Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Trumpnost. Or, confessions of a semi-repentant Trump-aholic

UPDATE, Monday, Oct. 24... It's nice  to see that we've got an honest-to-goodness (or -badness?) conversation going around this topic...the first in a while now, he says with some chagrin. Be that as it may, and unless that Sweet Meteor of Death rescues us in the interim, we're just a fortnight removed from Election Day 2016. Would be nice to have good ol' SHAMblog serve as the venue for our own little family "discussion" about some of the attendant issues till the clock runs out (or the celestial object hits), no?

Consider this piece a bookend, if you will, to last week's USAToday column on Citizen Trump.

Like my little rendering of Trump & Pence?
I was at first drawn to Donald Trump—which is to say, fascinated by his rhetoric—because he was so disarmingly unabashed in his political incorrectness. It was mesmerizing to watch this caricature-esque billionaire say the outrageous things he said, incite the contempt he incited from the punditry class (as well as many in his own party), and then run away with the primaries. (It was almost as if offensiveness was his very raison d'etre.) Perhaps a better way to put it is that I was drawn to what Trump's oratorical inelegance symbolized: the bedrock notion that people are allowed to hold and voice unpopular, even reprehensible, opinions. He stood for the idea, to which I very much subscribe, that Americans should be allowed to say almost anything, no matter how controversial or even hurtful. For better or worse, that is the very basis of free speech. Popular, antiseptic viewpoints need no special protections, after all. 

So if at times I recoiled at the content—the Mexican rapists, the McCain thing, Megyn bleeding “wherever”—another part of me was titillated by the mere fact that someone, no less a candidate for the presidency, would utter such remarks in front of live mics or in formal sit-downs with Wolf and Megyn herself. The idea of a candidate talking sans filter was refreshing in a world in which we were suddenly supposed to filter everything: a world of safe spaces, trigger warnings and microaggressions. Donald Trump perpetrated MACROaggressions. He did it daily, and even seemed to thrive on doing it. This was all the more uplifting to some of us steeped in academia's stifling protocols, where one is forever at risk of being censured if not booted out for entertaining an unapproved thought. (Colleges are the last places where there ought to be "safe spaces." As I've written in op-eds, colleges are the great laboratories of the mind, and as in actual laboratories, we must sometimes handle that which may harm us.)
'...people are allowed to hold and voice unpopular, even reprehensible, opinions....' 
The improbable rise of Donald Trump testifies that there are least 13 million Americans who have deeply held beliefs, reasonable beliefs, that they've not been allowed to admit, let alone act upon. Alas, they lack sufficient wealth or status to insulate themselves from blowback from today's increasingly fascistic thought police; more bluntly, they lack “fuck-you money.” Thus, in a sense, in this age of surrogates, The Donald was their surrogate. Even if he didn't specifically address all of their grievances—even if he now and then went overboard—his brashness clearly felt like philosophical camaraderie to Americans who were sick of hearing themselves dismissed as racists, misogynists and xenophobes.

Americans, in other words, who were sick of being tossed into a “basket of deplorables” long before Hillary uttered the piquant neologism. Trump himself hasn't addressed all of the following points, but in a sense his very candidacy speaks to them, symbolizes them. It is not racist to be annoyed by #BlackLivesMatter's enshrinement of thugs like Michael Brown, or to aver that "mass incarceration" is actually "mass criminality." (For the record—memo to college campuses—it's not even illegal to be racist as long as you don't violate any laws by actively discriminating against others.) It is not misogynistic to feel that if a man and woman are both drunk, and they got that way voluntarily, any ensuing sex isn't rape. Nor is it transphobic to harbor the once well-established view that you don't want an adult person of indeterminate gender (but with a penis that would seem to settle the matter) sharing a bathroom with your teenage daughters; at minimum he may embarrass the hell out of them. Are people of traditional mores the only ones we don't care about offending nowadays?

The bottom line is that you can believe all of these things and more without being evil; the millions of Americans who fall into that category should never have been marginalized by our culture to begin with. No small part of Trump's early impetus was that he stood up for people who, despite white privilege (or maybe because of it?), had been disenfranchised by the discourse-tyranny of the Left. Even on those rare occasions when the candidate himself wasn't screaming, his attitude fairly screamed It's OK to speak your mind! Yes, even if what's in your mind is, ironically, unspeakable. 

I thus saw Donald Trump as the Lenny Bruce or Sam Kinison of politics, if you will. Or perhaps the Howard Stern: the “shock jock” of political campaigning. Although I don't think I could've ever pulled a lever for him—that seduced I was not—I felt he was an important addition to today's sociopolitical landscape, a necessary counterweight to the coercive forces of neoliberalism. 

In more recent days, however, I've had my wake-up call...and a rude awakening it was. It now occurs to me that comedy is comedy, and governance is governance, and never the twain should meet. The man whom I once found “refreshing” in his “honesty” has revealed himself as a serial liar and a pathological narcissist, as well as someone utterly out of his depth in seeking the nation's highest elective office. It also occurs to me that if Trump says reprehensible things, it may be because he's just, well, reprehensible. An awful human being. And if I deem it unlikely that he could reach the Oval Office, it nonetheless aggrieves me that there is always that chance. Especially in recent weeks as he pulls even with Hillary in the polls. 

That said, I'm not willing to shoulder my share of blame for Donald Trump; nor will I lay it as a yoke on the shoulders of my fellow Americans who remain in his thrall. 
All of this is happening—Trump is happening—because of political correctness. 
The chickens are home, and roosting madly. This is what you get when you force authorized points of view down people's throats for too long. This is what you get when you tell people that their legitimate fears and hopes and lenses on life are unacceptable, if not "unAmerican."

This, Donald Trump, is what you get. You might even call it "Trump Spring," or, forgive me, trumpnost. Donald Trump is a creature of the backlash against PC orthodoxy. So let us all sit back and gaze upon what we, in our socially just enlightenment, have wrought.


Anonymous said...

I follow Gene Weingarten on Twitter and I've observed your feud about Trump with some amusement. I also read your USA Today piece when it ran. But I'm as puzzled as Gene is. In your official life as a writer you are constantly running the guy down, or seem to be and yet on twitter all you do is defend the guy 24/7. Come to think of it even in these pieces here you don't seem to know precisely how you feel. It's almost like on one level you're embarrassed to officially support the guy, and you want to maintain your standing as a thinking human being, but deep inside you know you do!

So which is it Steve? Be honest with yourself if not with me! When it comes time to pull that lever are you voting Trump?

Jenny said...

Love this, Steve, even as parts of it make me wince in disapproval. (The whole bathroom scare, for example. Transgender people typically don't threaten anybody.) I know you're not here to score attaboy points, but still... attaboy, you done good. :)

Jenny said...

By the way, "Pence" in your comic rendering looks very much like DMoTV. Did you notice that?

Steve Salerno said...

They all kinda look alike.

But again, let me underscore that the views I present as "legitimate" aren't necessarily MY views. I'm just listing talking points that are indeed embraced by a fair section of the electorate, still in 2016. I don't think I need to say that to you--you get it--but others frequently misunderstand, especially on Twitter. Every time I accuse someone in the news biz of being blatantly anti-Trump in his/her reporting, I get hate mail from people who assume I'm standing up for Donald. No, I'm trying to stand up for honest journalism. As much as I dislike the idea of a Trump presidency, I am livid over what I see happening on CNN and elsewhere. There's not even a pretense of fairness anymore, for the most part. Maybe there shouldn't be. But still, I took a lot of pride in being part of that establishment once.

Dimension Skipper said...

