Monday, March 6, 2017

Sniveling idiots: The media, a teleprompter, and the toxic bigotry of sycophantic desperation

It’s not my habit to write about blogging process for a Sunday post. But this is the disastrous Trump era, however long it lasts. And in the disastrous Trump era, news moves at such a pace that what is a big story mid-week is likely to be overtaken by an even bigger story by the end of the week. Even as I write these lines, I wonder if the new big news will be overtaken by even bigger news tomorrow or the next day.
But this post isn’t really about Trump. It’s about the media that are so responsible for the disaster that is Trump. As I wrote last summer, when so much that is not and must never be accepted as normal came to be the lived reality: If fascism ever does come to America, the media will be goose stepping right in line.
There are many independent reasons why the popular vote loser Trump sits in the Oval Office. There are many independent factors without any one of which Hillary Clinton would be president. These include the Clinton campaign's failure to lock down its firewall states; the Russian government's manipulations, investigations of which Republicans on all levels are with clear intent assiduously and cynically obstructing; and of course the unprecedented and unethical interference of the New York FBI office and FBI director James Comey, which also may never be fully investigated.
But another factor that by itself made possible Trump's historically narrow Electoral College victory was the incompetence and at times complicity of the major media. They made Trump possible, and despite his unprecedented hostility toward them, they continue to enable him. It would be embarrassing for them, if they hadn't long ago proven they are beyond embarrassing. It is, however, dangerous.
The depth of the media's sycophantic depravity with Trump is exemplified by the image at the top of this post.
The inexplicable prominence of Chris Cillizza as Washington Post analyst is exemplified by his pathological obsession with Clinton's emails last year, and he continues to prove he hasn't grown or learned a thing since. In this case, he does acknowledge Trump's disassociation with facts, as highlighted in the Post’s adjoining article, but that doesn't prevent him from writing:
he can be, dare I say it, presidential when the moment demands it.
He's not going anywhere, folks. And that speech suggests he might have more upside than almost anyone thought.
Specifically, Cillizza points to these as among Trump's supposed highlights:
Trump hit a few very nice notes: His condemnation of threats against Jewish community centers at the start of the speech was a very nice grace note, and his honoring of the widow of the Navy SEAL killed in the recent Yemen raid was a remarkably powerful moment.
And never mind that earlier on the same day, in an unscripted and unteleprompted meeting Trump bizarrely and ominously suggested that those threats against Jewish community centers may be a false flag operation designed to make him look bad.
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Does @DrDavidDuke write @POTUS ’s talking points? #25thAmendment
just hours ago he suggested the anti-Semitic attacks were a Jewish false flag—he was the President of the United States in that moment, too
My Jewish high school got a bomb threat today but thankfully the police were able to assure everyone that Ivanka is a Jew
And never mind that the Navy SEAL was killed in a failed operation that also has yet to be fully investigated, but that Trump on the same day as his speech blamed on the military and the Obama administration. But Trump read words, and to Cillizza's ilk that was the big pivotal moment they've been so desperately waiting for. More intelligent and principled observers from across the political spectrum—including military veterans and military analysts—had a different reaction.
Photo published for Donald Trump Blames SEAL's Death On Military: 'They Lost Ryan'

Donald Trump Blames SEAL's Death On Military: 'They Lost Ryan'

If watching POTUS publicly exploit S/Chief Owens' grieving widow didn't make your skin crawl, I worry about you -- as an American & a human.
So "the generals" got S/Chief Owens killed, but let's spotlight his widow on live TV.

Has Stockholm Syndrome overtaken the whole country?
Hi I'm a real journalist and a Marine's wife. Ask me anything about honoring sacrifice without scoring cheap political points. …
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Media people in my feed (left) viewed Trump's Navy SEAL moment last night very differently from the veterans (right). A story in two images:
Trump sent a soldier off to die in a half-baked raid and then used his grieving widow as a prop. I'm still processing this.
Did...did Trump just say a slain Navy SEAL is looking down happily from heaven because his mention broke an applause record?
But Cillizza was not alone. The punditocracy was beside itself lauding Trump's apparently remarkable ability to read words off a teleprompter, and they found Trump's staged and calculated honoring of the Navy SEAL's courageous widow transformationally presidential. This despite the lingering questions around the political circumstances of his having been killed; the administration's repeated lies about those circumstances; the report just a day earlier (and confirmed a day later) that the mission itself produced no significant intelligence; Trump’s own questionable behavior that horrible night; and the civilian women and children who also were killed that horrific night.
This ain't about saving time. It's a dangerous desire to pass the buck. Let me lay this out in a few tweets. …
Photo published for Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK

Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK

At best, call the media's reaction to Trump the toxic bigotry of no expectations. They’re desperate to believe he can be what he’s spent decades proving he never will be. A more realistic assessment of the media would be to wonder how they'll get Trump's boot polish off their tongues. Do they understand that the public's reaction was far less impressed, with both the size of the audience and the approval rating being significantly less than for the first joint speeches of Barack Obama and even the Lesser Bush?
View image on Twitter
43.4 million watched. Down from 52M for Obama's 2009 speech. #trumpaddress
Better yet: Total U.S. Population is up about 6% since 2009 (324M vs. 306M). …
"Very positive" reaction to equivalent speech, per CNN/ORC

Bush 2001: 66%
Obama 2009: 68%

Trump 2017: 57%

Photo published for 7-in-10 speech-watchers say Trump boosted optimism

7-in-10 speech-watchers say Trump boosted optimism

NBC's Jacob Rascon just spent morning in TX interviewing dozens of people to gauge reaction to President Trump's speech. 90% hadn't seen it
The deferential desperation by so many in the media is even more proof of the totality of their degradation. It hasn’t been even a week since their colleagues were shut out of a White House press office gaggle, while Trump himself was doubling down on his dangerous authoritarian labeling of the media as enemies of the American people, before taking it to the next level and declaring the intentions of the New York Times are evil. But nothing Trump says or does prevents large segments of the major media and their punditocracy from throwing themselves at his feet like the timid toadies they are.
They made his ascension possible in the first place by lavishing him with billions of dollars of free coverage. They openly touted the profits he made them. He plays them for the fools they are, and they continue to grovel and do his bidding. If he now reversed course and decided to attend their annual exercise in self-congratulation know as the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, they’d probably strew rose petals before him.
But some did pay attention to the substance behind the gloss, and some of those paying attention are among the professional media, although lacking requisite obsequy is not likely to land them on television.
Oh shit. The office of “Victims Of Immigrant Crime Engagement.” This is exactly how it starts. #jointsession
View image on Twitter
FACT CHECK: Trump touts clean air and water while trying to kill air, water rules
Words NOT in Trump's speech: ***PLANNED PARENTHOOD*** or ***ABORTION***
Word NOT in Trump's speech: ***GUNS***
Word NOT in Trump's speech: ***GUNS***
Word NOT in Trump's speech: ***CLIMATE***
Trump emphasizes threat of jihadi terrorism. It's real, killing 123 Americans since 9/11. In that period, guns have killed 450,000.
And there were many who were unimpressed with the media’s breathless fawning.
The television commentary was even more embarrassing than usual. And it is usually pretty cringeworthy …
Pundit: “Doubts about Donald Trump have been quelled now that he has delivered an hour-long speech without jamming a pen into anyone’s eye."
I will ask this all day long: why was his tone more important than his lies and falsehoods? …
For any other president this would be a boring, laundry list speech. For Trump - amazing, responsible, detailed, uniting, presidential!
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
I'll never understand why the media tries so hard to find the good in Trump after they tried so hard to find the bad in Hillary.
I'm so sick of folks grading Trump on a curve. If he's merely competent at reading a speech they want to give him a Medal of Honor. NOT ME!…
Last night was good evidence that if Trump was not a complete fuck up, he could keep horrible policies and be adored by pundits.
Things we're calling "presidential"

telling egregious lies that've been debunked

vilifying immigrants as criminals

reading from prompter
Senior White House official just described Trump's speech to me as "nationalism with an indoor voice"
"Indoor voice" is a phrase we use for toddlers, not presidents. So... please proceed.
View image on Twitter
What folks look like trying to explain why they think Trump reading a TelePrompter makes him more Presidential.
We  may yet get through this without suffering too much damage to too many people, but any damage to any people makes those responsible beyond excuse. And the media types who fawned and slobbered over Trump’s speech are as responsible as those who helped usher Trump into the White House in the first place. It didn’t take even 24 hours for their idiocy to be exposed for what it was. Not that they will learn. But they can at least take comfort in knowing their insular little club wasn’t alone in lauding Trump’s speech.  
The KKK loved Trump's speech.

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