WHAT IS TRUTH: Tide seems to turn against Candidate Trump!


Morning Joe, picking and choosing: Bob Dylan released his New Morning album in October 1970. 

The album seemed to report and explore a new phenomenon—unexpected personal happiness, of the domestic kind. In Day of the Locusts, Dylan seemed to describe a type of escape from the cultural encumbrances of the east:

I put down my robe, I picked up my diploma
Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did drive
Straight for the hills, the black hills of Dakota
Sure was glad to get out of there alive.
And the locusts sang, off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang such a sweet melody
Oh, the locusts sang, off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang, they were singing for me.

The locusts in question led him and his sweetheart far out into the American west. In Sign on the Window, Dylan almost seems to describe the idyllic new morning in question:

Build me a cabin in Utah
Marry me a wife, catch rainbow trout
Have a bunch of kids who call me "pa"
That must be what it's all about,
That must be what it's all about.

In part, the lyrics come from the American songbook. That said, the somewhat mournful music suggests that the singer may not be completely sure about this new life in the west. That said, the album keeps returning to accounts of the joy of being (happily) married with children.

As future albums made all too clear, this new morning didn't hold. That said, a type of new morning was being described on this morning's Morning Joe—a new morning in which we the people—no longer us and them—had finally begun to turn against the candidacy of Donald J. Trump.

Joe and Mika discussed four new surveys, all of which seemed to be suggesting a new political morning. As you can see at the Morning Joe site, this is the way this morning's program began:

MIKA (8/17/23): Let's start with new polling about the way Americans view the serious legal issues surrounding Donald Trump and their impact of the presidential race.

Despite strong support among Republican voters, new numbers show Trump's criminal charges could spell trouble for him in a general election.

JOE: That's, that's an understatement.

MIKA: We have a lot of legal issues to get to pertaining to all this, but first, the politics of it seems to be playing out. 

In the latest AP/NORC Center survey, nearly two-thirds of adults—64 percent—say they would probably or definitely not support Trump if he is the Republican nominee next year.

Overall, 62 percent view the former president unfavorably, compared to 33 percent who view him favorably.

As for the four pending cases ahainst him, just 15 percent of Americans are buying the ex-president's claims that he did nothing illegal in the Georgia case...

That's how the program began. Bad numbers for Trump from two other surveys—by Quinnipiac and by Fox News—were also cited during this opening segment.

As we watched, we got the strong impression that a new political morning was dawning. But when we looked at the actual surveys, we recalled an important fact:

When you watch a blue tribe "cable news" program, you shouldn't assume that you're getting "the truth," let alone the whole truth.

In fairness, some of Mika's factual statements were perfectly accurate. As you can see by reviewing the survey's topline results, it's true:

In that new AP/NORC survey, 64 percent of respondents said they wouldn't support a Nominee Trump next fall. That said:

In spite of Mika's suggestion that the numbers have been moving against Trump, that number was a slight improvement for Trump! In the previous AP/NORC survey in April, 67 percent of respondents said they wouldn't support Trump next year. 

Mika failed to mention a second fact. In the same new survey, 55 percent of respondents said they wouldn't support a Nominee Biden next year. 

That number seems to give Biden an advantage over Trump, but an array of discouraging numbers for Biden were disappeared as Joe and Mika discussed the various survey results.

By the way:

Mika's statement about the charges in the Georgia case was—take your pick—either grossly misleading or was just flatly wrong. Here's the way the full set of numbers look:

When it comes to his alleged attempt to interfere in Georgia’s vote count in the 2020 presidential election, do you think Donald Trump has done something illegal, or he has done something unethical, but not illegal, or do you think he has not done anything wrong? If you don’t know enough to say, you can say that too. 
Illegal: 51 percent
Unethical, but not illegal: 13 percent
Nothing wrong: 15 percent
Don't know enough to say: 20 percent

For ourselves, we'd score Mika's statement as grossly misleading and flatly wrong. At any rate, two or three minutes into the show, viewers who were seeking "the truth" had already been misinformed.

Later in the hour, Morning Joe sidekick Jonatham Lemire had more bad news for Trump. This new dose of bad news came from a new survey by ABC News / Ipsos. The sidekick told viewers this:

LEMIRE (8/17/23): This is now a lot of disturbing numbers for the former president piling up, Reverend Sharpton. 

Also, one other number jumped out at me from this new ABC poll. Fifty percent—fully half of Americans—50 percent think that Donald Trump should suspend his campaign because of all the legal problems he is facing.

Judged by traditional norms, that is a lousy number for Trump. Unmentioned were these discouraging numbers from that same survey:

Donald Trump: 31 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable
Joe Biden: 31 percent favorable, 54 percent unfavorable

Respondents weren't asked who they would vote for in a 2024 rematch. That said, those numbers strike us as discouraging. Presumably for that very reason, those numbers were disappeared.

