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Twilight of the Corporate Media Elite: We are All Going to Die, But It will be Fun.

Media Sets the Bar so Low that El Presidente Naranja Will Have to Limbo Dance on His Way Out. Chris Hayes Sucks.

Media Fawn Over Trump’s Success at Saying Words in Semi-Coherent Fashion

What came to be known as the “expectations game” during the George W. Bush years was wielded with notorious cynicism. The assumption behind this game in those days was that Bush was a bumbling doofus who could hardly string together a coherent sentence, so if he got to the level of a high school debate, media chalked it up as a “win.”

The game, successfully rebooted by Donald Trump over the past 18 months, was in full play during Trump’s speech to Congress last night: So long as Trump wasn’t his petulant, incoherent, race-baiting self, it would be considered a victory for the 45th president.

CNN liberal Van Jones (2/28/17) couldn’t help gushing over Trump’s ability to utter words on live TV:

That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics, period. And he did something extraordinary. And for people who have been hoping that he would become unifying, hoping that he might find some way to become presidential, they should be happy with that moment. For people who have been hoping that maybe he would remain a divisive cartoon, which he often finds a way to do, they should begin to become a little bit worried tonight, because that thing you just saw him do, if he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.

Now, there was a lot that he said in that speech that was counterfactual, that was not right, that I oppose and will oppose. But he did something tonight that you cannot take away from him. He became president of the United States.

President Trump was, of course, already the president—a fact that has left millions of Muslims, Latino immigrants, women and LGBTQs at risk or under siege.

CNN’s homepage an hour after the speech was uniformly positive:

Extreme centrist Washington Post writer Chris Cillizza‏ lavished praise on Trump on both social and traditional media. He insisted on Twitter, “This was the best speech Trump has given since he became a candidate in June 2015.” He followed with two glowing articles, “What That Moment With the Wife of a Slain Navy SEAL Proves About Donald Trump” (2/28/17) and “Winners and Losers From President Trump’s Big Speech to Congress” (2/28/17) which he posted to Twitter with what seemed like a ready-made gif of Trump “dropping the mic”—a pop culture cliche for giving a successful speech.

“This speech is clearest example Trump is beginning to own and understand the powers of the office,” said Time White House correspondent Zeke Miller. His colleague, Time Washington bureau chief Michael Scherer, breathlessly added, “This speech is the best sign yet that Donald Trump can learn how to use the power of his office.”

“That was a Reaganesque moment for Trump,” congressional bureau chief for Politico John Bresnahan said in reference to Trump praising the widow of the Navy SEAL whom Trump’s botched raid helped send to an early grave—along with nine children under the age of 13, including a US citizen. “‘Etched into eternity.’ What a moment,” Bresnahan’s colleague Tim Alberta salviated, quoting Trump’s self-serving praise of the fallen sailor.

“This is the best morning of Donald Trump’s presidency,” Washington Post White House bureau chief Philip Rucker added. “He is basking in positive pundit reviews. All that tumult feels like yesteryear.”

Tone was elevated above all. The BBC (3/1/17), US News (3/1/17), NPR (2/28/17) and MSN (3/1/17) all used the cliche “Kinder, Gentler Trump” to describe the speech. NBC’s Chuck Todd tweeted out, “He’s hitting the same issues and themes he talks about at rallies, but this is the first time he’s used a different tone to sell his agenda.”

The New York Times (2/28/17) even gave Trump a pat on the head for “following the written text on the teleprompters more closely than any major speech of his presidency.”

The praise from the media for his speech was so overwhelming, Trump is reportedly delaying the roll out of his new “travel ban” (his new attempt to legalize a Muslim ban) so he can soak in all the goodwill.

The consistent theme in all praise of Trump, it’s worth highlighting, is that it was entirely superficial. Vague notions of “optimism,” “kinder” tones and, above all, the DC fetish for being “presidential” won the day. On substance—as many of the less credulous critics have pointed out—the Trump presidency remains unchanged.