Hi Steve... I hope you and all the SHAMbloggians are well these days. This post touched upon something that has been driving me insane lately, primarily because of conservative family on facebook who post this sort of conspiratorial woe-is-us nonsense over and over, expecting all their fb friends to either A) nod their heads knowingly and "like" it in "AMEN!" agreement, or B) to convince people who aren't already part of the conservative choir of the "truth" of these claims.

Re this notion of the so-called liberal bias of mainstream media being so obviously evident. I'm sorry, but I think that for the most part, that's a huge steaming crock of something disgusting (not unlike the Republican party these days). My detailed response is long and rambling and would have required me to post it in a half dozen or more piecemeal comments here. Rather than do that and clog things up with my ramblings, I put it all in one giant post at my own dormant blog as a one-time only thing...

Of Media Bias, Liberal vs. Conservative (Or "Who's Kidding Who?")

Feel free to read it if you can make any sense out of it. If you or anyone have any comments on it, I'd recommend you post them here just to keep the content focused under your own post, rather than split it up, especially since I'm not actually starting up my blog again. It was just a convenient way to post what I had to say without being overly intrusive here with too many comments. Not really looking to start a dialogue, but I just want to say what I had to say in response for what it's worth as to how I see it. It seems you and I have apparently significantly diverged on this issue of media bias.

I'm sure many will significantly disagree with how I see it, think I'm crazy or an idiot, and shake their heads in pity that I could be so gullible as to fall for the tricks of the liberal media. Oh well.

Steve Salerno said...

DimSkip, great to have you back, even if it's only for this one time, and because you were driven to the psychological red-line by some of what you've been reading here.

I haven't read your post yet--I surely will--but before doing so I wanted to get one thing stipulated for the record. Bill Maher said long ago that there's no true Left in American politic (certainly before Bernie came along), and I would agree, and even add that the same is true in media. All debate occurs between slightly to the left of, and even more slightly to the right of center (especially now that Bernie is gone). Even beyond that, I want to make clear that when I say the media have a lib bias, I'm talking about as we apply the terms in contemporary politics: They favor the side that's running as liberal, even if the label is inaccurate. I don't think there's any question that the media (save for Fox) tilt markedly toward Hillary, or at least away from Trump, but I'll read what you have to say with interest.

Don't be a stranger!

Steve Salerno said...

DimSkip, a few things. One, do you have access to Xanax? I do not mean to be snarky, at all, and in truth I feel bad about your state of over-top agitation.

First off, I don't understand the premise of about 73% of what you wrote. You disprove my argument that there's a left-leaning bias in mainstream media by citing a dozen-or-so (mostly) lunatic-fringe sites that openly admit they have a right-wing bias? What does that prove?

Bias--as I use the term--doesn't imply that MAINSTREAM news media nightly issue some overt proclamation that's tantamount to "vote for Hillary," or even that they give the majority of the coverage to the candidate they favor; certainly that hasn't been true in 2016. They covered Trump to an absurdly disproportionate degree. In the beginning they covered him to emphasize his buffoonery, and the craziness of all these bigoted rednecks joining his movement; now they do it to make him out to be the anti-Christ.) It means, for starters, that they select stories that inherently lend themselves to (or create) left-leaning sympathies; they cherry-pick "news" that conforms to a certain point of view that they themselves hold. (And for an interesting fact-checking exercise, look up the declared political affiliations of the anchors and reporters in mainstream media. Those affiliations skew left to a degree probably only exceeded in academia.) So we have a heart-rending story that starts on page 1 of the WaPo about two Muslim families in Florida who are terrified at the prospect of President Trump. Or we have ongoing coverage of the families of victims of police violence, but we give barely 1.5 sentences in one newscast to the families of cops killed on the job (or families of blacks killed by other blacks). Or look at the menu of stories in any given issue of the august (but failing) New York Times; look at the headlines they slap on. The phenomenon is irrefutable.

For an excellent and truly eye-opening account of the scope of this cherry-picking, pick up a copy of Bernie Goldberg's book, Bias. The references are dated--and, yeah, Bernie ended up on Fox--but it doesn't matter. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about, and he cites stats and other HARD EVIDENCE the whole way through.

It also shows up in what you might call unconscious tics (or at least I hope they're unconscious, otherwise the newspeople who display them need to be fired). Several times in your own post you sighed. Count the number of sighs, eye rolls, odd grimaces, etc., perpetrated by the typical CNN anchor/reporter during each night's recounting of the latest Trumpisms. The clear message is--what a moron! Now that may be true, DS, but it's not the media's job to say it. Watch a week's worth of reports on CNN, ABC, NBC etc., take careful note of the demeanor and body language of the people who present the news, and tell me they don't all go out later for a drink and talk about what a moronic monster Trump is.

Now is Trump objectively a moronic monster, thus elevating their behavior to the realm of fact? Look, I've heard people make that case. But no, it's still an opinion. It's an opinion that Hitler and Stalin were monsters. We don't know what's objectively right or wrong. Which is why I said in another post that I don't begrudge radical Islam its hatred of us. Maybe in some cosmic sense they're right: We're the Great Satan. I don't give a shit. I want them out of my life.

That's ideally how I want the news covered. Things aren't bad or good. They just happen. And the polls and pundits gotta go. They just tell us what some anointed elites think, in the case of the pundits, and what the great unwashed masses think, in the case of the polls. But in a world where 90% of people on the street can't even tell you what office or position Paul Ryan holds--or who think the Civil War predated the Revolutionary War--I could care less about what America thinks is so.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 1:

Look, I don't doubt that there's bias all around, media or otherwise. I don't doubt that I have my own implicit biases, though naturally I believe them to be at least just that, implicit... i.e. of the unconscious variety rather than consciously and deliberately chosen preference. I try my best to not jump to conclusions too quickly on emerging news stories, to swallow the first reports I hear hook, line, and sinker. I try not to stick to only one type of source and to find actually credible, respected (if not necessarily entirely unbiased) sources. I try to look at the facts of what's being reported behind all the punditry and opinions. I certainly don't swallow what he pundits say just because they're pundits. (Of course, everyone thinks these good things of themselves, don't they? So who knows?)

However, and it may well just be my own personal circumstances of **not** wallowing in far left media sources while simultaneously having relatives daily thrust far right claims and sources in my face as if I'm supposed to magically be converted by the obviousness of it all... but I see far, far, faaaaaar more and far worse of what I consider to be outrageous bias (and yes, outright and provable lies!) coming from those who complain most vociferously about the alleged liberal bias. If you're going to complain about the unfairness of it all (for the past 8 years at least), then don't be so obviously biased yourselves! The answer is not to be even **more** biased in your own favor to the point of ridiculousness.

I mean, when your candidate outright denies saying things that any fool can look up in his very own twitter feed... When there's video of your guy saying the very things he's denying he ever said... And this has regularly happened over the past year... Then I'm sorry, you don't get to complain about bias against you. Maybe just once when your guy is caught being a lying scuzz, you'd be able to, well, I don't know what exactly, maybe just lie low a little bit without going on a "deny everything" defense and a blatant counter offensive made up of straw claims just to try to deflect attention.

I'm no Hillary fan, believe me, but Trump has been the one moaning most and most often (and to historic proportions!) about media bias and their taking things out of context from the very start (even in the primaries!), just because the media occasionally dared to call him on things, to say, "Uh, you know we have footage of you saying that, right?..." That's been his go-to mantra from the start... He gets caught in a lie or making outrageous indefensible claims and the media calls him on it by questioning how he'll do something or why he said something and that's bias? No. It's called doing their jobs and (in this case) holding Trump and Republicans accountable. (And yes, I've seen them do the same to Hillary (like when she claimed she landed in Libya under enemy fire) and Democrats too. This idea that the media isn't critical of Hillary is just nonsense.) Of course, "doing their jobs" is something Republicans seem to be unfamiliar with since they refused for over a year to allow hearings on the Supreme Court nominee according to some mythical (but convenient) unwritten "rule" which really only ever applied to the last 6 months of a president's term, not over a year.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 2.

