SADLY, WHERE MATTERS STAND: Trumpism was dominant long before Trump!


Part 3—Cubs/Yankees, Dowdism, Stern:
This morning, in their first half hour, Mika and Joe were feigning outrage about the recent bad behavior of their good friend, Donald Trump.

As usual, Joe did almost all the talking. Cast in her standard subservient role, Mika offered occasional three-word burst of agreement.

All the sidekicks agreed to pretend that their feigned outrage made sense. Every major "journalist" knows: you don't push back on such programs. Careers hang in the balance!

We've been friends with Donald for ten or twelve years, a baffled Joe Scarborough said at one point. And we've never seen him behave in these ways.

On that basis, Mika and Joe were shocked, just shocked, at the way their good friend has behaved toward the Khans. Obviously, their outrage was feigned. It's how the game is played.

Obviously, this was a con. Joe and Mika have never seen Trump behave this way? What about 2011, when pre-candidate Donald J. Trump made himself King of the Birthers?

Does anybody really think that Trump's behavior this past week has been more egregious than what he did back then? Back then, his Trumpism was plain for all to see, unless you were Joe or Mika.

Unless you were the editorial board of the New York Times, which didn't seem to want to condemn the conduct of the great man who's so powerful in New York.

Trumpism was there for all to see long before Donald J. Trump became an actual candidate. But then, Trumpism preceded Trump by many years, in a great many ways.

Donald J. Trump was only one author of these cultural norms. Trumpism boasts a wide array of authors, many of them in the "press corps."

Trumpism infested our world before Candidate Trump. Let's review some of the history:

Journalistic porn: Last Thursday, we reviewed some journalistic porn. That journalistic porn was an obvious form of Trumpism.

Go ahead—review it again!
You'll see an array of major journalists, in June 1999, engaging in the dumbest and ugliest brand of Trumpism as they protest the claim that Hillary Clinton, as a girl, was a fan of the Cubs and the Yankees.

As they heap obloquy on the first lady's head for making a trivial, accurate statement.

Let's say it again. What you will see in those stupid old transcripts is an all-too-familiar outbreak of group journalistic porn. As with Candidate Trump today, so with those Trumpists back then: they invented a phony offense, then hurled a stream of insults at the non-offender.

In their brain-damaged conduct, they committed a journalistic offense against the first lady. More significantly, they committed a similar offense against the American public—against millions of people who didn't know they were being misled, deceived and played.

Their names are rather well-known. Among quite a few others, we're talking about Cokie Roberts, Richard Cohen, George Will, Doris Kearns Goodwin.

They engaged in journalistic porn—and in some rather obvious Trumpism. They invented a false claim, then ranted and railed about an offense which hadn't occurred.

Eight years later, they did it again. This time, the most prominent names among the offenders were Russert and Matthews. But everyone who sat on the panels of these men knew they must play along.

They invented a fact, then ranted and raged. Long before Candidate Trump had emerged, this Spiraling Trumpism.

Creeping Dowdism: Last Sunday, it at last became perfectly clear. Maureen Dowd, the Pulitzer winner, is supporting Candidate Trump.

That said, Dowd has been an obvious Trumpist for years. Because she's a power within the press, other journalists, including "liberal" journalists, have understood that they mustn't speak up.

Way back in 1993, one brave journalist—Katherine Boo—wrote a lengthy piece warning her colleagues about the "Creeping Dowdism." (No link is available.) But sure enough! From that day to this, none of Boo's colleagues have noted the craziness of Dowd.

Dowd is a power within the press. Criticism of such figures simply isn't done.

In large part because of this code of silence, some of Dowd's commenters were surprised by Sunday's column, in which it became all too clear that she is supporting the crazy and ludicrous Trump. We were struck by several comments. Let's cite just these two:
COMMENTER FROM UNKNOWN LOCATION: When I was a teenager living with my parents, I can recall my mom cutting out particularly pointed Maureen Dowd columns and slapping them on our refrigerator for all to enjoy. So I was well inclined to appreciate Dowd's perspectives UNTIL she began to use her columns to belittle and blatantly insult Hilary Clinton. Several years ago, I seriously considered cancelling my subscription to the NYTimes due to Dowd's seemingly unconsidered and personally invested diatribes against then Secretary Clinton. But, I took a more considered route of protest, as did many of my female friends who find Dowd's treatment of Clinton offensive and misogynistic. We have learned to warn each other when not to look at Dowd's columns about Hilary Clinton. I suggest my brethren, other fair minded NYTime's readers who are insulted by her obvious personal bias, do the same. But the deeper concern remains, why the ugliness, Maureen?

