As the lights come up, a member of MSNBC’s audience sits down to watch some news. Almost immediately, the audience member is incensed. And… fade in —
MSNBC: Donald Trump said ‘this’ today.
Audience: But ‘this’ is a lie and you know it is. Nicolle Wallace spent a whole half hour reporting on it extensively.
MSNBC: But, what if what Trump said is true?
Audience: How can it be true? Rachel Maddow presented hard evidence on your air that it can’t possibly be true. Doesn’t anyone at your news network ever watch Rachel?
MSNBC: Republicans are treating the coronavirus pandemic politically – but so are Democrats!
Audience: What are you talking about? Democrats aren’t withholding aid from blue states because the governors refuse to lick Trump’s nutsack. Democrats aren’t refusing to stay at home, socially distance or even wear masks.
MSNBC: Both sides do it.
Audience: Do WHAT? Consort with hostile foreign powers to win elections? Do both sides do that? Do both sides actively work to suppress the other sides voters? Do both sides gerrymander states so perversely (in Wisconsin, for instance), that though Democrats won 53 percent of the vote, they got only 36 percent of the seats?
MSNBC: You’re just being political!
Audience: No, no, I’m not. I’m simply reporting facts – like you’re supposed to do! When Republicans violate the Constitution or the Rule Of Law, they’re doing it for political reasons, right?
MSNBC: Ummmmmm… yeah…
Audience: But, when Democrats respond to what Republicans are doing, that’s them reacting to violations of law – they’re pointing out a fact: Republicans are actively violating the law. They should do that regardless of political party. You understand, right – when Democrats do that—
MSNBC: They’re playing politics.
Audience: But- didn’t we just- does anyone at your network ever watch Rachel Maddow or Nicolle Wallace. Ali Velshi even – he’s good! And Lawrence! Chris Hayes used to be good – but he sucked down the Tara Reade koolaid like a champ. And don’t get us started on Chuck Todd!
MSNBC: Chuck is a respected—
Audience: Oh shut up. Every time Chuck opens MTP, Tim Russert begins spinning so fast in his grave that if they hooked him to the power grid, he could supply a small city with electricity.
MSNBC: It’s not up to us to voice our opinions. We just report facts.
Audience: Do you report all the facts?
MSNBC: All of them? Well– we try–
Audience: Does, say, Kris Jenner report everything learned during Joy Reid’s show? We’ve heard interviews Kris has done — immediately following Joy’s show — where Kris acts as if everything learned during Joy’s show never existed. That’s a neat trick. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the network kept track of the story it’s telling — and the characters — and how they evolve every day — and, you know, the way stories are supposed to work — the storyteller keeps updating the story with new information. That way, all your lesser on-air talent could benefit from (and tell the same story as) your topline talent. Imagine that — consistency!
MSNBC: If you hate us so much, go watch CNN.
Audience: We do when necessary. They’re no better. But we hold out hope for you. We see great hires like Nicolle and Joy and Rachel and Lawrence and we get hopeful. You have it in you to deliver great TV journalism. You do it almost every day already — we just want you to do it more. Look — why give credence to people whose announced intent is to dismantle everything? Who call YOU “fake news”? Are you “fake news”?
MSNBC: No – of course not—
Audience: Are you the “enemy of the people”?
MSNBC: Actually, we are “the people”. That’s all we are – people trying to do our jobs and get the truth out. But it’s hard because—
Audience: We know. We get it. Never mind the coronavirus pandemic – the Trump-Russia story is massively huge and virtually impossible for anyone to fully grasp because there are so many moving parts. It takes a team to connect all the dots. But, it’s incumbent on you to do the connecting.
MSNBC: We’re trying—
Audience: Try harder. Better yet – sit down and watch Nicolle Wallace. Watch Rachel Maddow. Watch Ali Velshi. If they can do it, so can everyone else on your air.
MSNBC: Hmmmmmm, ya suppose?
Audience: Well, not everyone, of course—
MSNBC: Chuck’s a non-starter—
Audience: Careful – did you not realize your mic was still on?
At the core of every story is its “WHY?” Why did this thing happen? The story itself may be a detailed recounting of all the “WHAT?” that happened, but without the “WHY?” the “WHAT?” and the “WHO?” and the “HOW?” lacks context. Nobody does anything for no reason or “just because”.
Donald Trump, for instance, doesn’t do things differently (despite what our news media thinks) “because he’s different”. He’s not “different”, he’s corrupt. Extremely corrupt. THAT’S what’s different about Donald Trump — that he’s so staggeringly corrupt. THAT’S the appropriate framing for any story about him. If you don’t start any story about Trump from a square one that includes all that core fact? You’re telling a story about some other Donald Trump.
We still have to ask “WHY?” Why is Donald Trump so corrupt? Why does Trump kowtow to Vladimir Putin? It’s not because he values “closer ties with Russia”. Even if it were true, we still have to ask WHY he wants those closer ties. “Just because I do” is not an answer.
Alas, it is to our news media.
There are great journalists doing great work out there. But their great work is undone daily by the laziness and lack of perspective of “Both Sides Do It” acolytes. These clueless toads with their simple-minded false narratives resist the basic storytelling concept of adding information. If we know more about Trump today than we did yesterday, our storytelling or reporting about Trump today should reflect what we know TODAY, not what we knew yesterday. That’s insane!
But that is literally what the bulk of our news media does. They keep returning to a kind of “Square One” where Trump is just “different” as he ramps up a presidential campaign filled with outrageous, demonstrable lies & open solicitations of assistance from any and all hostile foreign governments.
The press should be digging in their heels. They should be shouting back “Wait, whaaaat?” every time Trump spews lies at them. Kinda like this —
As CBS News WH correspondant Weijia Jiang did the other day — with her colleague CNN’s Kaitlin Collins backing her up, refusing to ask her question until Trump had answered Jiiang’s question first — “no” is the only appropriate response. When two journalists actually stood up to Trump’s bullshit & bullying? He ran. Literally turned tail and ran away.
It’s a simple fact: American journalism has, by and large, failed America. The press is the only job mentioned in the constitution. It’s obligated there to be the final check on power. Too bad they abdicated that responsibility eons ago.
I’d love to know at which J-School this virus first started. “Both sides do it” is the basis for every false equivalence that brought us to this catastrophe. It replaces healthy skepticism with outright cynicism — a very conservative thing to do. The only outcome is a bad outcome (it says) — so assume the worst of everyone regardless of the truth.
“Both sides do it” says that Bernie Madoff is a thief. And, so is Jean Valjean (the hero in Les Miserables). Madoff stole billions because he’s greedy. Valjean stole bread to feed the hungry. But — under “Both Sides Do It”, both men are thieves. So — both sides do it. The difference in scale and context means nothing. All information has equal weight — regardless of whether it’s true or false.
That’s the framing our press insists on. Fortunately, they’ve stopped giving air time to climate deniers (though they put Trump on their air, so I take that back). But, when they put climate deniers on their air regularly, they always sat the denier next to a climate scientist in a 50-50 shot. In the visual language, that means those two points of view are equal.
It’s true. We interpret visual images in very distinct ways. If you present two points of view in a way that says they’re equal regardless of whether they are or not, your framing has already undermined the truth.
Same token — if you present anything Donald Trump says without the context that he’s probably lying, then YOU are lying to your audience. You’re implying via your silence on the matter that, of course, he’s telling the truth. When he says things that (you know) are outright lies and you DON’T correct them immediately? They BECOME the truth. How can they not? No one contradicted their UNtruthfulness.
Each time a “Both Sides Do It” journalist gives the benefit of the doubt to someone or something undeserving (MSNBC’s Stephanie Rhule is especially guilty of this), they give credence to something that had none. “Yeah, but what if total bullshit were true…?” is not “journalism”. It’s indulging liars, fabulists and frauds.
“Both Sides Do It” journalists get suckered by job titles. It’s as if the moment Trump became POTUS, he became “infallible” to some of the press. NBC’s awful Kelly O’Donnell comes to mind. She’ll quote anything Trump says without an ounce of context. The president said it, Kelly insists. She’s just there to report what he says.
I’m curious… if Trump (for shits n giggles one day) said “And I know for a fact that Kelly O’Donnell kills puppies and eats them for breakfast every day”, would Kelly O repeat those words without comment — words that SHE KNOWS are not true? Would she suddenly decide then to be a little less “neutral”?
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what Kelly O would do. She’s that terrible at being a journalist (hell, an open mic on a stand could do what she does).
When Mitch McConnell refused to give Merrick Garland so much as a hearing — THAT was a political act. Any Democrat reacting to Mitch’s abuse of his power is NOT acting politically. They’re pointing to an inappropriate political act.
Similarly — when Donald Trump violates the Constitution (say, by openly violating its emoluments clause every single day), it’s not a political act to point out that fact. It’s somewhere between law enforcement and patriotism. Similarly — when the Democrats called out the Republicans for working with the Russians to steal election 2016, that was not a political response.
It was a CRIME VICTIM trying to report that a CRIME had been committed — against them, against the American People, against democracy itself. FFS — it’s like a robbery victim calling the police — only to have them come and arrest HIM for being the crime’s victim.
That’s the most frustrating part of “Both Sides Do It” journalism. It constantly mischaracterizes what Democrats do, say and think.
Trust me, American Journalism, while my opposition to Donald Trump has a massive political element to it, another big element is purely patriotic. Both sides do not conspire with hostile foreign governments to undermine the integrity of an American election.
Both sides do not then cover up every aspect of that conspiracy in every way they can — out in the open even.
Both sides do not aspire to permanent minority rule.
Both sides do not — like the Kochs — intend to use their money to direct American politics how THEY want it to go.
Both sides do not think there are more important things (the economy) than living.
Both sides do not aspire to open up America’s economy — however many deaths it causes — because they need to win an election.
When this is all done and dusted — and we’ve buried the Republican Party alongside the Whigs — we must then turn our attention to the press.
We need to bury “Both Sides Do It” in the same cemetery.
Every TV show now begins with two words: “Previously On”.
On the one hand, it’s a nod to any newbies who might be watching. These are the basic story threads you need to know about. But, on the other hand, the “Previously On” part of a show is where the storytellers get to remind the whole audience about certain important, key details from the story’s past that are about to become very important to the story’s future.
The point is, “Previously On” begins with a very clear concept: THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW.
This is what the story — and its characters — have revealed and revealed about themselves so far. This is our accumulated, aggregated knowledge. This is our STARTING POINT going forward.
Why, I’d like to know, can’t journalists — well, our most of our video journalists for sure — do this simple, storytelling thing? Why can’t they aggregate a story before reporting on it? Why can’t they start from what we know so far instead of what we knew back then (whenever “then” was)?
It’s like watching a TV show where the audience is always miles ahead of the storytellers because the audience has been keeping track of the story while the tellers keep going back to “fade in”.
If America’s journalists had been keeping track of Donald Trump — adding to what we know about him and then basing all new reporting off of that — Donald Trump would never have been president in the first place. That is, he would never have gotten close enough for his pal Vladimir to vote suppress & cheat “wins” out of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2016. That’s because even before Trump ran, we knew — meaning the information was available in the public domain if only one went looking for it (journalistically) — that Donald Trump was a criminal.
What motivated Fusion to sub-contract out to Christopher Steele, was the question. Steele had been The Guy running the MI6’s Russia Desk. He had the best sources inside Russia of anyone outside Russia. Steele’s rep was solid top to bottom. When the FBI went after FIFA’s Sep Blatter for corruption, they hired Chris Steele to do a lot of heavy lifting for them. He’s good.
But, WHY did Fusion feel the need to sub-contract anything out to Chris Steele? Simpson testified that, upon the hire, Fusion did what they always did — what any reputable research company would do: their due diligence. In Fusion’s case, it got its hands on every PUBLICLY AVAILABLE newspaper article, magazine piece, radio interview, TV appearance — anything and everything about Donald Trump. They researched online. They bought things from Amazon. They listened to Howard Stern. They went to old book stores and combed the shelves. They even went to the public library.
