Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tweety Bird Trump

I Tawt I Taw a Media Puddy Cat... I Did, I Did!

The top-trending story of the last 24-hour news cycle has been Donald Trump's outrageously silly Tweet about flag-burning. Forget the water protectors of North Dakota waging the most important civil rights battle of this century. Forget the raging deadly wildfire in Tennessee, caused at least in part by man-made climate change. Forget even perhaps the scariest presidential cabinet of sadistic plutocrats in American history.

Forget everything you've heard about the mass media's group resolution to finally hold the president-elect's feet to the fire, in the wake of their gifting his successful campaign with an estimated $5 billion worth of free advertising. Forget the lessons-learned chagrin that the more prominent media stars expressed only last week, after an elite group of them agreed to an off-the-record meeting in Trump Tower. Their desired access to power predictably turned into yet another classic Trump ambush.

It's magic. Whenever Donald Trump's thumbs move across his electronic device and his 140 characters swirl down into the maelstrom of the psycho-sphere, the media drops everything. They Tweet and they re-Tweet, and they stop the presses, and they rapidly converge their usual panels of experts to express their outrage and shock and confusion.

Here's what had all the pundit panties in a twist on Tuesday:

I lost count how many times CNN anchors asked, hour after hour after hour, whether Trump has read the Constitution and whether he might, in fact, end up ordering flag-burners imprisoned or disenfranchised without due process. And well they probably should, because presidents already have the power to drone people to death, anywhere on earth, without charge or trial. The press has mostly failed to Tweet or otherwise report on the terrifying news that Barack Obama has just awesomely enhanced Trump's ability to kill people anywhere on earth by simply giving a thumbs-up to his private army of assassins.

As Trevor Timm writes in The Guardian,
 In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there’s been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election – the White House is actively expanding them.
Despite the horror of bequeathing unprecedented unitary war and extermination powers to a new chief executive considered by Obama himself to be mentally unstable, the fraught dilemma of how to cover Trumpian tweets was the sole topic of a Tuesday conference attended by media stars, pundits, and other practitioners of Pseudo-Journalism in the Age of Trump. Forget their post-Trumpian resolutions about going into the Heartland and interviewing just regular folks as an antidote to their cluelessness.

When in doubt, they still take the easy way out: they interview each other.

The New York Times describes important media personalities talking amongst themselves:
In interviews on Tuesday, political editors and reporters said that, for now, they planned to apply the same news judgment they would apply to any statement by a powerful leader, even as some acknowledged that social media allows Mr. Trump to reduce complicated subjects to snappy, and sometimes misleading, slogans and sound bites.
“Reporting complex policy issues out of tweets, I would say that’s not ideal,” said Carrie Budoff Brown, the newly installed editor of Politico, adding: “We have to treat it as one piece of a bigger reporting puzzle that we have to put together.”
But fundamentally, she said, the thoughts of a president-elect are inherently newsworthy — as long as journalists also provide readers with the right context, like whether a proposal is feasible or legal, or correct a baseless claim.
“This is the way he’s communicating with millions upon millions of people, and as journalists we can’t ignore that,” Ms. Brown said.
It's already taken them the better part of a day to explain to millions and millions of people that they can still burn their flags with impunity, despite a failed 2005 bill co-sponsored by Hillary Clinton that would have made it properly illegal. 

Even though some journalists have become at least semi-aware that Trump's Tweets are orchestrated distractions to keep them from covering his real scandals, they just can't help Tweeting out and printing all the Twitter news coming out of Trump World. 

They are a clowder of gullible Sylvester Cats to Trump's malevolent Tweety.

Donald Trump is so unabashedly cartoonish, you might almost think he deliberately modeled his political persona on the original bullying psychopathic Tweety himself. From Wikipedia:
 In his early appearances in Bob Clampett cartoons, Tweety is a very aggressive character who tries anything to foil his foe, even kicking his enemy when he is down. One of his most notable malicious moments is in the cartoon Birdy and the Beast. A cat chases Tweety by flying until he remembers that cats cannot fly, causing him to fall. Tweety says sympathetically, "Awww, the poor kitty cat! He faw down and go (in a loud, tough, masculine voice) BOOM!!" and then grins mischievously. A similar use of that voice is in A Tale Of Two Kitties when Tweety, wearing an air raid warden's helmet, suddenly yells, "Turn out those lights!" Tweety's aggressive nature was toned down when Friz Freleng started directing the series, with the character turning into a more cutesy bird, usually going about his business, and doing little to thwart Sylvester's ill-conceived plots, allowing them to simply collapse on their own; he became even less aggressive when Granny was introduced, but occasionally Tweety still showed a malicious side.
 Since America hates its revered presidents to be cartoonishly mean and nasty, the media and establishment "Never Trump" politicians are scrambling to make Donald appear normal. Mimicking Tweety's media transformation, Trump has quickly evolved from ugly raving raptor into irascible canary of a president with fluffy feathery hair.

