Friday, January 24, 2020

The Stupidity of the American Media

Among the phenomena not noted often enough is this: during the Russian collusion hoax and even during the impeachment farce, a handful of liberal journalists have offered some of the best analysis of the process.

They are not Trump supporters, and this lends their work more credence. But they have been fair and rational, evaluating the evidence and drawing sane conclusions. Since they have dissociated themselves from the Resistance they have surely lost friends.

We lead today with Matt Taibbi, from Rolling Stone, not a member of the vast right wing conspiracy. But we have occasionally pointed out the excellent work of Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, Stephen Cohen and Alan Dershowitz. Sometimes it feels like the American left is a monolith, but, that is clearly not the truth. Some liberals still know that classical liberal thought was open to both sides of every argument.

In a recent essay, Taibbi points out that the media, consumed with Trump hatred, has basically destroyed its own credibility. He calls out the New York Times, of course, but he argues effectively that the media is now trying to do to Bernie Sanders what it tried to do to Trump.

Rather than offer reasoned judgment about Trump, the American media doubled down on stupid. It refused to balance good and bad. It decided that everything Trump did was bad.

It was on display yesterday when Adam Schiff declared that Trump was guilty of compromising national security because he held a meeting with Vladimir Putin. How stupid do you have to be to accept the Schiff analysis? Do we recall, that during the furor over Trump's meeting with Putin, that the Nation's Stephen Cohen pointed out that it was perfectly normal?

Taibbi is not a Trump supporter, but he correctly bemoans the media’s irrational hostility toward Trump. And he points out that this mindless ranting has compromised the media’s credibility while enhancing Trump’s:

When Trump jumped into the presidential race in 2015, it would have been easy enough for members of the media to decry his ignorance, personal and professional venality, and racism.

But they couldn’t help themselves, declaring every word out of his mouth a Satanic lie. This made the occasional things that he said that were true, like that Jeb Bush was a puppet for corporate donors or NATO was a bloated and outdated organization, pack significantly more punch.

The transparent full-of-shitness of the corporate press reaction to Trump was probably the leading argument for his credibility. Trump wrongly pushed voters to blame minorities and foreigners, and when he did identify correct targets for public opprobrium, like Goldman Sachs, it wasn’t believable that he would oppose them in office. But media figures gave his “drain the swamp” message a huge boost by scoffing at it with their inimical obnoxiousness.

They then spent years doubling down, backing conspiracy theories about espionage with Russia, mis-predicting the end of the Trump presidency, and, yes, employing tactics like bodylanguage analysis to say all sorts of silly things (“What is Donald Trump hiding? His body language says it all,” wrote Newsweek, interviewing an analyst who’d made “interesting observations about Hitler’s salutes”).

People in the media business underestimate, by a lot, the damage the last three years have done to their ability to reach not just Trump fans but non-Trump Republicans, independents, libertarians, Greens, and other groups. The latest fiascoes with Sanders double as confirmation for these people of their worst conclusions about media, and an additional insult that such goofball messaging is only now attracting the notice of some on the “other side. “

The media seem to believe that they belong to a righteous resistance. And that they are damaging Trump by throwing barrages of spitballs his way. In truth, they have mostly damaged themselves. People no longer trust their presentation of facts. People no longer believe that their opinions have been reasoned. 

The American media has gone over to the side of propaganda. It wants to be a player, not to be an objective and neutral observer. Thus, it has exposed the fact that it is completely lacking in a moral compass. Whether or not it is beyond repair, I do not know. But, hats off to Taibbi for calling it out.


Sam L. said...

The media hates we normals. I despise, detest, and distrust the media, especially the NYT and the WaPoo.

Anonymous said...

Any other Celebrity Apprentice fans?

Anonymous said...

the media is not stupid. everything they say is carefully thought out to support their political agenda. an agenda that has the goal of turning the united states into a one-party dictatorship. that what the say may not be true is of no consequence to people that don't believe in the concept of truth. they only believe in saying what gets them their way.

Sam L. said...

Anon 1: No.
Anon 2: As I've said before, I wonder: Is the Media a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Dem party, or is it the Dem Party that's a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Media?

Anonymous said...

The "hats off" is okay. However, why not criticize where it's due, as well?

PDT did NOT encourage people to "blame minorities" (forgive me if that's not exact words) or "foreigners" for their problems. That kind of BS is a big part of what's wrong in the media -- the inability to say anything positive about PDT without a "but-I'm-not-a-supporter" hedge-type insult in it.

Frankly, a lot of us are sick and tired of being called racist, which is what he did, by saying PDT appealed to us for that reason. You're too good at what you do not to note this slam at PDT and his voters...

PS. This guy's getting lots of praise lately -- are we really that desperate for "crumbs" from the left?....(Did you ever read his profane and ugly report on Michelle Bachman when she was running?)

But he just made a matter-of-fact, "everybody knows it's true" type of statement, one that is repeated often in the press -- and used to influence voters who are low-info and want to appear "good" --- that is a LIE.

-- and he needs to be called out for it,as well as being praised for his (lukewarm, but we take what we can get from the left, right?) takedown of the corporate media.