The essence of partisan warfare: As you may have noticed, "cable news" has become almost wholly partisan.
This brings us to an amazingly tired old question—what did Donald J. Trump actually say about what happened in Charlottesville?
Before we address that question, we'll establish a more recent point. Here's what former NFL player Jack Brewer actually said last night, at the GOP convention:
BREWER (8/26/20): Are you going to allow the media to lie to you by falsely claiming that he said there are very fine white supremacists in Charlottesville? He didn't say that. It's a lie.We're disinclined to regulate "lies." But according to Brewer, Donald J. Trump didn't say that there were "very fine white supremacists in Charlottesville."
Thanks to our own moral greatness, you can see the actual words Brewer actually said.
We didn't paraphrase what he said. We showed you what he actually said. Sadly, people on our corporate blue team hate it when people say things like that.
On MSNBC, Rachel, Joy and Nicolle immediately swung into action, seeming to contradict what the "journeyman" player had said. (We were watching live.)
MSNBC no longer transcribes its programs, and it has cut way back on video production. For those reason, we can't show you what these corporate hirelings said, though we'll characterize their comments below.
We can show you what Yamiche Alcindor instantly said.
Alcindor works for the PBS NewsHour, allegedly one of our brightest news orgs. She was at the New York Times before that.
Brewer had made a disallowed claim. Quickly, Alcindor tweeted this attempt at a rebuttal:
ALCINDOR (8/26/20): Jack Brewer, former NFL player, just said it was a lie that President Trump said "very fine people" go to Nazi rallies.That's what Alcindor said. Staff at New York magazine thought it deserved wider airing.
Trump after the events in Charlottesville where Nazis gathered and one killed a protester: "But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides."
As you can see, Alcindor did a very poor job recording what Brewer had said.
That sort of thing is par for the course. She then provided the standard "blue tribe" clip from Trump's remarks about Charlottesville—the one statement on the subject we're allowed to hear.
(The rules: We aren't told what he seemed to be talking about when he made that statement. We aren't allowed to hear the various other things he said at that same press event.)
Alcindor provided the one line our sachems like to repeat. She didn't repeat the following comment, made in the same press event from which her clip was taken:
TRUMP (8/15/17): I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.Yes, that's what the commander said when he was asked to clarify his meaning that day. The commander said he wasn't talking about the neo-Nazis or the white nationalists. The commander said the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists "should be condemned totally."
That's what Brewer was talking about last night. In all likelihood, he was also referring to this statement, made at that same press event:
TRUMP: I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee.At that point, Trump was reminding reporters that he had already condemned neo-Nazis and white supremacists in an earlier statement about the events in Charlottesville.
At that same August 15 press event, he said this about his earlier (written) statement:
TRUMP: Saturday, we condemned in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. It has no place in America.The commander said that too! (In fairness, he may have been talking about the killing of Heather Heyer at that point.)
At another point, he referred to "neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them," describing them as "rough, bad people." These are the things he said that day, the things you must never hear.
We aren't trying to tell you what was, or is, in Donald J. Trump's heart. Our own basic assumption is that Donald J. Trump is some version of a sociopath, though that's a point that corporate players like Alcindor have agreed they must never discuss.
We aren't telling you what was in his heart; we're simply showing you what he said at the press event from which Alcindor chose to repeat our failing, utterly hapless tribe's one favorite single sentence.
We liberals! We love that sentence with all our hearts. We love the way it makes us feel when we get to repeat it.
It helps define us as the very good people, arrayed against those who are very bad. As with tribal justice warriors dating to the dawn of time, we love the way it makes us feel when we get to define ourselves like that.
It's pathetic and sad that this manifest bullshit is still a point of dispute. The fact that it is helps us see the essence of tribalized warfare, as conducted since the dawn of time among us war-inclined "rational animals."
If we were Alcindor's employer, we'd be embarrassed today. Employers of Rachel, Joy and Nicolle have proven the fact that they're beyond any embarrassment.
(For reasons no one has explained, they stopped transcribing their programs back on July 13. In fairness, if we were producing the type of program they produce, we'd want to make it harder to critique our corporate dreckwork too.
Last night, Joy started by telling the world that Brewer had been a"journeyman" NFL player. In tribal warfare, the other guy must always be denigrated.
The ladies proceeded to recite our tribe's one favorite quote, while disappearing all the clarifications Trump offered at that same event. Might we quote the commander again?
TRUMP (8/15/17): I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.Yes, that's what he actually said. Compare that, if you will, to Alcindor's pseudo-report.
Our pitiful corporate tribe is badly fallen. They live to pleasure themselves, and to pleasure us.
That said, all our news orgs are corrupted now. It's pathetic that this low-IQ gong-show keeps arising, but it always will.
We aren't telling you what Trump really believed that day, or what he feels today. We're just telling you what he said on the day in question.
Alcindor and The Cable News Three pretended to do that very same thing. Instead of making a real attempt, they fed you the treat they knew you would like.
This is the work of a failing nation. It's a nation in which things are visibly falling apart.