“Keep this propaganda spewing loser off my Sunday TV please”

Top White House aide Stephen Miller had a complete meltdown on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday morning which forced host Jake Tapper to shut down the interview and, needless to say, Twitter users noticed right away. Moments after Tapper told Miller, “There’s one viewer that you care about right now and you’re being obsequious because you’re trying to please him. I’ve wasted enough of my viewers time, ” and cut to commercial in disgust, Twitter lit up over the controversial Trump adviser whose TV appearances are always combative.

I was a History major in college, and I’ve always believed the past informs the present. Once you understand history to be a circular phenomenon, it becomes easier- and often depressing- to understand what’s unfolding in front of us. As much as I hate the possibility of invoking Godwin’s Law, Stephen Miller is channeling Josef Goebbels, and his conduct during most interviews is a study in Nazi propaganda techniques.

It’s never about answering questions put to him. More often than not, Miller’s mission is to impugn the reputation of the journalist unfortunate to be tasked with interviewing him. In this case, it’s CNN’s Jake Tapper, who despite Miller’s full-court press to flip the interview into an excoriation of Tapper’s perceived biases, cut him off in a firm and professional manner.

I suspect that Tapper felt the need for a shower after he was finished with Miller…and who could blame him?

Stephen Miller is the perfect voice for an Administration determined to define truth on terms favorable to their agenda. Described by one wag as “a stupid, obsequious Roy Cohn wannabe,” Miller isn’t about pushing an agenda to move America forward. His prime directive is to advance a line of propaganda which paints the President in a positive light- as a brilliant inspired leader who methods and intentions shouldn’t be questioned.

My question is why networks with an interest in objective journalism insist on booking propaganda merchants like Stephen Miller. They know what they’re going to get…and when they get it, the story becomes the conflict between the interviewer and interviewee. Miller wins because he shifts attention away from the President’s ineptitude or alleged mental illness.

Yes, Tapper handled Miller’s attempt to derail the interview perfectly. He shut him down and moved on…but in so doing, Miller scored a victory of his own. He was able to deflect the conversation to Tapper’s reaction, thus shifting attention if only for a short time from the President’s alleged unfitness.

If nothing else, this attempt to conduct a reasoned, rational interview demonstrates that the battle for truth is being lost. Trump Administration flacks are succeeded in moving the needle from the dishonesty, lies, and propaganda to the means and methods of the mainstream media. Referring to CNN, MSBNC, and other news outlets as “fake news” may be transparent propaganda, but there are millions among Trump’s base who believe the mainstream media to be biased. As long as Trump’s attack dogs are able to maintain and promote this narrative, they win.

And America loses.

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