WHERE IS MEREDITH MCIVER? (An op-ed by guest writer Brian R. Friedman)
Donald Trump has invented employees out of thin air before.
He has pretended to be someone named John Miller or John Barron when speaking to the press, and those instances are documented. So when someone in the Trump Organization named Meredith McIver released a written statement claiming responsibility for plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008, some, including myself, became suspicious that perhaps Trump had duped us again.
Those suspicions have only grown. Bogus social media accounts claiming to be this woman have popped up SINCE McIver’s statement, possibly even of Russian origin as the Twitter account for 'her' today went from defending herself in English to simply stating ‘nothing can stop us’ in Russian.
Obviously photo-shopped pictures have popped up online, and the fact that no one seems to have physically seen this woman outside of the Trump Organization in the past ten years (other than, weirdly, Piers Morgan, which I think only sets off more red flags), and it was enough for me to go digging.
My search for Meredith McIver continues (and there are others out there looking too), as there is still no physical proof of her existence, but the search also provided some sad insights into the current media as a whole.
When I called the Associated Press New York City bureau to ask if they’d interviewed her, their response was ‘oh, yeah, we tried once, but it didn’t work out.’ I was shocked at that lack of effort. Jason Horowitz of the New York Times wrote a story about her – without apparently sitting down or talking with her. I believe he and the Times were duped. Politico blew me off as well. I could go on and on and on.
Only the Washington Post was receptive to listening, but as of right now I don’t know for sure if they will go to press with anything.
I’m not sure why the media hasn’t done any real investigating here. Maybe they can only pay attention to anything within the past 24-hour news cycle. Maybe because someone saw a link to something somewhere, then it must be true. Maybe newsrooms are now so decimated that, whereas there once would have been a team of reporters fleshing out stories, there is now no one.
But I know that personally I won’t stop until I know for sure whether or not Meredith McIver exists. If I am wrong and she does exist, I will go on television to admit I was wrong, and I’ll apologize to Ms. McIver for any trouble I may have caused her. I’ll proclaim that ‘Yes, I was wrong! Donald Trump’s in-house plagiarist really does exist! And I’ll go back to other pursuits.
Hillary Clinton has earned all the scrutiny she’s given through some highly questionable actions in the past, but shouldn’t the press spend half as much time examining Trump as they do on her e-mails?
In my mind, I keep switching Trump’s name for say, Barack Obama, and I think, what if Barack Obama, in his past dealings, had pretended to be someone else while talking to the press. Imagine the field day the media would have talking about that – and I doubt if it had come out during the campaign he’d even be president today. I wonder if Barack Obama simply just said ‘no’ to the accepted practice of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns, the media would have just let that slide.
And if we’re right that Meredith McIver is fake, I can just imagine the bedtime stories of the future. Instead of George Washington and the cherry tree, it’ll be ‘and then President Trump invented a woman out of thin air, and let her take the blame for it. And that’s tonight’s lesson in accountability. Now go to sleep.’