Monday, July 17, 2017

Snopes: The Lies Of Donald Trump's Critics, And How They Shape His Many Personas

Haven't finished reading it, but here it is anyway.


Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

I know I'm a broken record, but... couple of things worth bearing in mind (none of this is meant to imply anything about your own views, Winston):

(1) As regards such outlets as WaPo and the NYT, if any of their journalists, even accidentally, made the kind of easily disproven false assertion about an important matter of fact, of the kind that Trump makes deliberately (aka lying) I would guess at least daily, they would immediately be fired. And we can bitch all we want about their ideological bias against Trump, but there's a strict limit on how far ideological bias can go if you retain a genuine sense of being constrained by the facts on the ground. Trump has no sense of being constrained by the facts on the ground. And he's the President. I think that's a bigger story.

(2) Even if everything MacGuill alleges to be a lie really is a lie (and in many cases there are much stronger grounds for doubting intent to deceive than in most of the Trump cases), this should not change any reasonable person's assessment of Trump in the slightest. Since Trump is actually running the world, and the likes of Newsweek, the Guardian and Learn Progress (who?) are not, this stuff is, relatively speaking, of limited interest. Media bias against a President to whom they are ideologically opposed is not news. When the President is by any objective standard a pathological liar, and he clearly doesn't care that this is painfully obvious to everyone outside his base, and that's not even the worst of his political vices, that's unprecedentedly horrifying, and ideological opposition is more or less a duty. I don't see how anyone without a massive agenda could even try and say 'Yeah, but media dishonesty is the real story here' with a straight face.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I pretty much agree, as usual.

As you know, I agree that Trump's freaking awful...though I guess I'm more freaked out by media bias than you are. It's not so much the outright factual errors that would, as you say, get journalists's the prevalence of a kind of constant, off-center orientation. And one that will outlive Trump by decades...perhaps even centuries. Biases that are also involved in supporting massive, weird social changes (like normalizing illegal immigration and the "trans" restroom stuff) and tamping down dissent and discussion. That is, basically siding with the left in a pervasive way.

Though there are the bizarre outright, clear, undeniable, factual errors, too, that go beyond just one journalist. Saying e.g. that Trump called all Mexicans rapists...I'm mean...that's outright insane, it persists to this day, and I've seen commenters go to the mat insisting that he did it. Just as an example.

Anyway. Again, I think we largely agree how awful Trump is, but we may disagree about how alarmed we should be a about the media.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Darius Jedburgh said...

Yeah... as regards concerns about the ('liberal') media -- although not as regards their importance relative to Trump -- I do see where you're coming from. I mean, you know how I feel about a lot of this stuff. But even here, I think there's an important distinction to be drawn between the 'trashy left' and the likes of WaPo and the NYT. When I first came to the US in the late 80s, those papers struck me as really conservative because I was coming to them from reading not much else besides the Guardian. The weird thing is that the basis of that judgment still holds: WaPo and the NYT regularly publish genuine, honest-to-goodness conservative comment: Will, Douthat, Krauthammer, Friedman, Rogers, Theissen... and it's clearly not just tokenism. (I know I mentioned this the other day, but I think it bears repeating, because it does refute any suggestion, of a sort to which you sometimes give the impression of being sympathetic, that these newspapers are just the bourgeois arm of the kind of SJW lunacy that (I am eager to acknowledge) has infiltrated large sections of the academy.)

The Guardian, then as now, very rarely published anyone right of center. For a long time this made the US papers really uncongenial to me; now the Guardian looks like a ridiculously self-admiring political monoculture. With some issues it borders on the bizarre: for example, I have literally never, in about forty years, seen an op-ed in the Guardian on abortion that wasn't party-line 'pro-choice'. That looks especially weird when you think that that's an issue on which 'progressivism' is notoriously low on argumentative resources... until you realise that that's why they can't tolerate dissent. (The Tuvel case is another interesting instance of the phenomenon: it's because the transracial-transgender comparisons are so natural and hard to argue against that the reaction to Tuvel's paper was so vicious and hysterical.)

Sorry, I'm rambling... I also agree with you that a lot of the danger comes from self-described liberals who give the SJW fanatics a free pass on far too much. But even here I think you tend to overstate the degree that WaPo and the NYT are complicit. Probably the canard that Trump called all Mexicans rapists has appeared in their pages once or twice, for example, but that's definitely not their default way of reporting it. With the likes of Hannity and O'Reilly, there's a certain kind of shockingly unscrupulous willingness to twist what they know to be the facts (strongly reminiscent of Trump, actually) in order to propagandise on behalf of their shitty little agendas, and I honestly don't see much evidence of that level of intellectual-political depravity at WaPo or the NYT, for all their ideological excesses. Or is that naive?

12:09 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

This seems neither rambling nor naive to me, and, in fact, is helpful to me.

I need to think about this more, obviously, but I'll say:

Though I agree that the NYT and WaPo are not in the same league as Fox with respect to bias...I don't think it's a very meaningful comparison. Fox is a joke. "Fair and Balanced" is a joke--a gesture at a fig leaf. The NYT and the WaPo are *supposed to be* respectable. Seriously. Our newspapers of record. The tip of the journalistic spear...

I expect better from them. A lot better. I don't expect *still better than Fox* to be their defense. Even *a lot better than Fox* is a pretty weak response to my mind...

I worry that notable bias at serious places is more dangerous than drooling fuckwittery at non-serious places.

But these are worries, not settled conclusions.

8:55 PM  

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