I'm sorry. I don't see it. Not beyond the tiniest fraction of a bit. Certainly not to the nationwide "They're all in on it!" conspiratorial level that is implied. Was the media biased when Trump mocked that disabled reporter and then they dared to show it? Was the media biased when they asked Trump how/why Mexico would pay for a HUGE wall that we would build? Was the media biased when they began to ask him for some favorite Bible verses when he began to claim the Bible as his favorite book? Was the media biased when Trump denied having questioned Obama's birth and US citizenship for years (before finally, suddenly just accepting it one day)? Was the media biased when they reported that about a quarter of incumbent congressional Republicans were finally abandoning official public support of Trump, some even saying they wouldn't vote for him or might even vote for Hillary? (Of course, later some of the spineless weasels went crawling back to the fold and tried to deny they said they were leaving the sinking ship.) Do you think that Hillary hasn't been criticized and questioned significantly over Benghazi or the email stuff anywhere but on Fox?

Can there be bias? Yes. Is there bias? Maybe. Perhaps even probably, but to a certain probably unavoidable human nature extent. Is it anywhere near as bad as it's made out by conservatives to be? Imo, no. In fact, Trump is so his own worst enemy, the media doesn't even need to be biased. And it certainly seems to me like conservatives more than make up for any liberal bias by going even more extremely the other way with their own. That's really all I'm saying.

And no, I don't just mean the far right, fringe, rinky-dink "media sites." I'm talking about Hannity, Rush, etc.... nationally syndicated big-time media personalities who can be heard/seen/read pretty much 24/7 across the entire country and who spend literally their entire time spouting anti-Obama, anti-Hillary stuff with not even a hint of anything bad about a Republican ever. It's been "Obama's evil!" for the last 8 years and, imo, if the country is very lucky, it will be "Hillary's evil!" for at least the next 4. I have never been so literally, actually scared in all my life by a presidential candidate as I am by Trump and the attitudes emanating from the not so far right these days. And I was someone who frequently defended W. Bush to my liberal Democrat friends. I'm no Democrat-lover, believe me. I used to say to people that no matter which side won the presidency, it would ultimately have virtually no effect on peoples' everyday lives. For the first time ever in my life, I'm not saying that this year. And I don't/can't believe for a moment that I've just been snookered by the liberally biased media (but how would I know, right?)

Trump is a scary, scary man (a bully with a narcissistic sense of entitlement) and he has brought out the worst in people (and the worst people, period), emboldened the bigots and other bitter, resentful deplorables to "come out of their closets." I'm sorry, I'm for open dialog, free speech, and exchanges of ideas too, but the "Trump effect" just cannot be a good thing in my book. (Unless it somehow at least displays out in the open that these sorts of attitudes really do exist and are not just relegated to isolated nuts.)

Maybe once Trump is (I hope) out of the picture and if the Republicans can actually rediscover their brains and their sanity, I will come back over to your side, Steve, the side of being able to raise even somewhat distasteful ideas and issues in legitimate (safe zone) ways without fear of undue reprisals. But for now, I guess my fear overrules my intellect. Sometimes fear serves a valid purpose, and this seems like one of those times to me. I **want** the nation to be scared by the possibility of this man in the oval office because I feel we **should** be scared by that possibility.

Steve Salerno said...

DimSkip, you're really really unnerved and upset by Trump. I get that. But without sounding patronizing (or at least without meaning to, because I certainly don't feel I'm in any superior position), I want you to ask yourself if you would've raised these same objections you're raising a year ago, before Trump and all the chaos he provoked. Of course the man's arguments in self-defense are ridiculous, and of course even Sean Hannity, the dumbest man on TV, knows they're ridiculous. But this is a one-trick pony, an aberration. The people you hear taking Trump's side, even I dare say in most CREDIBLE conservative organs (and there aren't many left who support him) know they're just humming a partisan tune that they have to hum. EVERYONE KNOWS IT (except maybe the true believers in your family). You think Paul Ryan could stand to be in the same zip code with Trump under any other circumstance? Or Ben Carson? You really think Dr Ben has ANY use for Trump except that maybe he's hoping to be appointed Surgeon General...

And the argument you make about the liberl bias being in reaction to Fox and the real conservative crazies is, Fox would tell you, precisely backwards. Fox arose as a result of a marketplace need, a desperation, for news that didn't tilt left. Did they need to as overboard as they do? Or course not, but they're serving a market. And in some sense they do provide a useful counterpoint to the party line you hear ceaselessly from Jake, Wolf, Erin, Anderson, Don etc. It is fact that when Ferguson happened, the BLM narrative, and the whole set piece of Mike Brown-as-helpless-victim, became the only lens through which that story was covered...except on Fox. And even the Obama/Holder DOJ had to admit in the end that it was Fox that got it mostly right.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 1 (again)

Actually, believe it or not, I **have** made all these same objections for the past several years, since at least the second Obama election, because I would see all the same nonsense from my Fox-dedicated relatives. The difference being that I saw it all as a lot more innocuous, mere insignificant delusion due to what I saw as the very minor, but ultimately harmless contingent that believed such nonsense. (I don't see it as harmless fringey stuff anymore. It seems to have gone mainstream.) I didn't feel the need (as apparently Fox did in response to CNN, and yes, I'm aware Fox would and does make that argument) to object as strenuously then, though, let alone in public venues.

The fact that you can point to (literally) one story that Fox supposedly "got right" is not a valid or ultimate justification, imo... blind squirrels and such. If the stuff I see and hear from my relatives who are Fox News stepfords is any indication, then there are apparently far, far more stories they've gotten significantly **wrong** by simply spinning the conservative crap out of (into?) them. (If your car mechanic got one diagnosis/fix right over 8 years of taking your jalopy car to him regularly, would you continue going to him just because, well, he provides a different viewpoint from all those other typical car repair shops?)

To say that bias works both ways (and I'll willingly stipulate that) is not anywhere near saying that each bias is equal in degree or amount of spin. It's like if a were to discuss Round Earth vs Flat Earth... Just because they can find someone with some sort of public stature to espouse the flat Earth idea vs someone with actual intelligence for round Earth does not mean the two sides are of equal truthful merit. It only gives that illusion to the other Flat Earthers who then cling to it like a life raft in support of their crazy-ass view.

Conservatives may well have had a valid point at one time with such claims. But they've utterly ruined that point imo by taking it to previously unimaginable extremes in the other direction. (Just as you might say that black people had valid point at one time, but have ruined it by taking it too far with BLM and rioting in the streets and such.)

I can remember my parents (who were good and decent middle class white people for the most part) on occasion mentioning that, looking back on MLK Jr.'s legacy, they remembered him being a "troublemaker," that wherever he went there was, well, trouble. Uh, yeah. But who's fault was that?! Protests and causes (at least the ultimately righteous one) are **supposed** to make some people feel uncomfortable and cause a certain amount of trouble, kind of the point. I agree that cause and effect are not so easily distinguishable, especially when the outcomes are still in question.

You yourself, Steve, have used the "thug" label on Michael Brown, but I submit that, despite his celebrity and fame, one could also apply that (or perhaps some similar term like "punk" or "bully") to Trump. It's dangerous or sinister, though, when "thug" just becomes the a thinly-veiled code (i.e. acceptable) word for "nigger."