Media Fawn Over Trump’s Success at Saying Words in Semi-Coherent Fashion

Call It A Hunch, But The Political Media May Live In A Bubble
Sometimes, the real world has a startlingly different view of things.

There is a term that charlatans frequently use when making political analysis: “optics.” Typically, you’ll hear this word deployed whenever a political figure’s actions demand that some pundit answer a variation on the old hoary question, “But how did it play in Peoria?” Of course, most of the people who rise to answer this inquiry couldn’t possibly know, so they string together a set of facile assumptions and guess-timations and pawn it off as the truth.

This is “optics” ― the world as viewed through ersatz eyeballs. Whenever you hear the word on cable news, change the channel, lest you grind your teeth to powder.

The media often wrestles with notions of authenticity, badly. I surely won’t be the first to note that most of the time, what the political press perceives as authentic in a politician is merely well-crafted artifice. A convincing enough simulacrum of authenticity often wins the day. In fact, the media fairly often recoils at the sight of real authenticity, whenever it reveals itself. And so, more often than not, your political analysis is simply drawn from the lights reflected on the walls of Plato’s cave.

This is how it comes to pass that a massive financial crisis is seen on your Sunday morning political shows as a problem exclusively faced by affluent politicians ― will they surmount this challenge and retain their seats, or will they lose and be forced to take high-paying K Street-slash-Wall Street jobs? ― instead of something that actually affects normal human Americans. But that’s not the only place you’ll witness the Beltway-vs.-reality divide. Case in point:

I’ll confess that when this moment occurred during Tuesday night’s joint address, I thought about whether previous presidents would have been able to get away with this stunt. Obviously, I’ve learned that they would have done so very easily!

It would be a mistake to assume that Twitter reveals monoliths among the general public. Not everyone thinks the same way. But the tweet referenced above nevertheless exposes that there were conscientious dissenters from Washington’s morning-after groupthink. One of them, Foreign Policy’s Micah Zenko, drills down on this further, noting that this moment during President Donald Trump’s joint address to Congress “revealed a great deal not just about what sort of leader the president is but how disengaged America’s political class has always been with the country’s more than 15-year war on terrorism.”

Turns out, there is something more to chew on, besides the laudable act of giving some attention, and support, to a war widow. “What was especially fascinating about this,” Zenko notes, “is that Trump never mentions Yemen, the war-torn country where the operation occurred.” Yemen, of course, has long been the war that official Washington talks about in hushed whispers, seeing as our intervention in that nation has been specious on our best days. On our worst days … well, as Daniel Larison observes, we are arguably the “camera-ready villains” in this conflict. (Trump has predictably made a bad thing worse, but it shouldn’t be forgotten what a wretched thing the war in Yemen was to begin with.)

So a soldier is dead. We know his name, and we know the mission he was undertaking. But there’s more to the story. And, as Zenko notes, the opportunity to ask a multitude of questions about how Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens came to find himself facing the last moments of his life in Yemen was drowned out by the applause of the men and women of the Beltway Bubble, all of whom were doing nothing more in that moment than desperately trying to out-patriot one another for the television cameras:

A more fitting tribute to a member of special operations like Owens would be to question the wisdom of the raid and to learn from any mistakes that were made to mitigate them being repeated in the future. A broader question would be to ask why military force should be used at all in Yemen, much less for 15 consecutive years. Or, relatedly, why does America’s targeted adversary there keep growing and growing? The State Department’s 2010 terrorism report claimed: “[Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] is estimated to have several hundred members.” The 2013 report stated: “AQAP is estimated to have approximately one thousand members.” In the 2015 report, the estimate was up to “four thousand members.” Are U.S. counterterrorism policies, or support for other nations’ policies in Yemen, growing terrorists there? If so, why continue to pursue them?

