Trumpland Tales: Skewed View on Booker’s Sessions Session

The Wire was monitoring that indispensable cable-provided public service outlet, C-SPAN, when Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) came to the witness table to testify against Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a fellow member of the Judiciary Committee and Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general.

One senator testifying against another at a nomination hearing is almost unheard of. Booker conceded it was an “exceptional” move, but said he had to put the country and his conscience above senatorial tradition.

While he began his testimony by acknowledging he had worked collegially, and with mutual respect, with Sessions on legislation, the thrust of his testimony was the following:

“Senator Sessions has not demonstrated a commitment to a central requirement of the job – to aggressively pursue the congressional mandate of civil rights, equal rights and justice for all. In fact, at numerous times in his career, he has demonstrated a hostility toward these convictions and has worked to frustrate attempts to advance these ideals,” he said. But there was more.

“If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t.

“He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t.

“He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t.

“He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but his record indicates he won’t.

“His record indicates that as attorney general he would obstruct the growing national bipartisan movement toward criminal justice reform.”

The Wire’s assessment: Hardly an endorsement.

Having gotten C-SPAN’s unfiltered view of the testimony, imagine our surprise when President-elect Trump’s transition team emailed a glowing press release under the headline: “What They Are Saying: U.S. Sen. Schumer and Top Democrats Praise U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions,” and leading with this: “Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): ‘Blessed And Honored to Have Partnered With Senator Sessions’ in Passing Legislation That Awarded 1965 Voting Rights Marches Foot Soldiers With the Congressional Gold Medal.” But the release conveniently omitted the “thrust” of the testimony.

It reminded us of those dot-dot-dot movie reviews, like: “I wish I could … see … it again,” when the review was: “I wish I could have left the theater after the opening credits. I hope I never see it or its like again.”

The Wire asked Booker’s office for any comment on the Trump team’s selective take on the senator’s testimony. A staffer suggested it spoke for itself. Well, at least on C-SPAN it did.

CES 2017: This Is Not The Android TV Box You’re Looking For

CES, the annual gadget-fest in Las Vegas, typically borders on the surreal and the real when it comes to the consumer products that are on display on the floor. While many are products that will come to retail this year, others are better placed in the wishful thinking category.

Such was the case again this month when, at CES, multiple news outlets stumbled on and reported about an Android TV-powered device supposedly branded by Disney. Word was that The Mouse was on the cusp of launching a customized, kid-friendly $99 OTT box, called Kids TV, that would come pre-packed with exclusive Disney content.

Or not.

According to an official for SnakeByte, a maker of gaming accessories that had the device on display, the box reported on was merely a “speculative prototype” being demonstrated as the company looked to enter exploratory talks about obtaining a license from Disney for some EMEA territories.

But it was likewise strange that the reports talked up specific details like pricing and product launch timing, with one report noting that a Disney-branded tablet was also in the works.

The Wire (which failed to be snake-bitten, at least not this time) hears that those news outlets were apparently given some not-ready-for-primetime info from an overly exuberant person at the SnakeByte booth.

— Jeff Baumgartner

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.