I bet NBC News’ Jonathan Allen wishes he could have that one back — the piece he posted on NBC News’ site that panned Day One of the Impeachment hearings because they lacked “pizzazz”.
The firestorm’s been pretty relentless, boring in hard on that one word: “pizzazz”. To Allen’s credit, he encapsulated the American news media’s problem. They think this story’s about… hmmmm — maybe that’s the problem. For all the substance Allen acknowledges, he worries Americans won’t bother with the story of how pirates are actively destroying their Republic on behalf of Russia because there weren’t enough bells and whistles.
Either Jonathan Allen has nailed America or he’s missed us entirely.
I say he’s missed us entirely — in a way exactly how most of America’s news media has. They still give way more credence to Trump’s base — and why it’s so angry at the rest of us (16% minority of the electorate that they are) than the rest of us (84% of the majority that WE are).
Most Americans are actually pretty sensible. By “most Americans” I no longer mean Republicans. Republicans can’t “be” sensible because sensible involves following the Rule Of Law. And, as Republicans know, in the current situation, actually following The Rule Of Law would put pretty much every Republican behind bars for the rest of their natural lives. Their offense is that offensive — and real.
Our news media continues to treat Donald Trump’s words and actions as if they were the words and actions of a real and legitimate POTUS. They’re not. Donald Trump (as it’s becoming clearer and clearer) is not now and never was a legitimate POTUS. Take Russia out of the equation entirely and Trump wouldn’t have survived the primaries.
Russia made Trump president. They need to keep Trump president — and the Republican Party, being entirely complicit in outright TREASON, needs to keep him president too.
If our news media had brought an ounce of perspective to this story — if they’d simply done the due diligence Fusion GPS did before starting their oppo research on Trump (on behalf of the Conservative web site the Washington Free Beacon), we would have ended the Trumpian coup d’etat before it even started.
FFS – Wasn’t “Mexicans are rapists” pizzazz enough? Wasn’t “pussy grabbing”? Wasn’t putting children in cages and betraying the Kurds and obstructing justice every day in every way? I guess when you see the world through “Both Sides Do It” colored lenses, pizzazz isn’t all it seems. One side’s pizzazz is another sides bullshit.
Actually, thinking this story needs more “pizzazz” is bullshit. Like treason isn’t pizzazzy enough for a storyteller…
I suppose if you suddenly sprang into being right next to Donald Trump — so his essence, his aura, his version of the world was all that you knew — HIS version of the world might seem possible. But step outside the treasonous bubble of Trumpism — and a 2 X 4 of realism goes upside your head. The man’s lying even when he mutters “Hello”.
No one who isn’t already corrupted by Donald Trump thinks Trump’s view of the world, of events — of his own horrible family — reflects reality. Look at the “defense” the GOP’s “brain trust” banged together for the first day of formal, public impeachment hearings. There was no attempt whatsoever to argue the merits. There was no attempt to say “No, he didn’t do that” because everything’s been admitted to already.
If we approach the GOP’s behavior yesterday with a close up lens — as our Main Stream News Media likes to do — you get Trump’s defenders strategizing how to defend the indefensible. If you step back a few paces — using a slightly wider lens — you get get… well — if you COULD step back a few paces, you’d have done that a long, long time ago.
And if you had stepped back a few paces long before yesterday — if you had as much perspective as possible, say — you wouldn’t still be scratching your head wondering why Trump defends Putin the way he does and why the Republicans continue to defend Trump the way they do. Our MSM is YET to due their due diligence on Trump. They’ve never, most of them, done a top-to-bottom study of who Trump REALLY is so that when they report on him, they’re reporting on HIM and not some bullshit version of him. They’re not the same thing.
Back when the Republicans were doing everything they could to undermine the “integrity” of the Steele Dossier, they hauled Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Fusion, Simpson testified, had first been hired by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website to do oppo research against Trump. Being pros, before they got going on the real assignment, they did their due diligence. They got their hands on piece of publicly available material on Donald Trump in existence. They combed Amazon and actual book stores. They got magazines and newspaper articles. They got tapes of radio shows and TV shows. They even went to the public library to find stuff.
What Fusion found while doing their due diligence — the scuttwork FFS — convinced them that Trump had been deeply involved with Russian mobsters for years. They saw clear indications that Trump had laundered untold millions of dollars of Russian mob money through his Atlantic City casinos (which kind of explained how/why they failed — and how/why that was the point). Simpson explained that, suspecting what these professional journalists now suspected, Fusion contacted Chris Steele, former head of MI6’s Russia desk, the Westerner with the best contacts inside Russia bar none.
Chris Steele then produced his “dossier” — the raw intelligence that he’d gathered.
