July 6th, 2017

Another in the almost-numberless anti-Trump salvos from the press

I think I’m getting jaded, because articles like this one have come to amuse me.

They’re so transparent, and so seemingly unaware of how absurd they sound. I know they don’t sound the least bit absurd to the left, however, and I realize I’m not their intended audience. But I’m a person on the right who was never a Trump fan, and they’re putting me in the position of being a Trump defender.

My own previous anti-Trump bona fides are in order. I was never a Never-Trumper, but I wanted almost anyone else from the GOP to be the nominee instead of Trump. I won’t go into the whole history; readers of this blog are well aware of my point of view. And I still feel very free to criticize him, and there’s much to criticize. But there’s been much to praise, too—considerably more than I expected, and I’m happy to be saying that, rather than sad.

Of course, I didn’t exactly “expect” much of anything, because I didn’t expect Trump to win the presidency in the first place. But win he did, and here we are, and I find myself in the peculiar position of defending him more often than not.

But articles like the one I just linked don’t help their own cause, because they are examples of a press gone off the rails—so swollen with its own sanctimonious self-importance that it can’t see its feet of clay down below. The author is Kyle Pope, and he’s the head of the Columbia Journalism Review. So he’s a journalist addressing fellow-journalists, and here’s his message:

We need to stop.

Stop reporting on every tweet with the volume of a declaration of war; stop letting the president and his staff frame every misstep and scandal as a media story; stop treating Trump’s war with the press as if it’s the most important thing happening in this country. It’s not.

Good start, right? But you know what’s coming next—a litany of the terrible, terrible, terrible things Trump is doing. That’s followed by this:

…[Trump] doesn’t respect the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech. The media’s impulse, which is understandable, is to keep the focus on his threats to the press, and not to let them become normalized. But we have reached the point at which the media response has become counterproductive and even beneficial to the president and his lackeys in the White House, who have turned the West Wing into a megaphone for Trump’s faux media war and reporters in the White House briefing room into photo-op foils.

I missed the part where Trump issued orders to stop the press from speaking or writing. I missed the part where he jailed reporters. I missed the part where he doesn’t respect the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech—unless Pope thinks that criticizing the press is muzzling it, and that a president has no right of his own to free speech, only the press.

And Pope’s entire article is “a media war” by the press itself, and there’s nothing “faux” about it, or about Trump fighting back. I especially love the text of this open letter that Pope proudly quotes himself as having issued to Trump on the eve of Trump’s inauguration [emphasis mine]:

What we’re missing–as I pointed out in an open letter to Trump on the eve of his inauguration–is that we aren’t obligated to cede the media agenda to this or any other administration. We control the airtime, we decide who gets quoted and how, we set the rules of engagement.

Oh, so it’s just a faux war, eh? That Trump instigated? Note again, that letter was issued before Trump even took office.

Here’s what Pope thinks the media should be doing instead of focusing on the Trump tweets:

Pulling back from our own self-reflection and focusing all of that attention where it properly belongs–on our childlike, possibly unstable national leader and the wrenching national policy changes he is stumbling to put into place–could, ironically, also be the thing that convinces the rest of the country to pay attention to the dangers inherent in Trump’s attacks on the media and the First Amendment.

Now, there’s an objective journalist for you, one who’s not looking for a war with Trump. It’s obviously Trump who is the belligerant here, right? And oh, I see the light about the dangers of Trump’s attacks on you, you poor poor powerless media guy, you.

Towards the end, Pope writes:

Every time Trump fires a shot in his war against the media, there’s an opportunity for a more serious, nuanced argument about why everyone benefits from a free and vigorous press: Airing a president and his policies to open discussion and scrutiny results in better government.

That would be true—and I would applaud it—if the press showed the slightest indication it was capable of such a thing and interested in actually performing that service.

The ironic thing—the funny thing, although it’s really far more sad than funny—is that Pope’s article contradicts his own message, with his overwhelming bile and partisanship. Does he even see it anymore? Can he even see it anymore? Does a fish know it swims in water?

28 Responses to “Another in the almost-numberless anti-Trump salvos from the press”

  1. Ray Says:

    The late Edith Efron wrote a book titled The News Twisters. She showed how the media always presented the “news” in a way to support their agenda. The media used to pretend they were objective but they don’t even pretend now and are blatantly partisan. They are all corrupt dishonest democrat party apparatchiks.

