Part 1—Trumpism spotted, denounced: The Washington Post has spent decades inventing and spreading the noxious culture which is now known as Trumpism.
That culture is about to enter the White House in the person of Donald J. Trump. On that basis, the Washington Post has now announced its opposition to the culture it worked to create.
The Post announces its opposition to Trumpism atop the front page of today's hard-copy editions. As the paper announces its opposition, it finally spots the noxious culture it worked so hard to create.
The Post spots and denounces this noxious culture at the start of today's featured news report. In the upper right-hand corner of page A1, reporter Paul Kane starts us off with this:
KANE (11/28/16): President-elect Donald Trump spent Sunday ridiculing Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign for joining a recount effort in Wisconsin, ending his day on Twitter by parroting a widely debunked conspiracy theory that her campaign benefited from massive voter fraud.Fascinating! Let's review the Post's account of what Donald J. Trump said about "millions of people."
As his senior advisers engaged in an escalating feud over who the next secretary of state should be, Trump focused publicly on Clinton’s tally of 64 million votes—more than 2 million beyond what he garnered—by suggesting without evidence that millions of people illegally voted in the election.
In his latest Trumpist adventure, Donald J. Trump issued a tweet about this month's election. But uh-oh! According to the Washington Post, Trump was "parroting" a theory about that election.
Actually, it's worse than that. According to Kane, Trump was parroting a theory "without evidence!" But hold on—Trump's conduct considerably worse that that.
According to the Washington Post, Trump parroted a conspiracy theory without offering any evidence! And it isn't just that Trump did that. The conspiracy theory the great man pimped had already been "widely debunked!"
In this way, we can see the Washington Post announcing its discovery of Trumpism—a culture the Post spent decades inventing. Beyond that, we see the Post signalling its opposition to the noxious practices which define this culture.
Alas! Kane backslides when he says that Donald J. Trump "suggested" that millions of people voted illegally in our recent election. As we see in Kane's next paragraph, Trump did no such thing:
KANE (continuing directly): “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted late Sunday, one of more than 10 tweets on the recount issue.As you can see, Trump didn't "suggest" that millions of people voted illegally in the election. He directly said that millions of people did!
That accusation—spread by conspiracy sites such as Infowars.com and discredited by fact-checking organizations—gained traction among some far-right conservatives disappointed that Trump lost the popular vote.
Kane backslid a bit when he used the word "suggesting;" old habits will often die hard. Still and all, the Post was making an announcement in those opening paragraphs. The Post was announcing its opposition to the practice of inventing fake facts and disseminating those fake facts to people who think they're real.
The Post was announcing its opposition to the aggressive spread of fake facts. This reversal follows several decades in which the Post devoted itself to the invention of this culture.
(In Kane's text, the Post has even announced its discovery of entities called "conspiracy sites," one of which it names. For details concerning past practice, see below.)
The Washington Post performs a flip at the top of this morning's front page. In the process, it also announces a basic fact—the fact that Candidate Trump "lost the popular vote" by more than two million votes!
Transplendently, this means that Candidate Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes. In recent weeks, we have complained, on several occasions, about the way this significant fact was being tossed aside by liberal and mainstream players alike.
This morning, the Post has announced that the public ought to hear the full story about the way its members actually voted. Trump's aggressive, bogus tweet puts a basic fact on display—he regards the fact in question as a significant fact. This is the point we were making over the past several weeks.
In this morning's Post report, we see some remarkable flips. We also catch a glimpse of what we might call the long-standing "loser" culture of our own liberal world.
This "loser culture" helped clear the way for Candidate Trump's ascension to the White House, just as it did for Candidate Bush before him. In the next few weeks, we plan to review the way this "loser culture" has manifested itself over the past twenty-five years.
Left on our own, we liberals will be happy to trundle along in our accustomed manner. We'll be happy to consume articles—childishly, we call them "stories"—telling us about the way The Others are racists.
Happily, we'll tell ourselves that this explains the ascension of the current Trumpist-elect. Left on our own, we'll end the story right there. We'll ignore the ways our own laziness and cluelessness have kept us losing these fights.
In this most recent iteration, we managed to lose an election to the craziest person who ever ran for the White House. Left on our own, it will never enter our heads that this remarkable outcome may suggest something about our own massive lack of insight and talent.
Something about us!
We liberals! We've been happily losing these fights for a good many years. In the next few weeks, we plan to meander back through the ways we've managed to accomplish this task.
As we do, we're going to focus on one of the players the corporate world anointed as a high-profile liberal thought leader. Her mugging and clowning, and her high ratings, make her an obvious point of focus. But many players have played key roles in building the "loser culture" we've enjoyed down through these years.
The Washington Post has now spotted the culture of Trumpism—a culture it spent decades inventing. Left on our own, we liberals will never spot the loser culture in which we wallowed during those same destructive years.
We were never quite able to spot the process by which the Post and the New York Times were helping build the noxious culture now described as Trumpism. Left on our own, we'll never see what this fact says about us.
For that reason, we've volunteered to try to help our tribe's thought process along! The Post has now spotted the culture it made. Will we liberals ever be able to spot the culture which has emerged, live and direct, from the geniuses known as Us?
Tomorrow: Clownishly selling the car
Because we knew you'd ask: According to Nexis, the term "conspiracy site" (or "conspiracy Web site") had never appeared in the hard-copy Post before today's reversal.
Check that! Mike Allen quoted a use of the term long ago. The statement came from the Bush campaign. It was aimed at Candidate Kerry:
ALLEN (10/9/04): Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel, during a Web chat on washingtonpost.com, was asked if Bush wore "any kind of electronic device on his back during the first debate that allowed him to receive information."People, we're just saying! To all intents and purposes, the term "conspiracy site" made its formal debut as part of today's reversal.
"Senator Kerry? Is that you?," Stanzel typed back. "I think you've been spending a little too much time on conspiracy Web sites. Did you hear the one about Elvis moderating tonight's debate?"
Direct discussion of such sites (and orgs) has been long overdue. Trumpism grew as big newspapers ignored such sites and orgs and failed to report what they do.