Also, that Tulsa attire: How politicized has mainstream press reporting become? Consider the front page of the Style section in today's Washington Post.
There sat a piece by Robin Givhan, the paper's long-standing "Fashion Critic." But her piece had little to do with fashion. It was just the standard, cookie-cutter account of Trump's rally in Tulsa.
Along the way, the fashion critic blabbed such standard fare as this:
GIVHAN (6/22/20): The crowd didn’t fill the 19,000 seats of the BOK Center. The upper tiers of the arena were mostly empty. There were no people to overflow into the outdoor, overflow festival space where the president and Vice President Pence were supposed to speak. And so that stage was dismantled. But there were still plenty of people who sat through the president’s nearly two hour campaign speech—no small portion of which was taken up by an elaborate narration and pantomime explaining why he’d had so much trouble walking down a ramp after a speech to West Point graduates earlier this month and why he needed two hands to drink from a glass of water.So the "fashion critic" wrote, plus blah blah blah blah blah. Everyone says the same things now, even the "fashion critics."
It was a long, rambling performance with the president lamenting that he surely must have saluted some 600 times and by God, it was so hot that day and the ramp was like an ice-skating rink and he was wearing leather sole shoes. As far as he was concerned, he really should have been cheered for making it down that ramp unscathed instead of being mocked in the media. So perhaps it made him feel better when the Tulsa crowd—his crowd—applauded after he theatrically drank a glass of water onstage with only one hand and didn’t dribble any of it on his tie.
It was Trump’s crowd. Everything is his. Everything is because of him. “We—I—have done a phenomenal job,” he said about the federal government’s response to the pandemic. “I saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
Meanwhile, on the front age of the New York Times, political reporter Astead Herndon had cast himself in the role of fashion critic! Herndon started his Political Memo like this:
HERNDON (6/22/20): The difference between a rally for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and one for President Trump starts with the attire.Also, blah blah blah blah blah. This is front-page reporting.
There is no official uniform for either event, but while those who come out for Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, show little pattern in their dress, there’s a unity to Mr. Trump’s biggest fans. A red hat is an obvious rally must. Without the cap, American flag colors will do, or a T-shirt that insults one of the president’s political archenemies—Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or a mainstream media outlet, for starters.
Packing recently for his first Trump rally, Donald Fanning of Wichita, Kan., made sure to dress the part. On Saturday night in Tulsa, he wore an American-flag T-shirt along with American-flag suspenders that were hitched to American-flag swimming trunks.
Herndon went on to say the exact same things that Givhan did. By now, the blah-blah, if not the bafflegab, largely assembles itself.
During his Tulsa performance, Trump spent an astonishing fourteen minutes (14!) discussing his walk down the ramp at West Point and his attempt to drink that glass of water. Reporters aren't allowed to ask the obvious question—is something wrong with this man's mental health and/or his cognition?—so they agree to be "shocked, shocked" by each new day's new lunacy instead.
On the brighter side, a strikingly low number of people turned up for the usual bilge. Our guess? This suggests that even the harder core of Trump supporters have enough sense to be concerned by the prospect of spending several hours inside a jam-packed indoor venue as certain well-known virus flies around.
Everyone is in love with Juneteenth, and also shocked at Trump's ignorance of the event. This includes includes the ten million cable stars who had never mentioned Juneteenth in their whole freaking lives before.
Some see their new excitement as a sign of progress, and it can be seen that way. It can also be seen as a sign of the power of the faux and the pose—the force which has driven our political reporting for at least three decades by now.
Finally, might we post one more update on our American carnage? On a nationwide basis, the rolling seven-day average of daily deaths continues to drop. We're working from the Washington Post's daily numbers:
Seven-day average, daily deaths from coronavirus, nationwideThat doesn't mean that the daily number of deaths won't go up again. After all, cases are rising, or at least that's so in the states you'll be hearing about.
June 1-7: 803.4
June 8-14: 710.9
June 15-22: 585.9
The daily deaths may rise again, but as of now they continue to drop. We decided to post these numbers again after we read the gloomy report by the highly capable David Wallace-Wells for the new edition of New York magazine, a report which included this statement:
WALLACE-WELLS (6/20/20): The cost of all this failure is becoming terrifyingly clear, even as the country has begun a rapid and humiliating project of normalization. Over the last few weeks, as the deaths of almost a thousand Americans a day has retreated into a sort of cultural background noise, with the protests taking its place on the country’s front pages, the total death toll has passed a series of grim milestones: more Americans dead than in all the wars the country has fought since World War II, more than died in the 1957 flu, more dead than soldiers lost in World War I...Almost 600 deaths per day is a lot of deaths. But, over the past few weeks, was "fewer than 700 and dropping" the same thing as "almost a thousand?" When everything is propaganda, we're going to say that it was.
Most things today are propaganda. It's embellishment in almost all things, plus bafflegab with a strong dose of blahblah as a chaser.