COMMENTER FROM MILWAUKEE: Having been a subscriber to the Times since the mid-eighties, I have read Dowd's columns for many years and have come to conclude that her worldview includes the following: 1) Grudges shall remain permanent; 2) opponents can never really reconcile nor people have personal transformations; 3) external statements by public figures always mask some insidious hidden motives.
Alas! The first commenter couldn't see the Trumpism in Dowd until the columnist began savaging Secretary Clinton in misogynistic ways. The misogyny had been there long before, of course. Apparently, the commenter's mother hadn't noticed.

Sensibly enough, the commenter asks where Dowd's "ugliness" comes from. The second commenter notes a key part of this Trumpist derangement: "Grudges shall remain permanent" with Dowd, she accurately says.

Dowd was Trumpist long before Trump! But due to the code of silence, Boo's early warning was thrown away. Citizens weren't warned about the creep of Dowd's derangement.

As to the source of the permanent grudges, we recommend this portrait of life inside Dowd's childhood home. But Dowdism had crept all through our journalism long before the arrival of Candidate Trump. It was a stalking-horse for what is now called Trumpism.

The softening of Stern: This Sunday's New York Times featured this ridiculous profile of the all new and improved and more feminized Howard Stern.

Numbskulls like Stern were degrading the discourse long before Candidate Trump came along. A lot of people liked his nonsense, which led on toward Candidate Trump.

Today, when people cite Trump's degrading comments about women, they are routinely quoting Trump's sessions with Stern. But Stern has long been a powerful player. Anderson Cooper persists in kissing his ascot. The Times keeps penning these dimwitted profiles.

Sternism led to Imusism. Remember when Cokie swore that she'd never go on the program again? In the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz began his report like this:
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."
At the time, we wrote a column in the Baltimore Sun about the dangers of Imusism, but the train just kept rolling along. It was on the old dimwit's ridiculous show that Chris Matthews fashioned one of his greatest moments of Chris Matthewsism.

"Al Gore doesn't even seem American," Matthews said, soon after September 11. It was classic Trumpism, long before Trump's arrival.

This morning, Mika and Joe were shocked, just shocked, by the recent behavior of their old friend. They're two of the biggest fakers we have, and we have quite a collection.

Go back and read the things that were said about the Cubs and the Yankees. You'll be reading pure journalistic porn. You'll be reading a version of Trumpism.

As they delivered that big batch of porn in 1999, those journalists were dumping much larger batches on the head of Candidate Gore. That was classic Trumpism too. It led to a horrible outcome.

Many of our favorite liberals played aggressive roles in the promulgation of that Trumpist porn. The rest of our favorite liberals simply refused to complain.

They were Trumpists long before Trump, long before the ridiculous Candidate Trump arrived on the scene.

Mika and Joe were faking today, as they constantly do. That said, fakery has long been a way of life within our upper-end "press corps."

They've been playing this game for a very long time. Understandably, that commenter's mother didn't know what people like these will do.

Your favorite liberals didn't speak up to warn that commenter's mother. Darlings, careers hung in the balance! Tomorrow, we'll ask a basic question about where matters go from here.

Tomorrow: Who gets to be "stronger together?"


  1. What, Bob disappears things? The Somerby guild is silent as Bob gives them a whiff of Howard Kurtz on Imus but left out one of the people Kurtz blamed in that 1996 column:

    "Ouch! Did the president of the United States (regularly described by Imus as a "fat pantload" and "lying weasel") boycott the radio show after those bits appeared early in his term? Not a chance. Clinton eagerly phoned in and joked about why he once kept Astroturf in the back of his pickup (not, he insisted, for the lascivious reason Imus suggested). But don't look for Bob Dole to make an issue of this cultural degradation -- he's an Imus regular too.

    While Clinton glared angrily at Imus during his off-color routine at the Radio-TV Correspondents Dinner last week, he has done more than anyone else to turn the I-Man into a media superstar. It was during the 1992 New York primary when Clinton strategists decided their man could win Gotham's heart by calling into Imus's show and trading barbs with the local yokel who had tagged Clinton a "redneck bozo." Clinton won the primary, and Imus was on his way to national syndication."

    Your favorite blogger didn't speak up to chastise the President who chose his pal Al.

    1. How does this change Somerby's thesis? Or are you, again, equating leaving things out that contradict what one is writing about, with just leaving something out?

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