Is Donald J. Trump a white supremacist?

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2019

The Times tries to puzzle it out:
If someone asked us if we think that Donald J. Trump is a white supremacist, we know how we would answer.

The exchange would start as shown below. We don't know what would come next:
QUESTION: Do you think Donald J. Trump is a white supremacist?

ANSWER: We're not sure what you mean. What does a person have to do, or have to believe, to be a white supremacist?
We don't know where the exchange would go from there. But that's the way it would start.

This morning, the New York Times asked a new fact-check team to fact-check a variant of this question. We were struck by the sad-sack way they proceeded.

Taylor and Rueb are the new fact-checkers. They worked, somewhat loosely, from recent remarks by Tucker Carlson. But the first of their four fact-checks went exactly like this:
RUEB AND TAYLOR (8/9/19): WHAT MR. CARLSON SAID:

"[President Trump] never endorsed white supremacy, or came close to endorsing white supremacy. That’s just a lie."

In a speech on Monday, after the attacks in Texas and Ohio, Mr. Trump cited the threat of “racist hate” and denounced white supremacy.

“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Mr. Trump said at the White House. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”

Despite that call for unity, Mr. Trump’s critics say he is responsible for the rise in racial division in the country. Among their examples: his false claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States; his campaign statement that Mexican immigrants were “rapists”; his claim that there were “very fine people on both sides” of a clash between white nationalists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.; and, most notably, his recent tweets saying four minority congresswomen should “go back” to their countries. (All are United States citizens, and three of them were born in America.)
There you see the team's first fact-check of Carlson. Trump has "never endorsed white supremacy," Carlson recently said. In theory, Taylor and Rueb were fact-checking that statement by Carlson.

How did they fact-check Carlson's claim? This is what they did:

First, they spent two paragraphs quoting recent statements in which Trump denounced white supremacy. They never offered any statement in which Trump has endorsed this point of view or belief.

After that, they offered a longer paragraph, reporting that Trump's critics "say he is responsible for the rise in racial division in the country." It isn't especially hard to agree with Trump's critics on that point. But is that supposed to mean that he is a white supremacist? Taylor and Rueb didn't say.

Included in the incidents cited by Taylor and Rueb is a somewhat shaky account of Trump's famous statement about those “very fine people on both sides" of whatever it is he was talking about in the several days of chaos in Charlottesville. Just for what used to be known as the record, Trump explicitly said that he condemned white nationalists at several points during the post-Charlottesville press conference from which the quote is taken.

So there you have the fact-check! In fairness, it's hard to say that Taylor and Rueb ever quoted Donald J. Trump endorsing white supremacy. No one forced Taylor and Rueb to examine that particular statement by Carlson. But does the lack of contradiction mean that we're supposed to regard Carlson's statement as true?

A bit of background:

Many tribals became upset this week about a front-page New York Times headline. Many people thought, not unreasonably, that the headline gave a remarkably simple-minded account of a situation which was much more complex.

That said, the Times has been doing such work for decades. The Times often seems more like a fatuous upper-class social club than like a serious, competent newspaper.

The paper employs about three million writers. Again and again and again and again, they don't seem able to analyze or reezun reel gud. There are also some exceptions.

We pondered this state of affairs for the ten millionth times as we read this morning's fact-check. The work seemed under-cooked all the way through—but then, the work appeared in the New York Times, and they've functioned this way forever.

They graduate from the finest schools, then end up doing work like this. Our systems are failing from the top down. The Hamptons-based Times is an excellent place to see this process in action.

40 comments:

  1. "Is Donald J. Trump a white supremacist?"

    I have no idea, but since he clearly is a better president than any liberal alternative, then if indeed he is, I have to conclude that a white supremacist is better than a liberal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I have to conclude that a white supremacist is better than a liberal."

      Conservativism (rightly) in a nutshell.

      Delete
    2. I too would choose white supremacist over an infanticidal leftist any day. Glad I don't have to, and can vote for Trump.

      Delete
    3. 4:07 = typical big government loving Right -winger.

      Delete
  2. “We're not sure what you mean. What does a person have to do, or have to believe, to be a white supremacist?”

    Is Somerby really ignorant of the term “white supremacy?” Even if in his long life he has never had occasion to ponder the term, despite its importance in our history, then that it is testimony to an amazingly sheltered life or poor education, but at the very least he could *google* the term. Perhaps it is faux ignorance.

    White supremacists don’t always clearly identify themselves as such. The El Paso shooter was called a white supremacist by many, including Ted Cruz. Even Trump has condemned white supremacy, so he (or his writers) apparently have an idea of what it is, and assumed that we do too and do not feel the need to go through long, detailed explanations of the term.