Instead of telling any of THAT story, pretty much all of our MSM — not doing a lick of due diligence — slapped the word “unverified” on Steele’s work (losing all sight of WHY he was doing that work, answering WHAT question asked by WHOM). Imagine how much quicker we’d be to telling and understanding this story if all the “publicly available” perspective had been applied to the story from the beginning — the way Fusion GPS did…
Our media blocks itself from bringing perspective to any story because they start from the premise that “Both Sides Do It”. Regardless of what it is, bad or good, I suppose, “both sides do it”. Neither side has any particular reason — other than their tribal impulse toward one extreme or its diametric opposite. People do things “just because”. All information weighs exactly the same — because (in American journalistic parlance) “who’s to judge?” That’s why lies and empirical truth weigh the same in so much reporting. Too many American journalists think they’d be editorializing to assume the information they’re reporting is actually true.
If you report that Donald Trump is DEMONSTRABLY a racist one moment, he doesn’t stop being a racist the next when he claims NOT to be a racist.
Similarly, when Trump behaves like a traitor — when he does openly treasonous things (like betraying the Kurds where the Press could enumerate every single way Trump’s action served only one person: Putin) — he doesn’t stop being a traitor just because it’s time to report on election 2020. That’s why we’re now telling the Ukraine story, get it?
Trump thinks he’s gotten away with stealing election 2016 so why not finish gutting American Democracy by stealing election 2020 — and using IT to UNBLAME RUSSIA for stealing election 2016? If the American MSM had done its due diligence… ya see where I’m going?
Then — bad to worse — the MSM scratches its head wondering why the Republicans (in the face of so much horrible truth) continue to defend Trump when (look at yesterday) there’s literally NO DEFENSE — for actions that scream from the rooftops “WE’RE CRIMINAL!” Because they live in a “Both Sides Do It” universe where lies and truth weigh exactly the same, this clear evidence of obstruction of justice (rather than seeking justice — it’s not seeking Justice when, like Lindsey Graham, you refuse to look at evidence cos it’s all a “hoax”) gets reported like… like it’s NOT an actual criminal behavior.
Boom — just like that, a CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR gets normalized. Legitimized.
When you have no perspective and you allow yourself to “see the world” through the criminal’s eyes as if the criminal wasn’t a criminal, you get corrupted yourself. If you had an ounce of perspective, of course, you wouldn’t have gone there to begin with. You’d have known that criminals were trying to bamboozle you.
We are zooming toward a bunch of big, big reveals. When this goes to the Senate — whenever that happens — and the Senate refuses to convict on charges so simple and so clear, we will arrive at the place this battle needs to arrive at. Who are we as a country?
Are we the lawless, authoritarian 1850 hellhole of ignorance, racism & old tyme religion the Republicans want us to be? Or are we America?
Our news media insists (all evidence to the contrary) that the only difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the letter next to their name.
No, they’re not the same. Of course they’re not. Republicans, being conservatives, want to CONSERVE. Being as you can’t conserve the future, conservatives want to conserve the present but more exactly conservatives want to “conserve” the past. Just like their name says.
Progressives on the other hand want to (as THEIR name suggests) PROGRESS. Being as you can’t “progress” into the past — and you really can’t “progress into the present”, Progressives put their energies into getting as many people as possible to progress into the future — where we all belong.
So — both sides want diametrically different things. Whatever both sides might be doing, IT’S NOT THE SAME THING.
Come election time (if they could only put cheating aside), conservatives want to restrict voting as much as possible. The demographics are completely against them; the more that vote, the worse conservative chances are. That’s because the “glorious past” that conservatives dream of returning to is the 1850’s where everyone knew their place — men, women, white people and especially black people.
Democrats and Progressives, by contrast, want to bring as many Americans into the voting process as the possibly can. Why wouldn’t they? Democracy works best when it reflects as many voices as possible. Ever notice how Republican voter suppression efforts are never aimed at Republican voters? That’s not a coincidence.
By the same token, if the brown-skinned people fleeing Central American drug violence (that’s mostly our fault) were reliable Republican voters? They’d be limo’d across the border, handed a passport and be dropped off at the first employment office they came to. Complete with a credit card.
Both sides don’t lock children up in cages — and then justify it. Both sides don’t betray allies as easily as they breathe. Both sides don’t take money from the poor and middle class to give to the rich. Both sides aren’t actively trying to destroy our environment out of pure stupid greed. Both sides don’t seek to dismantle the whole federal government. Both sides don’t conspire with hostile foreign powers to circumvent the will of the American People.
Both sides do not commit treason to maintain political power.
Only ONE side does that — Republicans. It’s just how they’re wired.