Which, btw, I have relatives---all Trump supporters, of course!--of a certain age who still use that term not all that infrequently in its fully pejorative sense in private in-home conversations among just us white folk. The same ones sometimes moan about how Crooked Hillary is coming for their guns if she's elected (and as Obama was supposedly going to do for the last 8 years). Of course, she's said or indicated no such thing, but you can't tell them that because they know "The Truth" that only conservatives have free access to.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 2 (again)

I saw a minor reference in an online news item this morning which brought up the not-infrequent Trump and conservative complaint (well, at least made more than once and in public) about the election being "rigged." I believe Trump said that before the primaries too and look how rigged they were! Are you on board with that whopper too, Steve? Because to me, that's just as silly as the liberal bias complaint.

I see conservatives as putting this sort of talk out there for the past several years (even prior to Trump) and I can't help but feel it's very, very much by design and for a purpose... It sets them up so that if they win, then they were that much more the overwhelming victor to have overcome all the bias/rigging. If they lose, then obviously they only lost because of all the bias/rigging. Either way, they stoke the bitter resentment of the extreme faithful and drive those folks (and possibly more) to that extreme fringe far right which is supposedly so small and harmless... Where they put out 10-minute videos with red arrows pointing at strong shoulders and adam's apples, alleging that Michelle Obama is secretly a dude and yes, that's something I've seen some of my relatives pass around and take seriously as representative of some sort of queer Obama/Democrat agenda. Obama's still a Muslim foreigner to them too, despite Trump having "ended" the Birther controversy. And that's all led us to Trump and this moment as I see it. I have to hope that it stops soon before our nation gets driven off a cliff.

As a former (but significantly long-time) heavily Republican-leaning and W.-defending voter, I want Trump and the Republicans to be so thoroughly crushed and humiliated this November! Maybe **that** will make them come to their senses. Only that might remove any doubt from most of their minds that things were not, in fact, rigged, but that a clear majority of sane Americans (of all colors and sexual orientations) find their rantings INsane and dangerous. I can only hope. The thought of him possibly winning makes me sick and also makes me seriously mull the Canadian alternative. (Well hey, I wouldn't go to Mexico, now, would I? Not with all those rapists and murderers down there! But I do ***HATE*** the cold!)

I have never stopped believing that conservative viewpoints deserve to be aired and explored. I will never stop believing that. But unfortunately the deplorables **have** taken over the party and that's **NOT** a good thing, unless you count the fact that they have exposed themselves for a large part of what they apparently and admittedly are (if my relatives are any indication). As "Well, it's only crazy Uncle Joe," I can easily put up with that sort of stuff. Coming within a hair's-width of actually putting crazy Uncle Joe in the white house and all his equally crazy cousins in Congress is even more scary than I can take around Halloween! Let's see if November restores any sort of sanity.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 3?

And I think that after this P.S., I will have to withdraw at this point from this conversation for reasons having to do much more with my sanity (not Hannity)... I don't feel I can add or explain any more than I have. I only hope that people can understand even if they don't or can't agree.

Hey, personal experiences vary, so obviously my experience is not anyone else's and my cartoonish relatives may not be believable. One cousin is a Methodist minister with a doctorate in theology who, last time I, along with his sister, visited, spent a lot of his free time watching those youtubed Russian dash-cam videos and laughing at the string of edited-together accidents, sometimes even with riders being forcibly ejected into the street--likely killed--as a result. He's a card-carrying conservative who has Fox News on the TV as much as possible during his time at home (which is a lot, given his occupation). He also laps up these online fringe liberal-conspiracy pieces. He's the one who posted the anti-Snopes "proof." I think my own blogged piece I referenced here prior, if anyone looked at it and could decipher it, at least shows that I, for one, don't just take such "news reports" at face value and rubber-stamp share them forward. I looked into it. Boy, did I look into it! Nowhere was there evidence of anything even remotely approaching fair and balanced-ishness! (OK, I know it wasn't actually Fox news, but still...)

And at one point he (in a calm way) set me straight for previously on facebook having dared to point out that one of his shared items was not, in fact, true. It was one of those Benghazi conspiracy pieces and involved General Carter Ham supposedly defying orders and implying he'd been forced into retirement by Obama. He didn't argue with me on facebook, of course, but instead waited to tell me in person when it came up how "wrong" I was for believing Snopes' lies. And yet he actually mostly agreed with what Snopes said about chains of command and planned successions and such, while ***never actually addressing*** my main point which was that Snopes linked to transcripts of actual on-the-record congressional hearings over the matter (now publicly available with some key confidential redactions here and there) where Gen. Ham himself was asked about alleged "stand down" orders and who decided what and he himself said there was no such stand down order given by Obama or Hillary or the administration and that the decision **not** to send troops into an unknown situation was entirely his for his own reasons. And I'm pretty sure I know why my cousin never addressed it... A) he didn't bother actually looking at anything, and/or B) he'd already made up his mind, having accepted the pre-framed (for him) conservative narrative. Anything that might puncture that bubble is a threat to him and his self-image.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 4?

I'm sorry, but I just can't argue with minds that are that capable of seeing what they want to see no matter how different it is from actual verifiable accounts or reality. This man, whom my cousin apparently respects and had even briefly personally met in his long time in the military, and who was directly and critically involved in the middle of the matter, denied the memed conservative conspiracy on the public record when directly asked about it. If that doesn't convince a true conservative believer that something is amiss, what will?

When my minister cousin made a negative comment about Crooked Hillary, I commented that "Well, of course, I wouldn't expect **him** to see it any other way" and he proceeded to tell me how he "might not be" as hardcore Republican as I think he is. Then he outlined for me that he's **not** Republican per se, but that he believes in A) smaller government or less government intrusion, B) less taxes, C) more individual freedom... there were probably one or two other points he listed. Point is they were all pre-canned hardcore Republican talking points! To a tee! And yet he claims he's not as Republican as I think he is. And surprise, surprise, guess who he's supporting in the presidential election after all, despite Trump not being his primary choice (Cruz was)?

How can I see that and not get a "biased" view of conservatives?

Jenny said...

Steve, is this a Freudian slip?

"I could care less about what America thinks is so."

I assume you meant you couldn't care less. ;)

DimSkip, great to see you again. This election is maddening in so many ways. It's like we're being forced to make choices that are in actuality bad for all of us. I'm leaning toward Hillary, but again, she might only be "less bad" for the country than Trump. My mother (who paid for the Trump sign in her front yard) would disagree.

Steve Salerno said...

DS, I want to thank you for your novella...and once again I'm not being snide. This is by far the longest and most detailed conversation/diatribe that anyone has attempted to perpetrate on SHAMblog in a great while, and more than anything it makes me long for the good old days when your posts certainly would've started a fire under a half-dozen different members of the flock. For all sorts of different reasons.

Not that words are ever wasted--and I enjoy the give-and-take even if it's just the two of us--but what a shame that that's all it may be these days, is just the two of us.

Your comments deserve a much longer and more analytical response than I can possibly give this afternoon, as I am seriously snowed under (not literally; it's actually gonna be 80 here today), so I hope you'll forgive me and be willing to read what I post when I'm finally able to do your comments justice.

For now, quickly, the only thing I don't understand is why you keep coming back to Fox (and/or the likes of Breitbart, though I don't think you've specifically mentioned the latter). If we're having a convo on mainstream media, I think it's disingenuous of you to mount a rebuttal by way of using Fox. Fox isn't mainstream media, even though I believe it's watched in prime-time nowadays by more people than watch CNN. That doesn't make it mainstream, any more than the popularity of Game of Thrones means it's typical of today's TV fare (or that it's mainstream for people to behead each other, outside radical Islam circles). Fox is Fox. Everyone knows what it's about; even most of the folks who watch it know what it's about, which is WHY they watch it. They don't feel that MSM represents their world-view any longer. They're tired of being condescended to, and lectured about their values, and made to feel like racists and rednecks, etc.

