American News Media has never been more important — in a Constitutional sense — and less up to the task. That’s a bad thing.
In the name of ‘being helpful’, I’ve put together this list of ‘Acquired Bad Habits’ with some brief thoughts. You know — to be ‘helpful’.
1 LAZINESS — THE ‘BIGGIE’
When Fusion GPS was first hired by Paul Singer and The Washington Free Beacon (a conservative and a conservative paper) to do some oppo research on Donald Trump (as he was beginning to seriously disrupt the republican primaries), the very first thing they did (according to founder Glenn Simpson’s sworn Congressional testimony) was THEIR DUE DILIGENCE. In Fusion’s case (again, per Simpson’s testimony), that meant getting their hands on EVERY SINGLE BIT of PUBLICLY AVAILABLE information about Donald J Trump.
That distinction is important — ‘PUBLICLY AVAILABLE’.
It means EVERYBODY with the time and will could get their hands on the exact same material. it’s not hidden. It’s in ‘plain sight’ more or less.
However, like Fusion GPS, you may have to go to a BOOKSTORE because Donald Trump has ‘written’ books or had books written about him. You may have to actually reach into your pocket and BUY a copy or GO TO A LIBRARY and BORROW one if they have it. While at the library, you might microfiche NEWSPAPER & MAGAZINE ARTICLES by and about Donald. You might wander on down to the Public Records Bureau and peruse all the PUBLICLY AVAILABLE FILES involving Donald J Trump and his many real estate transactions or legal actions (he’s been involved with quite a few).
You might get ahold of the hundreds of thousands of PHOTOS or VIDEOs about Donald or in which Donald appears. Lots of it is self-promotional, yes, but some of it — if you look a little harder — is more revealing (because of environment or other people IN the photos) than intended.
When Fusion GPS finished their DUE DILIGENCE, they came away with one very distinct impression: Donald J Trump had consistently engaged in a VARIETY of criminal behaviors that should DISQUALIFY him from the Presidency (and should PROBABLY land his bloated, orange ass in prison). And an awful lot of that criminal behavior (some involving his failed casinos, some his other ‘strange projects’ in ‘strange parts of the world’) involved either RUSSIA or RUSSIANS. And these RUSSIANS were all oligarchs in a Patronage System run with an Iron Fist and Even More Iron Will by Vladimir Putin.
BECAUSE of the concerns that grew from what they saw in PUBLICLY AVAILABLE MATERIAL, Fusion hired highly respected CHRISTOPHER STEELE, former ‘Lord’ of the MI6 Russia Desk — a man with very deep, ‘respected’ and respectable sources inside Russia.
By then, Trump had become Top Dog and the republican money paying Fusion bailed. The bill got picked up by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Nothing illegal here. Nothing even remotely out of the ordinary. The only thing remotely out of the ordinary was what CHRISTOPHER STEELE WAS UNCOVERING: Not just overt CRIMINALITY but TREASON — a subversive attempt to trade dirt on Hillary Clinton for Sanctions Relief. But, even that didn’t fully capture what Putin was actively doing to us (and Western, Democratic Europe). Putin had launched (and is STILL WAGING) an all out CYBER WAR — and the Donald Trump Presidency was and remains its BEACHHEAD.
These FACTS about Donald Trump — who he’d been in business with — WHY — and all the dubious, illegal and quasi-legal shit he’d ever been part of — are all available. They shouldn’t be part of the QUESTION of WHO Donald Trump is, they should be part of our PRE-EXISTING UNDERSTANDING of Donald Trump – our FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE . Our STARTING POINT for every discussion.
And yet, it’s not. Too many discussions, too much reporting about Donald Trump by the American Main Stream Media mimics reporters like MSNBC’S Alex Witt (a favorite punching bag of mine, I’ll admit; her mediocrity offends me). It is LAZY in the extreme — demonstrating no proof whatsoever that any HOMEWORK was done prior to going on air. When no, poor or inadequate homework is done, LAZY QUESTIONS get asked.
For instance: Alex Witt routinely introduces a broad topic ‘Democratic resistance to Donald Trump’ and then turns to one of her ‘panel’ and says (again, keeping it as broad and generic as possible), “Aren’t the Democrats just playing politics?”
Um, no, Alex, they aren’t. If you’d look up from whatever game you’re playing on your phone — and maybe READ something (other than whatever gossip has you in its thrall) — you’d know (without having to ask) that their resistance to Donald Trump is moral, spiritual, legal and patriotic — and that your question is (in addition to LAZY) — fucking insulting.
‘Journalists’ like Alex Witt could suss that out — except they’re too fucking lazy…
2 INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY
Someone should do a dissertation on WHEN exactly the ‘False Equivalence Disease’ first entered American Journalism and WHO infected everyone.
The ‘Gold Standard’ of this brand of Intellectual Dishonesty is Climate Change and the MSM’s dogged insistence on putting actual CLIMATE SCIENTISTS on their air with LIARS, CORPORATE SHILLS & EMPLOYEES and other KNOW-NOTHINGS in a way that clearly communicated to its ‘NEWS AUDIENCE’ that these two points of view had ‘equal merit’.
In the media, time or column width is weight. If you give equal time or column width to two points of view, the automatic inference is these two things have somewhat equal validity. But they don’t. Of course they don’t. Actual data-driven CLIMATE SCIENCE is not the same as ‘feelings’ about the subject BASED on a few cherry-picked facts.
But, when a scientist sits on a TV set, sharing a TV screen (50-50) with a lunatic, science and lunacy are AUTOMATICALLY seen as EQUAL or APPROXIMATE.
Sporting the same damaged DNA — ‘Both sides do it’. That’s an awfully big paint brush ya got there, pal. Awfully broad, too.
And ‘true’ in the sense that it’s not 100% false. So, you can say it without being technically wrong. But then there’s the ‘spirit’ of the thing. And those paths diverge.
Saying, for instance, that ‘Donald Trump lies’ but ‘So do Democrats’ is technically true. But it’s not ‘fundamentally’ true. The contexts are so different — Donald Trump lies because lying is always his first instinct. IF Democrats have lied — what’s the context? Are we talking about ‘You can get to keep your doctor?’ because if we are, that’s not a lie — it’s a failure of policy to meet expectation. The intention was what it said; the result disappointed. When Donald Trump bleats the word ‘Hoax’ in relation to Russia or Stormy Daniels, it’s with the full and complete knowledge that the thing in question DID happen and the DENIAL he’s making about it is absolutely 100% false.
Not. The. Same. Thing.
To act as if they are — if not LAZY — is INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST.
One more example — The Pure Invention that every ‘journalist’ indulges in when they describe either Donald Trump’s mental processes or the ‘strategy’ behind his (otherwise baffling) moves. Let’s start with the Pure Invention.
We’ve all listened to talking heads — getting asked what THEY think is in Donald Trump’s mind when he does the unthinkable things he does or says. “Look,” is how they often begin (and I so ‘look’ forward, when this is all done and said to giving THAT word a break — along with ‘Getting to the bottom of things…), “What the president’s thinking is THIS…” and then they go on to describe a thought process THEY might have but we can all rest assured, DONALD J TRUMP DID NOT.
Donald Trump does not HAVE normal thought processes so any description of same is, by definition, BULLSHIT.
Further — and let’s drag in point two here — Donald J Trump has never had a strategic thought in his life. He’s not capable. He’s a bully by nature and the only strategy he knows is hit them when they’re down so you can steal their wallet and run. That’s it. That’s the sum total of Donald Trump’s Life Strategy.
