Donald Trump counts on what Steve Bannon called “flooding the zone with shit”. It’s the “How To Make A Rabbit Hole” playbook.
Obfuscation and distraction are the point. While we spin our wheels in consternation at the latest outrage, Trump is busily thieving somewhere else in the environment or laying the groundwork for an even bigger score somewhere down the line.
Each Trumpian lie is a rabbit hole. The danger — and our press simply can’t keep out of it — is that you’ll follow Trump down whichever one he’s braying from. There’s never a good outcome.
“It’s a hoax” is a rabbit hole. Whatever Trump calls a “hoax” is guaranteed to be one hundred percent true. Nothing hoax about. The only correct answer is “No, it’s not”. Any scratching of the head and wondering “Wow, does he really think it’s a hoax?” is the rabbit hole reaching up to grab you and pull you into it.
No, of course Trump doesn’t think it’s a hoax. He knows better. But now that he’s got you asking questions about it, it might as well be real because here we all are talking about it. The rabbit hole just became real.
Mike Pence also loves a good rabbit hole. Ever watch him answer a question?
Yesterday — in the face of record-setting infection numbers, Mike Pence announced how proud he was of our efforts to stop the coronavirus from spreading. Proud? Of what? Of the fact that we’re pretty much the only country in the world getting its ass kicked like this — because we insist on denying science? If you ask Mike the obvious question — “Mike, what the hell are you talking about?”, Mike’s answer will be pure rabbit hole.
Ask Mitch McConnell about Merrick Garland. Or Oleg Deripaska. Or how much money he’s personally taken from Russia over the years. Or why he participated in the coup d’etat that put a Russian intelligence asset in power.
Moscow Mitch will hummina-hummina at you with his beady, red-rimmed Treason Turtle eyes all while leading you down a rabbit hole.
As I said — it’s all about obfuscation.
The trick? Don’t go there. Refuse to follow them. You know the argument’s going to be specious anyway. “Thanks anyway” is a perfectly good way to let them know you won’t be joining them down in bullshitland.
“Shut up” is even better.