    The problem for Trump is that the shooter echoed Trump’s rhetoric about an “invasion” by Latinx immigrants. By this and other means, some of which were detailed in the Times fact check, Trump manages to stoke the kinds of fear, anger, and resentment that activate shooters like the El Paso shooter. Whether that makes Trump a white supremacist or just an exploiter of white supremacy is in the end irrelevant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The problem for Trump is that the shooter echoed Trump’s rhetoric about an “invasion” by Latinx [sic] immigrants."

      Why would it be a problem for Mr Trump, dembot?

      Shouldn't it be, in fact, a problem for the open-borders liberal zombies, given that this particular liberal mania is, apparently, driving people crazy?

      Delete
    2. You are suggesting that conservatives respond to a rational policy debate by going crazy and committing mass murder.

      Seems about right.

      Delete
    3. "Trump manages to stoke the kinds of fear, anger, and resentment that activate shooters like the El Paso shooter. "

      Congratulations, you just activated the next mass shooter who is an Antifa sympathizer like the one in Dayton or who shares the mentality of the one who almost killed dozens of congresscritters playing baseball.

      Democrat rhetoric is getting people killed.

      Delete
    4. 6:39

      In what way does your comment refute or rebut mine? If Democratic rhetoric can incite violence, then so can Republican rhetoric.

      Specifically, how have you refuted the idea that Trump’s rhetoric, which the El Paso shooter specifically mentioned, can lead to violence?

      Delete
    5. You're arguing that if not for the rhetoric, the acts would not happen.

      In reality these people are pissed off and irrational and they will find an excuse to kill.

      Delete
    6. 8:29
      No one has argued any such thing. Rhetoric can and does *sometimes* incite violence.

      You also seem to be contradicting 6:39, who believes that rhetoric can indeed incite violence. Are you 6:39?

      Delete
    7. "You are suggesting that conservatives respond to a rational policy debate by going crazy and committing mass murder."

      You're right that liberal bullshit is abundant and annoying, dembot. Thanks for your illustration. And occasionally, indeed, it can be linked to homicidal violence (such as cop-killings).

      In this case, however, please concentrate on the liberal open-borders enterprise, on tens of millions of illegals in the country, and how the resulting socioeconomic conditions infuriate millions of affected citizens.

      Delete
    8. See? Not all 60+ million Trump supporters are bigots. There are at least a dozen of them like Mao, who puts up with the bigotry, because Trump gives his friends in the Establishment everything they want.

      Delete
  3. The New York Times is obsessed with Trump. E.g., they had an article today, The Legacy of Toni Morrison about this great writer, who just passed away. Although she and her writings had nothing to do with Trump, the article nevertheless threw in Trump's alleged fascism and white nationalism. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/09/opinion/roxane-gay-toni-morrison.html?fbclid=IwAR2cCHP1Y95Z_e0VBDWzGDtVFjr27UgK3sqfCrLYr7B39NRner_RyO7WcKM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your comment is off topic, but wrong as usual. Here’s what Toni Morrison wrote in the wake of Trump’s election:
      “Making America White Again
      The choices made by white men, who are prepared to abandon their humanity out of fear of black men and women, suggest the true horror of lost status.”
      By Toni Morrison, November 14, 2016

      (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/11/21/making-america-white-again)

      Delete
    2. @5:31 - you're right about the off-topic. And, you're technically right that Morrison wrote an article critical of Trump. But, she was a great literary figure with enormous achievements. Her one article about Trump is an insignificant part of her contributions to literature.

      Delete
    3. And what, pray tell, were her contributions to literature?

      Delete
  4. "Despite that call for unity, Mr. Trump’s critics say he is responsible for the rise in racial division in the country."

    Lie.

    Look at the data. Look what happened precisely when MSNBC with Al Sharpton and the insane left decided to destroy the improved race relations progress over the previous years, with lies about Trayvon Martin and Ferguson.

    Democrats did this.

    https://news.gallup.com/poll/1687/race-relations.aspx



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6:54
      What are you on about? A poll asking opinions about something as abstract as race relations doesn’t translate into any meaningful data about the actual state of race relations. It’s just people’s opinions, and past opinions to boot. Some of the gaps in data acquisition are quite large .

      There might be polls about what people think, but does that translate into reality?

      Methinks it be too crude a tool on such a complex question. And it speaks not, in any relevant way, as to your contention that "Despite that call for unity, Mr. Trump’s critics say he is responsible for the rise in racial division in the country," is a “lie”. Where’s your poll on that question? Does it have graphs? When was it taken, one might ask.

      See what you’ve got yourself into? Your opinion might well coincide with those of Mao, or DinC. If that’s what you meant to convey – well done!

      Leroy

      Delete
  5. This is Dialectic 101. TDH proposed to force the questioner to advance his/her own definition of "white supremacist". Without that, there could be no progress towards actually understanding each other or reaching any agreement about anything (even what they might disagree about). Otherwise they would just be batting labels back and forth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except there is no ambiguity about the term.

      White supremacy:
      “the belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and should therefore dominate society.”