Like his cartoon alter-ego, Trump manages to fool the predatory media cats almost every single time. In the Looney Tunes power hierarchy, Tweety-Donald must always be the winner, and Sylvester-Media is always portrayed as the loser. (see: "Failing New York Times"; "CNN the Network of Liars"; "Deceitful Dishonest Media" epithets at his Trump Tower pundit ambush.) 

Even when journalists think they finally have Trump in their claws or jaws (#PussyGate, evaded taxes, fraud, graft) they end up spitting him right back out. He is not only still alive, he is unscathed.

"Hyde and Go Tweet" is the preferred Trump narrative. Just like in the animated story that has Sylvester making himself a Tweety sandwich out of the bird he thinks he's tamed, Trump keeps reverting back to form. As soon as the media treat Trump as redeemable, he strikes back. Again and again.

They created the monster. They claim they're going to eat him for lunch, but then they continue feeding him a diet full of steroids.

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Trump and the media are actually two sides of the same entity. Whether the chatter and the spectacle are soothing or violent matters not. What matters is that the public stays tuned in. Lies and deceit become normalized as the various starring actors do battle with each other. Competition is preferable to competence. Ignorance becomes power. Immediate profits are the basis of all economic and social decisions. The freer the enterprise, the more enslaved becomes the population. Ethics are so yesterday.

 Duh... that's all, folks.


Nasreen Iqbal said...

Trump is playing them all (us all?) like a fiddle. The night before he proposes Medicare be scrapped, he'll challenge Rosie O'Donnell to a fist fight on twitter. But just like how he beat the Bush and Clinton dynasties by letting them fall under their own weight, he's letting the media's actual weaknesses take them down.

And he's hardly even gotten started yet.

Zee said...

Just out of curiosity, why do any of you--if, indeed you do-- use "social media?"

I have a Facebook account that I never touch, and have it only as an obligation to a neighborhood association in which I participate.

"Tweets"--something else that I don't do--strike me as little more than highly-public brain farts.

Why pay attention to any of this narcissistic crap?

Willy Warfrat said...

Good one Karen.
I'm still waiting for a World Wrestling analogy ...(next?) .

Meredith NYC said...

Terrific Karen.... nightmarish cartoons from Salvatore Dali.
Where did you find that picture?

We’re hearing so much about fake news, but the news or noise that keeps coming out of the Trumpf machine is sadly real--sort of. Well, that's a complicated subject.

Anyway—about truly, real, authentic fake news, here’s a fascinating NPR article---they used a tech detective to take time to track down a guy who makes money with his fake news web site, and he’s hired 25 people so far. They just make stuff up, and sell ad space and make money. His interview and rationalizations are fascinating.

“We Tracked Down A Fake-News Creator In The Suburbs. Here's What We Learned”, Nov 23, Laura Sydell
Heard on All Things Considered


Robert Reich: “Trump's 7 Techniques to Control the Media
Make no mistake, there is a real campaign to control the media going on here.”

voice-in-wilderness said...

I agree with Zee about Twitter and love the characterization as "brain farts"! The format is designed to be cryptic and is very difficult to read when seen in bulk.

During the 1-1/2 year presidential campaign I came to realize how much some journalists pay attention to Twitter. Given the pressures and deadlines they face, coupled with the low information content of tweets, it seems like their time could be better spent. But then I realize the attraction -- it can be done from their smartphone or laptop and requires little or no research as they do their part to fill up 7x24 news holes.

annenigma said...

The U.S. Government - Your Official Source For Lies

It turns out we have at least one official news channel sponsored by the Government, although it's not an dedicated channel. It's a digital channel called Twitter. They made the news yesterday.