  2. neo-neocon Says:


    Journalist Sharyl Attkisson’s brand-new book sounds very interesting and in a similar vein.

  3. arfldgr Says:

    and the funniest part is that these news places havent changed much, we just found out what they are like!!!

    they been lying like this before trump, but never on one person or item to the point its so obvious… its so soviet…

    they are nutty not because they have become worse, but because their lack of effectiveness makes them apply more medicine and you now get to see how they been tranquilizing you once you got an overdose!!!

    but to those who studied history, the rare books that even the concerned dont want to read, the policy papers, and other things… you would have known it was this bad and worse way before trump

    before it was a dark gray think in a muddy gray world and you can just make it out, but now, its a dark gray kitty against a white surface, appearing almost black.

    your relative positions shifted which revealed the effect, not that the colors sides ideas or things changed.

    heck, just now the demographers have figured out the smart ladies self exterminatd!!! they cant hide it any more and they cant excuse it and THATS when you see it. until then, you make evry excuse, give it every chance, convert absolute nubmers to percentages and hope the reader never reads the base values (like women voting 1932 germany?)… or how antifa comes from willi munzenberg grave…

    we haev every part of the classic 1930s revolt
    and if it wasnt for Trump, the hogs would have been TRAPPED like they are in venzeula…

    how far back?
    December 28th, 2013
    What’s the best response to marauding flash mobs?
    artfldgr Says:

    …thes kids are to prove that freedom is to dangerous abd unworkable…. Theywill get the last gate with the lock closed around the hogs
    Yevgeni Primakov

    but above i was reminding from earlier

    August 4th, 2010
    Obama the great bamboozler
    Artfldgr Says:
    August 4th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming.

    When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.

    The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again.

    You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.

    Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

    and have been telling you that if nothing jars the public to wake up the sleeping tiger as a concept, then they will find themselves trapped as in venezeula

    but if something disrupts it, like in indonesia, then they wake up, throw a fit, clean house and dont go back until after they die and their children forget.

    i can go back a bit farther on neos blog and show that what i was trying to explain and define and delineat is what happend here.

    Trump was so disruptive it scared the hogs in the fence and they now are not sure about the corn

    the idea of how bad the news is and such did not change in one year.. 🙂 or even 4 🙂

    it was that bad, you just didnt know it
    and when ex soviets and those said it was
    we could not prove it, as everyone was use to the corn
    they could not tell that in their world, there was no longer the idea or concept of white, as everything was dirty gray and the lightest gray became the new white.

    stalin called this normalization
    scientists call it acclimation

    but i hope neo can attest, people who have been victims, expericned etc. lose the acclimation ability to some degree… (sometimes by creating a phobia, or becoming hyper aware)

    it took over 30 years to slowly acclimate us
    in fact, they even publicly said they were going to do the trick just as a magician would say so before tricking you knowing you wont do what is right to stop them or figure them out.


    cause nice people who havent been fictims or certain experiences have a very hard time with believing betrayals and certain extreme forms of disregard for others… they have a hard time understanding how professional users operate and move thousands of people as their ideas cant believe the manipulative girlfriend let alone somehting like willi munzenberg who changes the whole thinking of a whole industry!!!

  4. neo-neocon Says:


    I found out shortly after 9/11. In my “A mind is a difficult thing to change” essays, I go into that in great detail.

    I think a lot of other people here have known this for a long time, too. But I agree that more and more people are finding out now, it’s become so blatant.

  5. vanderleun Says:

    “…and they’re putting me in the position of being a Trump defender.”

    Those bastard Leftists! Is there ANYTHING they can’t do?!!

  6. Dave Says:

    Trump supporters saw the good in him, and his bads were trivial matters compared to Clinton’s. Trump is a businessman, and a business man is only as good as his word. Despite not being a super successful one despite his constant exaggeration of his successes, Trump does have a reputation of keeping his words in the business world. You have to have a certain level of credibility and trustworthiness among your peers and banks to come back from 4 bankruptcies.

  7. March Hare Says:

    As I told my liberal friends and family after the election of Donald Trump,”Gee, it sure is nice to be able to criticize the President again!”

