WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2020
The way of our own liberal caste: Believe it nor not, today's column starts like this:
FRIEDMAN (11/11/20): On Saturday morning I was sitting in the kitchen with my wife, Ann, who was stirring her Cream of Wheat, when out of nowhere she surprised me with a question: “Is not lying one of the Ten Commandments?”
I had to stop and think for a second myself, before answering: “Yes, thou shalt not bear false witness.”
Believe it or not, that's what it says! Ann was stirring her Cream of Wheat—and then, she suddenly asked!
Before too long, Thomas Friedman has made his way through a set of homely anecdotes including a long, homespun joke about a turkey in the Middle East.
Eventually, he announces that Trump has robbed us of truth. He says this is where it began:
FRIEDMAN: The truth binds you, and Trump never wanted to be bound—not in what he could ask of the president of Ukraine or say about the coronavirus or about the integrity of our election.
And it nearly worked. Trump proved over five years that you could lie multiple times a day—multiple times a minute—and not just win election but almost win re-election.
And do you know what our turkey was? Birtherism.
When Trump was allowed to spread the “birther” lie for years—that Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was actually born in Kenya and was therefore ineligible to be president—he realized he could get away with anything.
We're leaving out the homespun joke by which Friedman arrives at the claim that birtherism was our turkey—that birtherism is the place where America lost the truth.
This notion is as far from the truth as birtherism itself. Friedman seems to have no concept or clue about the origin and sweep of the crazy claims which virtually define our modern political history.
Did Al Gore say he invented the Internet? Well actually, no—he didn't.
Did the Clintons commit all those murders? Well actually, no—they didn't.
To this day, can anyone except Gene Lyons explain the Whitewater pseudoscandal—the pseudoscandal which gave its name to a political era, but only after getting its start through a set of bungled "news reports" on the front page of the Times?
Actually, no one can! It all swirled out of the New York Times, and so in the end it was all disappeared. But the endless bullshit to which we refer is what let Trump slip past Hillary Clinton and reach the Oval, and none of this came from Trump.
When birtherism finally arrived, flyweights like Friedman ran off and hid in the woods. Rachel did so a million ways, not excluding her fervent endorsement of Greta van Susteren, her drinking buddy and Trump's long-time birther caddy at the Fox News Channel.
Good grief! When Greta was hosting the birther god all those years, she was Rachel's drinking pal!
When Friedman's own New York Times got around to discussing birtherism in July 2016, they didn't dare to ask Trump's men if he'd really sent people to Hawaii to check the whole thing out. For whatever reason, they weren't even brave enough to ask, almost surely because they knew that he of course hadn't.
Our political culture lost the truth long before the lunatic Trump came along. Before Trump, the foolishness and the disinformation came live and direct from the jugglers and clowns who constitute Friedman's own guild.
Much of the novelization and the dissembling came from Friedman's guild. For that reason, people like Friedman will never tell you about it.
In truth, he probably doesn't know. These people are stunningly clueless. They're empty all the way down.
In the face of history like this, we're now instructed to assail Trump's voters. Today, the laziest, dumbest person on Earth ends his column like this:
FRIEDMAN: “Lies don’t work unless they’re believed, and nearly half the American public has proved remarkably gullible,” my former Times colleague David K. Shipler, who served in our Moscow bureau during the Cold War, said to me. “I think of each of us as having our own alarm—and it’s as if half of their batteries have died. Lots of Trump’s lies, and his retweets of conspiracy fabrications, are obviously absurd. Why have so many people believed them? I’m not sure it’s fully understood.”
That is why it’s vital that every reputable news organization—especially television, Facebook and Twitter—adopt what I call the Trump Rule. If any official utters an obvious falsehood or fact-free allegation, the interview should be immediately terminated, just as many networks did with Trump’s lie-infested, postelection, news conference last week. If critics scream “censorship,” just shout back “truth.”
This must become the new normal. Politicians need to be terrified every time they go on TV that the plug will be pulled on them if they lie.
At the same time, we need to require every K-12 school in America to include digital civics—how to determine and crosscheck if something you read on the internet is true—in their curriculum. You should not be able to graduate without it.
As Shipler sneers at the dumb Trump voters, he ignores all the prior disinformation—the disinformation his own elite, upper-class guild produced or chose to ignore. As for Friedman himself, he's so dumb that he thinks the current state of disinformation can be addressed by the K-12 curriculum.
You almost have to be living on Neptune to think something as stupid as that.
He starts with a weird (alleged) exchange about the ten commandments. He proceeds to a silly homespun joke about a stolen turkey.
His column is drenched in incomprehension about the world his class produced. He tells you to blame it on Trump's voters.
"Look over there," this idiot says. This is the enduring way of our own "liberal" caste.
Final point: As we've frequently noted, Trump seems to be mentally ill. On page 12 of her best-selling book, his clinical psychologist niece refers to his various "psychopathologies," which she then rattles off.
For that reason, we regard Trump as dangerous. But what's the Times' excuse?