If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Fellate ‘Em

So here’s an update on how that Trump/media heads meeting went:

President-elect Donald Trump raged at anchors and executives from America’s five largest television networks during an off-the-record meeting Monday, according to a new report.

Two sources described the hour-long meeting at New York City’s Trump Tower in catastrophic terms to The New York Post.

“It was like a f—ing firing squad,” one source said of the meeting. “Trump started with [CNN President] Jeff Zucker and said, ‘I hate your network, everyone at CNN is a liar and you should be ashamed.’”

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down.”

The Post’s second source said the meeting included 30 to 40 people, and said Trump also took aim at ABC and NBC.

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room full of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong,'” the source said. “He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. Trump didn’t say [NBC reporter] Katy Tur by name, but talked about a female correspondent who got it wrong.

“Then he referred to a horrible network correspondent who cried when [Democratic presidential nominee] Hillary [Clinton] lost [and] who hosted a debate — which was [ABC’s] Martha Raddatz, who was also in the room.”

While that was going on, it was business as usual for CNN:

cnnfail

Take a second to absorb that. THAT. REALLY. HAPPENED. IN. 2016.

Since Zucker was busy being force fed his balls, I’ve come up with some future topics to help CNN normalize white supramecists:

blkpeople

mexicans

catholics

muslims

slavery

realracists

We are through the fucking looking glass.



Lügenpresse Meets Hair Furor

From CNN Money (H/T to Kay):

Executives and anchors from the country’s five biggest television networks are meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower on Monday afternoon.

The meeting was organized by Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who is now a senior adviser to Trump.

NBC’s Chuck Todd and Lester Holt; CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett; CBS’s Norah O’Donnell, Charlie Rose, John Dickerson, and Gayle King; and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos were some of the anchors who were seen entering Trump Tower shortly before 1 p.m.

A source said ABC’s David Muir and Martha Raddatz were expected to attend.

Sources said the meeting would involve Trump, Conway and representatives from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News. (NBC’s cable news channel MSNBC is included in the NBC invitation, Conway noted.)

The substance of the meeting is intended to be off the record, meaning the participants will not divulge what is said.

President Obama and other government officials occasionally hold similar off the record sessions with reporters, anchors and other media bigwigs. (Obama talked off the record with the reporters traveling with him on the way home from Peru on Sunday night.)

Those last sentences sound like an attempt to normalize this. President Obama complained about the media like every president has, and lord knows, so do we.

But as far as I know, PBO didn’t confine media representatives at his campaign events to a pen, rain abuse on them and urge his supporters to pillory the campaign press to the extent the Secret Service had to protect them. I don’t recall PBO’s supporters reviving an explicitly Nazi pejorative, “lügenpresse,” or “lying press,” to screech at the media.

What will they discuss, do you think?



Is Our Media Learning?

By and large, fuck no. Figure out what is wrong here:

wapo

cnn

latimes

We’ll give the NY Times a “D” for effort:

nytimes

Only the Guardian passes the test:

theguardian

We are so well and truly fucked.



Deep Thoughts

It’s almost like sending Pence to Hamilton would distract our media into an easy to cover a clickbaity culture wars topic instead of discussing at length the fact that Trump admitted he screwed all his Trump U students.



The Fake News Problem

The fake news problem came up in comments this morning, which reminded me of a recent long but well worth reading piece in The New Yorker, in which David Remnick discusses the coming Trumpocalypse with President Obama.

In the piece, PBO identified the fake news phenomenon as a serious matter, but his comments suggest folks haven’t truly wrapped their minds around the scale of it yet. Even its propagators underestimated its effectiveness, but you can bet your ass the beneficiaries in this cycle have noted its success. It’s the echo chamber on steroids, metastasized worldwide. An excerpt from the Remnick piece:

“Until recently, religious institutions, academia, and media set out the parameters of acceptable discourse, and it ranged from the unthinkable to the radical to the acceptable to policy,” [PBO’s political director David] Simas said. “The continuum has changed. Had Donald Trump said the things he said during the campaign eight years ago—about banning Muslims, about Mexicans, about the disabled, about women—his Republican opponents, faith leaders, academia would have denounced him and there would be no way around those voices. Now, through Facebook and Twitter, you can get around them. There is social permission for this kind of discourse. Plus, through the same social media, you can find people who agree with you, who validate these thoughts and opinions. This creates a whole new permission structure, a sense of social affirmation for what was once thought unthinkable. This is a foundational change.”

