Monday, November 30, 2015

Why is the Media So Obsessed With Getting Trump to Admit Muslims Weren't Cheering?

Again, obviously, Trump is repeating a tall tale-that had been reported by that Washington Post article he cited and repeated on the Internet.

Ok, so it's not true. But my problem is when did the media become so worried about the truth? Seriously, if there was a time anyone thinks it was let me know.

It's not hard to see why Trump keeps doubling and tripling down. This is the base's illusions. It's why even now he will never admit that Obama was born in America.

But the media's obsession with Trump's lies here-that they keep pushing it and pushing it-interests me as well.

 They let all kinds of lies be told.

Some think it's good that they're demanding some sort of limits on wild stories. They are in some sense trying to increase the Reality Quotient or limit it's diminishing at least. But I don't really think this is what's going on here. What they are doing is setting up a tiered system of acceptable lies and unacceptable likes.

First of all, many economists and wonkish types cut their teeth in the 2000 election. Krugman, Matt Yglesias, many say that 'radicalized' them. The media let W go on his lies and factual inaccuracies on his tax plan while accusing Gore of being an a pathological liar because they falsely claimed he said he invented the Internet.

They weren't bothered by W's lies but they were bothered by Gore's attending a Buddhist temple-so this was a clear play to bigotry.

This morning on Morning Joe there was the perfect example of what I'm getting at. Joe Scarborough and some of his guests were rightly pointing out that after 9/11 most of the Muslim world was on America's side and totally repudiated Bin Laden, et. al.

But then Joe said 'The only people cheering were the Palestinians and Saddam Hussein.'

That brings back the spectre of Iraq. Here was a big series of lies W told us to get us in Iraq and yet Joe has the nerve to bring up Saddam as cheering for the attack-as another proactive pretense for why we were in Iraq.

But the media was totally in the tank when those lies were being told. It would have been much more impressive had they held Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld as accountable as they are trying to hold Trump here.

There are acceptable, respectable lies and those the media feels aren't respectable. They are totally complicit in the environment that makes Trump possible.

So much of what makes a lie acceptable is who tells it. The problem with Trump is not his lies or his bigotry but because he's broken some cardinal rules for the GOP Establishment and the Beltway press.

They want him gone to keep the world safe for respectable lies-and respectable bigotry.

Perfect case in point. They are up in arms at Trump's anti Muslim slurs but not that the US House just passed a meanspirited and totally counterproductive anti refugee bill. The media wasn't up in arms at all about that but to the contrary largely treated it as a reasonable bipartisan bill-as 47 chickenshit Democrats voted for it.

When a CNN reporter tweeted in sympathy for the refugees she was suspended.

If this were really a war against lies and bigotry it would be a great thing. What it really amounts to is an assertion that the Beltway gets to decide what is respectable bigotry and lies and who is allowed to get away with it.

I maintain-Trump's campaign has been a very positive development. We are learning a lot more about all kinds of elements of our politics than we would if he weren't running.

This article nails it-Trump is the Frankenstein monster of the GOP's own mode of operation for years.

Krugman has made the point that the media seems to want the GOP base to know which conspiracy theories it's allowed to believe and which it's supposed to rule out.


  1. "But my problem is when did the media become so worried about the truth?"

    I think the difference between this lie and say W's lie about his tax plan, is that Trump's lie is akin to Hilter claiming:

    "The Jews cheered when a dirty little Jew burned down the Reichstag"

    I'm not sure Hitler ever said something like that, but it strikes me a the same class of lie: not only is it blatantly false, and easily checkable by anybody with even a 1/4 of a brain (where are all these videos Trump keeps saying exist???... why doesn't he tweet a link to one?), but that it picks out a minority to blame in a dangerous way. In that way it's similar (but worse) than Carli Fiorina's lie that Planned Parenthood is cutting apart live babies to harvest their brains: it's likely to result in ugly and completely unavoidable violence against innocents: perhaps a rampage shooting or two or three or four or perhaps a bombing.

    That's why Rachel Maddow and her guest (the Baptist Rev. Welton Gaddy) were both so freaked out about that particular lie.

