SADLY, WHERE MATTERS STAND: Democrats say we're stronger together!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016

Part 4—But who gets to be in the club:
A fascinating semi-discussion occurred on Tuesday's All In. The brief discussion was provoked by Chris Hayes. Essentially, the question was this:

Would liberals and Democrats ever support a candidate as crazy as Trump?

The discussion was quite brief. Inevitably, the conclusion tilted toward "of course not." We would never be as blind as The Others currently are.

Make no mistake! Even with recent drops in Trump's polling, Republican voters continue to support a candidate who is extremely strange—or so he seems to us.

It's natural to assume that our own tribe could never do something so foolish. That said, tribes have been reaching that happy conclusion ever since tribes began.

At the present time, many Republicans and conservatives seem to believe some very foolish things. Belief in Obama's foreign birth would be the craziest belief of them all. It's natural to assume that we liberals could never be so dumb.

Briefly, let's be fair. Disinformation and misinformation have become a very big business in the past three or four decades. Republicans and conservatives were targeted by these corporate hate and disinformation machines long before liberals were.

Sadly, we the people are able to believe a wide array of inaccurate and ridiculous things. Conservatives have made this fact quite clear. But what about us liberals? As our own corporate machines expand, how well are we going to fare?

Obviously, we're susceptible to false belief too. Consider two current examples. One example arises in a front-page report in today's Washington Post.

In our view, Paul Schwartzman's journalism is extremely poor in this front-page report. And no one can say it's because he's so young! Schwartzman has written for major newspapers for more than twenty years.

In hard copy, Schwartzman's report appears beneath this headline: "Police clashes kindle whites' awareness of racism in U.S."

On line, the current headline says this: "Why some whites are waking up to racism."

Are some whites "waking up to racism?" In theory, that would be a good thing, of course.

In this instance, Schwartzman is writing about people's reactions to news about fatal police shootings. In the past year, the Post has assembled a great deal of information on this important topic. In our view, its work has become a bit propagandistic at the same time.

Can we good-hearted liberals be misled by the things we're shown and told? Can we get conned by our purveyors, as has occurred with The Others?

As a general matter, the obvious answer is yes. In this particular instance, Schwartzman's piece is filled with comments by well-intentioned people who may be getting false impressions from the things they're shown and told.

Schwartzman quotes people whose levels of guilt may exceed their levels of clarity. Consider what two women tell him in this part of his report:
SCHWARTZMAN (8/4/16): As for the police, [a 68-year-old white] woman said she is “rethinking” her long-held belief that stories of misconduct were the result of a few bad officers. “You hear about so many you have to wonder if it’s more than a few,” she said.

[...]

A block away, Alanna Mensing, 34, who was walking with her 18-month-old son, said that when she takes the boy to play groups, she thinks about what black children will face when they grow up.

“A few years ago, that would never have occurred to me,” said Mensing, a music teacher. She said she becomes upset when she reads about racial incidents on social media.

“I feel insanely guilty about everything,” Mensing said. “I feel guilty that it’s not white people who are getting shot. It’s always black people.”
In principle, it's good that Mensing increasingly "thinks about what black children will face when they grow up." That said, why does Mensing feel "insanely guilty?"

She says she feels insanely guilty because "it’s not white people who are getting shot. It’s always black people.” Despite all the data the Post has collected, Schwartzman doesn't bother correcting this blatant false statement.

Meanwhile, the older woman has begun to think that we have more than just a few bad police officers. Why is she now thinking that?

Because "you hear about so many," she says.

In theory, it's a good thing when these women wonder about the way their fellow citizens are treated. But by almost any conventional reckoning, it's not a good thing if they're getting false impressions about the way the world actually works, perhaps from selective presentations in major newspapers.

According to the Washington Post's statistical summary, police shoot and kill roughly twice as many whites as blacks. Given the way our purveyors now work, we doubt that either of these women know that. As quoted, their comments plainly suggest that they don't, and Schwartzman hurried ahead without citing his newspaper's data.

(The model, as we've noted before: Collect the data; get a Pulitzer. Never mention the data again!)

Schwartzman's front-page report is lengthy. It's also terrible journalism. We were also struck today by Amanda Marcotte's report for the new and improved Salon, a report about Candidate Jill Stein's handling of vaccine fears.

Are we the progressives getting conned into false beliefs about vaccines? We don't know what the answer is. But of course it's entirely possible.

In our view, conservatives are currently backing a very peculiar candidate. That said, many of those people think they're opposing a demonic figure.

They think that because they've been told that for decades. We the brilliant wonderful liberals sat on our hands and day-dreamed as journalistic and media lynch mobs worked their way all through the land.

Our journalistic leaders failed to warn us about this. They displayed no outrage; they refused to fight back; they continue to fail us to this very day.

