Saturday, November 14, 2020

Demonizing Political Opponents

Demonizing your political opponents did not begin yesterday. In modern times it seems to have begun with one Sen. Joseph McCarthy, a man who made it fashionable in some circles to destroy people for their supposed Communist leanings.

McCarthyism began during the Truman administration. Reliable sources tell us that President Eisenhower was instrumental in bringing it down. And yet, Eisenhower’s vice president, a man whom Ike did not trust, Richard Nixon was a leading anti-Communist crusader.

So, Richard Nixon lost his election in 1960-- doubtless because the results were rigged in Illinois and perhaps even Texas. And he lost again in 1962 while running for governor of California. 

By that time Nixon had long since become the bete noir of American liberals. In response, Nixon uttered these immortal words upon losing in 1962: “You won’t have Nixon to kick around any more.” He was talking to Democrats, but he was especially talking to the press. 

It is one of the great American political ironies that Richard Nixon made a comeback and won the presidency in 1968 and 1972. At that point, the real demonization began and Nixon was chased from office in 1974. I will not opine on the validity of the charges, yet unfortunately for us all, one suspects that if a Democrat had done what Nixon had done the press would have risen up-- to bury the story.

Media hypocrisy did not begin during the Trump administration. It was not elicited by Donald Trump. It had been a long time brewing. And, as for the politics of demonization, recently denounced by none other than Joe Biden, the Democratic party has been practicing it for decades now. It was not just Supreme Court nominees, because the congenial frat boy president George W. Bush was called a liar every hour on the hour for years. 

When it came to Trump, the media went into full demonization mode. It was non-stop. It was damaging to everyone’s mental health. But, it was inescapable. To the point that you would have thought that Joe Biden was the new Prozac, a cure for everything that ailed us.

Dave Seminara has the story in City Journal (via Maggie’s Farm):

The legacy media have fueled this Trump anxiety with an avalanche of negative stories, tweets, books, podcasts, and television coverage, much of it overblown or even wildly inaccurate. There was no escaping it—not in the sports pages, movies, or even travel and lifestyle publications. Anti-Trump venom pervaded society. Even some Fox News personalities appear to have joined in.

He continued:

Imagine what can be done now with all this free time! The media chronicled all of Trump’s missteps, both real and imagined, so breathlessly that people across the country whose interest in politics had always been cursory became convinced that the president’s tweeting represented actual tyranny. Yet, when I asked the Trump-afflicted in my circles to explain how his outrages directly harmed their daily lives, none could articulate a clear answer.

They might not have been able to give a clear answer, but surely they felt that Trump had invaded their minds. They wanted to purify their minds by ridding them of Trump.

Many had simply tired, not only of reading trash talk about Trump, but of being flooded with defamation and slander of the president of the United States.

One point deserves emphasis, because no one seems to be able to say so, but attacking Trump was concomitantly attacking the president of the United States. And also, the constitutional government of the United States.

One reason why Trump was making people crazy is that the attacks had to boomerang. Unless, of course, you could pretend that Trump was not legitimately elected. And yet, however much Hillary Clinton cried out about Trump’s illegitimacy, he was still there. They could not conjure him away. It made some of them crazy. It made many of them, like Adam Schiff, into chronic prevaricators.

Seminara continued:

It was never made clear exactly why Trump, for all his faults, was a threat to democracy. Never mind about the criminal actions of China, or the blunders by Andrew Cuomo or Bill de Blasio; the Covid-19 pandemic was all Trump’s fault because he said some dumb things about the virus and mask use.

Obviously, it was a bit more than a few dumb things. Trump chose to put himself out front as the great virus killer. He did daily briefings about matters he knew little about. He made the attack on the virus about him. No one forced him to do so. He gambled and lost.

But, the demonizing voices on the left now have a problem. They have made Trump the cause of all evil. It would then follow that only good things will arrive with a Biden presidency. Seriously, does anyone really believe that?

But the occupant of the White House doesn’t define the country; America is bigger than the presidency. Surely with Trump gone, Covid-19 will disappear, racism will abate, the economy will soar, and peace will break out across the world—right?

When that fails, when Joe Biden shows himself to be far from up to the job, Seminara explains that the left will need to find a new devil to destroy:

If Trump is out of the picture, the Left will need to find new conservative bogeymen. For our collective mental health and the country’s gross national happiness, I hope that this effort fails, because politics shouldn’t transcend life, and we don’t have to hate other people who don’t share our views.

We would be happy to see the constant demonization of the opposition cease. It is very unlikely that this will happen. When you have developed the bad mental habit of blaming everything on a devil, you will find it easier to name another devil than to learn how to think differently.


whitney said...

McCarthy was right

370H55V said...

Are you kidding? They're just getting warmed up. Expect the new narrative to be along the lines of "Trump screwed the country so badly that it will take at least ten years of complete Dem control (of the White House, Congress, and of course a progressive judiciary) to fix it all. They'll NEVER admit to their failures. In fact, they'll tell us that their failures are indeed successes.

trigger warning said...

Manich├Žism has been popular among people of all political and religious persuasions for almost two millenia. Recall "The Lightworker"? That's pure Manich├Žism.

Sam L. said...