    And not only that, you should be cheering the media going after Trump on this particular lie for two reasons:

    1. It helps Trump with the GOP electorate to have the MSM go after him for this lie.

    2. It hurts Trump with the general electorate to have the MSM go after him for this lie.

    That sounds doubly cheer worthy to me!

    1. "completely unavoidable" should be "completely avoidable"

  2. Tom, my friend, we disagree on this one. I preface this with friend, LOl. But I must disagree

    I am not cheering it. The lies about Bush's tax plan and the connection with Saddam and 9/11 were much worse as they actually effected US policy.

    I disagree that the media is acting in good faith here. With 9/11 the public ended up believing that Saddam was behind 9/11 which led us to war which gives us a straight line through to ISIS today.

    I don't accept the media is concerned about anything to do with truth or anti bigotry.

    As to Rachel, she's one of my favorite people on tv-certainly the best on MSNBC. But she doesn't think strategically.

    Trump's nomination would be a great thing. Full stop.

    The media is trying to stop this because it hurts their evenhanded approach to the parties.

    Again, I say this in love buddy. But while I think you're right on 1 that's not the media intention which is what I'm calling out here.

    As for 2, Democrats don't need the MSM's help in late November this year to defeat him in November next year.

    So on this, kind Sir, we simply differ. The media is hypocritical and wrong here. They are creating a narrative where some people are allowed to lie-establishment GOPers-but not someone that upsets the establishment.

  3. One difference between us, is I think you worry much more that Trump could win in the general. I disagree. It's possible in the sense that anything's possible. But highly unlikely.

    I don't know if you remember my piece about Nate Silver but he too says that the idea that the GE will be a coin flip between the parties is only true assuming it's a more traditional candidate-a la Rubio.

    With Trump-or Cruz and Carson-it's much less likely. Again this is Nate's view as well as mine.

    Your fear and mine then are very different. Your anxiety is that there could be a President Trump.

    I am much less worried about that-and am not even sure it would be any worse than a President Rubio.

    I am much more worried about a President Rubio who is a skilled liar and the media much less interested in correcting. Understand the only thing the media cares about is seeming to criticize and praise both parties roughly evenly.

    Trump is only a problem because he upsets this apple cart.

    I can see a nontrivial possibility of a Rubio win but not a nontrivial chance of a Trump win-I said nontrivial not nonexistent.

    1. Now I picked out your W tax plan on purpose (because you mentioned it)... I agree that it was harmful that the media didn't call W on his WMD lies! I've never recovered from that one... and it's why I vote Dem to this day.

      However, there's more than enough reason just in my point 1. for you to cheer the media going after Trump on this lie: it probably helps him with the GOP electorate. Who cares WHY they do it? Worrying about why is not strategic... if it helps Trump with the GOP then great, right?

      As for my point 2: I believe there are low information voters out there... maybe not a lot (perhaps only 1% to 5%)... they're the folks that can throw election since most elections are not more lopsided than a few percent. They may not be ideological, but they need to be reminded loudly and often when something wrong. Reminding those people from the get go and over and over again about Trump will NOT hurt Trump with GOP voters. It will only help him!

      So why worry about the purity of the media's motives on this? They're doing us a favor! It's a win win!

      As for Rachel Maddow, it's pretty much guaranteed that if the GOP electorate gets wind of what she thinks (perhaps because they accidentally tune to the wrong station momentarily???), then they will take the opposite view.

      So in this case Rachael is the one acting strategically (whether or not she's thinking that way). She's an avowed liberal. If she expresses disgust with Trump for this lie it's again a win win (should, for some reason anybody but her fan base get wind of her opinion).

      So again, I think this is a strategic gift the MSM is giving to us. It's unfortunate the media isn't more pure, but let's not let a lack of purity keep us from cheering a win win!

      Even if you don't by my 1% to 5% low info voter, it's enough that they're helping Trump with GOP voters... that's enough of a strategic victory to take it and run and forget about their purity.

  4. "So why worry about the purity of the media's motives on this? They're doing us a favor! It's a win win!"

    It's not about purity, It's their pretense of purity that I'm concerned with, The base doesn't need any help getting behind Trump. It's not as if the media doesn't play Holier than Thou the base will leave Trump.