On our own, we regular liberal weren't sharp enough, or righteous enough, to discern what was happening. In the absence of genuine intellectual leadership, we failed to be angered by this sort of thing, which went on, day after day, for the past twenty-four years:
KURTZ (3/31/96): Hey, did you hear what Don Imus said about Hillary Clinton? It's a song parody that ridicules how she "fornicates," "menstruates" and "urinates," and includes the refrain: "That's why the First Lady is a tramp."
Our snivelling, careerist pseudo-leaders failed to rise against this. After that, they failed to fight back in the war against Gore. They failed to challenge the lunacy of Maureen Dowd, who is now plainly supporting Trump.

Dearest darlings, it just isn't done! Careers hung in the balance!

Many people who support Trump believe they're opposing a demon. Back in August 1999, they may have been watching Hardball when Chris Matthews gave Gennifer Flowers a full half-hour to discuss the long list of Clinton murders.

They may have believed Gary Aldrich, former FBI agent turned author, who said the heinous Hillary had decorated the White House Christmas tree with miniature crack pipes.

In 1996, his book went to #1 on the New York Times best-seller list.

In our view, conservative voters were very dumb to believe these disgraceful tales. That said, many liberals now believe that police shoot only black people.

It's not the same, we'll hotly insist. The tribal mind has always said that, and it always will.

Our friends and neighbors were very foolish to believe all those crazy claims. That said, Chris Hayes will never tell you about the way his colleague, Chris Matthews, drove this relentless jihad.

Hayes is paid many corporate dollars not to discuss such matters. Instead, he tells us what we humans always long to be told:

The Others think and do crazy things. We Liberals would never do that.

At the Democratic Convention, we were told that this country is "stronger together." In a remarkable example of what is possible, the Khans have been widely and warmly affirmed from all points on the spectrum.

In our own view, Donald Trump is history's craziest candidate. In our view, it ought to be an embarrassment to us liberals—to our ability at outreach and explanation—that he is still polling 40 percent after all the nonsense he's spawned.

That ought be an an embarrassment to us—to our lazy refusal to engage in outreach. But in truth, we enjoy calling The Others racists. It's really the only play we know. It's the one play we truly enjoy.

We laid around and slept in the woods while The Others were being propagandized by major corporate hustlers. Now, we're furious about the crazy things they believe.

Our leaders are faux; we ourselves are weak. And when we say we're "stronger together," let's make sure we all understand what we actually mean"

We mean that we're "stronger together" except for Them. When we say we're stronger together, we don't mean that we'll try to speak, and listen, to Them.

Neal Gabler knows who Those People all are. He told us this week at Salon. He seems to imagine no exceptions to the unflattering picture he paints.

But then, we all seem to know who Those People all are. We humans have known this ever since we first crawled up on the land.

We know that The Other aren't like us. We're stronger when we call them names—when we name-call them instead of denouncing the people who propagandized them.

Stronger together except for Them! It may be too long for a slogan.

17 comments:

  1. When you try to contradict any of the misinformation, conservatives reject what you say as "lies." Because Clinton has been characterized as a liar, anything she says or someone says about her is rejected as false. How then can you contradict misinformation and set the record straight?

    The lie that makes all of the rest of the propaganda possible is that the other side lies.

    On conservative websites, readers were inoculated to the current bump in Clinton's poll numbers by being told that the polls are rigged in her favor. They believe they are winning the election because so many people attend Trump rallies. Any decrease in attendance would be attributed to press lying.

    Any good thing said about Clinton comes from that same biased press. Any bad thing about Trump comes from a press that lies (these are bad people Trump says). If the major press does correct the misinformation, who will hear it?

    Bernie people are just as unwilling to believe anything except what they repeat to each other, and only if it confirms how bad Hillary is and how good Bernie is.

    I just don't see how exhorting the press to do its job is going to fix anything when people will not listen and will not change their views in response to what they read.

    I think a start is to stop consuming internet info because the barrage of shootings from across the country creates the statistical pattern that confirms the mistaken belief that only black people are shot. People will not believe the correction if they keep seeing these stories over and over, confirming their mistaken belief. It isn't what journalists say -- it is what is presented over and over to support the propaganda. Huffington Post's relentless barrage of negative headlines and ugly pictures of Hillary do more damage than a single story about her. The recent ones are all about how she is messing up her campaign by making bad choices. How will a story about media unfairness toward her contradict that image, built up over months, of her looking bad and appearing foolish?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a difficult problem, for sure. I don't have any sure-fire answers, but what I do is try to expect that improvements won't happen immediately, and they sure won't happen for everybody. I try to avoid debates where there's only a difference in viewpoint, and instead point out how the "facts" are spun in a misleading manner, or are sometimes outright incorrect. I state that what's going on is propaganda, and wonder why the purveyors of that propaganda won't play it straight.