It seems so damned elemental it shouldn’t need explaining: Truth and lies are entirely different things. Being made of reality and real stuff, the Truth always has heft. The Truth can be unbearably heavy at times.
Bullshit on the other hand — while it looks like it weighs a ton — weighs nothing. That’s what it’s made of: nothing or one of nothing’s derivatives.
It’s galling as hell to watch supposedly informed members of the news media (MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is on my TV screen as I tap this out) give bullshit weight it doesn’t deserve. Chris Matthews — having just listened to five minutes of solid truthful reporting — instantly presented the (easily) anticipated Trumpian defense: bullshit.
But, Chris reported the bullshit as if it “could” have weight. What if? He false equivalenced five minutes of actual reporting with fifteen seconds of nonsense. Ummmmm, clean up on aisles three through infinity!
What makes it worse is, if you took Chris off set and shot the shit with him, he’d be the first to tell you (I sure hope) what a guilty traitor Trump is! Backstage, when no one’s worried about pissing off the Boss, you know a lot more nitty makes it into the gritty. On air, you have to double and triple source everything to pass muster. Off air — you heard what you heard.
Trust me — everyone’s “smarter” backstage. They know everyone else’s “play”. They know everyone else has a play.
But, on his air, Chris consistently (as he did today) presented Truth and outright bullshit as having equal weight. Truth could be true but, hey — so could the bullshit. That must be why MSNBC is putting it on its air — because it’s true, right?
It IS that simple. Media works that quickly, that efficiently, that effectively. I’m grateful most media has stopped presenting climate scientists & climate deniers in a 50-50 shot as if both sides of THAT conversation weighed the same. Keep in mind — in the visual language, a screen divided exactly in half has two sides of equal value. That’s how visual vocabulary works.
When that happens, the news media creates a “trompe l’oeil” — a visual trick — that makes empty, valueless bullshit look like it’s a dead ringer for stone cold Truth. A more truthful visual representation of a climate scientist debating a climate science denier would be the scientist taking 99% of the TV screen (maybe even 100%) and the denier getting the rest. Their mic volume would reflect the same proportions.
In other words, we would never see or hear from climate deniers because their bullshit had been properly “weighted”.
Truth’s problem is it isn’t sexy. It just is. Usually, the only reason anyone ever talks about “The Truth” is because someone else is questioning it — or denying it.
When all this is done & dusted, I want us to promise ourselves that we’re going to enshrine in law the illegality of “Both Sides Do It” journalism.
The Chuck Todd-ification of American journalism has not worked out well for us because (Duh!) it’s based on bullshit — and the nincompoop notion that everyone and everything is political. It’s not. If a Republican mugs me, my issue is with him mugging me, not his political affiliation.
Similarly — when a Republican violates the Constitution or commits treason, my objection is entirely to the fact that he’s committing a crime. The fact that the crime is being committed against me — a law abiding registered Democrat who demands that the Constitution be upheld — STILL isn’t political.
Ironically, the Republican has behaved politically at every step along the way.
When a reporter like Chuck Todd gets his hands on a story though — if the Democrat is objecting to the Republican (even the Republican was literally murdering him), Chuck would insist that the Democrat is objecting solely because the guy trying to kill him had a different political affiliation.
I’m watching live right now as Katy Tur debates the idea that we’ve come to see actual RIGHT & WRONG in political terms. That’s insane. The fact that Republicans refuse to even read transcripts — that the press knows (having read them) are filled with actual EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR) should tip them off to that fact. This isn’t about politics.
Both sides do not commit treason as a means to hold onto power.
But one side clearly does. One side continues to defend a president whose ties to Russia are flat out treasonous. I’m old enough to remember when that word could NEVER be uttered on a cable news set without creating a firestorm of controversy.
Now? Who DOESN’T speak the word “treason”?
That’s no because the word suddenly got popular, it’s because treason is actually afoot.
I sure do wish CNN & MSNBC would get this through their thick skulls — only one side commits treason to hold onto power.
Only one side stands between traitors and the end of our Republic.
The worst part of Both Sides Do It journalism is its stupid assumption that everything must be political.
That’s the dopey go-along with “Every argument has two sides”.
People may express two sides but that doesn’t mean there are two sides — and it certainly doesn’t mean that if there are “two sides” that those two sides walk in the door in a 50-50 relationship.
Take climate change and climate denial. Early on, our MSM regularly presented these two arguments in a “Both Sides Do It” framework. Any actual climate science had to be “balanced” with someone willing to voice the “other side’s argument”.