    But I guess I worry that maybe it is successful. It's all about what kind of risk you see and where.

    As for your issue of low information voters, even still, it's more likely that even they would be convinced that Rubio is reasonable than Trump is.

    You yourself admit you were finagled by W in 2000. You wouldn't fall for Trump.

    That's because Trump is unvarnished.

    So I don't see there as any strategic value in what the media is doing. What they are though is further harming public debate by feigning outrage.

    They create two tier system of reasonable whoppers and unacceptable ones.

  5. "As for my point 2: I believe there are low information voters out there... maybe not a lot (perhaps only 1% to 5%)... they're the folks that can throw election since most elections are not more lopsided than a few percent. They may not be ideological, but they need to be reminded loudly and often when something wrong. Reminding those people from the get go and over and over again about Trump will NOT hurt Trump with GOP voters. It will only help him!"

    But you glossed over the one point I've made repeatedly-as has Silver. If Trump is running it will not be just a few percent.

    Most elections aren't more lopsided but most don't have a Trump-or Carson, or Cruz.

    In 1964 they ran something along the lines of yesterday's Trump and it was more lopsided.

    Again, my feeling is that a President Rubio is a bigger threat than President Trump is.

    Once you realize this, you realize that I want to do whatever avoids that.

    Given a choice in some Bizarro world dystopia where I had to myself choose in a general election between Trump and Rubio I'd take Trump.

    Because Trump is not really a Republican and could change 180 degrees tomorrow if he were elected. He might go back to where he was in 2012 on a wealth tax and even immigration.

    But whatever even potentially helps Rubio-like this pious media obsession-I oppose.

    My hope is always to shape the narrative where I can. I'm not going to cheer the press here. Nor agree with it. I agree that it may well be counterproductive. But what if it isn't?

    1. "But you glossed over the one point I've made repeatedly-as has Silver. If Trump is running it will not be just a few percent."

      OK, but even if that 1% to 5% doesn't change the election (HRC wins even w/o them), adding them to her victory margin helps give her a mandate. The bigger the mandate she has the better.

      Also, I can't agree with you that Trump would necessarily be better than Rubio. Rubio is more a known quantity. He lacks the personality to have a cult of personality appeal that Trump has. Trump isn't there yet, but he appears to be on a fascist trajectory. If we have to project ahead, with the limited information available now, I have to assume he'll be full fascist by the time he wins the nomination. Fascists always have a mix of right and left policies domestically, but the problem is any good left policies (and yes, even Hitler had some) will be wildly overwhelmed by bad fascist ones. I won't really care if Trump the fascist gives us a single payer health care plan if we have to wear badges in public to identify us: Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Mexican, atheist, agnostic, etc.

      Also, I don't think Rachael Maddow, or the NYT, or even the WSJ or Jennifer Rubin or the National Review going after Trump is going to hurt Trump. In my estimation, it's going to do exactly the opposite! Those are liberals, lame stream media, and RINO/cuckservative media! Trump can wear their criticism as a badge of honor!

      Maybe you have too much faith in the ability of the beltway media to swing the opinion of GOP voters in alignment with their opinion. Where's the evidence of that? So far it's worked out to be exactly the opposite.

    2. If you really really really don't want Rubio to win the nomination, then I think the MSM is doing you a favor by going after Trump on this: I think that only helps Trump at Rubio's expense.

    3. I didn't say he's necessarily better than Rubio, just that he might be. Rubio is a bad known quanity.

      And as to the Islamic database, Rubio didn't rule that out. He even suggested we'd need more categories of databases-'we don't want to go after just mosques'

    4. I don't have faith in the Beltway at all. But it's not implausible what they're doing could work. It probably wont'. Of course I will enjoy them bringing the hammer down on their own hands if that's what happens.

      But there's the chance it could work at the margins.

  6. That depends on assumptions of the impact. Look if your opponent is an idiot and shots himself in the foot then in that sense he helps you.

    That doesn't mean you support him continuing to shoot at you.

    I don't think Trump needs the MSM's condemnation in getting the support form Trump.