That day, as they travelled, Obama and Simas talked almost obsessively about an article in BuzzFeed that described how the Macedonian town of Veles had experienced a “digital gold rush” when a small group of young people there published more than a hundred pro-Trump Web sites, with hundreds of thousands of Facebook followers. The sites had names like TrumpVision365.com and WorldPoliticus.com, and most of the posts were wildly sensationalist, recycled from American alt-right sites. If you read such sites, you learned that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump and that Clinton had actually encouraged Trump to run, because he “can’t be bought.”

The new media ecosystem “means everything is true and nothing is true,” Obama told me later. “An explanation of climate change from a Nobel Prize-winning physicist looks exactly the same on your Facebook page as the denial of climate change by somebody on the Koch brothers’ payroll. And the capacity to disseminate misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, to paint the opposition in wildly negative light without any rebuttal—that has accelerated in ways that much more sharply polarize the electorate and make it very difficult to have a common conversation.”

We’ve discussed the Fox News phenomenon for years, how it creates a closed loop that turns formerly reasonable parents and grandparents into unrecognizable, rage-addicted assholes. Well, this is worse, and it will be with us when the last O’Reilly viewer croaks. The anti-dote to fake news should be real journalism, of course, but as I look around, that seems to be in short supply.

I think I’ll go make an extra-large shaker of old fashioneds.



Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand (but not very often)

I’m not sure why everyone hates all the articles about what Democrats should do next, I think they’re interesting and potentially important. I liked this article by Ezekiel Kweku (Shrill Cosby @theshrillest on twitter) a lot:

The lesson we should draw from Clinton’s loss is not that white supremacy is unbeatable at the polls, but that it’s not going to beat itself. White people are not going to instinctively recoil from racist appeals, and neither are people of color going to flock to the polls to defeat them. If the Democratic Party would like to keep more Donald Trumps from winning in the future, they are going to have to take the extraordinary step of doing politics.

[….]

What message will energize the Democratic base and reach persuadable voters is an open question, but the simplest place to find it is probably in economics. The answer could be, as many former Bernie Sanders supporters believe, that the Democratic Party must cut ties with neoliberalism and adopt a more progressive, populist economic platform. In the primaries, at least, this message was successful in some of the same areas where Trump won in the general election. Another idea is for Dems to pay more attention to the importance of places, creating policies that would help struggling communities, both urban and rural, rather than policies that simply help individuals. In any case, white nationalism is not a new normal, it’s the old normal, and if it’s going to be defeated at the polls, the Democratic Party is going to have to use an old tactic, too.

I’m quite skeptical that Trump benefitted from his anti-immigrant and at times blatantly racist and xenophobic stances. I live on the edge of the so-called rust belt (though my county went heavily for Obama) and I can tell you that people are obsessed with trade here. But that’s not inherently racist or xenophobic. Trump tapped into something that has a strong, repulsively racist side to it. But there’s more to the story than that. Liberals can compete for working class votes in rural areas without compromising our commitment to social justice. And we will.



The First Two Tests

I guess we’re all supposed to buy subscriptions to the New York Times to support great journalism.  Well, I subscribe to the Washington Post and the Guardian (as well as TPM Prime), and I’ll consider subscribing to the Times when I see how they handle the news that Paul Ryan wants to end Medicare and the appointment of the racist alt-right sociopath Steve Bannon to a top spot in Trump’s White House.

If the Ryan articles are a bunch of punch-pulling about “reform” and “privatization”, explaining why it won’t be so bad after all, and if they just accept the bald-faced lie that Obamacare killed the Medicare star, is that the “great journalism” that I’m supposed to be supporting?  I couldn’t find a good Medicare story, but here’s how the Times describes Bannon:

Perhaps the deepest schism is between Stephen K. Bannon, the conservative provocateur and media entrepreneur who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, and Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman who came to terms with Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Both are on a short list for chief of staff, according to people close to the campaign, and whoever is chosen, the other is likely to get another senior White House post.

[…]

Mr. Bannon, the executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News and onetime Goldman Sachs executive, is an avowed enemy of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan. An anti-establishment verbal bomb thrower with ties to the alt-right movement, Mr. Bannon may have little interest in compromising with the Republican-controlled Congress under its current leadership. He is an unabashed critic of the current immigration system and repeatedly encouraged Mr. Trump to appeal to the party’s base in the closing days of the campaign with arguments against globalization.

Contrast that with Yahoo News story on Bannon, which includes Hillary Clinton’s tweet with some racist, sexist and xenophobic Breitbart headlines.  I think that story is far more informative about what Breitbart really is, and what it means to have Bannon in the White House.

If you want to really inform readers, the genteel euphemisms that the Times loves to use just don’t cut it.  It is not the zenith of journalistic cleverness to use a tweet from Clinton to show what Breitbart really is – but it is better journalism than the Times’ story.