Sunday, May 21, 2017

How Bad Is Trump? How Bad Is The Media (On Trump)?

For the love of God, somebody tell me what's going on. I've lost all perspective. Is it:

(a) Trump is awful beyond the telling of it
(b) The mainstream media is in a tizzy, and is significantly exaggerating Trump's awfulness
(c)  All of the above


Blogger Pete Mack said...

They are not exaggerating all that much: most of the real news is coming from leaks from Trump's own administration. Whether it's from intramural fighting, disgust, or a way to get access to Trump's eyeballs (via Fox News), it all paints a devastating image of internal chaos. And yes, the FBI is investigating members of the administration for direct collusion with Russia during the election. If anyone did--*cough* Flynn *cough*--he is now badly compromised, not to mention guilty of federal felony.

The main worry about Trump is that he's both highly susceptible to flattery, and likes showing off his insider status. That's probably how the Russians played him--the very day after he fired Comey. That still blows my mind, especially when you add in his friendly aside that hey, there's no probkem anymore since Comey's no longer on the case. Just wow.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

Perhaps the fundamental issue is his version of self confident. He seems to define it not so much by his ability to get things done, but by his certainty that he is always right. He's made innumerable statements about how smart he is, how fast he learns things, his gut instincts, how fast he can solve problems. It points to a problem not so much of intellectual dishonesty, but complete unawareness of what it actually means.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I guess I tend to agree that they're not exaggerating all that much. But I don't trust my own instincts here.

That guy just pushes so many of my buttons that I'm not sure I can be fair to him. I mean...I pretty damn sure that the majority of my disgust with him is justified...but I can't get much more precise than that.

And the non-conservative media just seems to be in *such* a *seems* largely justified to me...but, again, I'm not sure of much beyond that.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous John Plato said...

I'm troubled by how willing the mainstream media has been to throw away any pretense of their objectivity just to get in a few more digs at The Donald.

The Washington Post's ridiculous change of masthead, for example -- "Democracy Dies In Darkness". Good Lord. Sure, it's embarrassing, but more to the point, who is it speaking to? Their clear choice to advertise just how disgusted they are with Trump pretty much ensures that the entire American population of right-leaning folks who voted for him will never believe a word the WaPo has to say -- the ones who just happen to need good journalism the most. Great job, Bezos.

And the worst part is how the standards of their reporting have fallen. The WaPo still does some excellent reportage, but it is often mixed with the kind of sloppy inaccuracies that would get you kicked off your high school paper.

Just as a random example, here's a quote from an article that ran today ( ) about whether Twitter was responsible for Trump's presidency:

"On the one hand, chief executive Jack Dorsey condemned Trump's executive order temporarily banning visitors from Muslim-majority countries."

Trump never banned visitors from all Muslim-majority countries as the sentence irresponsibly implies. There are about 51 Muslim-majority nations; Trump's travel ban applied to 7.

So if you are a good journalist? And you know that your phrasing is ambiguous? You clarify it. You add the word "seven". This is why editors have jobs.

These are not amateurs. They know words matter. Their editorial choices are not accidents. But my sense is that they just feel so virtuous, so valorous in their crusade against Trump that accuracy doesn't matter anymore. Or rather, it's somehow seen as being *more* accurate to speak the "truth" behind the facts, to let the reader know how woke they are, that they get how Trump really wanted to ban all Muslims, and would've if he could've.

It's shameful, really, but who is going to call them out on it? This kind of thing happens all the time now, and in our prestige papers. The NYTimes nearly always uses "anti-immigrant" as an adjective for any article about policies dealing with illegal immigration, for instance.

While the WaPo is writing its umpteenth story of the day about why Trump is an evil dummy, and pushing it on front page of their website, Indonesians just sentenced their former governor to prison for blasphemy and have been chanting outside his cell for him to be executed. His crime? Saying that a Christian can rule in a Muslim country.

This is a democracy that is actually, truly dying. It's not that the WaPo isn't doing good journalism about this, but it's a mere handful of stories about the collapse of the world's 4th most populous country. 260 million people. The most populous Muslm-majority country (and not on Trump's list, for what it's worth). Meanwhile, we get another thousand words or so today about how Billy Bush wishes he'd changed the subject during his interview with Trump. The Post's masthead may be right after all, just not in the way they intended.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Well, what you guys have done is basically articulate the two halves of my thinking on this...thus making me undecided about more carefully-articulated alternatives...

Thanks for nothin'

8:32 AM  

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