    1. "I don't think Trump needs the MSM's condemnation in getting the support form Trump."

      IMO, it can't hurt. Maybe I'm wrong, but so far the pattern seems to be that the left wing media (MSNBC), the lame stream media (CNN), the "donor class" media (WSJ) and the RINO/cuckservative media (NR/Rubin) tells people to "look up!" and the GOP voters look down in response (and defiance).

      I guess we'll see how it works out, but that's how it's looking to me.

    2. No it has worked out this way until now. It may well continue to do so. But may well is not definitely.

  7. They're trying to destroy Trump's campaign and maybe they do more harm to their cause. That doesn't mean I support them trying.

  8. What I notice as well is you take what Trump says 100% at his word. You never think he might be setting down markers as Chris Matthews has also suggested.

    Yet you seem to think that Jeb wasn't serious about only allowing Christian refugees, or Rubio was just joking about wanting to go beyond even Trump's database of mosques to other meeting places.

    Why assume that Jeb and Rubio are benign but Trump really means what he says?

    1. I think Trump is addicted to playing the role of the "strong man." It's a role he enjoys. It's the fascist strong man role. I think that's all he cares about.

      It's his stupid supporter's reaction to him that scares me. Otherwise he's just a buffoon.

  9. But I am serious about one thing. I'd vote for Trump rather than Rubio. You have to game things out. If Trump wins then probably nothing gets done other than through executive action as even the GOPers wouldn't work with him too much in Congress.

    He might even say he was just fooling about half the stuff he was saying. We do have the known quantity that on many things in the past he was pretty liberal on-even immigration reform!

    1. But Rubio is too lacking in personality to break taboos. I could see Trump burning down the Supreme Court if they ruled against him, and then blaming the Muslims and Mexicans... maybe even the Jews. And his supporters would believe him, because they crave a "strong man." I can't see Rubio doing that. He's no strong man.

      If Trump actually won the election it means that his supporters would be a majority of the country (most likely). That's a frightening thought! I think Trump is the most likely candidate to trash the constitution and "run" for a 3rd term. I can't see any of the others having enough back bone to try that. Trump is the most likely candidate to set up a "paramilitary" wing of the GOP to get what he wants. I wouldn't even vote for an out and out liberal who I thought might be capable of that! I'm dead set against cults of personality, no matter their politics.

    2. To me Dick Cheney was sort of a strong man. Remember when he was asked about his low poll numbers and said 'So what?'

      I guess that's the difference. For you the threat is a cult of personality for me it's another GOP term run by a generic Republican.

      For me there is nothing worse than what the GOP does in 2017 if they have the Presidency.

      Rollback everything Obama did, set up the Supreme Court for another 30 years. With a 6-3 or 7-2 lead maybe that's the end of Roe v. Wade and the Voting Rights Act altogether. When the SJC rolled back Clause 4 that day Texas and other Red states made new anti voting laws.

      Even your worry about breaking democratic legitimacy is ironic as Jeb band the SJC basically stole 2000 for W.

      So, I'd pull for Trump.

      But the reason I'd love him for the candidate is because I don't think he can win.

      The odds of Rubio winning is much higher than Trump.

    3. "To me Dick Cheney was sort of a strong man. Remember when he was asked about his low poll numbers and said 'So what?'"

      I think he's more like that character in the Lord of the Rings... Worm Tongue was it? The evil adviser to the king that whispers in the the king's ear.

      I don't think he qualifies as a strong man because almost the entire nation hated Cheney. What did he have? less than 20% approval by the time he left office, right? It was closer to 10% wasn't it?

      Cheney attempting to "seize power" would actually cause the RIGHT to rise up against the government. That's probably why he didn't even think about running for president: he knew he'd lose in the largest landslide ever. In the 2008 race he even joked about campaigning for Democrats to make them lose.

    4. We're kind of getting into fiction now but if Trump were to win and did try to stay in office forever-like Huge Chavez did-my guess is there'd be an uprising there too.

      On the other hand, I think it's arguable that the President should be able to run more than twice like FDR did.

      The law was changed just because the GOP was scared they'd never get back into the WH again.