    The only one who got the irony was my 90-y.o. Mother. She didn’t vote for Trump.

  8. Paul in Boston Says:

    “We control the airtime, we decide who gets quoted and how, we set the rules of engagement.” Yep, they really believe in free speech and listening to the other side.

    A long time ago, an AT&T engineer told me a story about how they dealt with noise on the phone lines in the bad old days when they used vacuum tubes. There was a special set of operators who sat and listened to snippets of conversation all day long. They would listen to 20 seconds or so and then their headset would be automatically switched to a new conversation. If there was a problem wiath a line they would notify someone. The mangers of these operators found out after a while that some people would have a hard time with job and started to develop psychological problems because they would involuntarily start to string the bits of
    conversations together and make up weird stories. The solution was to give job candidates an IQ test. Only candidates who failed the test got the job. Too smart and they found you different work. I long ago decided that journalists fit the description of the noise operators. Their job requires them to flit from quickly from one story to the next with no logical coherence between them. Ergo, they have to be stupid to be successful and retain some semblance of sanity. This guy qualifies in spades.

  9. Big Maq Says:

    “Objectivity” is a myth, as everyone has a point of view, and a limited access to information.

    So, yes, MSM is biased to the left.

    Old news, but important nontheless.

    The new news, at least to me (and perhaps several), as of 2015/16, is just how much bias has been built into the “conservative” media.

    And, by “bias”, it really comes down to propensity to serve a blue or a red team agenda more than just a simple disagreement of the same set of facts.

    In the end is it one big conspiracy to do so on each side?

    Don’t think so.

    Couldn’t it be that each side has their own bubble, their own beliefs, AND their own audience that they are attempting to cater to?

    Couldn’t this largely be how the newsinfotainment industry has self organized into, like any marketplace, given the size of the audiences for what they are producing, and the incentives that provides?

    It has been astounding how many things that were worthy of vociferous criticism of dems, over the years (decades?) past, are now all okay, or are somehow “justified” or “excusable”.

    Were were being lied to then, or are we being lied to now?

    Do these people really have our best interest at heart?

    Maybe we ought to give some thought to how the “conservative” media isn’t exactly serving us well either, rather than just worry and focus on how bad the msm is.

    I really am disgusted with how biased, over the top, untruthful, etc the msm has been.

    It is also disgusting how over the top, juvenile, untruthful our POTUS has been – particularly when it is all entirely unnecessary to get the job done.

    Even if the objective were merely to “fight” and show how awful the msm are, seems to me that making oneself look just as bad is not the way to make that case (and it isn’t)…

    I’ve noticed that we’ve been a month (or 2 or 3) where trump hasn’t mentioned how great his poll numbers are (maybe a cherry picked one from Rasmussen somewhere in the past while), in support of how great he is doing.

    Wonder why?

    The msm is worthy of much criticism.

    The challenge is, who is going to listen to our complaints if we don’t pass that same critical eye at our “own” side and demand the same standard, starting with trump, and then on to some in the “conservative” media we choose to listen to?

  10. Big Maq Says:

    Of course, Pope isn’t the only one spreading a blue vs red argument under the guise of a corrective self examination (note the title, “To win the working class, Democrats need to start talking straight”)…

    It starts off promising…

    “Did Democrats ignore — or worse, condescend to — white working-class voters in 2016?”

    However, in one section, it’s own insistence that “the “time has passed” when “you didn’t have to have an education . . . [and] you could . . . get a [good] job.” [Obama]”, and later insisting on free four year tuition, can easily be seen as “condescending”, as it seems to assume that the only good jobs come to those with a university education.

    There are plenty of good jobs to be proud of that require far less.

    I agree with Mike Rowe’s (Dirty Job Guy) take on how this mentality that all people MUST have a university education is not only misguided, but harmful, as it makes those jobs seem like something (culturally) “less worthy”, while spending gobs of tax money educating many on knowledge that are not employable.

  11. Ymar Sakar Says:

    Good job giving the aristos the power of the press and then giving power to Trum to fight the aristos you gave power to, America.

  12. huxley Says:

    We control the airtime, we decide who gets quoted and how, we set the rules of engagement.

