A dark and stormy night for Trump with Stormy Daniels

The dark and stormy night is one of those classic Victorian opening lines to the next great melodramatic novel.  It's become a caricature and a joke – appropriately, based on its overly dramatic style.

What else recently has become much the same – a caricature and a joke due to constant melodrama?  How about the news media?

Stormy Daniels, who, I am quite certain, has enjoyed many dark and stormy nights, is an American porn actress.  She is quite celebrated in her world, having won such awards as "Contract Babe of the Year"; "Favorite Breasts," which she won three times; and "Crossover Star of the Year."

Perhaps her most noteworthy recognition is a nomination for Best Safe Sex Scene in a movie.  I'm not sure if she ever sat on Harvey Weinstein's casting couch or is part of the #MeToo movement.

She is not a Russian hooker, as she was born in Baton Rouge.  She said of her childhood that she "came from an average, lower-income household[.] ... [T]here were days without electricity."

Stormy's real name is Stephanie Clifford.  And despite not having ties to Russia or Putin, she is the latest shiny object being breathlessly chased by the media.  No Russian collusion, but instead an alleged affair with Donald Trump.

She is not a young White House intern, but instead a porn actress who claims to have had an affair with then-citizen Donald Trump back in 2006.  Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Stormy $130,000 in October 2016, just a few weeks before the election.

There is no dispute that Stormy was paid.  Was it to buy her silence?  Or to stifle another October surprise on the heels of the Billy Bush Access Hollywood tape?  In lawsuits, settlements are paid to limit future costs and exposure, without any admission of guilt.  Sometimes it's just the most cost-effective path to take.

President Trump has denied the affair, as has Stormy Daniels.  She wrote a letter dated January 10, 2018 denying an affair with Trump, "[s]tating with complete clarity that this is absolutely false."  She wrote, "He was gracious, professional and a complete gentleman to me and EVERYONE in my presence."  She concluded, "[T]he fact of the matter is these stories are not true."

The latest is that Stormy is suing President Trump in a California court, "alleging that he never actually signed a 'hush agreement' over an alleged sexual relationship between the two, making the agreement null and void."

If you want more details, turn on CNN or any of the other cable news shows, as they are breathless over this story.  They just caught their breath from the weekend flurry of interviews of San Nunberg, concluding with a 45-minute nothing-fest on CNN where Nunberg was asked if he was drunk.

The dark and stormy night is a he-said, she-said story, impossible to prove one way or the other.  At least NBC had audiotape of Trump's comments to Billy Bush.  But that won't stop CNN.

Adhering to its standard approach for Trump news, CNN concluded, "In short, there's a lot of smoke around the Daniels-Donald relationship even if there is no proof of fire."  Sounds just like the Russian collusion story, which the network pushes on a daily basis: no proof but let's keep reporting it because there is smoke around it.

The only smoke around Russian collusion is being blown by Rep. Adam Schiff and his fellow left-wing conspirators, plus a handful of NeverTrump Republicans.

What a difference a few decades makes.  Everyone remembers President Bill Clinton and his sexual hijinks.  The intern in the Oval Office, sexual harassment, rape, perjury, and impeachment.  Remember how those were all "personal matters" that didn't affect his ability to function as president? "It's only sex.  Everyone does it."  And the entire affair was, according to the enabling wife, "a vast right-wing conspiracy."

The media are giddy.  CNN insists, "Stormy Daniels deserves fairer treatment."  Do they mean like Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, and Kathleen Wiley?  ABC News declares, "Trump 'absolutely knew' about money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels: Lawyer."  Just like how Mrs. Clinton absolutely did not know about emails or anything else, according to James Comey and her other butt boys.

Newsweek quotes Daniels's attorney, who, of course, "stated that his client had a sexual relationship with President Donald Trump."  Her attorney surprisingly is not Gloria Allred.  How ironic that another Newsweek journalist, Nina Burleigh, years ago said about Bill Clinton, "I'd be happy to give him [an oral sexual act] just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."

Let the media bark and bray, just as they did after the Access Hollywood tapes.  The result was that Donald Trump got elected, easily.  Perhaps Americans are tired of October surprises, even when they occur in March.

Will the Stormy Daniels story amount to anything?  Doubtful.  We have been treated to nonstop stories of Trump-Russian collusion with absolutely nothing to show for them after a year and a half.  Since Trump was elected, media coverage has been overwhelmingly negative – 91 percent, to be exact – and it continues to this day.

Ratings are down, and viewers are tuning out, not listening to or reading mainstream news.  Another Trump story?  So what?  Every day, it's another smoking gun, from a drunken campaign aide to a porn starlet seeking her moment of fame, all in the span of a few days.  The little boy is crying wolf again.  Ho hum.

Just as starting a novel with "it was a dark and stormy night" means the rest of the story will be a dud, pushing another Stormy on Americans will be as big a flop as all the rest of CNN's breaking news.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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