We came away from today's Morning Joe with the sense that a new morning had begun to appear in an array of new surveys. After checking, we saw that numbers had barely moved from where they had previously stood—and it seemed to us that a fair amount of picking and choosing had taken place as some numbers were happily bruited while others were disappeared.

"What is truth?" Pontius Pilate once said. One key answer might be this:

Sometimes, recitation of "the truth" can perhaps be somewhat selective.

Tomorrow: (Reasonably accurate) things they're allowed to hear on Fox


  1. Bob throwing shade on someone else cherrypicking. LOL!

  2. Republicans do nothing and brag about it, whereas Democrats do the opposite. ;)

  3. New Morning was the Dude’s favorite Dylan too. Bob really needs a rug to tie the room together.

  4. So, on a daily broadcast, two talking heads zero in on a meaningless matter of speculation on a point that will have ever changing numbers. Bob really zeros in on the essential, eh?
    Chris Hayes did an interesting piece on Giuliani yesterday. Was the Rudy Myth EVER something valid? Was he always a jerk? In 2007 Chris Matthews was promoting Rudy HARD as the Republican nominee for the next year. But the voters had already seen thru him. A few may have even noticed his vulgar exploration of 9-11,by then. Matthews was on Morning Joe yesterday, and he still seemed to have on foot in the Rudy Myth.
    Anyway, this is the sort of thing the old Bob might have noticed. Don’t get me wrong, I like my old Dylan albums too….

    1. In fairness to Rudy Giuliani, can you name someone who didn't exploit 9/11?

    2. There's at minimum 2,996 people that didn't.

    3. By that token there were people in the Neolithic era that didn't exploit it either @12:07

    4. So, in reality, Giuliani is one of only a few people that exploited 9/11.

    5. Giuliani was regarded as a buffoon before 9/11. They made fun of him for censoring art and for moving his girlfriend into the Mayor's mansion. I lived in NYC and remember that he got mocked a lot by people I knew there. I think that he benefitted from the contrast between his prior behavior and his gravitas during and after 9/11. Many, if not most of us thought he handled that disaster well. There was some criticism of his locating the first responders (e.g. police & security) in a building that was part of the Trade Towers complex instead of elsewhere as previously done, but I didn't hear complaints otherwise about his response efforts. He certainly exploited 9/11 afterward, but no one felt he was doing that during the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

    6. “He is a small man in search of a balcony.” - Jimmy Breslin on Rudy Giuliani.

  5. Dylan was born and raised a Jew, but later, as his popularity was waning and the “moral majority” movement was on the rise, Dylan converted to being a born again Christian. This mirrors his musical career, as he started off catering to those interested in folk music, but then later “sold out” and tried being more pop oriented. Throughout his musical career, he “borrowed” heavily from others for both lyrics and music.

    It’s unsurprising then that Somerby seems to appreciate Dylan - Somerby built his audience and influence catering to liberals, and then “sold out” and turned his blog into conveying right wing talking points, all the while, borrowing heavily from other political observers.

    1. Here's a good deep cut from the gospel era: https://youtu.be/YI1oNqlAcG8

    2. Music may be the highest form of art, and it seems to have a link to, or play a role in, egalitarianism.

      In that spirit, it’s better to show appreciation than to criticize.

      If you’re a Dylan fan, more power to you; as a child of the 70s, I tend to recall what a good time it was, and therefore like any music that can capture the vibe of that time.

    3. I don't like it when Somerby discusses song lyrics that have no relevance to anything else, except in this case the word "morning".

  6. It is way too early to be discussing how much support any candidate will have over a year before the election, before either party has nominated anyone. This is a huge waste of time. I expect that Mika and Joe were trying to assess how much the indictments were harming Trump with the public.

    It is not cherry-picking when a commentator announces a topic and then presents evidence in support of their position. That is how people argue a point. Mika and Joe are not reporters. Their job is not to provide a thorough overview of the results of any survey. That wasn't their purpose, so it is not wrong when they do not report all the contents of the survey, such as material extraneous to the point they were focused, which (as Somerby describes) was not about Biden.

    Somerby frequently complains because journalists do not discuss what he wants them to talk about, choosing their own topics instead. His intent here is not to analyze Joe and Mika's presentation this morning, but to portray them and all journalists as untrustworthy, bad people. That's why he has chosen an irrelevant poll and is busily distorting their actions to make it seem like they are hiding figures they don't like. That's what Somerby's job is here. Demeaning the press and trying to undermine faith in it, to make prospective voters more gullible and receptive to the right wing's disinformation.

  7. Digby says:

    "Biden’s just as unpopular as the guy who incited a violent insurrection, was impeached twice, and found liable for sexual assault and just got his 4th felony indictment for a total of 91 charges? This is even as we have the lowest unemployment in 60 years and inflation has dropped to normal levels after the pandemic emergency? Why, because he’s old?

    This country is ridiculous."

  8. Fanny Manlove, civilian.