    — Kyle Pope

    Reminds me that Scott Pruitt (Trump’s guy at the EPA) intends to set up a Red Team/Blue Team approach to climate change.

    Of course, the climate orthodox are thoroughly digging in their heels to prevent an open adversarial debate of climate change.

    To my knowledge the last time there was such a debate the orthodox got stomped.


    Since then the climate orthodox only allow debate if they control everything and can censor and ban opponents at will.

  13. huxley Says:

    More and more this is what we find with the left, the media and academia — there can be no real debate because the conservative positions or arguments are ruled out ahead of time for being denialist, racist, bigoted, sexist, or whatever-phobic.

  14. FOAF Says:

    “Does he even see it anymore? Can he even see it anymore? Does a fish know it swims in water?”

    I have thought about this, what is the extent to which the MFM knows it is actually biased versus their sincere belief in their own warped left-wing BS. It is almost like the Obama “fool or knave” debate, and as with that one I think it is a toxic combination of the two.

    To put it another way, I think they know they are biased and are deliberately manipulating the news but their ideology lets them tell themselves they are speaking a “greater truth” or some such baloney. Don’t forget they are not as smart as they think they are – that is where the “fool” part comes in. The MFM is an even better example than Obama of people who simultaneously can be knaves and fools.

  15. M J R Says:

    FOAF, 1:32 am:

    I remember seeing / reading an interview with Dan Rather. He assured the interviewer that his (Rather’s) treatment of the news was unbiased — “straight up the middle” is the phrase Rather used that stuck with me [like a fish bone in my throat].

    I do believe that Rather, in that assertion, was *not* being disingenuous. I do believe that Rather absolutely, honestly, truly believed it, much as you or I believe 2 + 2 is 4.

  16. SteveH Says:

    It like Trump is employing The political version of Muhammed Ali’s rope a dope on the press. They’ve pounded on him for 7 months now and starting to tire and become vulnerable. This could get exciting!

  17. Ymar Sakar Says:

    This could get exciting!

    I’m sure the deep state is looking forward to making 9/11 exciting again. So just be patient.

  18. Big Maq Says:

    @huxley – what percentage of commenters here would have a clean table when engaging someone from the left?

    Seems like it would be a minority. Worse, it seems most would say it is futile.

    I don’t expect anyone other than a young child to not already have preconceived notions baked into their thinking.

    What we see seems to be more of a herding / tribal behaviour on both sides as the arguments take on a blue vs red team aspect which serves to shut down debate rather than encourage it.

    Is trump encouraging debate or is he really just trying to “hit back”?

  19. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Despite not being a super successful one despite his constant exaggeration of his successes, Trump does have a reputation of keeping his words in the business world.”

    Or, as I’ve been saying since 2008, “There is more power in a promise kept, than in being too big to fail.”

  20. Irv Says:

    Big Maq – It’s way too glib to just state that the right does it too. Since we would all agree that no one is perfect then all we have are degrees of imperfection. And since that’s the arena we work in then we have to find a way to determine who’s the greater sinner and who’s the lesser. It means nothing to say everyone sins.

    Right now the sins of the mainstream media are far greater than those of the right wing media. It’s true that many Fox hosts are as biased to the right, but, it appears to me that the ones with the serious bias are almost all talk show hosts and commentators that announce their bias toward conservatism. They don’t claim to be unbiased newsmen. The hard newsmen, as on Special Report, show very little bias and even when they do they always present the other side as well.

    In the left wing MSM there are many of the same types of talk show hosts and commentators. The problems is that their supposedly unbiased newsmen show at least as much, if not more, liberal bias and they almost always give short shrift to the other side. In fact, they usually don’t even present the other side with anything but derision.

    The degree of sin IS important and we need to spend more time evaluating that degree and not just use the cop-out that they all do it.

  21. Irv Says:

    sorry…..problem, not problems

  22. huxley Says:

    @huxley – what percentage of commenters here would have a clean table when engaging someone from the left?

    Big Maq: I think you missed my point, which is that the left is delegitimizing conservative thought before discussion even begins.

    That’s not what happens here or on most conservative forums I have visited. Conservatives generally are willing to listen to the liberal side and argue back, as opposed to immediately shouting them down as a racist, bigot or denier, or censoring or banning them.