But there’s no time to ask these questions! We have a presidential “pivot” to etch into eternity! (A “pivot” that was bookended by two acts of buck-passing, let us note for the sake of history.) And that is how your “optics” get made.

How dire could the consequences be in a world where the media’s perspective diverges so fully from reality? How about this dire?

Call It A Hunch, But The Political Media May Live In A Bubble

You Cretins Are Going To Get Thousands Of People Killed

Here’s what you have to understand about the sort of people who become anchors, nonpartisan pundits, centrist columnists, and cable news political correspondents: They didn’t sign up to be the resistance. They don’t want Donald Trump to fail. They want him to “pivot” and “act presidential.”

Yeah, there are guys (and it is guys, for the most part) out there who spend their whole careers trying to be Dan Rather staring down Nixon or Cronkite turning on Vietnam—or even just Tim Russert making some elected mediocrity stammer with a patented “tough question”—but mostly these guys want to be witnesses to Great Men Making History. They want to Respect The Office Of The Presidency.

Here’s another thing you should understand about these guys: The only thing the elite Washington press corps likes more than a bipartisan commission on debt reduction is a stack of flag-draped coffins.

That’s why the best reviews Trump has received so far in his short, mostly disastrous presidency have come in response to the moment in last night’s joint address in which he trotted out the widow of a service member—a SEAL whose death he’d denied any responsibility for just a few hours earlier—to a sustained standing ovation and rapturous press coverage.

The praise from the media was so fulsome that the White House is a bit confused at how easily they managed to win over a class of people they have spent a month demeaning, attacking, and lying to:

You think Donald Trump noticed how the first thing he did that actually got the TV guys to like him was kill a troop?

Here are some things Donald Trump is famous for:

1) Noticing which things he does that elicit positive attention and then doing those things over and over and over again.

2) Craving the validation of the press, generally the sort of press a 70-year-old upper class New Yorker pays attention to, especially cable news.

If one dead American service member won him this much praise, just imagine how much they’ll respect him when he kills a couple hundred—or a couple thousand!

Now that Trump has learned that there is a direct relationship between a president’s body count and how “presidential” the mainstream political press considers him to be, the whole world is fucked.

Filmmaker Josh Fox Says He Was ‘Blacklisted’ By MSNBC After Becoming Bernie Sanders Surrogate

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox says he was “blacklisted” by MSNBC after he became a surrogate for Senator Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaign, and actress Susan Sarandon recently stood up to MSNBC producers so he appeared on the network.

“I was a regular on MSNBC. I was a regular on Chris Hayes’ show. I would go on every couple weeks,” Fox shared, when he appeared on the weekly podcast “Unauthorized Disclosure.” “This was just part of life as me, being able to talk about fracking and pipelines and these kinds of things, and I love that. I love that about my life. I loved being able to go on. I loved to talk to Chris. I loved to talk to Larry O’Donnell and the other people at ‘Morning Joe’ or Alex Wagner that would have me on to talk about these issues.”

“And then, all of a sudden I became a Bernie Sanders surrogate and the phone stopped ringing.”

MSNBC’s Public Relations Department was contacted by email for comment but did not respond.

On February 15, Fox appeared on MSNBC’s “All In,” hosted by Hayes. Yet, according to him, he was not invited. Sarandon was initially asked to do a segment on the Dakota Access pipeline struggle, and she called Fox because she wanted him to be on the show with her.

When Fox and Sarandon arrived at the studio, the producers said they were going to play “the clip” from last time to dredge up comments Sarandon made about Donald Trump in March 2016 during the heated Democratic primary.

Fox said the producers claimed there would not be enough time have him appear with her.

“Susan just did one of the most amazing, honorable, and noble things that anyone has ever done for me, which is say no to them if they wouldn’t put me on. She said, well, I’m not going on if Josh doesn’t go on,” Fox recalled.