      Same with congressional term limits. George Will argued for that in a well regarded book in the early 90s. Once the GOP took back Congress this was forgotten about

  10. I also think that the real locus of our disagreement is you're more worried about the possibility of President Trump whereas I'm more worried about President Rubio-or someone similar.

    The reason for this is the chances of a President Rubio are much higher than the chances of President Trump.

    My further conjecture that maybe Trump wouldn't be any worse then President Rubio is not really necessary for my position. There I'm sort of playing Devil's Advocate that Trump would be better though I don't thin that's impossible.

    But I do think the chance of a President is Rubio is much higher which is why I focus much more on that.

    As for Trump being a Nazi, you'd hear me belabor that a lot more during a general election.

    1. Well you're correct about me worrying more about a president Trump. Maybe only Carson would be worse (in my estimation).

      However, if we put that aside, and just think about what's best for getting our man Trump the nomination, I still stand behind the MSM hitting him loudly and often as playing right into his hands. I think that does nothing but boosts his chances.

    2. Well even if the MSM helps him that's fine. That doesn't mean I can't make fun of them and point out their hypocrisy.

      But I'm skeptical that you really think that's the best way for him to win.

      I wonder if you really wan them to be successful so that we get Rubio.

    3. Or put it this way. Your biggest fear is a President Trump. Mine is President Rubio.

      So is it likely that your desire to see the media hitting Trump is really to give him a better chance of winning the nomination?

    4. No, I want Trump. He loses by the widest margin against HRC, so I'm for Trump. I would like to see that margin get as maximally wide as possible though!

  11. Like I said in the piece, Tom,if I had the cash I'd be running ads against Rubio-both for supporting amnesty and not supporting it in different districts and areas.

    1. I'm fine with the MSM blasting any of the candidates. Let's say that Rubio decides to go for it and attack Trump from the fascist right... pledging to round up 25 million people and issue green crescents to Muslims and scarlet As to atheists.

      Great!... if he's more of a liability for the GOP in the general than Trump, I'll support him getting the nomination. And I'll also be happy to see the MSM trash him every chance they get.

      That goes for any of the other candidates too. If they want to leverage the MSM's ire to leapfrog the rest of the field on the right, then great. I'm working under the assumption that it's impossible for a GOP candidate to go too far to the right as far as GOP voters go.

      I very much doubt GOP voters give a crap what the MSM thinks, except that they like to see their candidates piss them off. That's what it's looking like to me so far.

    2. However, I don't think that Rubio will be credible attacking Trump from the right. We'd have to see... but he doesn't have the "strong man" cult of personality going for him.

  12. I think Tom you underestimate how many democratic norms really were broken during the W years. The firing of the attorney generals for partisan reasons itself probably should have been an impeachable offense.

    Actually many have tried to attack Trump from the Right-before he finally came up with a supply side tax plan he was being hit has a 'liberal'.

    Rubio did try to attack Cruz from the Right on immigration.

    In fact arguably Rubio's immigration plan is crueler to Latino immigrants than Trump's because of the lack of certainty. At least Trump has given them a worse case scenario. I wrote about this previously.

    What I do get a sense of is you tend to be more put off by form than substance. It's not policies that worry you as such just the way in which Trump comports himself.

    But that's a problem in my mind with many folks. That's why I have an issue with the media setting up a tiered system of respectable and unacceptable lies and bigotry.

    For one thing by accepting respectable lies and bigotry for years it set up the conditions for a Trump or Carson.

    But secondly if you-not just you personally but folks in general-only rule out someone is obviously nuts like Trump or Carson that means that all I have to do to get your votes is be more of a wolf in sheep's clothing.

    I worry much more about the respectable liars and bigots that the GOP has been for 50 years

  13. Like you've said you like a little more of the phoniness than what we get from Trump. But all this means is that a wolf can be elected as long as he dresses like a sheep.

    For me Trump calls out the GOP by not even dressing like a sheep.

  14. Actually though this could be a good movie idea. What if Trump won the election? Someone should produce this idea before Nov 2016!

