CSotD: Seeing Them Damned Pictures

I don’t care a straw for your newspaper articles; my constituents don’t know how to read, but they can’t help seeing them damned pictures. — William M. Tweed, 1875

This NBC poll result was quoted here before, but, then, Tweed’s comment about Thomas Nast has also been quoted and misquoted many places many times.

Dick Turpin to Jack Sheppard: There’s no use talking about it. To them goes the palm. They’ve completely outdone us.”

A crucial difference, as we bear down on the first debate next week and the elections in November, is that I’ve never seen anything that discussed what cartoons may have been running that praised Tweed or that denied the corruption of his Tammany Hall cohorts.

The Tweed quote is nearly always used in a back-patting way, to celebrate Nast’s part in the overthrow and eventually conviction of Tweed. Well, history is written by the victors, and the difference now is that we haven’t established who will be the victors when the year has finished.

What we have established — as shown in that NBC poll, but also in the Dominion Voting Systems trial and the ongoing Smartmatic cases — is that the modern followers of the modern Tammany Hall are still not responsible news consumers.

It’s reasonable, knowing that Tweed’s semi-literate supporters were unlikely to wade through the dense prose of the New York Times, to wonder how many of them ever read Harper’s Weekly and saw them damned pictures?

As noted in that NBC survey, MAGA support is strongest among three groups: Those who don’t follow the news at all, those who get their news from Google and YouTube, and those who get it from cable.

For the latter group, another study indicated that, if exposed to a cable diet that includes sources beyond Fox, once-staunch conservatives tended to moderate their political views, though only temporarily.

So here we are, and if you think them damn pictures are going to solve anything, you should probably click on the link to the NBC poll, if not to that other study. We can’t be smug about people who don’t read unless we do.

Meanwhile, you can’t understand this election if you don’t recognize that today’s voters have plenty of opportunity to avoid seeing them damned pictures and to stay in a carefully curated lane.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Steve Kelley — Creators

Lisa Benson — Counterpoint

Note that both Kelley and Benson deny manipulation of the G7 video, which is not a matter of opinion or of interpretation. The full video clearly shows that Biden had not “wandered off” but had stepped over to congratulate the skydivers until he was called back for a photo op.

British PM Rishi Sunak told the Telegraph, “As far as I know he went over to talk to some of the parachute jumpers, saying thank you or hello to them all individually.”

I guess you had to not be there.

Despite all the fact-checking and sensible rebuttals, the full video is one of them damned pictures that the faithful never see, while the manipulated story has persisted on the sources they do see.

And in case they stumble across fact-checks from NBC NewsPolitiFactUSA Today or The Washington Post, Benson declares those reporters liars, while Kelley proclaims them traitors.

Now a video is circulating that shows the many times Trump has messed up people’s names, and Rob Rogers (Tinyview) explains the difference.

Not that it will matter to the people who don’t see Rogers’ damned pictures either.

Thursday’s debate will be hard to miss, given that most networks and major cable sources plan to cover it. They’ll each have their own pre- and post-debate analyses, but the simulcasting agreement with the producer, CNN, is that they will not be able to break into the debate itself.

However, Chip Bok (Creators) is preparing his audience by explaining that, while Biden cannot talk coherently, Trump is under a gag order, which will be important if the CNN moderators ask the two candidates to doxx jurors or insult the judge in Trump’s recent conviction for fraud.

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

Nick Anderson — Tribune

Gary Varvel — Creators

A study in generalities:

It’s not fair to say that all clergy are child molesters, but Anderson doesn’t say that. Rather, he contrasts the rightwing’s unsubstantiated slander of drag performers with the plain fact that we keep coming across verified examples of pedophiles in the clergy.

“We keep finding them” rather than “they are all” is a carefully delicate but fair phrasing, because not all clergy are guilty, but if you list all the drag performers convicted of molestation and all the clergy convicted of the same offense, the second list would be far longer.

His point is that drag queens are unfairly accused while clergy seem to get a free pass. It’s still an opinion, but presented in a defensible form.

By contrast, Varvel picks up on an absurd accusation, which is that Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is responsible for whatever crimes may be committed by any of the millions of undocumented migrants in this country.

Varvel implies that migrants commit more crimes per capita than native-born American citizens and thus constitute a specific threat.

But, as the Pew Research Center indicates, an increasing number of migrants encountered by Border Patrol are in family groups, hardly a prime source of violent crime.

Statistics also show more Border Patrol encounters, which can be interpreted to equal more illegal entry. It’s not completely illogical: When I was a reporter on the northern border, we assumed that if customs was seizing a lot of drugs, that likely meant a lot was getting through.

But more seizures doesn’t necessarily mean more is getting through: It could mean a greater proportion is not.

I also covered the apple harvest every autumn. Someone on social media remarked that he’d like to hear from an American-born fruit picker who lost his job to a migrant.

I never met that fellow, either, and I met a whole lot of apple pickers. None of them killed me, either.

Perhaps they were too busy earning money to send home. ¿Quién sabe?

Anyway, we started with a cartoon of two legendary highwaymen pondering the Tweed Ring.

Here are some more modern “Highwaymen,” pondering a more modern shame.

3 thoughts on “CSotD: Seeing Them Damned Pictures

  1. @Paul Berge Regarding the LaFollette caricature, the artist you are looking for is Alberto Barreto. There’s a pull page bio of him in the Mar/25/1923 Washington Times (pg 23).

    I apologize for using this forum to send messages to Paul. I don’t know any other way to contact him.

  2. Unfortunately, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to “keep the furriners outta here, and my family safe”. Or at least my economic status unthreatened.

    Probably the best example I ever saw was my late wife’s second husband. She (native born American) met him while living in Montreal (native born Canadian, er, Quebecois) who really wanted to emigrate to the US. They married, she brought him to Virginia, after a respectable period of time he became a naturalized American citizen.

    And which point he immediately turned into a screaming Trumpie, an absolute hater of any form of immigration, and a classic example of, “I got my citizenship, now lock the damned door!” Despite having been friends with the guy going back to the mid 80’s, he’s one of only three people I blocked on Facebook over the 2016 election (two Trumpies, one absolutely intolerant progressive). That bad.

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