      I don't have a lot of obvious success, but I'm hopeful that I'm at least allowing some people to open their eyes somewhat. Each person has to come to their own conclusion, and as citizens it's our job to help them reach the correct conclusions.

      It's also helpful if we don't engage in the mirror-image of the propaganda, because then it's too easy for people to just write-off the whole debate as "both sides do it." Some of my most frustrating conversations are with people who "get" the overall problems with the media and with Trump, but insist that the Republicans are really no different than the Democrats. MSNBC, as Bob exhaustively documents, isn't helpful in that regard.

      Finally, I make an exception to my general rule of avoiding "viewpoint only" debates to at least challenge people to own-up to some of the most ridiculous statements. For example, that Obama and Clinton "hate America," and are trying to destroy our country. All too often that sort of talk passes for meaningless discourse, but it's really toxic and helps set a framework where liberals are automatically placed into a defensive crouch to prove, somehow, that they're not agents of an imagined enemy. I don't argue the point with them, but I repeat it and ask them if they really believe what is on its face an outlandish statement. Again, I'm not batting 1.000, and I'm probably not even at the Mendoza Line, but I'm at least trying to push-back a little bit.

      Delete
    2. One more thing - I recommend that people read The Daily Howler, which helped me understand that the claim of "liberal bias" in the media was a bunch of malarkey. Again, I don't know if anyone actually listens to my advice, but if some people do then I think we have a chance to change some minds.

      Delete
    3. Hi. Im 25years old and I was with my ex for 3years after a year of being together we moved in with eachother with my daughter who calls my ex daddy our relationship was great living apart but once we moved in with eachother the arguments started and my trust issues. I always use to get funny about him going down the pub with his mates while im at home and we then ended up falling out and he would be gone all night and come in at like 3-4am drunk. I also use to get funny about him going away on holiday with his mates every year. I know him breaking up with me was my fault but not sure why he broke up with me anyway money was getting tight living together so we decided to move out and he go back to his mums and I get a place for me and my daughter we argued alot at that point because of the stress trying to find somewhere to live he said he wanted to go on a months break after moving out so we can clear our heads 3weeks into our break me text me saying we’re over I was really upset because I love him so much I was always texting him and ringing him saying I love him give me another chance then he blocked my number so I couldn’t contact him do then I message him on fb asking about my daughter as she was going on about how she doesn’t understand why she’s nit seeing daddy anymore he replies with contact me once your over me and I will have contact with your daughter.so I left it a week and even though im not over him still till this day I messaged him saying I was over him so he replies with im glad to hear your over me we will arrange something for me to see your daughter. I still love him and I wanted him back i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Prophet Akim,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and im sure he will never leave me again. i am so happy now,you can also get in touch with akim on his email .(prayerstosavemarriage@hotmail.com) :)

      Delete
  2. Here is an example from conservative treehouse (https://theconservativetreehouse.com/). They bravely predicted that after the DNC, Hillary would be reported (by a devious press) as receiving a 10-15 pt bounce in the polls. Today Fox reported a 10 point bounce and their reaction is:

    "How can CTH predict, weeks in advance, what Fox News Polling will present to their audience? Common sense would tell you it should be impossible to predict weeks and months in advance. After all, polls should be entirely random, based on current events.

    d9d51-mouse-mission-impossibleIf media polling was truly scientific, and not manipulated by the corporate media entities producing them, we couldn’t accurately predict. But they’re not, and we can.

    Actually, the entire reason we deliver these predictions to you is because there’s no other good or reasonable way to show people they are being “gaslighted” by professional MSM deceivers.

    No-one, NO-ONE, wants to believe they are being intentionally deceived. No-one wants to believe there are people actually paid to deliver false information. But there are; and they only way to avoid being labeled as “conspiracy theorists“, is to put the prediction front and center, invite the ridicule, and then stand back when the reality is exactly what we’ve said it would be."

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kevin Drum says: "On another subject, I've gotten several questions about why I'm not doing a Hillary Clinton roundup each day. It's because she's not doing much."

    Actually Clinton is doing a lot. She is touring swing states and talking about how she will bring manufacturing jobs to those areas, presenting her plans for helping those hit by globalization. That's a lot in my opinion.

    She isn't committing gaffes and making scandalous statements. So she isn't doing a lot. That's the problem with our press in a nutshell. No scandal, no coverage.

    I get it that Drum's daily Trump coverage is a roundup of his outrageousness, but his phrasing of why Hillary isn't included "She isn't doing a lot" speaks volumes.

    Hillary rules: She only gets press when she does or is accused of doing something wrong.