More to come....

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 1

Steve, I'll be lurking, waiting for anything whenever you get around to it. But take all the time you need, I'm in no "rush" (pun intended).

I've deliberately avoided looking here for several days. That's a combination of wanting to return to some semblance of sanity vs. fear of what I might find here in response.

You don't understand why I keep using FOX and friends as a frame of reference? I'm sorry, I thought it was obvious. I thought I even said it a time or two in all that mess, but I don't know. And now you're making my argument **FOR** me... because you are admitting that FOX **isn't** mainstream and **isn't** unbiased, but they obviously want to (and often do) claim to be. And to all my idiot relatives, FOX certainly ***IS*** mainstream unbiased news and the only one they'll watch because it ***IS*** "fair and balanced," simply reporting, leaving viewers to decide. They (the Stepford followers, if not FOX themselves) don't see the redwood-sized logs in their own hypocritical eyes even as they ping-pongingly share back and forth further "evidence" of the widespread liberal agendas, conspiracies, and persecution of their own kind as reported by even more far-flung fringe right-wing sources that openly just make $#!+ up and boast of their own bias-that-isn't-really-bias. And yet NEVER ONCE once do they even hesitate a nanosecond to question **THAT** stuff!

So I'm sorry if I can't take their cries about the horrible liberal bias in the "mainstream" media seriously, but as far as I'm concerned they have only themselves (and now Trump) to blame. Reporting that Trump lies is not evidence of bias. It's evidence only of a bias toward facts and credible reports. Just as the fact that Trump has been telling people for pretty much the entire campaign that the elections are "rigged" will be "evidence" of the "fact" should they lose (despite there not being any shred of **actual** evidence). You know what Trump is? As I see him, Trump is a master of pre-framing the failure. And if he somehow doesn't fail, then he's that much more the self-aggrandizing victor for having overcome the obstacles he claimed were stacked against him.

I've had relatives tell me how the moderators at the debates have been so obviously biased by interrupting or questioning Trump more about certain things than they do Hillary. Hmmm... It never even occurs to them that maybe that's because Trump is regularly making his "facts" up and mindlessly excreting them over and over. (And if I were to suggest that to them, I'm pretty sure their response would be a succinct, but emphatic Trump-like "WRONG!" No argument, no evidence, just "WRONG!")

When it comes to liberal sources, I feel I really am capable of looking at what they report and deciding for myself how much of it I should believe or interpret in the same way. Sometimes I **have** disagreed with their analyses. Also, I've **seen** the so-called liberal sites actually run pieces which are not just 100% liberal leaning, I've seen them report when Trump actually gets something right. I've seen them seriously question Hillary and Democrats in general and point out inconsistencies and questionable (or possibly criminal) behavior.

The fact-checking sites in particular (WaPo's Glenn Kessler, Politifact,, and yes, though to a lesser extent, Snopes too), I've seen them report when Hillary and Democrats actually lie or get something seriously wrong. And I've also seen them back up what Trump or Republicans say at times. And when possible they give references that anybody can check for themselves, plus they explain **WHY** they reach a certain conclusion. There's more to the analysis than just "Because we say so, that's why!"

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 2 (conclusion, once and for all, I hope, as far as my own annoying input)

Finally, I've also seen them (the biased liberal fact-checkers) on occasion report something leaning one way, then soon change their findings (leaning back the other way) in light of considering actual new evidence they were previously not aware of. (No doubt submitted by their many hot-under-the-collar readers of both ends of the political spectrum who are sure the fact-checking sites are biased against their own persuasions.)

Again, can there be and is there an implicit liberal bias in the "mainstream media"? I'm not arguing there isn't. What I'm disputing is two-fold: 1) the degree and effective reach of it and 2) the equally implicit notion underlying all of this that the conservative side isn't just as biased and possibly (certainly imo) far more so, even if only as a so-called reactionary response. I'm sorry, but saying the conservative media struck out on their own (and ran aground, stranding themselves in the process) to fulfill a need and counteract the awful liberal bias just doesn't ring at all true to me (though yes, I know that's what they'll claim). It's the old "Well, they started it!" defense. It doesn't matter to me who started it when and where. I think we can all see it's a big problem NOW. BOTH sides have to work to correct it and the way to correct it is **NOT** to get even more and more reactionary in the opposite directions, more polarized.

I don't know how else I can say it or try to make my point. I know I'm just repeating myself over and over. I can't seem to help it. At this point, folks either understand what I'm getting at or not. And agree to any degree or not.

And yet again, I'll point out... ***I*** am not in any sense a loyal liberal (lying?) Democrat. I have no loyalty to either party. I've leaned heavily Republican in my younger days (and not all that long ago either), but as the Republicans have lashed themselves to Trump, I cannot help but throw myself into a lifeboat as I escape their full-speed-ahead Titanic. I just can't fool myself into supporting their insane and narcissistic candidate with zero experience, zero class, and zero tact. And I can no longer tolerate the party's (I didn't think it was even possible) increasingly extremist views as they've gone full-on missionary position with the God & guns crowd too. There is only one person I can think of that they could nominate next time around who will make me long for the "good old days of a Trump candidacy" and that's Phil "Duck Dynasty" Robertson (who I believe was initially a Cruz supporter and got trotted out once in a while at a Cruz rally or two). At this point, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that it might just happen. Maybe Trump will be his running mate.

Dimension Skipper said...

P.S. And as for it perhaps being just the two of us (but thanks, Jenny, for chiming in with the succinct point and what I'll take for now as a very minor bit of encouragement in my direction!), perhaps that's a bi-product of the nonsense of this neverending crazy campaign season and the ever more polarized natured of politics in this country... Between the hardcore people holding their breaths till they turn blue in an effort to get their political way and the disappearing moderate (and possibly apathetic) people who see themselves ever more marginalized and isolated in the middle that they've given up, maybe most people just feel it isn't even worth the discussion anymore.

And there's enough blame for that to go all the way around and back. Let's all drink to the coming apocalypse and kiss our American butts goodbye as we take bets on what will be our final death blow or even whether it will be from without or within. (A little tongue-in-cheekiness, there. Sorry.)

Steve Salerno said...

"Skip," please don't take this the wrong way, but you are overwhelming my "defenses" (i.e my ability to respond; I can't keep up). Don't get me wrong, I read and appreciate every word, but THANK GOD I actually have some work to do, and some good prospects to tend to, and I can't reply in real time right now. Just feel free to keep talking. I will get back to you, and I'm sure someone will chime in eventually!

Steve Salerno said...

Btw, OF COURSE Fox is not mainstream! Not even close. Every now and then you'll see some news delivered straight, but it's rare. And even though Hillary's Wikileaks problem (which goes virtually uncovered elsewhere) qualifies as straight news, the mere fact that Fox's people harp on it as much as they do demonstrates my point about how you can exhibit terrible bias without spinning the news per se: You can be biased first and foremost in what you deem newsworthy and deserving of the bulk of coverage.

So I'd guess I'd have to say that, for opposite reasons, CNN and the rest have dropped out of the mainstream as well. They ignore Hillary's foibles and spend their time making Trump look even more foolish. Did you per chance catch Don Lemon's show last night? It was an entire hour devoted to the theme of "yes Trump is insane and dangerous and all reasonable people know it." All of Don's guests bought in. That is not how a news network should operate. Even if the candidate were Hitler or Charles Manson, the media's job is simply to report what happens in the campaign and let people vote for whom they wish. If we want Hitler, we get Hitler.

Jenny said...