    Which isn’t to say, conservatives conduct themselves with the heart and soul of Socrates at all times, but from what I can tell, a liberal gets better treatment on a conservative site than visa-versa.

  23. huxley Says:

    Big Maq: Again, though, my point is not about who manages a “clean table” during a discussion, but that the left is foreclosing discussion by declaring conservative thought and arguments to give so ignorant and despicable that the left need not respond and indeed should not respond lest they legitimize such heinousness.

    Which is basically their strategy against Trump.

  24. Big Maq Says:

    “I think you missed my point, which is that the left is delegitimizing conservative thought before discussion even begins.

    That’s not what happens here” – huxley

    Actually, I see plenty of this here in the comments section, only it is from a right point of view.

    I don’t disagree that there are many on the left who seek to do this.

    We get to see plenty of it from the left, particularly as those ideas are winning out in some of the most visible arenas (though one can argue that electorally the tide seems to be turning).

    But there are plenty more who are far less prone to that behavior and are persuadable.

    May not be on the first conversation. May not be on the 100th conversation.

    It won’t be 100% who will be turned, and certainly no guarantee of success on the first try, and it may not be the one we are talking to, but those who are listening or reading.

    All I do know is that this “debate” is forever. It is not a one time deal where we win once and for all.

    Ultimately, if we are upset that not everyone on the left is going to civilly engage in a debate, what good does it to engage in the same?

    Should we not hold our own to the same standard?

    What would those who are persuadable be more convinced by?

    We often talk about “the left” and generalizing about “them”.

    We are not doing ourselves a service by thinking and acting like “the left” is one monolithic whole. It makes it seem like an unachievable mountain (we only need a consistent 51%).

    AND, worse, it starts with the premise that delegitimizes ALL the people who may hold some leftist views as they are somehow unpersuadable, unchangable.

    We KNOW that is untrue.

    People are individuals, and each has the capacity to change their mind.

    Don’t confuse the actions of some (very visable ones) as true for the whole populace.

    That is my point.

  25. Irv Says:

    Big Maq – You can’t disprove a generality by stating that there are exceptions to it. Of course there are exceptions to any generality. That’s why it’s a generality instead of a rule.

    The trouble with generalities and stereotypes is that they are true of the group they apply to. They are only unreliable when applied individual members of the group. You cannot judge individuals by generalities or stereotypes but you can judge their groups by them.

    Modern day progressives as a group are unpersuaded by evidence to the contrary and most often refuse to even listen to it or even allow it to be spoken. That’s the whole point of political correctness. This is not the case with conservatives on the whole.

    Huxley is right in his evaluation of progressives as a group. You are right about certain individuals but not about the majority of the group.

  26. Big Maq Says:

    “Modern day progressives as a group are unpersuaded by evidence to the contrary and most often refuse to even listen to it or even allow it to be spoken.” – Irv

    Yours is awfully close to circular logic.

    About the only thing this seems to be based on is it that there EXISTS a left, therefore they, in general, mustn’t be “persuadable by the evidence”, mustn’t listen, etc.

    Yet, we have elections and, remarkably, have different results each time.

    Somebody is persuaded one way or another, by someones argument.

    In fact, a whole lot of people are persuaded.

    OF COURSE, there will be many who cannot be persuaded.

    My point is that people, indeed (or in deed), actually take a generality like that and APPLY it as if it were true of every one in that group.

    Think not?

    It sure seems from comments here that many think it hopeless to even bother trying, often citing personal, anecdotal cases.

    This is a grave mistake.

  27. Big Maq Says:

    “You are right about certain individuals but not about the majority of the group.” – Irv

    We need to consistently win 51% of the votes. We seem to be doing this at the state level.

    We ought to regularly shoot for >60% for a buffer.

    But worrying about getting a majority of the left persuaded, while an admirable goal (to, what, push us beyond 75%?), it shouldn’t become an overriding concern.

  28. Ymar Sakar Says:

    About the only thing this seems to be based on is it that there EXISTS a left

    Your problem BM, is that you don’t understand what the Left even is. You have no conception of their chain of command, their religious dogma, their doctrines, their recruiting methods, any of it. You have no context to judge and no education to talk off of.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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