    That creates a pattern in people's minds that she always does wrong things, always lies, is always greedy or manipulative or whatever the current accusation happens to be. Nothing positive appears to balance that perception, so she winds up being perceived as evil, no matter what anyone says to help her out.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, good point. Very astute observation.

      Hillary Clinton had started her primary campaign going around the country on a listening tour, meeting people in their communities in small groups.

      But the media never showed us, preferring instead to carry Trump wall to wall, every rally he had, from beginning to end. Usually, just to be sure we wouldn't miss a second, we were treated to 10-15 minutes of an empty podium with commentators breathless with anticipation.

      Delete
    2. Saw this on twitter today.

      Take a look at 40 years of media sexism.
      It is amazing and deeply disturbing when you see the pattern that has persisted her entire public life.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSYZ12LGVxw

      Delete
    3. On the academic side, there is a literature documenting the ways in which women who violate gender norms are punished. That is what is happening to Hillary.

      If you try to succeed in a non-traditional field, first they criticize the quality of your work, trying to find ways in which it is substandard. If your work is bad, they are justified in holding you back. If your work is exemplary, they criticize your personality and character. A woman who is not a team player, too assertive (pushy, aggressive), too detail-oriented (not a big-picture thinker), not ambitious enough (mommy track), too angry or strident, or irritating in some unspecified way, is clearly someone others are justified in holding back.

      That is what is happening to Hillary.

      She has had to become damned near perfect and now people are calling her smug. Her patience with the relentless nonsense is her most impressive quality, in my opinion.

      Delete
  4. Hi. Im 25years old and I was with my ex for 3years after a year of being together we moved in with eachother with my daughter who calls my ex daddy our relationship was great living apart but once we moved in with eachother the arguments started and my trust issues. I always use to get funny about him going down the pub with his mates while im at home and we then ended up falling out and he would be gone all night and come in at like 3-4am drunk. I also use to get funny about him going away on holiday with his mates every year. I know him breaking up with me was my fault but not sure why he broke up with me anyway money was getting tight living together so we decided to move out and he go back to his mums and I get a place for me and my daughter we argued alot at that point because of the stress trying to find somewhere to live he said he wanted to go on a months break after moving out so we can clear our heads 3weeks into our break me text me saying we’re over I was really upset because I love him so much I was always texting him and ringing him saying I love him give me another chance then he blocked my number so I couldn’t contact him do then I message him on fb asking about my daughter as she was going on about how she doesn’t understand why she’s nit seeing daddy anymore he replies with contact me once your over me and I will have contact with your daughter.so I left it a week and even though im not over him still till this day I messaged him saying I was over him so he replies with im glad to hear your over me we will arrange something for me to see your daughter. I still love him and I wanted him back i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Prophet Akim,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and im sure he will never leave me again. i am so happy now,you can also get in touch with akim on his email .(prayerstosavemarriage@hotmail.com) :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You write: "In our view, conservative voters were very dumb to believe these disgraceful tales. That said, many liberals now believe that police shoot only black people."

    Your evidence for this bombastic claim seems to be a Post story you criticize as a sloppy.

    Two points: first, could it be that this Post story deliberately chose these individuals to make you draw the lazy conclusion you've drawn? Inquiring minds want to know! Second, indeed there exist people on the left who believe silly things like this. Can you provide a sense of scale? Are they as numerous as birthers on the right? Inquiring minds want to know!

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  6. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 8, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    The number of birthers versus the number of people who believe police only shoot black people is irrelevant. Assuming you support progressive issues, the conservative media does not care what you think and (hopefully) you do not support them. However, "liberal" media source should care about what you think, since they do want your support. If there is going to be any hope at all for professional journalism in this country, you are going to have to complain (loudly) about *liberal* media laziness and mistakes in order to (hopefully) move our national discourse in the direction of facts, not just insults. This blog is not a criticism of liberal ideas, but a criticism of liberal tolerance of bad journalism.

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    Replies
    1. Irrelevant to you. Not to sane people capable of caring about more than their political tribe.

      Delete
  7. Clinton is a globalist sociopath. There's not really room to debate it. She wants the full globalist package, and presumably most liberals do as well (despite a great deal of support for Sanders). Which is strange because there's nothing at all liberal about Hillary Clinton.

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  8. Let me repeat: DH said the Post article was sloppy, then he used the sloppy Post article as evidence of a more general failing among liberals. This may be the case, but (1) he should have more robust evidence of this--more robust than a sloppy, narrative-driven Post article just criticized and (2) he should provide a meaningful sense of scale. By the way, it's obvious the DH is criticizing lazy liberal thinking (fostered by lazy journalism presumably). But lest the DH itself be guilty of laziness, it ought to answer some basic questions.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How I Got My Ex Husband Back...........

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    ReplyDelete
  10. How I Got My Ex Husband Back...........

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    ReplyDelete