Hi, DimSkip, Steve, and whoever else is still tuned in here. Like you, I have many thoughts about the whole election process. I mostly feel conflicted about where we are today and find it difficult to talk about, especially in forums like this and elsewhere online. I mostly listen these days and reserve my deeper thoughts about it all for in-person conversations. Actually, I had the opportunity to participate in one of those this past Saturday, a week ago. Robert Jensen, author of PLAIN RADICAL, an homage to his close friend and mentor Jim Koplin, spoke about his life and work to a group of people in Houston, TX, and I found myself among others who see that, "we are living in a time of multiple, cascading crises that generate problems that likely cannot be solved." Jensen, a journalism professor at UT, goes on to say: "Worse, our bungled attempts at solutions often only intensify the damage. It may be that the best we can do is try to manage our decline with some sanity and grace." How does one even begin to come to terms with that?

Re: "P.S. And as for it perhaps being just the two of us (but thanks, Jenny, for chiming in with the succinct point and what I'll take for now as a very minor bit of encouragement in my direction!), perhaps that's a bi-product of the nonsense of this neverending crazy campaign season and the ever more polarized natured of politics in this country... Between the hardcore people holding their breaths till they turn blue in an effort to get their political way and the disappearing moderate (and possibly apathetic) people who see themselves ever more marginalized and isolated in the middle that they've given up, maybe most people just feel it isn't even worth the discussion anymore."

Steve Salerno said...

Great to hear from you again, Jenny. A comment also came through from our old pipe-smoking friend, Rodg, but for some reason it wouldn't publish through my relayed email account and then when I went straight to Blogger for some reason it zapped it entirely.

Sorry, Rodg, I guess you're too conservative for cyberspace. Seriously, if you're reading this and still have the comment you tried to send though, please send again? It was an interesting counterpoint to Dimskip. I don't want to paraphrase it if you can re-send the original.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks this is old Rodg again trying to reconstruct my disappearing comment. I hope you appreciate my dedication that I do this for you, Steve, at your special request.

DimSkip what is wrong with you, man?! Sorry to be so blunt, and I know you're going to say Trump's rudeness is rubbing off on me, but this country has veered off in an entirely wrong direction and if the media were doing the job it's supposed to be doing, the networks would be all up in arms about Hillary, not Trump. You'd have coverage of Hillary's DOCUMENTED corruption for 21 minutes and coverage of Donald's alleged p**sy grabbing for the other minute in the typical half hour news cycle.

I'm not saying Trump is some kind of godsend but at least his sins were in the private sector where Hillary has a quarter century tradition of lying and covering up and using the US government as her own personal cash cow, selling influence to the highest bidder, giving totally unqualified donors positions at very important and sensitive tables et cetera. She is a nightmare of corruption and yet most of the folks on this blog will weep and whine about why the media don't spend even more time worrying about Donald Trump's so-called misogyny. And tell me something else, Trump says all the time that if he used laws to his advantage with his bankruptcies and his offshore labor, he was only doing what the government allows businessmen like him to do, and now he want to go to Washington to close those loopholes. Where in media do you see that argument? No instead they have to remind us again and again about his casinos shutting down and his shirts made in China.

You don't see that it's all propaganda? Honestly? I'm not buying it, DimSkip. Despite its obvious biases which I won't deny Fox News is a small beacon of sanity in the middle of a full-on assault on Trump by the rest of media in concert. And even Fox isn't lined up 100% behind Trump. O'Reilly and some of the others have given him a really hard time. Krauthammer has been downright hostile and hateful.

Is there anyone on CNN or MSNBC, one person who is similarly vicious about Hillary? Can you name even one, other than Trump's surrogates? Can you name a pundit who talks about Hillary with the same biting contempt that Van Jones and fire breathing Ana Navarro talk about Trump?! And she's a Republican!!

I didn't think so.

BTW someone needs to tell Navarro she's getting fat. There, I said it. Sue me.

Elka said...

Good point on Trump's abnormalization of important issues, Steve.

But I, personally, do not want Hitler. And I'm guessing neither do most Americans.

If my guess is correct, Trump will lose, even though Trumpism will live for a very long while.

Steve Salerno said...

Thank you for joining us, Elka. Right now I expect Trump to lose big-time. I think when people actually have to pull that lever...

OTOH I'm not sure the Hitler comparisons (and there's our pal Godwin again) are (1) fair, or (2) helpful to the cause. Trump took a major hit after the infamous "sex tape," but I find it intriguing that as the media continue to tirelessly pile on, he's climbing back a few points closer to Hillary. The MSM show signs of doing the impossible, which is to make Trump a victim and a sympathetic figure. I don't think the folks at CNN who gleefully revile him all day long give sufficient thought to the backlash they may be creating, esp. among independent voters who don't enjoy being told what to think.

Elka said...

I think anything may happen this Election Day (and before), Steve. All bets are off, IMO, as this is not a normal state of affairs anymore, for better and for worse. But I'm hoping that Trump loses.

As to Hitler comparisons, you are right, they are unfair -- to Hitler. Compared with The Donald, Adolf was a deep thinker, with something resembling principles, evil as they were.

They both share the same character defect, however, narcissistic psychopathy, which they also have in common with guys like Idi Amin, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-un, and others like them:

And they have evoked the very same reactions from the public, as these characters always do. Some don't take them seriously, seeing in them harmless buffoons or useful idiots. Their supporters see in them The Strongman Leader / father figure, able to avenge their narcissistic wounds and "make all their dreams come true," as Trump promises.

And those who know what's going on -- because they've either seen it before or learned of such things from history -- are terrified watching the predictable and inescapable psychopolitical processes unfold.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think Godwin kinda suspended his Law this year -- or at least tried to qualify it with disclaimers for Trump.

Anonymous said...

This is Rodg again. You people tickle me. Even I stipulate to the fact that Trump is a creep personality-wise, tell me why his ideas aren't more in keeping with what's right for America at this point in time than Crooked Hillary's, and yes we all know she's crooked.

Anonymous said...

I came to your blog because I saw the link on twitter. After reading this and some of your tweets I have one question. How can you defend the man? In any sense. I don't care if the media is going too far in attacking him he deserves every word of every attack and then some. This is the most dangerous and unqualified man to come down the political pike in all my years, which now total 76!

Elka said...

Did my earlier comment get lost, Steve, or did you withhold it, what with it being so incendiary 'n such?

Steve Salerno said...

Elka, your intervening comment did indeed get detoured in cyberspace; I had to manually dig it out of Blogger's own spam folder; it was not sent to my normal email address for approval. It would've been our loss for sure, as regardless of how anyone might feel about its content, it is beautifully put. Love the smart, coup de grace ending.

I am hoping you are "in the field" in drawing your conclusions about Donald's DSM category. As an armchair observer I kind of agree--I wrote an entire book about a woman who ultimately was saddled with that diagnosis; she had killed her husband--but I still think it's reckless for too many of us in laypeople land to be throwing around loaded terms that have also been applied to documented mass murderers (a la Ted Bundy).

Does the man have a loose cannon for a mouth? To be sure. Are too many of his ideas extreme and even philosophically irreconcilable with each other? Yes again. But so far as we know it has not even been alleged that he killed anyone, which, alas, is not the case with his opponent. Surely the Donald has got the money to whack anyone he wants--and he's even been in circumstances where he admits that a "lesser man might've been tempted," as I believe he put it in an interview. (Remember that Jersey woman who refused for years to give up her house to pave way for some casino improvement?) With all the muckraking that's occurred to date, and the obvious Clintonista desire to balance every one of their sins with one of Donald's, you can bet someone would've come forward to offset the longstanding conspiracy theories about Vince Foster and--it has been whispered--Paula Jones. The Jones hit supposedly was floated but, as we know, never consummated.

