Says stars may be playing Trump's game: We're returning today to our sprawling campus. Full services resume tomorrow.
In the meantime:
Seymour Hersh is a very famous journalist. Last Wednesday night, he tangled a bit with Don Lemon, the much younger CNN star.
Hersh appeared on Lemon's show to promote his new memoir, Reporter—or at least, Lemon seemed to think his guest was there for that purpose. In reality, Hersh took the occasion to challenge the way cable news is conducting The Chase against Donald J. Trump.
Hersh's remarks weren't perfectly cogent, and they weren't fully fleshed out. But we think his critique is well worth reviewing. For the full transcript, click here.
As the interview started, Lemon teed Hersh up to criticize Trump's latest attack on the press. But Hersh took a different route:
HERSH (6/13/18): Disliking Trump is like catnip for American audiences. Obviously, television is doing much better. You guys are getting better ratings. The newspapers, the New York papers and the Washington Post, are getting more audience, and going after Trump is really good news.Oof. Right off the bat, Hersh suggested that cable news spends all its time chasing Trump because it's good for ratings. He said he wished they would spend more time discussing serious issues, including issues which may have nothing to do with Trump.
And I sometimes think that—I just wish sometimes, instead of so much about Trump and how awful he is, and there's certainly a lot of things not to like about him, I wish sometimes we'd talk more about what's going on in Yemen, about mothers having their children taken away at the border and all that.
I wish that was more of a focus. But I can understand Trump is great for ratings. He just is. That's just the reality.
Obviously, the cable networks have been discussing the situation with children at the border in the days since this interview aired. But after Lemon pushed back a bit against Hersh's remarks, Hersh kept pouring it on:
HERSH: The problem is, [Trump] is going up in the ratings the more we complain about him.Once again, Lemon pushed back, saying the press is just doing its job. Hersh didn't quite seem to agree:
I complain about him too. Nobody likes his cabinet, those people, what's going on in the cabinet and the various divisions of the government. The mistreatment of people, the federal workers, is outrageous.
On the other hand, he's going up in ratings. And so I don't see the Democratic Party doing anything but basically running, sort of as Hillary did, running against him for the last two months of the campaign. And I'm not sure that, if I'm not in the major cities in America, I'm not sure—
This guy is different. And I think people are tired of politicians. And he appeals for a lot of reasons that maybe we don't all understand...
HERSH: You know, with all due respect, and I'm not talking about you or your show...We now have a situation where a lot of people tune in to what they like, and don't listen to what they don't like.Hersh just wouldn't stop. His critique didn't make perfect sense, nor was it fleshed out thoroughly. But he seemed to be saying that Trump is the eventual winner in the game of polarized "news" and in The Eternal Chase conducted by cable news. The stars are playing a role in a pantomime Trump is running, a game he's going to win.
HERSH: It's good for cable television on both sides, mostly for Fox News, CNN, MSNBC. And you guys, you've got great ratings, you're making money. I think The New York Times, every quarter, says it's picked up another 200,000 subscriptions because they're very critical of Trump.
And so you have this notion, if you don't like Trump, you're going to go here. If you like Trump, you're going to go somewhere else. And where is the middle ground? Where is the media that is accepted? Where is the media that, whatever they say, is going to have some standing? It's not going to be tuned out by 40 percent of the people, whatever percentage?
It just seems to me that at this rate, if I'm watching, yes, Trump went to the summit not knowing much about it. Yes, he doesn't read anything. And yes, he's famous for just doing running on instinct. But you know...
He's been in public life for 15, 20 years. There is just that outside chance...with all these tweets and all that other stuff, he just may have some idea what he's doing. He's keeping it focused on him, whether good or bad or otherwise. It works for him. And so I don't know if we're not all caught up in a pantomime that he's probably, maybe, doing better at running.
Once more, Lemon tried to make Hersh stop. He tried, but still didn't succeed:
LEMON: I got to get you to tell us about the book, though, because that's why you're here.To watch this whole segment, click here.
HERSH: Let me say one more point. The last thing I expect you to do is agree with me.
LEMON: Of course.
HERSH: I'm just giving you a point of view. I'm thinking about, what's he going to do after the next election? You know, I'm just worried. He just may be playing a longer game than we think.
LEMON: Of course he is. We know that. I know that.
HERSH: Then we're all sort of playing his game. It's his game. That's what bothers me.
Is the press corps playing Donald Trump's game? Is that especially true on cable, where the various high-minded stars talk about Nothing But Trump, and do so All Day Long?
Could that be why Trump's approval ratings seemed to be inching up in the past month or so, with Mueller's approvals inching down? Increasingly, we've been wondering about that, much as Hersh has done.
We'd guess that the current treatment of children at the border will hurt Trump politically. That said, we share Hersh's overall sense of the way The Chase on CNN and MSNBC may be working out.
Is cable news playing Trump's game by making their product All Trump All The Time? We suspect they possibly are.
Tomorrow, a recent cable news example of Trump Perpetual Chase Disorder. The segment in question aired on June 13, the same night Hersh appeared.
Also this, from north of the border: In this interview with CBC's Diana Swain, Hersh explained his view with a bit more clarity.
The cable news focus on Every Trump Utterance is "so easily manipulated by the White House," he complained.
It's "good for ratings," he told Swain. But it's "terrible for journalism."
We're inclined to think that Hersh is right. Recent examples to follow.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
It's a good start.Delete
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With all due respect to Seymour Hersh (a great reporter indeed), he's just walking the same zombie walk as all the rest of 'em clowns.ReplyDelete
In the last couple of years Donald The Magnificent has done greater things that anything I've seen in decades; protecting US industries being the most impressive, obviously. But also, let us not forget stabilizing Syria, making peace with Korea, refusing to demonize the Russian Federation. He is doing what the people want, and that's all there is to it.
As for "mothers having their children taken away at the border", that's just another zombie drivel. Illegal entry is a crime; the executive branch merely enforces law. Laws are passed by the congress. If the congress wants to decriminalize it and declare open borders, let them do it; the burden is on them.
Nothing says "Anti-Establishment" like HUGE tax breaks to those who crashed the world's economy through their fraud.Delete
illegal entry is a civil offense, not criminal offense, but you are a Conservative, so being 100% wrong about something is about the best we can expect you to be.
Donny the Chickenshit, magnificent Coward, won't agree to have the Mueller team interview him. Let me repeat, the fucking President of the United States is refusing to answer any and all questions concerning an attack on our country by a ruthless murdering dictator.Delete
"all the rest of 'em clowns."Delete
Mao, David isn't going to help you correct errors like that until you ASK him.
"If the congress wants to decriminalize it and declare open borders, let them do it; the burden is on them."Delete
Never going to happen. The "snowflakes" on the Right are afraid of children.
Trump is a liar and a thief.Delete
And Putin's bitch.
Trump is a liar and a thief.Delete
And Putin's bitch.
Stop sticking your nose up Trumps ass and argue AGAINST any of those(3)assertions, you gutless worm.
As a quick reminder:
Trump is a liar and a thief.
And Putin's bitch.
C'mon, Every one here knows you keep whacking the refresh button every few seconds.Delete
Well, maybe you are too busy (along with DinC and Bob) jerking off Trump.Delete
Roger Stone's defense for colluding with Russian operatives to get dirt on Hillary's corruption, is that the Russians (like Conservative America and the corporate-owned media) couldn't find any corruption by Hillary, therefore he couldn't possibly be guilty of colluding with Russians to get dirt on Hillary's corruption.ReplyDelete
IOW, if you've been ranting about Hillary's corruption, you've been ranting about something as non-existent as the Easter Bunny.
1. Hersch is part of the media himself.ReplyDelete
2. Trump's ratings are not going up. Among many who voted for him, he is going down.
3. Yes, Trump wants to attract attention and tries to control the media via distraction, but the media doesn't always cover what Trump wants.
4. Trump is involved in the situation in Yemen, so covering Yemen is also covering Trump, in a sense.
5. Media and newspaper ratings/subscriptions going up doesn't mean something bad. It means more people may be interested in and involved in politics, which is good in a participatory democracy.
6. Ignoring Trump is not going to stop the polarization of political parties and media.
7. Trump is the president and it is the job of the media to cover the presidency. It doesn't matter whether that president wants or does not want that coverage.
8. This idea that negative coverage of Trump drives up his popularity is not objectively true. There is more to the electorate than Trump's base.
9. Negative coverage of Trump and his staff also mobilizes public outrage so that members of congress feel pressure and are motivated to oppose Trump's actions, as is occurring now with the opposition to family separations at the border.
10. Mueller is not a politician, he is not running for any office, his "popularity" doesn't matter because he is a paid employee of the government doing a job. This idea that Mueller must maintain high favorability ratings for some reason is ludicrous. Why would someone like Hersch say such a thing?
Somerby is obviously quoting Hersch because Hersch is saying something that agrees with Somerby's opinions. Hersch has been on the outs with mainstream media for a long time now, because he has been focused on things that people do not agree with. It has been a long time since he held a mainstream media job and even longer since he wrote anything that won an award. I personally like Hersch and have continued to read him, but it bugs me that Somerby is now trotting out support for him just because he happens to say something Somerby likes. Where was Somerby during the intervening times?
We need media who will oppose Fox News. Without them, we have a state-sponsored propaganda outlet as the only source of information for the people. That is what happened in Germany during Hitler's reich. It is what makes a democracy into a dictatorship. So we need to support and welcome opposing media to keep our country free.Delete
From ShareBlue.com via Booman:ReplyDelete
"Russian state TV is celebrating after seeing the recent report that Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea belongs to Russia because the people there speak Russian.