Simpson testified that what Fusion found there — in publicly available material — convinced them that Donald Trump was very possibly a criminal. A shitload of evidence pointed to Trump laundering Russian mob money through the buying and selling of condos in Trump properties and (especially) through his (now bankrupt) Atlantic City casinos. Regardless of whether Trump humiliated himself sexually with Russian hookers on video or humiliated himself by being overtly racist (on video) while Russian hookers pissed all over the bed in Moscow where the Obamas slept, Trump laundered Russian mob money. As much as Trump and those around him insist that “Trump’s a germaphone! He would never consort with hookers!” no one has yet asserted “And he would never launder money for Russian mobsters”.
Strange that, don’tcha think?
You’d think, in the story we’re all bingeing on because it’s our lives, that THAT kind of detail — that no one denies Trump’s a money launderer for the Russian mob — would make it onto the “Previously On” somewhere somehow. And yet, between CNN & MSNBC, no one seems to grasp how stories and storytelling works. They certainly don’t grasp that, in a sense, ALL stories begin with a collective sense of “Previously On”.
If our MSM had “Previously On-ed” this story from the beginning, here’s (a little of) what that “Previously On” would contain…
Mitch McConnell refused to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively trying to make Donald Trump POTUS. At the September “Gang Of 8 Meeting” in the White House, McConnell told Obama that if he made that fact public, McConnell would accuse Obama of politicizing the intelligence. In point of fact, Obama was trying to tell America the truth.
His political party openly broke every established norm that allowed for bi-partisan governance. Mitch McConnell denying Merrick Garland a hearing was a Constitutional crisis all by itself because one branch of govt was denying another its Constitutionally mandated role. We The People voted for Barack Obama. THAT was his authority to nominate judges.
When we get to the “How the HELL did this happen?” phase — after the bad actors are all safely in prison — we’ll need to turn our focus on the American news media and the myriad ways they failed us and their own Constitutionally mandated obligation to be our final check on power. American journalism failed us — repeatedly and tragically.
It all starts with an unsupported insistence that “both sides do it”.
When a Donald Trump violates the Constitution (and the oath he took to uphold and protect it), he’s doing it for a political reason: to undermine the Constitution’s integrity so as to hold onto power. Political. Nakedly so.
When a Democrat responds to Trump violating the Constitution by saying, “Hey, look — the President is doing something he shouldn’t be doing!” that is NOT a political response regardless of the “D” next to the Democrat’s name. It’s an act of patriotism. It’s an act of law abiding citizens demanding Just like an assault victim who cries out for help while being attacked does not “become” their attacker (“both sides do it”) just because they pointed out that they were BEING attacked. The attack victim, like the Democrat (who’s electoral win was stolen — and with it the Will of the American People) has been wronged. And while, in reporting the story, it’s incumbent on the press to be fair and even-handed, “fair and even-handed” does not mean giving credence to bullshit.
Both Sides Do It journalism assumes — without any evidence — that “both sides have an argument”. Both sides may have a point of view and both sides may try to explain why they did something but, if we’re talking criminal behavior, one of those two points of view is going to want to obscure the truth for obvious reasons. When the climate debate first started (before putting climate deniers on TV became verboten), news panels frequently put climate scientists up against climate deniers in a 50-50 presentation.
Understand — just like words and grammer make a language, so do images and video editing. Since the advent of motion pictures, audiences have learned a new language — the visual language. One of the things a modern audience intuits without being told — an argument presented 50-50 visually must be an argument where both sides have equal validity.
That’s what putting a climate denier in the same-sized frame as a scientist does — it visually validates them and their bullshit. Unintentionally — but clearly and (to a modern audience) distinctly. But that’s not a problem to Both Sides Do It journalism since all that matters is that climate deniers have a point of view. And it’s not their job to “judge”. It’s their job to “present the facts”.
