March 6, 2018

PPOD 3/6/18: The Nunberg Trials

It's been over a year since I did a Pet Peeve of the Day, or PPOD, post.  The last time I was so inspired, it was Mitch McConnell who made me do it. This time, it's Sam Nunberg and all who got caught up in the whirlwind that was yesterday.

Nunberg, a former Trump campaign staffer who, according to this opinion piece, was fired not just once but twice by Trump, received a subpoena from Robert Mueller's grand jury, asking for any and all documents of any kind related to Carter Page, Corey Lewandowski,  Donald Trump, Hope Hicks, Keith Schiller, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Roger Stone, and Steve Bannon. Nunberg might once have been a nothingburger with the campaign, but someone seems to think he's a somethingburger with a plateful of sides.

So he gets a subpoena, and he starts feeling his oats, and before you know it, he's all over the cable networks, calling in a la Trump to show after show, expanding his resistance to the subpoena, expanding his thoughts on whether the president might have done something worthy of Mueller (yes to that one, or maybe not, or maybe maybe), #JoeBidenliterally expanding everything, before our very ears. He ended the night with one last phone call to a reporter for New York magazine.

To say it was a cluster is an understatement. To say it was a media sh*tstorm is not even coming close. In one interview, Nunberg was asked if he had been drinking. Not because the interview would have been stopped, had he been - oh no. It would have only been better if he had been under the influence!

Nunberg may be seeking treatment after he gets acquainted with the grand jury on Friday; he's cooperating, now that he's had some time to think about it, and to consider the advice he received from CNN's Jake Tapper and MSNBC's Maya Wiley.

Stephen Colbert had this take on things. Michael D'Antonio, author of the opinion piece linked above, had this take on things.
Let's get something straight. I am Sam Nunberg. You are Sam Nunberg. In a way, every American who feels disoriented by the bizarre reality of Trump World is Sam Nunberg... 
Comforted by his wealth and power and with apparently little empathy for those he hurt, Trump  has made an art out of denigrating others and promoting himself. Along the way he has collected effective enablers and jettisoned those, like Nunberg, who didn't quite fit the paradigm Trump established. The same dynamic rules the White House, which explains the turmoil there, and it impacts every American who recognized that Trump is at best incompetent and at worse, destructive...
Nunberg deserves our empathy. Yes, he brought some of the pain upon himself. However, he has also been abused and misused. He's a man who reached the end of his ability to cope with Trump. Most of us have an idea of how that feels.  
Dan Rather called had this take on things (a mixed message, to be sure).
As one saw all of this unfold, one didn't know whether to laugh or weep. It was a sad spectacle for journalism but, worse than that, it was a sad sight for the country (that the president would have had a political advisor who) gives every appearance of being one of those people who score in the high 90s on the Dumb Test.
That's where I'm going to leave it.  A journalist calling it a "sad spectacle for journalism" while making himself a sad spectacle by insulting a man who clearly - clearly - was out of his element, and who was taken advantage of by the media, who acted as if they simply couldn't help themselves.

And that's why this is my Pet Peeve of the Day.

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