Trump’s statement, which parrots the Kremlin’s talking points on Crimea, was widely interpreted in Russia as an official declaration by the U.S. that Russia was justified when they illegally invaded Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine.
The ignorant proclamation made by Trump was quickly turned into propaganda and touted by Russian state TV hosts Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov, who triumphantly reported on the remarks Friday.
“Krym nash, Trump nash!” Skabeeva declared to the audience, which in English means “Crimea is ours, Trump is ours!”
By this logic, the Western US should belong to Mexico. But this kind of thinking may be why the English-only conservatives feel so strongly about rooting out languages that pre-existed English in the Western states. What to do about German, though, an official language of states such as Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, due to the large German-speaking settler populations there in the 18th and 19th centuries?
Obvious reasons why Trump's policy is untenable. But we all know that Trump is saying this because he is Putin's puppet, not because he believes his own German-speaking grandpa means New York must be ceded back to Germany. Or maybe that IS his goal? Easier to become a dictator there perhaps.
That sounds kinda like typical liberal to me. What does Hersh want the media to talk about? 1) Yemen, and 2) children at the border.ReplyDelete
Maybe I am just an ignorant provincial in flyover country, but those are two issues that I could pretty much not care less about.
Sort of. I do care about immigration. There's only one problem though. I mostly agree with Trump about immigration. My own party though - they just love immigrants. Some will even try to tell me that I, myself, am an immigrant. After all, one of my great grandparents was, so I must be too. Especially since 11 of my 16 great great grandparents were immigrants.
The children are now showing how much the left just loves immigrants. Of course, no children would have to be detained if we just did one simple thing - stop trying to stop people from entering this country.
Supposedly, that is what Jesus would do. Suddenly the left has found religion. They worship an immigrant named Hey-suess.
Maybe I am just an ignorant provincialDelete
Whaddaya mean, "maybe"?
Change the word "immigrants" to "people", if you really want to heighten the differences between parties.
In the media’s way of making the DNC weaker by their support, they will overplay it.Delete
Folks will sit in front of the tv and this will be all they will see covered now. The media will get increasingly more dramatic and sanctimonious . They’ll get more angry. They become more condemnatory and desultory of any whiff of dissent from whatever corner.
We regular slobs will become inured.to the rhetoric. We’ll start to question more,not less. . Then the next thing will come and the real Rat Pack will move on.
The surest way to change minds on illegal entry into the U.S.is to what HGTV and TLC and Lifetime, etc did for gays. Show them as success stories. As people who fought against some adversity, but now are affluent business owners and physicians who you’d be proud to have as neighbors.
People just like you, if only you were a bit smarter, cooler, and more attractive.
In the meantime, we can remind the "snowflakes" these immigrant offenses are "civil", not "criminal".Delete
Cecelia, what do you mean by "desultory of any whiff"?Delete
I meant “they become more desultory, and condemnatory of any whiff...”Delete
I misspelled condemnatory and that’s what happens when I try to correct autocorrect.
"The media will get increasingly more dramatic and sanctimonious . They’ll get more angry. They become more condemnatory and desultory of any whiff of dissent from whatever corner."Delete
I see what you mean.
Google with fewer parameters and you'll see more and more.Delete
Can't help yourself, can you?Delete
Any more pithy West Side Story quips?
I feel pretty?Delete
"They worship an immigrant named Hey-suess."ReplyDelete
So, in your feeble brain, only hispanic people are immigrants.
Hersh: "where is the middle ground? Where is the media that is accepted? Where is the media that, whatever they say, is going to have some standing?"ReplyDelete
Somerby: "The Eternal Chase conducted by cable news."
Was the Watergate story a "chase" conducted by the Post and the Times? Certainly, Nixon and the Republicans thought so. It certainly put the Post on the map. Was the Post's coverage of Watergate a cynical ploy to gain readership? One could frame it that way if one were so inclined.
Does Hersh think the Times was more "middle ground" or "accepted" when he worked there during the Nixon era? (Not claiming he does; just asking.) The average US citizen back then had far less exposure to media: less than 30 minutes of network news every day, a handful of news programs, and maybe a local paper. The vast majority of Americans didn't read the Times; many had no access to it.
Is the Times more corporate now, or just as corporate as during the Nixon era? Were they liberal, pseudoliberal, objective....then?
One reason the mainstream media is less trusted now is due to an unrelenting political strategy by the right to undermine its credibility. Ailes and Fox are a direct result of the strategy that began in the Nixon era. The right claimed "liberal bias" because the mainstream media reported stories that Nixon and Republicans didn't like. To them, there was no middle ground, only pro- and anti-Republican.
This is not to deny the pursuit of ratings, particularly by cable news, which was nascent or nonexistent in the Nixon era. Of course, the flip side for any media outlet, even a truly "middle ground" outlet, is that without viewers (or readers), said outlet wouldn't survive for long.
Has this "middle ground" ever really existed?
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