Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Trump of Doom

If the polls are correct, Hillary Clinton has this election in the bag. And so, as the quadrennial travesty draws to a close, the media are now entering their own final phase of hand-wringing and pearl-clutching. They've converged into an elitist mob intent upon stomping Trump's political corpse into an unrecognizable blob so that they can all move on and forget they ever had a hand in creating the monster in the first place.

To cover their sensitive asses, they're supplementing their contrived agony with an exercise in soul-searching. Their self-defined insular dilemma is this: how do they treat Donald Trump on the day after he loses and on all the post-loser days and months to come? Do they continue covering him, or do they just ignore him?

Frank Bruni of the New York Times has nobly volunteered his own therapeutic services to his peers. As a pundit who has made Trump the centerpiece of his jeering, shocked and outraged biweekly columns for well over a year now, he now strokes his chin and ponders how on God's lush green earth he and his colleagues can rid themselves of their Trump addiction in a proper and seemly manner:
We need rules for quitting him, guidelines for the circumstances in which coverage of him is legitimate and those in which it isn’t. That distinction is all the more crucial because he seems poised to undermine important institutions and the democratic process itself. We can lend that effort more credibility or less by paying rapt attention to it or not.
 He’s already teeing up a stunt: his possible rejection of the election returns. How much should we indulge this tantrum, and for how long? If Trump actually marshals the necessary strategy and resources for legal challenges in states where the results allow them — if he hires lawyers and files paperwork — that’s an indisputably newsworthy development. If he simply rages? That’s not.
But like many an addict before him, Bruni ditches rehab in favor of scapegoating his co-dependent enablers: the rapt audience. Were it not for the hordes of shallow, celebrity-obsessed consumers of journalistic content, pundits like Bruni never would have been tempted to indulge themselves with the Trump drug.
 The greatest power resides with the audience — which bears much of the culpability, too. Never before have news organizations been able to judge so quickly and accurately what our consumers respond to. If those consumers hadn’t demonstrated such intense interest in Trump, we probably wouldn’t have, either. And if they turn from Trump, they can be sure that most of us will, too, without much equivocation or delay.
You really have to hand it to Bruni. First, he foists upon the electorate the magical ability to have learned about Trump by pure osmosis, without the aid of mass media. And at the same time he demotes them from citizens to consumers. Maybe, without their knowledge, they learned about Trump from searching for bargains in Walmart. Who knew that millions of people had so much power? And the mouth-breathers then had the nerve to hook the hapless mass media with their disgusting addicting drugs. Shame on them! They should have flushed Bruni's stash down the toilet at the same time they flushed their own.

But Bruni vows to show "courage and restraint" in his Trump coverage in the future. The goal of post-Trump punditry is to improve upon style, not substance. He concludes it's all about "the tone."

My published response:
It's not whether the media can overcome the Trump habit, it's whether they're willing to explore and help wipe out the root causes of Trumpism.

Don't just quit cold turkey. Because where he came from, there's plenty more cheap demagogic crack just waiting to be smoked. He may disappear, but the rage and precarity he feeds upon will not.

If Hillary is elected as expected, and especially if Democrats win back the Senate and many House seats, the extreme centrists of the media-political complex must also resist the temptation to sniff any more of that lethal GOP glue in the name of "bipartisanship."

On your road back to health, stop treating Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan with such ridiculous respect. His ability to string together sentences into complete paragraphs shouldn't be confused with governing in the public interest. So quit smoking his high-grade hashish, too.

 Now that you're getting sober, demand single payer health care. Who knows? Starting from such a "radical" position might end up getting us the public option as a compromise, rather than as a weak negotiating starting point designed to fail from the get-go.

Other antidotes to Trumpism: a guaranteed living wage and jobs for the millions who are justifiably outraged by the "free trade" deals and outsourcing and privatization scams that have destroyed lives and livelihoods. Scrap the cap on FICA taxes, and make Social Security solvent into perpetuity.

And overturn Citizens United.

Help America breathe again.
Thanks to the WikiLeaks theft/dump of Clinton campaign director John Podesta's emails, we've learned that the Democratic Party, with the aid of the vulnerable media, deliberately set Trump up as a "Pied Piper candidate" to destroy more threatening and substantive run-of-the-mill GOP sadists like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The objective was to pit the unpopular Hillary Clinton against an opponent so scary that even the Republican establishment would disown him and flee to her own outstretched arms. There was a method to the madness of holding interminable staged "debates" in sporting arenas, with Trump the last showman standing.

