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CSotD: Truth or Illusion, George

We’ll let New Yorker cartoonist Lila Ash lead off today, though I’m hoping it won’t take months for the nattering nabobs to stop talking about caucuses.

I’d like today’s New Hampshire Primary to shift their attention away from whatever happened or didn’t happen or should have happened in Iowa, not because what happens here will be any more significant but because I’m (A) tired of hearing about Iowa and (B) not convinced it matters much.

 

So I woke up this morning to find reports on Dixville Notch on my feed, which is not a huge improvement.

One of the frustrations of working in local media is that you know when somebody gets it wrong, and thank god it’s not anyone I work with anymore.

Sometimes there are good reasons for swapping the who-did-what in a traffic accident or which direction the cars were headed, if the off-the-cuff information you get from police on deadline differs from what they file once they’ve sat down and gone over their notes.

But sometimes you get it wrong because it’s your own notes that aren’t clear.

The issue is that there are Will Rogers types who distrust the media because they think it makes them look smart, and you shouldn’t feed into their smug nitwit anarchy.

For instance, Dear Leader was selling his theory at a rally last night that busloads of people from Massachusetts came up to vote here in 2016, raising the question of whether he is deliberately lying or is genuinely delusional.

Either way, his loyal lemmings will vote based on the nonsense they are told.

The myth of Dixville Notch, comparatively, is only annoying, not crucial, since Mike Bloomberg is no more likely than Mike Bloomfield to become the Democratic nominee.

The real point is that everyone in New Hampshire knows the whole Dixville Notch thing is bullshit and that nobody really lives there anymore, unless they’re doing it without electricity or running water.

In the On the Media broadcast I mentioned yesterday, Brooke Gladstone not only points out the hype but criticizes NH media for boosting something they know is not true.

 

Meanwhile, as Bernie Sanders (78) and Pete Buttigieg (38) duke it out for the win here in the Granite State, with Warren and Klobuchar fighting for third place, Mike Thompson dismisses them as old white men.

Plus I saw some pundit on social media say Granite Staters doubt a woman could get elected, which would come as a surprise to the three-out-of-four members of our Congressional delegation who possess two X-chromosomes each.

 

 

John Deering may have the best perspective on this, and it sure feels like he’s been in the newsroom.

It’s rarely — outside of Fox News and talk radio — a case of anyone purposely twisting the news to fit a political agenda.

Rather, it’s almost always a case of someone having already decided what the story is and then shoehorning the facts into a prescribed narrative. The only “agenda” is an unwillingness to shift directions on a story you’ve got half-written in your head.

Which can mean reporting on a black suspect differently than a white suspect, or mentioning how a woman is dressed when you wouldn’t have included that about a man.

It can also mean cruising lazily on the well-accepted idea that the Iowa Caucuses were a complete and total disaster rather than simply an odd glitch.

Or that there are registered voters living in Dixville Notch, NH.

And let me add that I have been on both sides of the reporter’s notebook and I know what it’s like to find out something that requires you to start your line of questioning all over again.

But I also know what it’s like to be interviewed by a reporter who is only there to get quotes to fill out a story he has already roughed out in his head.

Worst Drinking Game Ever: Turn on a political talk show and take a drink every time someone says, “Well, wait a minute …” and changes their line of questioning.

You don’t even need a bottle.

 

Well, wait a minute …

I like Nick Anderson‘s cartoon, particularly in light of Dear Leader announcing that he wishes we had China’s policy towards drug dealers:

I don’t know that our country is ready for that, but if you look throughout the world, the countries with a powerful death penalty — death penalty — with a fair but quick trial, they have very little if any drug problem. That includes China.

Perhaps someone should remind him that political show trials in those countries are also fair, quick and fatal, and that he should be glad that his dragged on a bit, even if it (similarly) didn’t involve hearing witnesses or viewing evidence.

In any case, I’ve said that I was neither surprised nor scandalized by his reassignment (not “firing”) of Alexander Vindman or his dismissal of Ambassador Sondland, because you want to work with people who support your agenda.

However, there’s a substantial “wait a minute” when it comes to Vindland’s brother, who not only wasn’t subpoenaed and didn’t testify but who doesn’t work anywhere near the president.

Though I suppose Nick is right and at least Trump hasn’t begun to follow the example of his buddy from Saudi Arabia.

Yet.

But, once again, the notion that Senate Republicans will act to moderate the President is nonsense, which brings us to this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Bill Bramhall)

(Rob Rogers)

At least Rogers gave the poor guy a lovely bunch of coconuts; Bramhall really left him high and dry.

Here’s a bet I’d stand behind: Mitt regularly hears from colleagues who express their support for him. But only in private; he’ll never get any real support that matters in any material fashion.

If I were Mitt, I’d be wishing I’d been elected in 2014, not 2018. “Four more years” takes on a different meaning when it’s “four more years alone on the island.”

Maybe we’ll get him some more useful colleagues in November so he can put that time to good use.

 

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
February/11/2020
@ 9:57 am

At least Mitt stood to the Flaming Cheeto. Others were, by their own words, “too scared” to do so.

Funny how we dont see that in an editorial cartoon.

#2 Mike Peterson
February/11/2020
@ 11:47 am

Not so much in Bramhall’s but directly in Rogers’.

#3 Hank Gillette
February/11/2020
@ 8:08 pm

I don’t dispute the fact that Trump can remove people from the National Security Council or recall diplomats. They serve at the president’s pleasure.

The sickening part of it is the way he had Vindman escorted out the way people are when they are suspected of wrongdoing. He is trying to besmirch Vindman’s reputation, the same way he did with Ambassador Yovanovitch. In both cases he could have removed them without fuss, but he chose to try to hurt them.

The thing to remember is that Donald Trump is all about revenge. His philosophy is, “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard.”

#4 Cindy Moore
February/11/2020
@ 10:08 pm

Mike, you said, “It’s rarely — outside of Fox News and talk radio — a case of anyone purposely twisting the news to fit a political agenda.” That isn’t true any longer.

Listening to the Fresh Air interview of McKay Coppins today, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as he detailed exactly how the Trump re-election campaign is and will be purposely twisting the news. I recommend reading his unsettling article at the Atlantic:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/03/the-2020-disinformation-war/605530/

Coppins:
“Every presidential campaign sees its share of spin and misdirection, but this year’s contest promises to be different. In conversations with political strategists and other experts, a dystopian picture of the general election comes into view—one shaped by coordinated bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-targeted fearmongering, and anonymous mass texting. Both parties will have these tools at their disposal. But in the hands of a president who lies constantly, who traffics in conspiracy theories, and who readily manipulates the levers of government for his own gain, their potential to wreak havoc is enormous.”

And he points out that “pro-Trump forces are poised to wage what could be the most extensive disinformation campaign in U.S. history. Whether or not it succeeds in reelecting the president, the wreckage it leaves behind could be irreparable.”

The means could easily destroy the end.

#5 Madhusudan Kumar Lal
February/20/2020
@ 6:03 am

I Like that

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