Wednesday, December 02, 2015

MAINSTREAM-MEDIA STENOGRAPHERS ARE STILL TAKING DICTATION

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank just discovered something shocking:
Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist
You don't say! Really, Dana? Tell me more.
... Some will think this an outrageous label to apply to the frontrunner for a major party’s presidential nomination. Ordinarily, I would agree that name-calling is part of what’s wrong with our politics.

But there is a greater imperative not to be silent in the face of demagoguery. Trump in this campaign has gone after African Americans, immigrants, Latinos, Asians, women, Muslims and now the disabled....

It might be possible to explain away any one of Trump’s outrages as a mistake or a misunderstanding. But at some point you’re not merely saying things that could be construed as bigoted: You are a bigot.
At Balloon Juice, Betty Cracker looks at this op-ed and other recent media denunciations of Trump and asks the right question -- but I'm not sure I agree with her answer:
Beltway creature Dana Milbank is pointing out the obvious: Trump is a racist and a bigot. But we’ve known that all along. As Milbank himself acknowledges, Trump’s true colors have been on public display for more than 25 years, at least since he purchased newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the black and Hispanic juveniles who were (falsely!) accused of gang rape in the Central Park jogger case.

More recently, Trump was a high-profile band-wagoneer in the baldly racist “birther” movement; he claimed to have dispatched investigators to Hawaii to uncover evidence that the president wasn’t a US citizen back in 2011. So why is this apparently lifelong racist and bigot being called out now?

A few days ago, another Beltway media creature, Jake Tapper, called a Trump advisor out for Trump’s lies about thousands of Muslims in New Jersey taking to the streets to cheer the World Trade Center terrorist attacks as well as Trump’s mockery of a disabled NYT reporter. The advisor flat-out lies, and Tapper is moved to display the incredulity and exasperation he might have more properly expressed when he interviewed Trump himself earlier. Again, why now?
Yes, why now?

Betty agrees with what David Roberts wrote in a much-discussed post at Vox: that mainstream journalists and pundits are defending their Beltway turf. They're supposed to be the gatekeepers, the people who decide what's within the pale and what's beyond it. Usually they're passive, but their occasional moments of righteous indignation keep them relevant. Trump, however, doesn't care what they think, and isn't harmed when they say he's violated the rules. So, Betty thinks, they're fighting back on their own behalf, in order to reassert their relevance.

That's an interesting explanation for why there have been little bursts of anti-Trump outrage from the likes of Milbank and Tapper (and Chuck Todd, who pressed Trump on the matter of alleged 9/11 celebrations on TV a couple of days ago). But I think something else is going on.

I don't think a few members of the press are suddenly challenging Trump now as a way of defending themselves. I don't think they have that much self-respect.

I think they're suddenly attacking Trump now on behalf of their buddies in the Republican Establishment.

What have been reading for the past weeks? Article after article after article about the GOP Establishment's deep desire to take down Trump, and its trepidation about actually taking the plunge and going after him. Opposing candidates are skittish about taking Trump on. So are billionaire donors. So are party insiders.

What fool will take this suicide mission on? Hey, let's ask our stenographer pals in the mainstream media! I bet they'll do it!

We know most mainstream political journalists and pundits have lots of friends in the GOP Establishment. We know that most mainstream journos and pundits are deeply committed to the notion that the GOP isn't crazy, therefore the system isn't irreparably broken. So if they're asked by the Establishment to do their bit in the fight to take down Trump, so the game can be played in the usual way next year and everything that's wrong in American politics can once again be reduced to "both sides do it," I'm sure they're more than happy to oblige.

Yeah, they could also be defending their own turf. But I think the main explanation for the uptick in Trump denunciations is that they've been recruited into the war on Trump -- and they're happily volunteering to fight on the GOP Establishment's side.

8 comments:

Jimbo said...

Bingo! The flop sweat and stink of desperation from Prince Reibus and the RNC is making them resort to risky moves. But do we really think that Trump's Base actually watches the Sunday Snooze with the exception of Faux News? I don't think so. So, this could just backfire with little impact (of the kind they want).

Pops said...

Bezos laid down Law to WaPo?

Victor said...

Steve,
As usual, I think you found the story within the story!

'Hey, GOP pol's and consultants that I know from our DC cocktail parties, are all pretty decent Joe's! And Trump's making them all look bad!!!"

You always find "The 'G'OP-spot" that the conservatives and the media sycophants don't want seen, let alone tickled and toyed with.

Unknown said...

Trumpo delenda est!


(Sed, mehercul rursus iam serum est.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

I've known for a long time that Chuck Todd's scripts come via fax machine from Karl Rove (who has taken to sending them via email so Chuck can just copy and paste.) I'm sure you're all savvy enough to have realized that there is a "theme" that all the media whores repeat. In addition to the perennial favorite "I blame Obama", there's "Rubio - Innocent yet Hip and Savvy Favorite", "Carly See We Don't Hate Women Libruls Neener", "Ben See We Don't Hate N, er, Black Peepulz Libruls Neener Neener", "Ted Cruz Can String Complete Sentences Together So We Have Smart People Too Libruls", "White People Are Angry So Sad", "Obama Didn't Strike the Right Tone", and, the ever popular "Both Sides".

So the Trump "harrumph" is just more of the same - mainslimers being paid handsomely for reading scripts. How could I score a gig like that?

Arjay said...

Well I suppose they are protecting their turf, if their turf is being the establishment's pets. And I'm sure they are happy to be considered gate keepers and setters of discourse (I think that's what they call their drivel). What they are really protecting is access to the reciprocal tongue baths amongst the better sorts inside the beltway. Trump is gauche and crude and has little taste for the refined sensibilities of how it's done in DC. A rich monster egoist, Trump doesn't need the whorish beltway journo crowd. I'm sure he prefers putting cash on the dresser and no chit chat later.

Unknown said...

Just read Dave N.'s piece on the Fascist Trump posted at Orcinus, and am feeling briefly magnanimous towards the intermittently late-to-the-game and conscienceless sell-out tool, Dana "Precious" Millbank (Do dudes like him and Richard Cohen typically inherit positions at WaPo, thereby explaining their employment entirely; or is each of them only there under a delusion the other guy was only hired to make him look better?)

Philo Vaihinger said...

They don't give a shit about all that racism and bigotry stuff, nor that fascism hooey, either.

These are CONSERVATIVES.

What pisses them off is that Trump is so far from Wall Street conservative orthodoxy and he is running away with the Republican Party.

He has openly said he does NOT want to harm Social Security or Medicare and opposes both free trade and immigration, legal or not.

This is the Republican base openly rejecting key tenets of the conservative movement.

George Will is positively incontinent about it.

They spent months bleating that he isn't a real conservative and deluding themselves the Republican base would reject him eventually for that reason, but it has not happened and isn't going to.

So now they are throwing the kitchen sink.

What do you call somebody in this country when you want to destroy him but have no handle?

Racist, homophobe, bigot.

And that's where they are, now.