all enjoy 50+ refueling-story "reports"—across all media platforms, for a week—even as thousands and thousands of Americans read the 3,000+ reports I curated and networked in PROOF OF CONSPIRACY and say, "Uh, why didn't I get this big picture of events earlier?" /end

PS/ The *most nefarious* version of the refueling story is that Trump and a Scottish airport agreed, beginning in 2014, to lobby the US military to refuel near Turnberry, and that lobbying increased post-election. *This doesn't compare to getting bribed by Emiratis pre-election*.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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