What people were told on Fox last night!

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2019

Donald Trump does the right thing:
Let's return to those opening lines from Robert Frost's last great poem:
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail
, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you'll let a guide direct you
Who only has at heart your getting lost...
Plainly, we're currently living in a time which is "now too much for us"—a time which isn't "simple" at all.

Our three million local, state and federal laws are bewilderingly complex. So are our society's three million "checks and balances."

The most basic facts—about health care spending, let's say—are, by system-wide agreement, never reported or discussed. There are a wide array of players, foreign and domestic, in the various Trump/Rudy undertakings.

Then too, we have our cable nets, which offer a wide array of contradictory accounts of the day's leading events.

Consider something we the people were told last night on Fox. The report concerned the amended testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

On liberal cable, the amended testimony was treated as "explosive." Beyond that, the amended testimony is described in this morning's featured front-page reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

In those precincts, the testimony was extremely significant. But people who were watching Fox received a vastly different impression at roughly 8:15 last night.

Tucker Carlson was on the air. The full report went like this:
CARLSON (11/5/19): Well, House Democrats released transcripts of the testimonies of two key figures in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Now, we're not going to spend the next hour talking about this, because it's not that interesting. We want to bring you up to date on what has happened. And so to do that, we're joined tonight by Fox's Gillian Turner. Gillian!

TURNER: Hey, Tucker. So these two transcripts released by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff today are really the first we're seeing of, you know, what people who have firsthand direct knowledge of how President Trump has been conducting foreign policy towards Ukraine. And they're pretty telling, Tucker.

E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland
, asked about a meeting in the Oval Office with Secretary Perry and Kurt Volker, says President Trump repeatedly directed him to talk to Rudy Giuliani, saying, "He wasn't even specific about what he wanted us to talk to Giuliani about. He just kept saying: Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy."

But he also says he called President Trump back in September and asked him point blank, What do you want from Ukraine? To which President Trump answered, "I want no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do the right thing."

Now, another key exchange from Ukraine Envoy Kurt Volker's testimony highlights these major policy disagreements between President Trump and the diplomatic corps over U.S. military involvement in foreign countries.

Volker was asked about moves to beef up Ukraine's military defenses against Russia while he was serving as Special Envoy. The question goes, "How do you reconcile that with the decision to freeze military assistance to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars to Ukraine? Why did that not strike you as highly problematic to U.S. national security or to our national security interest?"

To which Volker answers, "It did strike me as problematic and therefore I acted immediately to argue that this has to be reversed and we have to keep the assistance going."

Tucker, the next big ticket item everybody here on Capitol Hill is now waiting for is testimony from John Bolton that's slated for Thursday. So far, his attorney has not said he is going to be a no show, so there is a little bit of hope that he is going to appear here today.

But if the track record so far this week is anything to go by, we're getting a lot of crickets over here on Capitol Hill.
That was the full report. On MSNBC, the new transcripts were explosive. But for people watching Fox, there were "a lot of crickets over here on Capitol Hill."

Sundland said Trump had done the right thing. Volker said that he himself had behaved the same way. That was the full report.

It's impossible to run a modern society when news and information are dispensed in such ways. The most remarkable fact of all may be this:

As a general matter, big news orgs like the New York Times don't report, or critique, the various things which get said at orgs like Fox. When millions of people are given reports like the one we've posted above, that isn't regarded as news.

Early in this century, we repeatedly said that crazy claims by Rush and Sean should be reported as news. When millions of people are misinformed in significant ways, that needs to be treated as news.

According to the Atlantic's Jezelle Lanie, Frost's poem depicts an enormous grief about the way "humans’ carefully built structures of order and meaning must give way to the indifferent natural laws of death, erosion, and decay."

The walls of our failing society have been crashing into the sea for decades now. A modern society simply can't function in the face of such stressors as these.

14 comments:

  1. Where would we be without corporate propaganda?

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  2. Sorry to disappoint you, dear Bob, but Fox News these days (and Mr Carlson specifically) is so, so much better than all your goebbelsian zombie media. No question about that.

    As a side note: how is it that for your zombie politicians, delaying military aid to the neo-nazi scum killing (as they used to say about Mr Hussein of Iraq) 'their own people' in eastern Ukraine, is "highly problematic to U.S. national security or to our national security interest"?

    Why would it be "problematic" to you zombies (other than 'Orange Man Bad'), when your own Demigod Barry, during His Spectacular reign, flatly refused to provide this exactly sort of military aid?

    Especially during the days of when the peace process in really working, and the troops are being pulled back by both sides there?

    I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this, dear Bob. Assuming you have any.

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    1. Yet Trump increased the military budget. Seems even peace is no excuse to stop funding The Donald's elite Establishment defense contracting pals.

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  3. The transcripts weren’t described as “crickets”, the no-show witnesses were.

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  4. "Plainly, we're currently living in a time which is "now too much for us"—a time which isn't "simple" at all."

    The detail, or lack thereof, is not a property of the time, but refers to the loss of detail when memory is involved. When you try to remember something from the past, things seem simpler because the details which were present at the time are lost in retrospect, making the past appear simpler than the present.

    Somerby likes to fasten on phrases, take them entirely out of context, and then attach meaning to them that was not intended by the author.

    There was nothing simple about the past and there is nothing simple about today either. You do need to wade into the details to understand the complexity. Memory doesn't record the details but only the overall gist of an event. That's because our minds process what is happening to determine what that gist is, then abandons the details because they are no longer needed and because our mental storage capacity is limited. So this judicious forgetting is a way of enabling us to continue to have the resources to process current experience without cluttering our minds with confusing details from the past, which are generally not needed any more.

    You can see why the invention of writing systems that enabled us to write down details that otherwise would be lost has been important to analyzing the past and expanding our ability to think about it.

    That implies that Robert Frost's has become obsolete, irrelevant to anyone who keeps a journal for example, and not important except in a person sense, to our culture. But Somerby doesn't care about Frost's poem. He only wants a hook to hang his essay on. That is an abuse of poetry, in my opinion. And his point about modern complexity is stupid.

    You could also argue that the more we know, the less complex the world is because the more we understand it. There are perhaps more details known and recorded, but the mysteries shrink. No one tries to memorize all of the laws or details any more, because we have computers for that, books, other means of writing stuff down and organizing it. But the ability to codify more about life makes it simpler to do other things, reducing complexity, not increasing it.

    Somerby uses his phrases pulled from Frost to argue that: "The walls of our failing society have been crashing into the sea for decades now." He thinks things are worse than in the past because he doesn't understand the past. Is Tucker Carlson worse than Father Coughlin? Are today's Republicans worse than Joe McCarthy?

    I don't see the decay. I see an energized Democratic party and a majority of voters ready to vote blue. I see a unified Democratic party in Congress going about the patient business of curtailing Trump's excesses. It doesn't matter that there are a horde of people on the right who won't admit that they are worried by yesterday's election results, together with a propaganda machine that has lost viewership to Rachel Maddow. Soon they will be too few to do any more damage to our country. Their stupid MAGA hats will become relics in the attic, details lost to the past.

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