Ah, but what if YOU can’t discern what the “facts” are? Or, worse, what if you suck at passing what little discernment you have on to your audience? What if your inability to tell what’s real from what’s bullshit has you reporting nonsense as truth? What if that nonsense has to do with coronavirus? What if your inability to discern truth from bullshit (because journalism school taught you both sides do it) gets people killed?
There’s a voice I can’t get out of my head. It’s become, to me, the signature sound for how terrible the press has handled this. It’s MSNBC’s Alex Witt. Alex is a decent person — I’ve not a doubt. But she’s a piss-poor “journalist”. That’s mostly because she exemplified “Both Sides Do it” journalism. “But aren’t they just playing politics” is a quintessential Alex Witt question — asked not out of intellectual curiosity but out of abject intellectual laziness.
What does that even mean? Does Alex assume that both sides do things for entirely cynical reasons? Does she honestly think that both sides see power the same way and treat people the same way? Is this the world this “professional journalist” has observed for a good, long (for Alex) professional career? Of course not.
To a degree, I don’t blame Alex. She didn’t invent “Both Sides Do It”, she just does it well.
The truth is both sides wouldn’t handle our response to the coronavirus the same way. One side wants to ignore stone cold reality and “get America back to work” regardless of how many people die “to save the economy”. The other side believes in science and doesn’t want one person to die who doesn’t have to. Whole other way of thinking.
There’s nothing radical in these observations. Over the past three years, one side has consistently behaved one way while the other side consistently behaved the exact opposite. Both sides don’t “do it”, in fact, both sides “do their own thing”. That’s what American journalism should have been reporting all along.
Both sides don’t have a Watergate in their past and both sides will not have a Trump-Russia, a Trump-Saudi Arabia, a Trump-North Korea, a Trump-corruption and a Trump-Treason in their present and future. Both sides don’t obstruct justice as easily as they breathe and both sides do not suppress the other sides voters.
Both sides don’t hand proprietary polling data to the Russians (via Oleg Deripaska) and both sides don’t have secret phone calls with Vladimir Putin where even the translator notes must be destroyed.
Both sides don’t botch the response to a human tragedy like coronavirus because they’re worried about “their numbers”.
Both sides don’t see tens of thousands — more likely hundreds of thousands — of dead Americans as “victory”.
Both sides don’t shrug off things Donald Trump says or tweets (like “Liberate Virginia”) because they’re just words.
Both Sides Do It journalism breaks the first rule of journalism right out the door — it starts with a totally flawed premise. Both sides may do “things”, but those “things” are not the same. Some of those “things” are anti-democratic to their core. They’re authoritarian and cruel and must be stopped right here, right now. Both sides do not do it.
Both Sides Do It fails not only as journalism, it fails as storytelling. It fails at being good for anything.
And both sides don’t do everything for political reasons either. Let’s put that out there straight away.
I’d love to know where exactly — at which Journalism School — “Both Sides Do It ” journalism was born. Surely something as pernicious, as stupid, as poorly thought out sprang from one confused human mind, manifesto-like. I’d hate to think that a notion that easily disprovable emerged from underneath more than one rock.
The first thing “Both Sides Do It” tosses overboard is perspective. It equates a small act of bad behavior with a humongous act of bad behavior. They’re both bad behavior, see — both sides do it. It’s like comparing Bernie Madoff — who ripped off billions because he’s a greedy shit — to Jean Valjean (the hero of Les Miserables) who steals bread to feed the hungry. Yes, both men are thieves. Both sides “do it”. And yet, they don’t.
Proportion. Scale. Perspective.
Both sides do what they do but they do not do the same thing. And what both sides do cannot be compared to each other except to note how different those two things are. How completely and utterly different.
When the House Democrats impeached Donald Trump last year, it was a political act (as opposed to a criminal justice act; the House has no “criminal justice” powers). But what motivated them TO act wasn’t political. It was patriotic. They were reacting to Donald Trump willfully and repeatedly violating his oath of office and the Constitution. It was their SWORN OBLIGATION to say something, do something. They took an oath to uphold the Constitution. They had no choice BUT to impeach Trump or be just as guilty of malfeasance.
Being obligated to action against anti-Constitutional behavior is not the same as the behavior itself. To think otherwise is to think a rape victim is as guilty of raping themselves as the rapist is because a rape was happening and since it was “both sides must have done it”.
Both sides did not conspire with Russia to steal Election 2016. Both sides did not — since then — do everything in their power to either undermine America’s place in the world or enable that undermining. Both sides have not shrugged off racism, sexism and bigotry.
Both sides do not behave strangely on the subject of Russian interference in our elections. Both sides don’t block vital legislation to protect the integrity of our elections.
Both sides don’t pull bullshit rules about SCOTUS judges & election years from the Treason Turtle backsides.
Both sides don’t put forward SCOTUS candidates that they dare not vet because they’re rapists.
Both sides don’t put forward ludicrous arguments every time you ask them a question.
Both sides didn’t behave as if the coronavirus pandemic was yet another “hoax” (all previous hoaxes NOT being hoaxes either). Both sides have not made it clear that they favor money over everything else.
Both sides do not continue to back and support a president who we all know is the most unfit man to ever steal an election with the help of his Russian friend.
Both sides didn’t screw up our government’s response to this pandemic for entirely political reasons. Both sides don’t get on TV every day — at coronavirus updates that are actually campaign rallies (covered for free by our moronic main stream new media) — and lie repeatedly about how we got into this mess, what they’ve done since to help fix it, and what medications we should take to get cured (regardless of efficacy cos Don-Don gets a piece of every pill purchased).
Both sides don’t say churches should be free to congregate in spite of social-distancing rules to infect themselves and their communities because ooga-booga.
Both sides don’t want America to get back to work a moment before it’s safe.
Both sides don’t want American Democracy to die.
Both sides don’t want permanent minority rule.
Both sides don’t openly admit that if every American voted, Republicans would never win another election.
Is it not painfully clear, CNN, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times & every news media outlet — both sides do not do “it”. They never did. YOU made that up.
Now get it out of your goddamned heads. Remember your Constitutionally-mandated responsibility to be our final check on power and stop letting Trump walk all over you, use you, abuse you and — by extension — do all that ugly shit to us.
We The People won’t tolerate it anymore. We’re the “other side” you’re ultimately accusing of “doing it”, ya see. And we know for a fact: WE DIDN’T.
I stopped drinking alcohol about two years ago. I didn’t have to but the mood stabilizer I’m on gives alcohol a terrible aftertaste. It was an unexpected side effect — and, frankly, I’m grateful for it.
When I say I didn’t “have to” stop drinking, what I mean is, I didn’t stop because I perceived I had an alcohol problem. I did — I just didn’t perceive it. Ironically, alcohol (and my denial that I had a problem with it) contributed significantly to the depression that drove me to within literal inches of killing myself. Alcohol’s pretty powerful that way. It gives bullshit crazy power over you.
Not drinking, I’m cut out of a big part of what we think of as a “social life’. I go out with my wife and friends to bars or parties — where nearly everyone but me drinks. Over the course of an evening, conversation goes from crisp and sparkling to… well, a little less crisp. A lot less sparkling. The irony (there’s loads of irony) — when you’re drinking, you’re convinced that the alcohol is making everything crisper and more sparkling.
That’s alcohol lying to you.
Over this past weekend — just before California and Washington State and lots of other places started calling states of emergency because of the coronavirus — alcohol turned a casual conversation about masks into an argument that nearly ended a friendship.
A friend was talking to their college-going son about masks. He was relating how he’d told his son to run to CVS to buy masks.
“Don’t bother,” I said. They’re sold out. Everyone’s sold out. CVS, Target, Amazon… “And anyway,” I said, “The masks in question won’t do anything to stop the virus”.
That wasn’t the point to my friend — who was halfway through his third glass of wine. The point was his kid had anxiety issues and wearing the mask would help them.
I started to tell him that — just for clarity’s sake — the mask was only useful if you had the virus and wanted to minimize the chances of infecting others. BUT — this was the crux of my point — there were more PRO-ACTIVE things even someone feeling anxious could do…
I never got there. My drunk friend had grabbed onto “MASKS” with both hands and was not going to let go. For the next ten minutes, we argued about masks and the relative value of thinking you’re protected when, in fact, you are not. I pointed out that not telling his son the stone cold truth about masks could reverberate negatively when his son learned the truth — and also learned that he’d been lied to about the masks’ efficacy. By his dad.
My friend got louder because louder means more right when you’re drunk. That’s alcohol lying to the drinker again.
Alcohol convinces you that the emotion you’re feeling right that second is the most intense, most valid feeling you’ve ever experienced. That’s why people who’ve been drinking argue like obsessives. They can see their one point and literally nothing else. The truth is, they can’t even “see” their one point. They can repeat the point endlessly — their form of “arguing”, but they can’t actually articulate it.
When I caught myself pitching deeper into the rabbit hole, I bailed. I told my friend three times that I was not going to continue arguing with someone who’d had too much to drink. Like a cliched person who had too much to drink, my friend got all insulted about my calling out their drinking. They insisted — slurring their words — that they were not, in fact, slurring their words.
It got heated and then it ended. My friend said he didn’t want to talk about it any more — and maybe he didn’t want to talk about anything with me ever again.
That stung. But I knew one thing — and, the next morning, when my friend called to apologize, I brought it up immediately. The first thing he said as we started talking was “I think I’ve had too much to drink…”.
“I agree with you,” I told my friend. “You had too much to drink”. As far as I was concerned, nothing else happened after that. Nothing that mattered — not to me anyway. My friend needed to look closely at their drinking. That was my takeaway.
By the end of the day, my friend had come around. They were still pissed at me (no one likes to be called out for drinking too much; I know this from experience) but they didn’t drink that evening. The next morning, we talked it through. I wasn’t calling my friend an “alcoholic”. I was simply telling him that when he drank too much, it altered his personality in troubling ways. What he did about that was his deal, not mine.
And then my friend and I “kissed and made up”. It seemed ludicrous to let an argument begun while one of the two arguers was drinking to undo a good, solid friendship. Irony? Within 36 hours, it was common knowledge that wearing a mask would protect you from nothing. My friend’s whole reason for now questioning our friendship was blown up by a news cycle.
In the same way that it’s madness to chase an alcoholic’s argument down a rabbit hole, it’s equally mad to chase a liar’s argument. It’s hard to throw facts at something that has no basis in reality. Watching our news media chase Donald Trump down HIS rabbit holes is especially depressing. They’re so obviously bullshit, concocted on the fly in order to deal with the crisis of the moment. That’s a crisis of Trump’s own making.
To argue with bullshit & bullshitters is to give bullshit & bullshitter credence. “Okay,” you’re saying, “What if bullshit “WERE” true?
Problem is, bullshit is NEVER true. It’s a nonsensical question but — because you asked it — you gave credence to something that did not earn it or deserve it. You engaged with bullshit on its terms — and nothing good can ever come of that.
The time has come (it passed eons ago actually) to stop accepting a liar’s words as true first. No, liars should be told to back up everything they say — or it’s bullshit. The press needs to stop respecting a POTUS who has no respect for them, the office of the president, the rule of law, the Constitution — any of it. They need to refuse to accept anything he says without his providing receipts.
No receipts? YOU DON’T REPEAT IT. Who cares if “the president said it’? The president is a LIAR.
Imagine that first time journalists refused to engage with Trump’s lies. What if instead of repeating it verbatim they shook their heads and said “No. Not going to report that. It’s bullshit”? What if the White House Press Corps demanded truth from the White House — and if they don’t get it? THEY DON’T REPORT WHAT POTUS SAYS.
Trust me, CNN & MSNBC, Donald Trump needs YOU waaaaaaaaaay more than you need him. You just need to trust that fact — it’s true.
It’s time for all of sane Washington to hold an intervention for Trump & the whole GOP. Drinking and lying aren’t that far apart as vices go.