      Delete
    2. Good point, @8:38. The ambiguity arises from the bizarre "evidence" Trump's opponents use to "prove" that he's a White supremacist. He has never said words along the lines of this definition. His most popular appointee wasn't white. He has repeated denounced White supremacists. It seems that many people's working definition of the term is "White supremacist" means "any conservative."

      Delete
    3. David, you need to realize that Trump is making appeals to white supremacists. He is doing it deliberately, since they are ardent supporters of his. All his “denials” notwithstanding. This doesn’t mean that all Trump supporters are white supremacists. It doesn’t mean you are. But they are an important component of his base, and he is well aware of this. There’s no shame in admitting this aspect of Trump’s behavior.

      You should also realize the detrimental effect this is having on your party.

      Delete
    4. @9:29 I know that many people believe this. However, Trump has specifically denounced white supremacists. Denouncing white supremacists would seem to be the opposite of making appeals to them.

      Delete
    5. David, you willfully ignore the obvious - Trump's "denouncement" was read off a teleprompter in a bizarre, halting monotone, Trump did this on purpose to show he was not being genuine. Compare that to his tone when at a rally he found it quite amusing when he wondered what the solution was to dealing with non whites and a fan yelled "shoot them", prompting joyful laughter from Trump.

      Delete
    6. BTW how did the term "white supremacist" replace "racist"? "White supremacist" is a more serious charge. "Racism" is just prejudice. OTOH it's a bigger deal to believe that white people should have control over people of other races. Yet, Trump's enemies seem to use the words interchangeably. Put another way, the same evidence that would demonstrate racism is now claimed to demonstrate white supremacy.

      Delete
    7. Have to agree with you, 11:17, for once. While I find your support for Trump absolutely deplorable, the terms racsist and white supremacy are stumbling blocks to describe Trump. Personally, I like the term “bigot.” But in truth, I don’t think he gives a shit about anybody but himself. He fucks over anyone, no matter what color, as long as it promotes his brand: Himself.

      I mean, just look at this.

      What is one to make of it? Putting aside the poster’s obvious bias, what are we to think of this photo- op? What did you think when the Dumpster tossed out paper towels to victims of Hurricane Maria?

      Can I have the other side insofar as there is one in describing this event?

      Leroy

      Delete
    8. I agree with you about the photo, Leroy.

      Delete
    9. The family of the deceased father of the baby requested that Trump meet with them, and they had a heartwarming interaction. Democrats are filled with hate.

      Delete
    10. "Tito Anchondo, whose brother and sister-in-law were killed in the attack, chose to take his orphaned nephew to meet the president and first lady. The 2-month-old boy suffered two broken fingers, but he survived the shooting after his parents shielded him.

      Anchondo told The Washington Post he wanted to take the boy to meet the president and tell him about his family.

      “He was just there as a human being, consoling us and giving his condolences,” Anchondo said of Trump."

      Delete
    11. "Democrats are filled with hate."

      It's good. If a picture of politician holding a child makes them throw a hissy fit, that can only mean one thing: their zombie cult is in the last throes.

      The last stage of zombie decomposition.

      Delete
    12. Love and babies are like poison to the zombie cult.

      Delete
    13. Wow. 6:19 sure comes across as a snowflake.
      I (don't at all) wonder if that is because every Right-wing accusation is a confession.

      Delete
  6. @David Stein
    You claim Somerby is engaged in dialectics, or asks that others engage in it.

    But he constantly uses terms such as “virtue signaling”, or “mainstream media”, “media”, “playing the race card”, or even “liberal” without stating precisely what he means by them. His arguments fail to be clear because of this deficiency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and yet he demands rigorous methodology from others, he is an old goose

      Delete
    2. @9:55PM Well, you're right, to some extent. It might pay to question what is meant by any number of terms. But you can only focus on one at a time. The post was about "white supremacist". And I happen to agree with TDH that the current mud wrestling match over "Is Trump a white supremacist?" cries out for dialogue concerning what exactly it would take make him count as one (as opposed to the "I know one when I see one" punt). I have my own view on this, of course. But I sure wish everyone would agree with me. Like it or not, there's only one way possible for me to ever see that wish satisfied. Somehow they would have to come to see it differently than they do now. Chances are, that will never happen unless they can somehow be brought to examine their own thinking and use of words, if only to answer my annoying question, but maybe even to try to convince me. Naturally, either one of us might "lose" and have to revise some of our opinions. Or we could just refuse to play and call it a day, or resume name-calling.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  8. Media obsession with race - in compliance with Dem socialists - is a frightening prospect. NYTs knowingly jettisoned balance and proudly disregards sacred journalistic tenets because why??? As fat people know they're fat...NYTs knows it's become propaganda. They're comfortable being obese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What was the tell?
      When they pretended to care that Republicans were pretending to care about the use of private email servers by government emplyees?

      Delete