From a DNC strategy document dated April 7, 2015:  
The variety of candidates is a positive here, and many of the lesser known can serve as a cudgel to move the more established candidates further to the right. In this scenario, we don’t want to marginalize the candidates, but make them more ‘Pied Piper’ candidates who actually represent the mainstream Republican Party. Pied Piper candidates include, but aren’t limited to:
Ted Cruz
Donald Trump
Ben Carson
We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to [take] them seriously.
The press was more than happy to comply. They gave Trump more than a billion dollars' worth of free air time and newspaper website space, and in his turn Trump brought them about an equal amount of rewards in terms of viewership, readership and ad revenue. He brought them the drug of clicks and eyeballs.

The only trouble is, the Trump profiteers will now have to pay the Piper. The candidate fulfilled his part of the bargain by ridding the field of the more dangerous rats. But in the process, he has captured the imagination of  multitudes of the aggrieved in numbers that the Establishment never saw coming.

 The Pied Piper legend itself is based on an actual event that transpired in medieval Germany, possibly during an outbreak of the Plague. The town fathers of Hamelin refused to pay him for his services, and he obliged by "throwing a tantrum" and leading all the children to an undisclosed location, far away from elite establishment control.

Trump even made an early appearance in Victorian poet Robert Browning's version of the tale:
“Come in!”--the Mayor cried, looking bigger: 
And in did come the strangest figure! 
His queer long coat from heel to head 
Was half of yellow and half of red 
And he himself was tall and thin, 
With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin, 
And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin, 
No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin, 
But lips where smiles went out and in--
There was no guessing his kith and kin!
And nobody could enough admire 
The tall man and his quaint attire. 
Quoth one:  “It’s as if my great-grandsire, 
Starting up at the Trump of Doom’s tone, 
Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!”

There goes that irritating "tone" again. It's been the bane of the elites since time immemorial.


Speaking of the WikiLeaks, I was 'umbly proud to discover that an unflattering 2014 article I wrote about Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan is buried deep within the purloined Podesta email cache. Apparently, Hillary's campaign manager is a subscriber to Truthout, which had reprinted my piece. Whether Podesta actually read it, or whether Vladimir Putin actually read it before he allegedly stole it for Julian Assange and Donald Trump, is still as much a mystery as the whereabouts of the Pied Piper's abductees.


voice-in-wilderness said...

The 7x24 media, especially on TV, have spent the last year and a half addicted to the campaign, ignoring much of the rest of the world. Trump knows how to play them like a fine musical instrument and the owners of the instrument don't mind, as it is controversy and entertainment that they are really marketing, not news and analysis. What are the odds that they will suddenly change? Somewhere between slim and none.

The proposed merger of AT&T with Time-Warner shows us that it will get worse, with news decisions in fewer and fewer minds, minds that are far, far removed from journalism as a profession.

annenigma said...

There's still a possibility that the corporate media and Uniparty elite who've been relentlessly and gleefully beating up (behind the gym or otherwise) on Trump could have the unintended effect of shaming many voters into hiding their true voting preference. We could end up with a yuge November surprise if they vote for him when they get the privacy of the ballot booth.

In NH in 2008, voters told pollsters they intended to vote for Obama, possibly to avoid looking like racists in that lily white state, but ended up voting for Hillary and she won that state's primary. It's happened before too. It's known as the Bradley effect, named after L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley who led in the polls for governor but lost. In those cases it was related to race but the motivation is the same - to avoid negative impressions.

From Wikipedia: "The Bradley effect posits that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias.[7][8] Specifically, some white voters give inaccurate polling responses for fear that, by stating their true preference, they will open themselves to criticism of racial motivation. Members of the public may feel under pressure to provide an answer that is deemed to be more publicly acceptable, or 'politically correct'."

Recall the pundits laughed at Rep. Keith Ellison when he made a serious prediction on Meet The Press that Trump could win the Republican nomination. George Stephanopoulos even said to Ellison in between gales of laughter from everyone at the table, "I know you don't mean that".

stranger in a strange land said...