#NeverTrump & Proud said...

There are no excuses for this man. There is no way to separate him deftly from his message as you try to. Listen to him and he will tell you who and what he is. You worrying about fairness in media when you should be worrying about whether this sociopath becomes president is like stopping to make sure you turned the lights off before you leave a house that is burning down in a raging fire. Don't look past him, don't underestimate him, don't alibi for him or try to mansplain him. Just vote Hillary or don't vote at all but NO DONALD TRUMP!

Steve Salerno said...

So tell us how you really feel, Never.

Btw, does your hashtag mean No Trump AND No Pride, either? (i.e. the "never" covers both words?)

Sorry, just being a bit of a dick.

Steve Salerno said...

DimSkip, title this Guilty with an Explanation.

(That used to be a plea you could make in traffic court, might get you a reduced fine. Anyone know if that still exists?)

Old buddy, I am exhausted. Just mentally, emotionally and even physically drained as a result of this election cycle. PLEASE never think that I dishonor your lengthy and thoughtful comments by my lack of an equally lengthy and impassioned response, but i just lack the energy and willpower right now...and I don't know that I could say anything that I haven't said either in my two newspaper columns on Trump (for the New York Daily news and USAToday) or right here on this blog. And certainly even many of my post here that don't specifically reference Trump nonetheless voice relevant feelings that I have if you read between the lines.

I continue to say that the media have done a terrible job in this election cycle. They have focused on the "sexy" (sometimes literally) and peripheral rather than on the thoughtful and substantive, and IMO as the battle wears on and we rouse to a finish on Nov. 8, they are less and less coy about their true feelings, which overwhelming favor Hillary. Or maybe it's not so much that they favor Hillary as that they ABHOR Trump. Many people abhor him, and with good reason. But to my mind there is no higher journalistic goal than neutrality/objectivity in a presidential election, or at least the attempt at same. Even if Trump were to announce today that when he becomes president, his first act would be to try to have all journalists executed by lethal injection, journalists would be obliged to show no bias in covering that. Yes, that is what I truly believe.

And I can't believe the shit that has been flung my way because I believe such things.

Also yes, there's an increasing proliferation of wing-nut right-wing sites out there, but everybody (except people in your family, evidently) knows they're wing-nuts so their influence is limited.

Sorry to not have more to say. Please write back. I will read whatever you post with great interest, I promise you that. I'm just pretty near DONE.

Elka said...

Glad you rescued my comment, Steve -- thanks!

Yes, I'm very much speaking from "the field." Trump is a nearly archetypal narcissistic psychopath (or malignant narcissist, another name for this entity), but we (in "the field") are not allowed to talk about it because reasons. See this:

Of course I do talk about it, since us folks in "the field" also have a duty to warn the public about dangers posed by people who are, well, dangerous. If you click on my Medium icon, you'll find more of my Trump/ism related articles.

One thing to understand about people with Trump's character defect is that they are inherently destructive -- that is, they muck up everything they come in contact with, as they are congenitally incapable of recognizing and maintaining, much less creating, anything of value. Trump's life story confirms as much.

The Foster thing was debunked, no? As in, there is no evidence of Clinton's involvement? Unlike, say, Trump's history of rapes, including those of young underage girls:

You are right that it is most unfortunate that someone as deeply pathological as Trump has come to represent some of people's most urgent and legitimate concerns. Sad! as Agent Orange would say if he understood it (or anything else). Or cared.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 1 again (or 35? I've lost track)

Steve, I too have grown weary of it all. Long, long ago. I've pretty much said all I **can** say and I was already moving in redundant circles, I know. I won't convince anyone I'm "Right" (unless they were already on my side to begin with). This has all been just how I see things. The Republicans themselves have driven me to the "other side" and it will take an extreme amount of fence mending and mea culpas on their part to win me back now. But I still don't consider myself a liberal. Just like when I was far more in the Republican camp, I still never considered myself a Republican. I'm a free agent. I don't know that I lean any more liberal than I ever have in my life... It could just **seem** that I'm so much more liberal now because the conservatives have moved their base camp so far to the extreme right that I now need high-powered binoculars to see them.

Rodg, I see no point in tackling anything more. We will never convince each other, so why waste the time?

A few quick bullet points...

* I said (somewhere) that I was not saying Hillary was a great candidate or someone I would ordinarily be gung ho for and I'm not gung ho for her now, except... in comparison to you-know-who.

* I also said from the very start that I don't watch CNN **or** Fox News, so I really can't speak to their coverage or comparisons thereof. But if you go to Google News and plug in "Hillary WikiLeaks CNN," more than a few items indeed pop up. I admit I didn't click them to check out the depth or severity of the coverage. Also, no way am I delving into the sewer of Fox News to see what they're saying. (Just yesterday--online--I came across an item which appeared on Fox News where after one of the mass shooting incidents---probably Newtown--where a couple of their commentators were complaining about Obama shedding a tear in talking about dead kids. They said he didn't shed any tears after other terrorist attacks and one even suggested that he must have had some raw onions nearby to pull off the act! So pardon me if I don't get all squishy and warm with love for Fox News.)

* I don't believe I ever once mentioned anything about the Trump sex stuff (unless I touched on it very tangentially). My opinions about all this were drawn looooong before any of that ever came out. I am open to being won back, but I see no evidence it could happen anytime soon.

* Funny how Republicans are quick to excuse Trump's sex stuff, though, when that wasn't the case with another Clinton, either way back then or even still now. (And if the situation were precisely reversed, I don't think anyone would seriously be able to deny that Republicans would be apoplectic with indignation and scorn.) I don't understand why Trump thinks that's even relevant to bring up in deflecting his own stuff (of which there are multiple accusations and tapes from various sources, apparently [Howard Stern, pageants, Billy Bush, Apprentice]). Bill Clinton isn't running for president. Trump and his defenders say Trump's sex talk stuff was long ago, but so was Bill Clinton's stuff too, much longer ago actually. If anything, bringing up Bill Clinton only makes Hillary look better for "standing by her man." I honestly don't really care about Trump's sex talk, though, because, yes, I actually **do** think it was (mostly) just that... talk. It's what Trump does best. Empty boasting, but ultimately probably harmless... Until we actually hand him the keys to our nation and give him some actual authority. Then the joke/charade is over and serious crap really starts flying into the fan.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 2 again (or 36)

Bottom lines...

1) Trump scares the bejeezus out of me! I'll willingly take Hillary (for 4 years, anyway) and see who the Republicans can scrape off the bottom of their barrel next time. (And I can't even begin to imagine what's lurking there below even Trump!) I don't Want Trump's tiny fingers on the buttons of our nuclear arsenal. At least Hillary has actual experience and some sense of tact, diplomacy, and at least the **appearance** of some class. And I'm hoping she's learned a thing or two about email such that it won't be a problem in the future.

2) In the past year to year and a half I've delved into many various items about both Hillary and Trump or just general Democrat vs Republican stuff and without a doubt (as best **I** can determine) the Republican side has BY FAR (and I cannot stress that enough) been guilty of the greatest sheer amount and degree of throwing verifiably false crap at the (anti-immigration?) wall. I'm talking about things where they deny things that were actually said and filmed at public events, things in their own twitter feeds. (Hell, at least Hillary has the good sense to **try** to cover her tracks!)

From my perspective, it's been way too easy for Trump et al to lob the accusations of media bias and election rigging out there and, to my mind, it's all about vague fear-mongering and pre-framing their excuses. And people have lapped it up.