As I have said elsewhere, I don't know whether the "media" is/are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party, or if it's the other way round, but I do know they're in cahoots, it being OBVIOUS. I despise, detest, and totally distrust it, especially the NYT and the WaPoo, as well as the TV networks.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it was Trump? I thought it was Snowball or Goldstein.

Ares Olympus said...

Trump was a polarizing figure from day one. That was his shtick. Remember how Republicans treated him in 2015? Remember how he treated them? Remember Cruz and Graham's speeches against Trump? Hatred was a two way street, but when he won the nomination, they were given a choice - support him or quit the party.

The media (news, opinion and entertainment) felt safe to mock Trump from day one as well, but unlike party members, they were not required to pretend the emperor had clothes after his election. The benefit of hating on Trump was high ratings for people who hated Trump, while sending Trump supporters elsewhere, give other media, Fox primarily their own captive audience. And everyone knows once you gain attention by a partisan audience, you have to deliver partisan news day after day or risk losing audience and ad revenue.

I don't know how the MSM could have avoided the trap. And our human instinct is to be tribal, to listen to voices similar to our own, and reinforce whatever world view makes us most comfortable. Once Trump is out, the MSM is free to mock and criticize Biden. OTOH, we can remember Obama as the rockstar who could do no wrong, who gave Chris Matthews shivers like a school girl, but at least Biden isn't going to inspire as much contempt or worshiping.

Biden is a flawed man, in a divided land, who's biggest virtue might be his vulnerability, his age and stuttering slows him down. He's willing to fight his points, but doesn't hold grudges. He'll make a deal with the devil. Biden may face harder attacks on the left than the right. I'm confident McConnell must feel like he's the luckiest man in the world, or soon. Who wants to be president anyway?!

Anonymous said...

" I will not opine on the validity of the charges, yet unfortunately for us all, one suspects that if a Democrat had done what Nixon had done the press would have risen up-- to bury the story."

I'm tempted to say "If you only knew", Stuart.
But that would be presumptuous of me.

Spygate, was and is a bigger deal "for our democracy" than Watergate, but the cover up continues, and it has been well and truly buried from the view of the general public.

IMO, I believe the major flaw in the presentation of charges was calling it " wire-tapping", which is distinctly 20thC.

"Agressive, illegal digital surveillance" would have been a more accurate term.

With your indulgence, I'll repost some comments I posted prior to the election:


"The Democrats should relax. Roberts has already defected, you can see it in his face. The social pressure on the rest will be continuous and unrelenting. They will come around to the thinking of the cathedral because the cathedral is all around them; there is no 'outside the cathedral' unless you have something outside time. Mr. Beelzebub said that the greatest human weakness was our suggestibility."

To Hell with "suggestibility".

How about NSA grade, multi-year domestic surveillance on Congress members, Supremes( including the afore-mentioned Cheif Justice John Roberts), Mr Trump (and family members) and Mr Flynn(and family members).

Brennan, Comey,Clapper and others, and...wait for it....the head Russia!Russia!Russia! investigator, Robert Mueller...are the subject of a book called "The Hammer is t HT e Key to the Coup".

Whistleblower Dennis Montgomery , a network systems contractor with high level security clearance(s) discovered extensive abuse of domestic digital surveillance, and attempted to notify the FBI.

"The Hammer" was a US Gov surveillance system designed to protect "the Homeland"(ugh) after 9-11.

Mueller provided the computers to house it, and the (outward-facing, national security) system was moved to Fort Washington,MD ( from it's original location in Nevada) and put to use spying on domestic enemies of the Obama administration.

A good and timely read before the election: five bucks at Kindle.

"The Hammer is the Key to the Coup" - Mary Fanning and Alan Jones
Aug 19, 2020

Comey/Brennan/Obama/Biden and others must be experiencing a magnetic pull.

Scott Adams(twitter entry from 25SEP20)


Now I understand why Biden is the Democratic candidate despite being so obviously incapable. The plotters need a cover-up guy who has the same exposure they do. This isn't an election so much as an escape plan."


"Roberts has already defected, you can see it in his face".

Can you say "It's a fee, not a tax."?
Can you say Affordable Care Act?

- shoe

Illuninati said...

They don't need a new devil. They haven't destroyed Trump yet. The hatred will continue until Trump is put in jail for the rest of his life. Then Trump's supporters must be exterminated or brainwashed by the Truth Commission.

Anonymous said...

- Trump didn't gamble and lose. He won. There has been a lot of fraud that needs to be investigated. I don't believe that zero-enthusiasm Joe got more votes than Obama. How did Trump win Florida in a landslide if he was so unpopular?
- Trump didn't do anything wrong with those briefings. He had to do it or he'd be accused of not caring. It was a catch-22 situation. BTW he did quite a bit to help with the hospital ships, ventilators, etc.
- The media won't stop demonizing him if he leaves office. It will continue unabated and get worse. It's already started.
- When Obama was president, it was considered bad taste to "insult the office of the president" by criticizing him. Trump has been treated with rudeness and disrespect by these same finger-wagging pundits. Suddenly there was no sanctity of the office.

Sam L. said...

What Anon said. This is why I despise, detest, and totally distrust the media. They/it are/is in cahoots with the Dem party.