Starting tomorrow, the gender pay gap: Our tireless analysts awoke this morning to a peculiar TPM headline.
Anthropologically speaking, that headline was a sign of the times. TPM's headline said this:
Trump Shrugs Off NK Missiles, Bizarrely Claims Kim Called Biden ‘Low IQ Individual’At first glance, that headline struck us as strange. Upon review, it seemed like a sign of the times.
In fact, Donald J. Trump didn't "claim" that Kim had made that remark about Biden's IQ. Unless we're splitting the finest hairs, Trump was merely stating a fact.
Everyone is aware of that fact. At NBC News, Ben Kamisar reported the history thusly:
KAMISAR (5/26/19): The North Korean Central News Agency, which is run by the state, has taken an increasingly hostile tone towards Biden in recent days, with rhetoric scaling more hostile as Trump increases his own criticism of his potential 2020 challenger.Unless we're splitting the most slender hairs, Kim did call Biden a low-IQ fool. Unless you're scanning TPM headlines, where Trump's tweet to that effect was transformed into his latest "bizarre claim."
A report from May 21 pans Biden as “reckless and senseless, seized by ambition for power,” as well as a “fool of low IQ.”
We decided to check the TPM report which appeared beneath that headline. Cristina Cabrera had penned the report. This is what she wrote:
CARBRERA (5/26/19): President Donald Trump on Saturday night downplayed North Korea’s missile testing as “some small weapons,” and also claimed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un called 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden a “low IQ individual.”Cabrera said Trump had made a "claim." Some headline writer improved the matter, describing Trump's "claim" as "bizarre."
None of this foolishness actually matters, except as a sign of the times. Viewed as a sign of the times, here's what actually happened:
What happened:A great deal of pseudo-liberal journalism now works off this win/win model. TPM saves money by hiring young reporters. In the process, TPM's readership get rewarded with pleasingly embellished claims.
First, TPM decided to save a few bucks by hiring a rather young White House reporter. Cabrera is just completing her third year out of college (NYU, class of 2016).
That young reporter then penned a somewhat peculiar report, describing Trump's accurate statement as a "claim."
Some headline writer then came along and made the story more pleasing. He or she turned Trump's accurate statement into a bizarre claim.
This silly performance by TPM doesn't actually matter. Tomorrow, we'll start to examine a serious topic, a topic which actually does.
Starting tomorrow, we'll look at recent reporting of Kamala Harris's proposal to counteract the gender pay gap. We'll start by reviewing PolitiFact's analysis of Harris's familiar but inaccurate statements about this important matter.
After that, we'll look at the way Harris's errors were wished away, glossed or ignored by young reporters all across the upper-end mainstream press corps—even by fairly recent graduates of both Harvard and Yale! Class of 2012!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our war-inclined species is highly tribal and deeply wired for fiction. Even within our own self-impressed tribe, we simply aren't "the rational animal," or any near approximation of that rarely-seen beast.
Anthropologically speaking, this is simply the way one human tribe was functioning in the years immediately preceding Mister Trump's Bizarre War. Within that one human tribe, the moguls were hiring the kids, and the kids often weren't "all right."
On the brighter side, many people have died for TPM's right to present that silly headline today. We should all remember this fact on this famously sacred occasion.