Consequently, Donald Trump (let’s throw in the fact that he’s a certifiable SOCIOPATH) is incapable of seeing, grasping or embracing any other person’s HUMANITY. Other peoples’ emotions are inconvenient to him — they’re something you buy off with money or threats. And, because that’s always worked, Donald Trump sees all other humans as things that can be bought — with the right mix of violence and cash.
Result? Donald Trump is an entirely TRANSACTIONAL person. He sees Life in terms of Winners & Losers. No deal can be a zero sum game. Someone must always come out ahead — and bragging about it. Too bad Donald lives — as we all do — in a world that’s 90% Relational and only 10% Transactional. Yes, we make deals all day long — but in an entirely relational way.
We all recognize that how we deal with each other — the history of our dealings with each other — lingering BAD FEELINGS because of our problematic dealings with each other — while not having a monetary price, DO have a ‘human price’. Money can only assuage so much hurt. Beyond that — payback might ameliorate some of the hurt. Land maybe. Or just the next bloody, violent tit or tat.
But a TRANSACTIONAL SOLUTION will never touch the core disagreement that started it all. By its very nature, it can’t.
Yet there are journalists writing about Donald Trump as if he ‘understood’ what he was doing — as if a deal for a deal’s sake (regardless of the details — and, so long as he wins and you lose) wasn’t Donald Trump’s bottom line.
These are all facts. You can look at the ‘video tape’ even. To act like they’re not facts — IS DISHONEST.
3 LACK OF PERSPECTIVE
When making False Equivalences is part of your onboard ‘software’ — you start off at a steep disadvantage. You cannot see the world for how it is. It’s kinda like you see it through the haze rising off your own bullshit.
Worse — you can’t see that your ‘view of the world’ isn’t actually a ‘view of the world’ at all. It’s a view of a teeny, tiny piece of the world seen through an incredibly narrow lens. Then, when you take this Micro world view and act like it represents the Macro World — your view of the Macro World gets corrupted. You think the Macro World is behaving like the Micro World. And it’s not.
Not having perspective screws up every last bit of your analysis and storytelling. How can it not. You always think you’re staring at Mount Everest when, in reality, it’s just a Smokey Mountain Foothill.
4 TOO EASILY DISTRACTED (THE RESULT OF # 1-3)
When your head’s not in the game — maybe because success has GONE to your head — you disengage from the substance of a story. As the Parkland Students will tell you — pursuing a cause for the long haul requires dedication, persistence, energy and a willingness to fail. People who play it safe succeed at playing it safe. They rarely achieve anything other than maintaining the status quo.
Our MSM too often behave like a school of fish — reacting in unison to something sparkly, shiny and easy to grasp.
The money trails and gold seams underlying and paying for what Donald Trump and the Russians did to us are being exposed even as we speak. They’re complicated things by design. They don’t want to be dragged into the sunlight.
Even the sparkly things — Stormy Daniels, say — have more depth, gravity and significance than the Main Stream Media seem able to report. They get stuck on the salacious when it’s the DEEPER CORRUPTION that’s the actual story. They want ‘dick picks’ when the problem is them being easily distracted is the thing that’s ‘dicking’ us.
5 WHAT IS THIS COSTING US & WHY THE HELL DOES IT MATTER?
The Press’s role in our system of government is enumerated in the First Amendment — as part of the bulwark against ‘Tyranny’. A check AND a balance.
When the Press fails to do ITS part, those checks and balances fail — as they’re threatening to now. We get ‘fake news’.
When the Press adjusts to its questions not being answered, when it NORMALIZES evasions and bullshit explanations, it debases our political system as a whole.
When it allows obvious lies to go unchallenged, that’s an invitation to failure.
We all know what’s at stake here. The MSM does too. They need to recognize the strength of their own hand; they do not need to even acknowledge Donald Trump’s goofy bluffing. They need to CALL IT OUT.
They need to recognize the bad habits they’ve acquired and make it a point to swap them out for better, healthier habits.
How else will America survive The Trumpocalypse?