I even have a little pet conspiracy theory of my own... I sometimes wonder if Trump is actually surprised himself that he's gotten this far, but that maybe he doesn't really want to win. Winning would necessitate accepting responsibility and having to back up his claims of having the best of this, the best of that, and turning things around in a year or two, even defeating ISIS and terrorism in general. Maybe he can get Israel and Palestine to get along too. He can't possibly back up what he says. If I thought he actually could do all that, I'd gladly vote for the man! But it's so easy to **say** you have the answers, a hell of a lot harder to actually **demonstrate** that you have them and implement them. No, Trump can come off so much better by **NOT** winning. Books, shows, talk shows, further media attention every time he opens his mouth to complain about "Crooked Hillary" vs what **he** would have done and how much better things would be. He'll make millions, maybe billions, have no actual real responsibility for anything and be able to continue to snipe from safety. It's no different from fans who claim that **they'd** have been able to clutch-hit that 95 mph fastball in the bottom of the ninth to win the clinching WS game. Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure.

Is there media bias? OK, sure. That's why as a media consumer I don't just get my news from one side and I don't just accept those accounts on their mere word either and stop at only one report. You have to look to see what various sources are saying and check out their credentials and **their** sources yourself. And I'm sorry, but the conservative side has utterly failed for me on that front. At this point, I'll gladly take the dreaded mainstream and liberally biased media any day if the alternative is to turn more to the disgusting muck I see gurgling on the conservative media side of things these days.

Dimension Skipper said...

I think (and actually hope) that's it. If I can come up with something new to add, then maybe... But I can't imagine what that could be. That's all just how one poor, gullible, liberally-snookered DimSkip has come to see things. And I don't think I'm necessarily alone or all that much of an exception. I can only pray to a God I don't even believe in that Trump doesn't somehow pull it off and win. (If he does, ***I*** will be screaming about voter fraud and a rigged election!)

Dimension Skipper said...

New stuff after all...

Audio, 3m+32s: Hacked Emails Highlight The Controversial Role Of Paid Partisan Pundits
November 1, 20165:06 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition

Re candidates being "tipped off" to a question or questions... Not to excuse or condone it (I don't), but to my mind high level candidates have their teams of advisers who, if they're doing their jobs right, should be working on anticipating likely questions and preparing canned responses or talking points. And besides, how many times have we all heard a question asked and then the candidate goes off talking about anything **but** the issues pertaining to the question? That's because the candidates are coached that "if this topic comes up, just frame it this way or talk about this other thing instead."

Again, should the candidates ever be tipped off or outright given any of the official questions? No, of course not. And some sort of consequences should be pursued (especially for the tipper-offers, imo). But does anyone think that the candidates and their staffs don't already have a very good idea of the sorts of questions likely to be asked and some sort of responses already prepared? Well, for an arrogant, narcissistic egotist like Trump, I wouldn't doubt he's just winging it with his rambling non-responses and rude interruptions. But for Hillary? I highly doubt this gave her any more significant advantage than she already has over Trump intellectually and in debate experience. I highly doubt that she (or her staff) actively pursued any means of learning any of the questions in advance. (But perhaps I'm being very naïve?)

There's also the question of whether or not Hillary herself was aware of the tip-off (before or after, which **does** make a difference imo). If not (and she may very well have been deliberately shielded from it by her staff), I don't see how she can be held all that accountable. And if she did know personally, I'm not sure what she could or should have done about it. In a perfect world, I suppose she could have come clean and exposed the leak (and could or should she have tried to do so without exposing the leak source and/or chain of communication?), thereby getting the precise question(s) tossed out or seriously modified. But I can also see where she'd be very wary of exposing such a thing, especially with all the talk of rigging that has been put out there by Trump and company since, well, pretty much the moment he got the GOP nomination. If I recall correctly (and I admit I could be mistaken), he even talked about "rigging" during the primaries in a context regarding his GOP rivals (mainly Cruz and Rubio?) and with the implication being that the GOP "establishment" didn't want him to win.

Also, how could the Clinton staff have known that the leak itself was real? Is it possible anyone could have thought maybe it was some sort of ruse, a "Gotcha!" plot from the Trump camp to try to entrap her somehow? I mean, Trump is certainly good at generating fringe conspiracy theories re rigged elections and such, so maybe he and his camp were trying some sort of grandstand move. With the sort of atmosphere all the Trump paranoia (not to mention the extreme right-wing media) regularly encourages, I don't know if it's that far-fetched to see conspiracies swirling within conspiracies until no one can be sure of just **what** is going on.

Steve Salerno said...

The whole thing has reached a level of slime and filth that is more off-putting than I can describe, though I don't think I really need to for anyone who's been watching or listening with even half an eye/ear.

The most troublesome aspect of all this is that few people (except for the candidates themselves, and not always them either) even pretend that any of this is about principle anymore. It is about winning. It is about defeating (and if possible utterly crushing) The Other. And that is entirely how media folk see it; a candidate can give what to all appearances is an emotional speech and pundits will look totally beyond the content as content and instead analyze the speech for its political gamesmanship. A candidate could come out and say "Today my beloved dog died" and some asshole media analyst will say, "The candidate today made a clear pitch for the pet-owning demographic." In fact at least two left-wing sites basically did this to Pence when he announced the death of his dog last week.

For an especially vivid and ongoing example of the phenomenon, pay close attention to CNN's John King next time he hovers over his maps, talking about how Trump or Clinton is "going after" a certain bloc of people in some all-important swing state. King assumes zero integrity and/or sincerity on the part of the candidates whatsoever. (And maybe he's right, but...) In John King's world neither candidate ever says what s/he truly believes; neither candidate takes a genuinely heartfelt position; it's all politics. We have reached a level of cynicism and devaluation of integrity and belief in this culture that is unprecedented in my lifetime.

Dimension Skipper said...

Oh, I've complained about that for years, probably a couple decades! That's certainly nothing new (and absolutely nothing to do with any inherent bias, of course). And again I stress that I don't even watch 24/7 cable news. I say let the candidates and their staffs worry about the strategies, but the media should simply report what they say and do without reference to any behind-the-scenes political hocus-pocus.

And stuff like this, airing tonight in the Philly area on PBS channel 12, doesn't help...

The Contenders -- 16 for '16
Episode: "Bush/Obama -- The Master Strategists"
S01, E08
At opposite ends of the political spectrum, both Barack Obama and George W. Bush beat serious contenders with careful campaign strategy.
8:00 - 9:00 PM WHYY

I only just found out about it, but I wouldn't have watched anyway. Apparently that's the 8th and final episode of the series.

We don't even know if America will still be around in '16, let alone who might run!... At best, it's a toss-up, right? If Trump wins, then all bets are off as far as any sort of reasonable prognostications re future candidates because obviously reason will have been completely defenestrated (possibly suicide?) and gone splat on the ground many floors below Trump Tower. President Hulk Hogan? President Kim Kardashian? Anything would be possible. President Pedro? OK, well maybe not **that** after a Trump presidency, especially with that HUGE wall having been built courtesy of the Mexican government.

Dimension Skipper said...

And now for something completely different... And yet surprisingly still completely on topic...

Clint Black gets it.

I hope he releases a version without the talking heads bleeding through the music.

Dimension Skipper said...

Actually, I find out now he already released it on his 2015 album "On Purpose." It was written during the 2012 election cycle...

See Clint Black Blast the Media in Satirical 'Calling It News' Video

Now I gotta find that album for my collection!

Dimension Skipper said...

Ah, here it is without the background chatter... Still Calling It News.

OK, that's it for the musical interlude. Now back to our regularly scheduled squabbling, bickering, and whining...

Steve Salerno said...

THANK YOU, DimSkip, for both providing a musical interlude and keeping it real.