But, in the case of climate change, there IS NO other side’s argument. There’s bullshit and lying and subterfuge and nonsense. But, even bullshit — when presented as a 50-50 possibility — can suddenly seem viable even though it isn’t. Every time CNN or MSNBC or any other news operation put a climate scientist on their air with a climate denier — and framed them in a 50-50 shot (each talking head taking up the exact same amount of screen), they were telling their news audience (even if unintentionally) that climate SCIENCE and absolute bullshit were equally true, equally believable.
Except it’s NOT true.
Both Sides Do It journalism creates false narratives (like Trump “won” election 2016 without Russia’s help). It says that if Republicans cheat to win elections then Democrats must cheat, too.
But, unlike Republicans, Democrats do NOT suppress votes. They don’t jettison names off of voter rolls. They don’t conspire with foreign powers to win elections either. Both sides absolutely do not do this.
What if we take election fraud out of the equation and, instead, make the crime a shooting — on 5th Avenue. Donald Trump, as promised, pulls out a piece and blows the brains out of a supporter right there in front of everyone. If a Democrat dials the FBI on their cell phone to report Trump, it’s not politics motivating them — it’ stone, cold MURDER.
That Democrat isn’t being political, they’re being a good citizen. Only a republican — or an American journalist — can see an act of citizenship in purely political terms.
If I were to mug a journalist — demand their wallet — it’s not politics motivating me, it’ greed. Perhaps if our MSM were to pull its head from its bottom and stop seeing the world in purely political terms they might grasp the larger story they’re reporting on. They might see my intent for what it is and for what it isn’t.
The Democrats in the House aren’t prosecuting Trump because they don’t like him (they don’t) or because he’s a republican while they’re Democrats (Trump isn’t even really a Republican — he’s nothing & nothingness). They’re prosecuting him because he violated his oath of office the literal second he spoke it.
The Rule Of Law either is or it isn’t. There’s no middle ground. If one violates it, one must get punished for it. The whole point is that it ISN’T political and upholding it STANDS OUTSIDE politics.
If I object to Trump shooting people on Fifth Avenue, I object because it’s illegal, immoral and disgusting.
The “R” next to Trump’s name is irrelevant except as a marker.
Maybe our news media’s problem is one of projection. They can’t walk & chew gum at the same time so they assume Democrats can’t and citizens can’t.
But, thing is, anyone who isn’t a journalist CAN do two things at once. Some of us can even hold two conflicting thoughts in our heads without our heads exploding.
Because our news media insists on seeing EVERYTHING through a political lens (even if the thing they’re looking at ISN’T political), they assume everyone DOES everything for political reasons. The reason Democrats have vehemently opposed Trump more than any other Republican in their lifetimes isn’t because he’s a Republican. It’s because he’s corrupt. It’s because he’s a racist. And a rapist. And a con man. And a criminal with a history of laundering Russian mob money. And a TRAITOR.
All of those are facts about Donald Trump. One could, being completely apolitical, object to Trump on each of those grounds. One could object to Trump on ALL of them — and STILL not be “political”.
It’s galling to be told your motive is one thing when it’s not that thing at all. It’s even more galling when the people insisting you’re being political hold a megaphone — as the MSM does.
Democrats object to Trump because he called Mexicans rapists. Because he boasts about grabbing pussies. Because he (clearly) lies on his taxes. Because he violated his oath of office the instant he took it. Because his relationship with Russia isn’t just “dodgy” or “suspect”, it’s flat out TREASONOUS.
Democrats object to Trump because he lies almost every time he opens his mouth. Democrats object to Trump because he treats the Constitution and The Rule Of Law like asswipe.
Not only don’t both sides “do” what Donald Trump is doing to America and our whole way of life — both sides don’t “approve” of it either. Because putting children in cages or profiting off our foreign policy or conspiring to murder journalists or calling the press “enemies of the people” etc etc etc is immoral and disgusting.
Insisting that the Democrats are prosecuting Trump for purely political reasons is insulting to every patriotic American. It takes a criminal’s framing of his crime and makes IT the norm. Those going after the criminal are suddenly the suspects. Every time the American press repeats anything Trump says without vetting the hell out of it first, they’re setting “Both Sides Do It” in concrete.
Bottom line — the MAJORITY of Americans didn’t vote for Trump and do not want Trumpism in any way, shape or form. Trump’s base is a fraction of the Republican party (who themselves are only 24% of the American electorate). The American news media is so far out of whack that they continue to insist that 16% of the electorate equals the 55% who (per Quinnipiac) want to see Trump impeached.
The American news media still insist that Trump “won” election 2016 fairly & squarely. That’s completely false of course. And if you don’t (or can’t) see election 2016 as stolen — and NOT representing the will of the American people — then the “both sides” you see doing it, aren’t the sides that are actually present — or doing it.