Perspective For Dummies (News Media Edition)

Imagine living inside a bubble and thinking that was all there was — while everything else there was existed outside your damned bubble. Most of America’s news media continue to stumble and bumble their inept way through the greatest news story most of them still don’t see. Apparently Donald Trump’s criminal behavior is too, too out in the open for them. His treason is too plainly stated — as treason — for them to accept. His corruption is too de rigeur and anyway, “both sides do it”.

That’s the nature of the bubble, you see. Both sides do it. Right there, by starting from that assumption, every acolyte of both sides do it journalism begins their reporting from a false narrative that originates entirely from inside their bubble. When a Republican actively suppresses Democratic voters — and, for the record, the reverse NEVER HAPPENS — they’re acting politically. They’re preventing Democratic voters from voting because they fear the political outcome. See? Pure politics.

But, when the suppressed voter raises their hand to complain that their right to vote has been suppressed? They are NOT acting politically, THEY are reporting a crime: their rights as a citizen are being violated.

Our news media however, sees BOTH as “political”. Right off the bat, all perspective is skewed which means there is no perspective.

Gaining and maintaining perspective is hard. For starters, you have to understand people. You have to appreciate what makes them tick — and that something does make them tick; no one ever does anything for no reason or “just because”. They may not be able to articulate what motivates them — even if it’s boredom — but something is motivating them to act. That core why explains them and if you haven’t got to the core why, you haven’t explained them.

If you haven’t even bothered to mine that core “why”, you have no perspective whatsoever and never were going to have any. Why are you in journalism?

Assuming you have a functional, working knowledge of human psycho-pathology, you have to dig deeply — ignoring all evasions, dodges and “hummina-hummina-please-don’t-ask-me-that’s”. You have to begin constructing the context in which every human lives — so you can appreciate that their perspective is not your perspective. For instance — a Donald Trump does not think the way, say, a Kelly O’Donnell thinks. When NBC News’ well meaning but truly awful O’Donnell characterizes Trump’s actions, she sees them the way SHE would see them not the way Trump clearly sees them. She doesn’t ask why Trump seems to behave in a criminal manner, she assumes that since SHE wouldn’t do things for criminal reasons, neither would Trump — so, therefore, whatever he did has a perfectly valid reason — she just doesn’t know what it is.

That, right there, is how abnormal behavior gets normalized. It’s how perspective gets sacrificed live on TV. Rather than seeing all the dots, Kelly O limits the dots she can see. Only normal dots can penetrate her bubble — and that’s how she reports Trump: as if he was “normal”.

The other thing our news media seems incapable of doing is aggregating the Donald Trump story. I know. It’s really complicated. There are a kajillion moving parts — and they can be very hard to keep track of. Welcome to Perspective.

You have to not only be aware of as much of the story as possible, you have to REMEMBER it. Maybe if you wrote it down…

That’s the most frustrating part of watching our news media fumble this story. All they had to do was keep track of their own reporting. It’s like how all those journalists still — to this day — say the Mueller Report cleared Donald Trump. Well, it does, maybe IF YOU DON’T READ IT. But, turns out? If you crack a copy? IT SAYS THE OPPOSITE.

We now know that Team Mueller was working under tight constraints impressed upon them by the duplicitous, treasonous Rod Rosenstein. Even so, the Mueller Report describes significant criminal behavior — and, it says, it would have described more had the criminals not been working so hard to OBSTRUCT JUSTICE.

Here’s the bottom line: not a single American journalist should have a doubt that Donald Trump likely walked in the door to American politics a criminal. Not a hyperbolic criminal, A CRIMINAL. Back before the 2018 election, when the Republicans still owned everything (including the House of Representatives) — and the investigations into Trump had only just become public knowledge — Republicans wanted to quash the Steele Dossier or paint it more dubiously. On August 22, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Glenn Simpson whose research company — Fusion GPS — had been hired to do oppo research on Trump and who’d subcontracted part of that work out to Christopher Steele.

Now — for perspective’s sake — remember: Simpson is a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Initially, Fusion was hired by the conservative Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. They backed Jeb Bush and wanted all the dirt they could find on Trump. Simpson testified that, being good journalists, a big part of what they considered their due diligence was to get their hands on every single piece of publicly available material on Trump FIRST. What could ANYBODY know about Donald Trump if they just “asked“?

As Simpson testified, Fusion combed bricks-n-mortar book stores and searched Amazon. They sought out every magazine article they could find. They listened to audio tapes, watched hours of video. Without actually investigating (yet), Simpson testified, Fusion GPS stumbled upon ample (publicly available) evidence that Trump had, at the very least, laundered considerable sums of money through his Atlantic City casinos; their bankruptcies were not a bug of Trump’s ownership, the bankruptcies were the point — the better to launder gobs of Russian mob money. To get at the details, in June 2016, Fusion reached out to Orbis Business Intelligence, a London-based private intel firm run by Christopher Steele (who ran the Russia desk at MI6 headquarters in London between 2006 and 2009).

By April 2016, the Washington Free Beacon had stepped back — Jeb Bush was out of the race — and an attorney for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC separately hired Fusion to investigate Trump in April 2016.

The overwhelming majority of Steele’s work product (raw intel which requires a whole lot of perspective all by itself to appreciate properly) has proven true. It’s not hard to do that leg work either — to read what Steele wrote and then to find reporting that supports it. It’s called journalism. It works the other way too — if one wanted to disprove the report, one could read it then find evidence to support that conclusion.

But, if you assume that everyone’s always guilty of the worst possible behavior, you’ll cut the corner — because why bother looking up what you already “know”? You’ll reach your conclusion because, really, it’s where you started. The problem is: your conclusion is bullshit.

Bullshit and perspective cannot co-exist. In fact, perspective is bullshit’s kryptonite. The moment anyone — especially the news media — begins consuming bullshit (especially its own “both sides do it” brand of bullshit) all perspective vanishes. It’s like you suddenly live in a bubble. The only dots you can connect are the ones immediately in front of you while all the others? You can’t even see them.

On the bright side? Christmas is coming! Books are always great gifts. If you know a journalist — consider gifting them with a copy. Even if you just watch a journalist who needs perspective, consider sending a copy as a loyal fan. They might turn up their noses — at first.

But if they’re courageous enough to start reading?

They’ll thank you when they accept their Pulitzer.

Of Rabbit Holes And Rubbish

American news media (with its failed imagination and maniacal insistence that “both sides do it”) continues to play the part of Donald Trump’s BFF and his co-dependent bitch — even as he abuses the hell out of them. Again. When he says jump — they’re already doubling the height so they can impress him. When he barks at them to “roll over” — they’re already halfway through their roll.

Look, we all get how challenging it is to try and pin down a man with the moral consistency of warm jello. He filibusters every conversation. But, here’s where the collective group needs to put its collective head together and approach every news conference not as competitors but as American citizens charged with being the final check on governmental power.

They need to put aside the ludicrous notion that journalism can’t take sides. Political sides, no — they shouldn’t take them. But, if they’d stop drinking the “everyone’s acting politically” kool-aid, they might grasp that when Republicans suppress Democratic voters, the Republicans ARE acting politically while the suppressed Democratic voter is NOT. They’re just standing up for their rights — because a criminal act has deprived them of said rights. Both sides absolutely do not suppress the other sides voters. Only one side does that. For a reason.

Each time Donald Trump throws a blatant lie down on the table, our news media feels compelled to pick it up, smell it, taste it, listen to it — as if it “could” be true and therefore deserves their scrutiny. Instead of denying Trumpian bullshit the air it craves, our news media asks “But, what if bullshit ‘could be’ true?” Problem is, bullshit is never true. That’s why it’s bullshit.

The moment you give credence to bullshit, you make reporting the truth harder. Because bullshit “might could” be true.

Donald Trump doesn’t have a “strategy” (that’s another example of America’s news media giving Trump credence he does not deserve). He fully expects to bully his way through again. He expects all the corrupt markers he’s laid down to stand up for him. His whole approach to the SCOTUS (slightly different from Mitch’s) is to stay out of jail. Mitch’s approach centers on satisfying his RW Money overlords (the Koch organization, the Mercers). They need to put any possibility of a “socialized” America as far out of reach as possible (if they can’t destroy it outright).

Prior to the GOP’s power grab, a more socialized America was less a certainty than now. The words “socialist” and “socialism” don’t have nearly the traction that “authoritarian” and “fascist” do. The fact is, most Americans want socialist policies if you ask them about specifics. They want health CARE for themselves and their families. They want to know their children are covered. They want their children to stop entering the work force already overwhelmed by debt. They want the pandemic dealt with correctly instead of politically. They want institutional racism to stop. They want UBI to help them through troubled economic times. They want Russia out of our electoral system. They want corruption to stop. They want America to act responsibly and like a leader on climate change.

The irony is, the GOP’s soft coup d’etat power grab will get them the exact opposite of what they want. They will have exponentially sped up the process of America “socializing” via their blatant corruption. I’m not sure America will become a socialized wonderland filled with golden opportunity for all, but socialized medicine, a free (high quality) college education or technical training for all Americans and a woman’s permanent right to choose will all become realities far sooner than they might have — all thanks to the most sanctimonious and hypocritical bunch of pirates ever to stalk the planet: the Republican party.

This morning, Team Biden demonstrated the perfect way to deal with Trumpian rabbit holes. When Jake Tapper asked Joe Biden’s Wife Jill about Biden’s tendency to commit vocal gaffs, Jill Biden shut down the question: in the age of Trump — where his gaffes get virtually zero scrutiny from that same press — she refused to “go there”. Why would the press be worried about Joe Biden making vocal gaffes when the guy he’ll be debating regularly says things that would any other POTUS sacked on the spot.

What did Jill Biden say that so quickly shut down all this intense politicking? She said “NO”. No, I’m not going to answer if I think bullshit “could be” true because bullshit is never true. There’s no “But, what if…?”

If Trump has a “strategy”, it’s to get silly journalists to chase him down as many rabbit holes as possible on the way to creating as much chaos as possible. But the bulk of that chaos is nothing more than Trumpian voices deliberately creating chaos. If the news media stopped repeating that chaos — the whole point of bullshit is to get someone to spread it — then the chaos would remain isolated in the minds of Trumpanistas — where it already resides, having always resided there.

Who cares about them — we certainly shouldn’t. And, sorry Bob Woodward, we need to stop chasing them to see why they, racist-as-racist-can-be, are so angry. Eff em — and their anger. Their anger is just another rabbit hole — except this one’s festooned with swastikas.