The setup: A room at the White House. There are five men sitting in those horrible, wooden desks we all had to use in Junior High School:
Jeff Zucker, President of CNN
Carlos Slim, major shareholder in the failing New York Times
Robert Allbritton, owner of the Politico
Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times
Jonah Peretti, co-founder and CEO of Buzzfeed
They’ve been asked to come to a 4:00PM meeting to discuss their relationship with the White House. Their expectation is that they will be meeting directly with President Trump and they’ve come loaded for bear. It’s now 7:00PM and they are not at all happy. Everyone is speaking English except President Trump who, if he ever bothers to show up, will be speaking the Trumpish Dialect of English. Carlos Slim also throws in a little Spanish lingo from time to time.
“Carlos, you know this jerk better than any of us. What’s he up to?”
“I don’t know, Señor Jeff. But I have said before that his strategy is to shock and provoke. But in the end, he’s not a terminator, he’s a negotiator. What do you think, Jonah?”
“Ha! If he thinks the dossier of fake news we published is all I got, wait until you see what Buzzfeed does after this stunt!”
“I really like what you did with that, Jonah, particularly how you got everyone to use the word ‘dossier’ rather than pile of steaming horse manure.
“Thanks Devan. We felt pretty good about it as well!”
And in walks President Trump to lots of wailing, nasty words, and just plain mean stuff. President Trump stands calmly waiting until all the caterwauling subsides. It’s now we notice that assistant to the President Steve Bannon and two really big guys with earpieces are behind President Trump. President Trump just stands by silently as Steve Bannon enters the room.
“Steve! As the CEO of CNN, I deserve respect and to know why we’re all here!”
“You were all summoned to Principal Trump’s office for some remedial training. I’m Vice Principal Bannon. I’m also the Athletic Director here at the White House. These other two gentlemen are my football coaches Bubba and Huey. They’re from what, I believe, you refer to as the Bible Belt and they don’t take kindly to bad words. Thank you, Principal Trump. I’ll call you when these ‘gentlemen’ are in a mood to listen.”
President Trump exits. Vice Principal Bannon says:
“You’re all slackers! I hate slackers! Please sit down, ‘gentlemen.’”
“We’re not sitting down!” Bubba and Huey ask everyone to sit down ‘nicely’ and everyone does although Jeff seems to be hunched over and in rather great pain.
“Señor Vice Principal Bannon. I am very glad to be here but I would be much more glad with Tequila.”
“Hold out your hand, Carlos.” WHACK.
“You hit me with a ruler! That hurts!
WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK WHACKWHACK!!!!!
IT’S NOW 9:00 PM. BUBBA AND HUEY ARE SWEATING A BIT. VICE PRINCIPAL STEVE BANNON IS THE ONE SPEAKING.
“I’m glad we’re making progress. I think there’s a little hope for you slackers! Now, Davan, let’s read the First Amendment to the Constitution out loud again:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
“So Davan. Is President Trump part of ‘Congress?’”
“No, Mr. Bannon.”
“Has President Trump asked the Congress to write a law regarding the press of any kind?”
“No, Mr. Bannon.”
“Does the Constitution say anything at all regarding the President’s access to the media?”
“No, Mr. Bannon.”
“Thank, you Davan. You may sit down.”
“Señor Vice Principal Bannon!”
“I must really go to the cuarto de hombres.”
“You’ll need a hall pass, Carlos. Let me ask our Chief of Staff. Mr. Priebus! Are you still here?”
“Yes, Mr. Bannon.”
“Can you write Carlos here a hall pass?”
“Certainly, Mr. Bannon. But Carlos should know that I’ve put the White House on lockdown because there might be some ‘bad hombres’ here. And the hall monitors he might meet on the way carry real military rifles. I would be very polite to them!”
“¡Si, Señor Vice Principal Bannon y Señor Chief of Staff Priebus. Como no!”
“While we’re waiting for Carlos to get back, Jonah, was your ‘dossier’ fake news?”
“NO! I HAVE A RIGHT TO PUBLISH ANYTHING I WANT REGARDLESS IF IT’S A BALD-FACED LIE OR NOT!”
“I really feel bad about this Jonah but I need you to see the bigger picture. Huey, my wooden paddle is hanging by the photo of President Reagan in my office. Bubba, if you’d escort Jonah there and have a ‘discussion’ with him, I’d appreciate it.”
“Yes, Vice Principal Bannon. Come on y’all.”
“You wouldn’t really!”
WHACK! “No backtalk, slacker!”
IT’S NOW 3:00 IN THE MORNING. BUBBA AND HUEY ARE LOOKING RATHER SPENT AND IT SEEMS THAT NONE OF THE ‘STUDENTS’ ARE SITTING.
“Jeff, let’s read U.S. Code § 1182 again, please.”
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
“So, Robert, does President Trump have the right to enact his ban?”
“NO, IT’S UNCONSTITIONAL!”
“Because I think it ought to be unconstitutional!”
“OK, Robert. As we discussed several hours ago, we’re a nation of laws. Who will ultimately decide this?”
“Unelected judges in the Ninth Circuit!”
“Oops, I forgot! I meant the Supreme Court.”
IT’S NOW 9:45 IN THE MORNING. BUBBA AND HUEY ARE ASLEEP IN THE CORNER LOOKING RATHER SELF-SATISFIED.
“President Trump will be holding a press conference in 15 minutes. Would you like to go?!”
In unison — “YES MR. BANNON.”
“Fine, fine. I have chairs reserved for everyone up front.”
All together – “We’d rather stand if you don’t mind!”