THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2023
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