Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

'Create facts' wasn't a slip of the tongue here:
The morning after the [2016] election, President Obama said to Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner, “The most important thing that I’m focused on is how we create a common set of facts.” That was the problem of his whole presidency. Political rhetoric doesn’t create facts.

-Christopher Caldwell, Sanctimony Cities in The Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2016/17, page 27
That's our job.
During a lively discussion centered on fears that President Trump is "trying to undermine the media," MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski let slip the awesome unspoken truth that the media's "job" is to "actually control exactly what people think."
SCARBOROUGH: "Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, 'Yeah you guys are going crazy. He's doing -- what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'"

BRZEZINSKI: "Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job."
...[T]he comment failed to raise any eyebrows from her co-panelists. Instead, her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said that Trump's media antagonism puts him on par with Mussolini and Lenin...
Trump is trying to undermine the media? They don't need any help.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Codependency

Senator John McCain tells NBC’s Chuck Todd we need:
[A] free and sometimes adversarial press. Without it, I'm afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started… They get started by suppressing the free press… I'm not saying President Trump is trying to be a dictator, I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history.
Classic. “I’m not saying this thing I just said.”

Well, sometimes dictators get started by co-opting the press. Sometimes the press sycophants enlist themselves. The press is free to print what it wants; but if it becomes immune to criticism that's when it becomes the enemy, and when it acts like a hive mind, that's when the possibility of dictatorship emerges.

We all remember the fiery outrage Senator McCain expressed when former President Obama wiretapped the Associated Press in 2013. We can never forget his impassioned speech when Fox News’ James Rosen was on Obama’s DOJ enemies list.

Well… No. We can’t remember outrage that was never expressed, nor can we forget something that never happened. Donald Trump called the press "the enemy of the American people" in a tweet - that got Mr. Straight Talk Express to sit up and take notice.

Given Senator McCain’s estranged relationship with GOP Presidents, we shouldn’t be surprised he’s bashing Trump. You may remember some of Senator McCain’s collusion with Democrats against President George W. Bush. It’s worth a review to recall the full picture.

At best that was about policies. At worst, it was McCain building his own ego. It’s quite another thing to glibly toss about the word “dictator” in response to a question about POTUS criticizing the MSM. The answer to Todd’s question is, “Yes, the press is the enemy of the American people who elected this President, and anyone else who doesn't agree with their Progressive agenda. Get a clue.”

Given Senator McCain’s estranged relationship with the First Amendment, we shouldn’t be surprised he’s selective in citing it. He is, after all, the co-author of the anti-First Amendment Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, eponymously known as McCain-Feingold. Don’t take my word for its unconstitutionality - the Supreme Court has overturned major portions of McCain-Feingold in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., Davis v. Federal Election Commission, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

If John McCain understood that the First Amendment protects free speech (especially political speech) for all of us he would be too embarrassed to be currying MSM favor by implying Trump is suppressing the free press.

Powerline’s John Hinderaker sums it up nicely,
John, John, get a grip! Who is “suppressing” the press? Do you seriously not understand the difference between criticizing the press and suppressing it? The press is not above criticism. On the contrary, it deserves to be called out constantly for bias and inaccuracy. President Trump has taken a good step in that direction, but a great deal more press criticism is in order.

Also: not calling on CNN in a White House press conference does not constitute “suppressing” CNN.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Presser

I have criticized Donald Trump for his Twitter obsession; an ongoing "flurry of 140 character mind farts."

On reflection, I've changed my mind. I prefer that over 75 minute press conferences consisting of self interruptions every 140 characters.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Please, Mr. President, help us out

A thoughtful defense of the raid on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and a number of Yemeni civilians were killed. It notes that the planning took place under the previous President and castigates the "journalism" practiced. RTWT

It also illustrates what is already so wearying about Trump's Presidency. A slice:
Rather than respond with reason and logic, however, Trump did what Trump does — tweeted personal insults.
There's every sign that this will go on for Four. More. Years. I get the argument that the MSM is so corrupt that such behavior may be necessary, but Reagan was equally vilified and didn't stoop to such tactics.

As usual in these cases, the administration's response was needlessly strident, full of insults premised on slipshod exaggeration, distracting and petty. It is a) exactly opposite of what one expects in a leader, b) behavior calculated to enrage a peer, and c) cause for dismissal of a subordinate. There's no place for it. None.

For those not on the train, but who would nevertheless like to see Trump do well, it's exhausting. It's alienating. It's embarrassing. How many times can one drag oneself to the barricades to defend the boorish, simplistic flurry of 140 character mind farts? Mike Pence must be wondering.

Even the hard core of true believers must eventually get tired of all the whining.

It's not going well. All the more so when Trump is actually right.

Sad.