Full disclosure, I do read some people's tweets, but I don't belong or subscribe to Twitter. Glenn Greenwald is the main one I stick to. I actually leave Glenn's twitter page open all day in a separate tab on my browser window so I can know when he puts out a new tweet (there are 9 waiting while I write this). I also check in on Ed Snowden, Wikileaks, and Donald Trump fairly regularly.

So here are the official tweets released yesterday by Obama's Office of Government Ethics (OGE) where they deliberately created and tweeted out FAKE NEWS by claiming Trump agreed to divest, and deliberately repeated the word divestiture. Some of them sound juvenile, like in that other fake news story recently, but OGE has denied being hacked. It reminds me of the pranking by the outgoing Clinton staff when they removed all the W's from computer keyboards.


U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump this divestiture does what handing over control could never have done.
53 replies 518 retweets 1,076 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump this aligns with OGE opinion that POTUS should act as if 18 USC 208 applies.
18 replies 552 retweets 1,064 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump Bravo! Only way to resolve these conflicts of interest is to divest . Good call!
100 replies 664 retweets 1,228 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump OGE is delighted that you've decided to divest your businesses. Right decision!

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump - we told your counsel we'd sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.
391 replies 895 retweets 1,616 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonalTrump As we discussed with your counsel, divestiture is the way to resolve these conflicts.
52 replies 774 retweets 1,263 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump OGE applauds the "total" divestiture decision. Bravo!
64 replies 471 retweets 938 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump Brilliant! Divestiture is good for you, very good for America!
61 replies 525 retweets 966 likes

U.S. OGE ‏@OfficeGovEthics 20h20 hours ago

.@realDonaldTrump We can't repeat enough how good this total divestiture will be


If you read Donald Trump's tweet, he never said anything about divesting.

It's not only fake news, but possibly a violation of confidentiality by revealing conversation with legal counsel. What a bunch of twits, eh?

But remember, it's not fake news or a lie if/when the Government says it!

annenigma said...

The NYT soft-peddled it with this article on the front page:

'Ethics Office Praises Donald Trump for a Move He Hasn’t Committed To'

My headline would be: 'Ethics Office Uses Twitter Lies to Pressure Trump'

Zee said...


Thanks for the series of silly "tweets" from the Office of (so-called) "Government Ethics."

Does the right hand of government have any inkling as to what the left hand is doing?

I think not.

Zee said...

As this thread seems to have run its course, I thought this article might prove to be of some interest:

Some time ago "Kat" interested me in the thoughts and writings of Andrew Bacevich, and here are some of them--not that I have read all of his thoughts--although I am trying to:

And lest you think that it is about nothing but warfare, conquest and butchery, here is an interesting quote from none other than U.S. Grant "hisself:"

“There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword.”

annenigma said...

Talk about leaving out half the story. This 'news' from the MSM also provides a good example of the value of Twitter.

New York Times:

In Affront to China, Trump Speaks With Taiwan Leader


President-elect Donald J. Trump spoke by telephone with Taiwan’s president on Friday, a striking break with diplomatic practice that could create a rift with China.
He is believed to be the first president or president-elect who has spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979

Washington Post:

Trump speaks with Taiwan’s president in major break with U.S. policy on China

The call is the first known contact between a U.S. president or president-elect with a Taiwanese leader since the United States broke diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. China considers Taiwan a province, and news of the official outreach by Donald Trump is likely to infuriate the regional military and economic power.

Trump on Twitter:

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago

The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!
9,468 replies 15,870 retweets 66,625 likes

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 7h7 hours ago

Interesting how the U.S. SELLS TAIWAN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT but I should not accept a congratulatory call.
12,278 replies 20,180 retweets 59,281 likes

Trump's got a point. Selling Taiwan military equipment doesn't infuriate China, but accepting a congratulatory phone call will? Why isn't the MSM exploring that contradiction/diplomatic hypocrisy?

More 'trumped up' fake news from the MSM.

annenigma said...

If I was on Twitter, this is the type of news I would widely disperse in less than 140 characters:

'Fake news' legislation, introduced 2 days before WaPo's fake news, quietly passed by House -

A Propornot blacklisted website, ActivistPost, has some discussion about this conveniently timed legislation and other related issues at: