Go to the tape?

中国日报网 2017-02-17 12:37



Go to the tape?Reader question:

Please explain this headline, particularly “go to the tape” (Washington Examiner, February 13, 2017): Democrats ‘go to the tape’ to discredit Trump’s Cabinet.

My comments:

Tape? What tape, you wonder? Rightfully so.

Today, of course, we don’t see any tapes around or at least don’t see them as often, as in the past.

Today, audio recordings and video images are stored digitally in tiny SD cards. In the past, however, decades past to be specific, audios and videos were recorded and stored in cassette tapes. Before the prevalence of the Internet, DVDs and even VCDs and CDs, audio voices and songs were all recorded via the tape.

The tape was also known as, well, film, because the tapes were the same flimsy material used in film making.

Sounds like we’re talking ancient times, but (indeed, things change so fast) at any rate, Democrats going to the tape means literally they are using the video tape, i.e. providing video film or footage as evidence.

All in an effort to discredit Trump’s Cabinet, or key members of Donald Trump’s government or administration, as Americans prefer to say.

Let’s rewind a bit. Trump is, in case some of my readers live under a rock and are uninterested in world politics and current affairs in general, at this moment President of the United States. He is a Republican or a member of the Republican Party, one of two political parties in that country.

Democrats, as you can guess, are the other party in question.

Anyways, Democrats are currently the opposition party, or opponents to the Republicans who are the ruling party, the party with the power to run the country.

And as opponents, one of the main jobs of the Democrats is to discredit or smear and give a bad name to Trump and his Cabinet, which is another name for the government, consisting of the heads of the executive departments, such as the Treasury, Justice and Commerce.

Anyways and at any rate, I’m not going into any details further (talking about politics anywhere becomes a drag if we dwell on the subject for too long, say, five minutes), Democrats are going to the tape and that means they’re using film records as evidence.

In other words, what they’re saying is all true, factual. If you don’t trust their words, go and watch some film.

Okay, here are recent media examples of “go to the tape” to drive the point home, including the Examiner article (Example 3):

1. Let’s go to the tape — or not.

Donald Trump bragged to a massive rally crowd Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Fla. about watching a “top secret” government video of Iranian officials unloading $400 million from an unmarked plane in a reported bombshell backdoor deal. Then on Thursday Trump was caught boasting about the video again at a town hall in Portland, Maine.

Stranger still: No one — including American intelligence officials — has any idea what he was talking about.

Trump, one of the two people who could be the next leader of the free world, couldn’t wait to tell his followers in Daytona Beach, Fla. about an apparently classified video he said he just watched.

“I don’t think you’ve heard this anywhere but here,” the bumbling businessman began. “Iran provided all of that footage, the tape, of taking that money off that airplane.”

He seemed to be referring to a Wall Street Journal report earlier this week that Iran secretly received $400 million in foreign currency right as it released four American hostages. The White House denied this was a ransom deal, despite alluding to that earlier this year.

Trump didn’t seem so worried about the implications of the cash swap — he just thought it was interesting he got to watch footage of it.

- Donald Trump brags about watching ‘top secret’ Iran video, but no one knows what he’s talking about, NYDailyNews.com, August 4, 2016.

2. In their first week of deliberations, the jury in the Ross Harris case focused on the hours immediately following the death of his 22-month-old son Cooper.

The six-man, six-woman panel asked to review three videos from June 18, 2014: Harris’ interview with lead detective Phil Stoddard, his reunion with Leanna Taylor in a police interrogation room, and his return to his SUV at lunchtime, roughly three hours after leaving Cooper strapped in his car seat.

They watched each video closely, but it seemed their attention was riveted on the third, when Harris returned to his SUV after lunch and tossed some light bulbs into the front seat.

“The third video, because it was so short, everyone was paying attention to see what it was,” Atlanta criminal defense attorney Esther Panitch said. “And it’s a very difficult video to analyze because it was taken from such a distance away from where Ross was in his car. So it’s interesting to see. It makes sense the jurors wanted to see what happened on that day.”

She and other attorneys caution that it’s all a guessing game: no one, except the jury itself, knows for sure what those 12 people are thinking about, talking about or arguing about back in the jury room.

Prosecutors say Harris left his son in the car intentionally. Apparently at least one juror doesn’t agree.

It’s unknown whether a debate over malice murder, the most serious of the charges against Harris, led jurors to go to the tape for another look. Perhaps they wanted to see whether Harris’ stories matched up. Maybe they wanted to study his demeanor again.

But that didn’t stop the wild speculation after jurors asked the court to define “wanton,” which appears in the definition of criminal negligence — “an act or failure to act which demonstrates a willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the safety of others who might reasonably be expected to be injured thereby,” according to Georgia law.

That means Harris knew his son could be hurt as a result of his actions, in this case, his serial sexting with online strangers.

Harris faces a maximum of life in prison without parole plus 42 years if convicted on all counts. If convicted on any of three murder counts, he would have to serve a minimum 30 year-sentence before being eligible for parole.

- Jury deliberations enter fourth day in Ross Harris trial, MyAJC, November 13, 2016.

3. Senate Democrats, who have come up short in their effort to derail any of President Trump’s Cabinet picks, played videos of Trump promising to “fire” Wall Street executives an hour before a scheduled vote on treasury secretary nominee and hedge fund manager Steve Mnuchin.

“We heard from candidate Trump time and time again that he’d be tough on Wall Street,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “So what does President Trump do when he takes office? Let’s go to the tape.”

Schumer played a video of Trump talking to voters during his campaign and promising, “I’m not going to let Wall Street get away with murder. I’m going to do what’s right for the country. Not a Wall Street firm.”

“He held rallies, lambasting elites, criticizing bankers and hedge fund managers,” Schumer said. “He lied. The chief financial adviser comes from Goldman Sachs and his Cabinet is filled with billionaires and Wall Street insiders. Another broken promise.”

- Democrats ‘go to the tape’ to discredit Trump Cabinet, WashingtonExaminer.com, February 14, 2017.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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