Last year, Fox’s documentary, “How To Let Go Of The World and Love All Things Climate Can’t Change,” enjoyed a considerably successful premiere on HBO. It played at the Sundance Film Festival. Fox considers it his best work, however, his publicist could not get any MSNBC show to have Fox on air in June to promote the film.

The “ultimate irony,” Fox noted, was that “All In” produced a special climate series that started the same night his film premiered on HBO.

During this series, the program highlighted rising oceans, disappearing Arctic ice, displaced people, solar energy, drought, water shortages, climate denialism, and wildfires, but there was no segment on natural gas fracking. There was no segment on pipelines. There was very little explicit coverage, which made the connection between dirty energy production and climate change.

Billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer was invited on MSNBC during the series to talk about climate activism. He declined to financially support an anti-fracking ballot initiative in Colorado because, like other liberal-leaning environmentalists, there was a fear it would make Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president more difficult. He also was a huge backer of Clinton and invested millions in turning millennials out to vote for her in the general election.

What happened with Sarandon on February 15 was the result of an increasingly “desperate MSNBC,” which attempted a “ratings grab” by “bringing Susan Sarandon on to try to humiliate her,” Fox asserted. “It’s just unconscionable.”

Indeed, MSNBC producers appear to have done their best to obscure Fox’s appearance in the segment. The segment, “Does Susan Sarandon still think Trump could bring the revolution?” puts all the focus on embarrassing Sarandon.

A description for the segment does not even list Fox: “Chris Hayes talks to the Oscar winning actor for first time since the election and since she suggested that Donald Trump could bring a revolution.”

So it appears the producers stuck to their original plans, which were to entice Sarandon to come on the show by asking her to talk about the Dakota Access pipeline, and then when she got there, they would coerce her into talking about whether she still stood by comments made nearly a year ago during a contentious primary election that were treated as controversial. And, as far as viewers are concerned, the younger man sitting next to Sarandon in the clip might as well be an insignificant handler of the award-winning actress unless their familiar with Fox’s work.

When Hayes pressed Sarandon on her lack of support for Clinton during the election, she responded, “I absolutely feel that analyzing and spending time and energy talking about blaming people or who made mistakes or what should have happened is really wasting your time and energy because what we have now is a populace that is awake.”

“What we have now, I mean, we’re here to talk about what’s happening to the environment. The pipeline didn’t get to the river overnight,” referring to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Hayes later resumed the network’s effort to nail Sarandon on air. “Can you look me in the eyes, both of you, and say yes, 24 days into the Trump administration this is about what I expected it would be?”

“What is the point of even saying that?” Sarandon asked.

“I’m just asking you that. I’m just asking you—we all make judgments about what we – the choices are. And I’m asking you, can you say – look me in the eyes and say, yeah, this is about what I thought it would be, 24 days in,” Hayes responded.

“Can you look me in the eyes and tell me you are doing your job to cover these issues?” Sarandon retorted. “Yes, I can,” Hayes said.

Fox does not think what happened over the past year is Hayes’ fault personally. He believes it comes from “way upstairs.” He thinks this is “white knuckle desperation” on the part of the network that sees cable news’ future in jeopardy. Certainly, revisiting the backlash against Sarandon during the primary was a purely cynical exercise in programming.

But Fox went even further in his criticism. “MSNBC is culpable in the election of Donald Trump. They are culpable in giving the nomination to Hillary Clinton. They are culpable in journalistic malpractice, and they owe people an apology. And they’re losing viewers because of it.”

“America cannot blacklist people, even if you’re on the left, even if you think you’re better, even if you think you’re doing it for the sake of progress or to stop the devil. You don’t do that. We have a history of that in this country. They may hear this radio program and never want to talk to me again. Doesn’t matter. It’s a principle. We do not do that in this country.”

Filmmaker Josh Fox Says He Was ‘Blacklisted’ By MSNBC After Becoming Bernie Sanders Surrogate

Source: ONTD_Political

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