The media's role - whether vulnerable, complicit, or colluding - is perfectly captured CBS chief Les Moonves's remarks about Trump - viewers/citizens/consumers should expect exactly that from any corporate network. George Stephanopoulos et al simply embarrassed themselves as being out of the loop - the fix was in. Now about those pesky aggrieved voters, the ones The Establishment never saw coming... Karl 'Ham' Rove has announced that Trump has no chance of winning. Too close for comfort, indeed.

when Trump wins said...

Trump will win the election baring any unforeseen events. The basket of deplorables who will elect Trump as POTUS #45 never heard of Frank Bruni, and don’t give a shit about his self-inflicted guilt. The media will love a Trump presidency for the same reasons they loved a Trump candidacy: A new ca$h cow for them.

And on election night, when Trump wins by a 70% landslide, Hillary Clinton will start pointing fingers, blaming those who caused her demise. When Hillary gets around to blaming the deplorables, scolding them for her loss, the pushback by millions of deplorables at once will cause Hillary to suddenly start jerking her head around like a broken bobble-head doll. Hillary will scream, "you cursed deplorables, look what you’ve done, I’m melting, I’m melting, what a world, what a world, who would have thought deplorables like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness" as she disappears screaming into a cloud of steam.

video of the wicked witch melting away

The deplorables will be awestruck at first, but once they realize the Wicked Witch of Western Civilization is gone, they begin singing a song, "ding dong the wicked witch is dead!!!"

Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead

Pearl said...

'Sanders is Prepared to Be a Liberal Thorn in Clinton's side', from Washington Post

Jay–Ottawa said...

The Washington Post is owned by people who WANT you to think everything's going to be OK with Hillary in the White House, or at least a little better than the thought of DT holding forth from the rose garden.

As for Sanders he made himself into a zero, or even less than zero, maybe because the PTB has something on him. How explain it credibly? Instead of throwing the match as he did in the first round and settling down as a thorn in Clinton's side, Bernie should have demolished her. Yeah, he coulda been a big contenda.

How in hell is a neutered pussycat liberal going to stop, or even slow down, Hillary the hawk once she has power, Hillary the most loyal friend of Wall Street's biggest crooks?

Pearl said...

Jay: Time will tell.

Meredith NYC said...

The Trump effect saves Clinton --doing a great job at deflecting realistic criticism of Dems, and right now of Obamacare. Bill H called it a crazy system. Premiums are rising a lot. But Trumpf has called ACA a total disaster. So the Dems can rush to defend this 3rd rate system, that would be an insult in any other democracy.

Obama/ Hillary fans and media who want to look centrist defend ACA since it prevents denial based on pre existing conditions. This is like saying Dems are better than Trumpf. It ignores the millions left out, premiums unaffordable, and our taxes prop up profits.

In the debate Hillary said-- “if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system,” she said. “But we have an employer-based system. That’s where the vast majority of people get their health care.”

Ok, we’ll just put up with it? Thus the US is stuck since we can’t start all over--- and can’t even try to reach 20th Century norms of other countries? That’s the message.

Trumpf as he perfect smokescreen to hide how Dems aren’t representing we the people. The Gop rw crazies have long served that function, esp in Krugman columns. Now Trumpf personifies such extreme ugliness, the Dems and their defenders are wearing halos.

Krug, HIll and Bill etc are the great humanitarians--even as they're so careful to never step beyond the policy boundaries that the big money sets up. They praise ACA since so many FEWER die or are disabled now.

And great line that Frank Bruni makes Trump "the centerpiece of his jeering, shocked and outraged columns. " He has no idea how much of a hypocrite he appears.

I commented:
Bruni scolds again, but he's definitely written more Trumpf columns than any Times writer.
He's been doing what he accuses the media of--- " groveling for eyeballs and clicks”. Couldn’t have said it better.

If Bruni cares pretends to suddenly care about the media promoting constructive discussion, let him start it some issue talk. Pick one of a myriad of topics---and leave Frankentrumpf out of it.
Best to maybe start with campaign finance, the underlying cause of politician dependency.

Unlimited money from elites is what legally enables our reality TV campaigns to debase “ this blessed, beleaguered democracy”. as Bruni terms it in his stylish prose. I can hear the violins playing.

The democracy that people fought and died for over centuries.
Follow up on that one, Frank.

when Trump wins said...

Bernie Sanders: Somebody That I Used To Know