    1. Yes, that would be a good movie. Perhaps for release in Sept or Oct of 2016?

    2. My brother has a degree in film theory. Maybe he should look into it! I'll pitch it to him.

  15. Well, I don't know if I'd describe it as form vs substance. I guess I see it as respecting fragile taboos vs not. That's why I wouldn't support a liberal "strong man" either... even if I agreed with them on every issue otherwise. If I had the sense that they just could give a flying fuck about the sanctity and appearance of sanctity of principles of our constitution and government, I would find that alarming beyond all measure.

    Now to say that Trump is currently in danger of becoming a real fascist I think is perhaps taking it a bit far (on my part). He gives indications that he might go that route, but I think we have to see more evidence. There's plenty of evidence (for you and I both) to know that it's crucial the Dem candidate (whoever that is) wins against him though.

    But like I've said, I would be distressed to see him go full fascist, and then lose by only 0.5%. That would scare me about how far gone a huge percentage of our electorate is. So that again feeds my desire to see the press go after him... to push the margin of victor for the Dem candidate in the general as much as possible.

    I think you and I are not so different really. We get different feels for what's probably and not and for what's more dangerous and not... but overall I think we agree a lot more than disagree.

    I started this thread only to argue that the MSM dumping on Trump isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think there's good reason to feel that way, but you're less inclined to see it that way. I get that.

    Overall though I think we both see the best outcome for the general is a Trump nomination followed by a huge blowout landslide election in which he loses.

    BTW, assuming Trump does lose... say by 10% (just to pick a number). Do you think he will concede the election, or do you think he's stir up his supporters by claiming there was "massive voter fraud" by "illegal Mexicans and Syrian refugees!" Lol.

    I could see him not conceding for days or weeks, even though he lost badly. If he loses by 3%, then it will be even worse. That's a "taboo" (conceding the election in a civil manner) that I can see Mr. Trump and his supporters taking a giant dump on. I know you could argue W already did that... but that at least was a case requiring a recount. In Trump's case I can see him making a huge stink about "obvious voter fraud" even losing by a huge margin.

    The Donald could give a fuck about taboos or stability of the nation or orderly transition of power... he just doesn't give me the impression that stuff matters to him one bit. All he cares about is his strong man ego being stroked, and getting as much attention as possible. That's my impression!

    1. In short, I don't think Trump cares about how much damage he does to democratic institutions. Cheney didn't either, but because Cheney was so hated, the damage he did had the potential of being reversed. Also Cheney seemed to me to be focused on one thing: one policy he wanted to get shoved through above all else: essentially what these guys wanted. Personal aggrandizement was beyond his reach and he understood that. He was never going to end the Republic (even if he wanted to). Sneaking around in the shadows (as Cheney did) at least showed a certain respect for the light of day.

      I think the damage Trump could do is much greater because he can take a huge slice of the electorate with him: not even a thought of sneaking around in the shadows for him! He could make openly trashing the constitution popular. Trump (and his supporters) could give a fuck about PNAC, the constitution or anything else... he only cares about what's good for Trump. Personal aggrandizement is ONLY what it's about for him. Once his attitude becomes popular, the damage done is irreparable. He's a modern Caesar or Napoleon. Ending the Republic wouldn't cause him a nanosecond of concern.

    2. ... but like you say (below) I agree it's not likely Trump will have that chance.

  16. I wouldn't dispute that impression. LOL.

    Regarding the media, I get your point. I just worry because I-Krugman and Yglesias make this point too-feel the media really was complicit in W's victory.

    To me Trump appeals to the GOP base but he is so obviously not Presidential in a general I don't think there's much to worry about-though I could see him claiming voter fraud or something. LOL

    My guess is that no one else will take him seriously-and his comments about immigrants mean that Romney's 26% of the Latino vote in 2012 will easily lap what Trump gets.

    So Trump is such a clear buffoon I don't worry too much about his winning the general.

    Rubio on the other hand is not-to someone who pays little attention usually-is not an obvious buffoon-with the emphasis on obvious.

    That's the trouble with low information voters. They just look at obvious things. They'll see Trump is obviously unsuitable but may well be conned by a Rubio.

    So my real, implacable, fear is a repeat of 2000. LOL