Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Very Serious People: If Only They Were Kidding

I've discussed the utter bankruptcy of the Beltway pundits before with their false equivalence and their mistaking 'both sides do it' to objectivity. There has been so much handwringing over Trump and I've argued that if the media really wants to understand Trump's raise they should look in the mirror.

I don't mean the silly idea that they should simply refuse to cover him. No, I'm talking about how for years, they've played along with all manner of GOP lies and conspiracy theories and treated them as completely serious.

"Hillary Clinton presumably didn’t have to work too hard to get the ABC News Democratic debate audience in New Hampshire behind her. She is the Democratic frontrunner. Other than to occasionally point out slight differences in policy, neither of the party’s other candidates, Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley, seemed all that interested in taking her on in any significant way. Heck, she even gave the audience a Star Wars shout out."

"So her unforced error that night was all the more inexplicable. But it isn’t likely to go away any time soon, nor should it."

"While criticizing Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric against Mexicans, women, Muslims — all, by the way, deserving of criticism — she also made a bizarre statement that had debate-watchers, fact-checkers, strategists and, of course, Trump himself, doing a double-take."

“We also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears,” she said during the debate. “He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.”

"They are? While it isn’t hard to imagine that ISIS appreciates the unsophisticated and bombastic way that Trump talks about Muslims, coming from the former secretary of state, this charge sounded a lot like a national intelligence news bombshell in the middle of a nationally-televised debate."

"It also sounded a lot like the fear-mongering Trump is often (accurately) accused of. Clinton herself has blasted Trump for preying on people’s fears of terrorism. Just this weekend President Obama said Trump was “taking advantage” of the “anger, frustration, fear” of voters."

But Clinton took a page from Trump’s playbook, apparently inventing a new reason to be afraid.

I find this a rather amazing argument. For months the media and GOP Establishment have pushed the panic button on Trump. Now when Hillary does it she's fearmongering?

So she's fearmongering about fearmongering? She says something that has been repeated many times-that what Trump is doing dangerous and will actually help ISIS. But now that Hillary says the same thing she needs proof? There are empirical and logical claims. I didn't even read her statement as empirical but logical. It's cause and effect. But for some reason the media has decided to be very legalistic here. Only in this reading could you possibly say she was 'lying.' But that's the problem with legalism. If you are testing statements for accuracy you should look at the spirit rather than the letter.

To say 'We don't know for sure that ISIS is going to use Trump' is sort of like saying 'We don't know for sure if the kids in Flynt, Michigan are going to have problems due to the lead poisoning from Rick Snyder's move to river water

But how can these Very Serious People tell us definitively that the Trump videos have not been used anywhere on social media in this way? Have they literally looked at every tweet and Facebook comment? Absence of evidence isn't proof it hasn't happened-and Brian Fallon actually linked to a lot of examples that the Very Serious Media haven't bothered to follow up on.

But you have to love the math of someone like S.E. Cupp-the writer of this Very Serious piece. Trump makes up stories of cheering Muslims, his call for a Muslim ID system and banning Muslim immigration and she worries that Hillary is fearmongering. Ok, so is Cupp ready to admit that the breastbeating of the media over Trump's Muslim comments were overblown?

If you believe Hillary is wrong here then you believe that Trump's comments weren't so bad after all.

So we have the surreal sight of her and the rest of the phony pundits demanding that Hillary apologize to the man who does not apologize. He has said the most incendiary things about Muslims and Latino immigrants and even expressed disgust that Hillary actually does indeed go to the bathroom but Cupp feels that it's HRC who has done some terrible thing that she will have to atone for.

Maybe what's going on is the media is tried of demanding an apology from Trump and they want someone to apologize to make them feel better. We know apologizes are mostly just measures of their clout to make someone eat dirt.

But here is the difference between Hillary Clinton and the GOP opponents Trump has wiped the floor with: she and her husband have dealt with an absurdly oppositional media for years. What always drove the media crazy about Hillary and her husband is they'd throw so much at them and then at the end of it you'd look and see the Clintons were roughly where they were before it started.

Again, it's the irrelevance of the press that drives them into conniptions. But the Clinton team, no stranger to the media nonsense knows better than to apologize. If the standard becomes that Hillary has to apologies to Donald Trump who never apologizes and says things truly beyond the pale about her then it's over.

I wish that Cupp and the rest of the Beltway would apologize to us for such bad journalism.

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