Tuesday, May 17, 2016


This story, from Ashley Parkler and Jonathan Martin at The New York Times, is the worst mainstream-media article you'll read today, the kind of journalism that's dangerous, not merely lazy:
... On a range of issues, [Donald] Trump seems to be taking a page from the Sanders playbook, expressing a willingness to increase the minimum wage, suggesting that the wealthy may pay higher taxes than under his original proposal, attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left on national security and Wall Street, and making clear that his opposition to free trade will be a centerpiece of his general election campaign.

As Mr. Trump lays the groundwork for his likely showdown with Mrs. Clinton, he is staking out a series of populist positions that could help him woo working-class Democrats in November....
On free trade and protectionism, yes, there's truth in this. On the minimum wage and taxes, the evidence is that a few offhand populist remarks Trump made at one time are seared into Parker's and Martin's consciousness, while assertions Trump has made that contradict the "billionaire populist" narrative -- such as those in his economic plan -- are simply ignored.

Bob Somerby used to say that mainstream journalists settle on "a story they like," a story they'll tell whether or not it's true, because they want it to be true. This year, that story is "Trump is a champion of ordinary Americans." It doesn't matter that Trump's actual tax plan is drastically skewed toward the rich, as the Tax Policy Center has noted.

(The Trump campaign recently said that this plan might be modified, then backtracked and said, no, it won't be changed.)

And it doesn't matter that Trump has said that "wages [are] too high" in America, or, just this past week, that states should set minimum wages, with no federal minimum (imagine that in the Deep South, or in Koch-controlled states like Kansas). The Trump campaign wants moderate and liberal (and Sanders-style progressive) voters to believe he's a populist; Parker and Martin are more than happy to take the campaign's dictation and type up Trump spin.

Deep in the story, Parker and Martin finally acknowledge that Trump isn't always Sanders-like -- but they portray this as "flexibility," not mendacity:
And even when he has hit Mrs. Clinton from the left, he has also shown a flexibility that has positioned him on both sides of some issues. He has called for a higher minimum wage, for instance, but has also said the issue should be left to the states rather than have a federal increase. On foreign policy, too, his cautious approach to nation-building and intervention has been juxtaposed by bellicose remarks and a promise to be tougher on Iran and the Islamic State.
This is said to be a problem only because Trump is alienating Republican insiders -- and it's awfully nice of Parker and Martin to say that, because "Trump is alienating Republican insiders" is precisely the message his campaign wants to send to Democrats and independents (and even some Republicans, who regularly tell pollsters that they're disgusted with their own party).
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, said that questions about Mr. Trump’s core beliefs were ”a significant concern.”

“He needs to articulate deeper convictions on the issues that matter so much to conservatives,” said Mr. King, a hard-liner.
This is a recurring motif in the story:
... [Trump] is exacerbating the trepidation some Republicans already feel about his candidacy at a moment when the party typically rallies to its nominee.

Asked how Mr. Trump could reassure his own party, Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, suggested the party standard-bearer needed something close to a complete overhaul. “He could start by saying, ‘I was just kidding,’ ” Mr. Flake said, bemoaning what he called Mr. Trump’s “protectionist” approach.
The story also uncritically retransmits Trump spin about Electoral College strategy:
But Mr. Trump, who has also made attacks on illegal immigrants central to his campaign while vowing to protect Social Security and Medicare, is plainly going to run as more of a Sanders-style populist than as a conservative. And this approach suggests that the 2016 campaign will not be decided in the increasingly diverse states that represent the face of a changing nation -- Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Virginia -- but in the more heavily white Rust Belt, where blaming trade deals for manufacturing job losses provided resonant themes for Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders during the primaries there.
How does that suggest that the race won't be decided in diverse states? Trump is still offending non-white voters, who remain among Hillary Clinton's most enthusiastic supporters. His racism combined with his alienation of moderate Republican women could put some previously red states in play. Or maybe both things are true.

But even math doesn't matter to Parker and Martin:
If by abandoning the traditional Republican playbook Mr. Trump were to put Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the Republican column, as some of his aides suggested, he would swing 46 electoral votes from states that have voted for Democratic presidential candidates since the 1980s.
Um, you guys know that if 46 electoral votes swung from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney in 2012 or John McCain in 2008, Obama still would have won -- right?

Donald Trump is not Bernie Sanders. Donald Trump is not a left-wing progressive. But if the press persuades moderate and liberal voters that he is, the race will be close and he might win. A dangerous demagogue is lying to us in order to get elected, and Parker and Martin are helping him do it.


KenRight said...

Obama's lies about redoing NAFTA enabled a reckless drone bombing Afghanistan-surging, Libyan destroying demagogue, Patriot Act/ NSA enforcer to win.

Yes, I realize this is partly out of context, because the subject is Trump's
demagoguery. As a potential strong man. But few here objected when the first thing Obama did was disband the core who could have composed his phalanx, favoring centrist DNC Police Stateism. Choose your poison. But gain a little perspective while choosing it.


"Let’s give a concrete example. Assume Obama was really a left-winger. He gets into power in 2009, and he really wants to change things. He needs to take out the financial elite: Wall Street and the Big Banks.

They’ve handed him the opportunity. Here’s part of how he does it: He declares all banks involved in the sub-prime fraud racket (all of the big ones most of the small ones) conspiracies under RICO.

He then says that all the individual executives’ money are proceeds from crime and confiscates it. (This is 100 percent legal under laws as they exist). He charges them, and they are forced to use public defenders.

They are now powerless. This is the second law of purges: Anyone you damage, you must destroy utterly. If you take away half their power, and leave them half, they will hate you forever and use their remaining power to destroy you."

Steve M. said...

Yes, I realize this is partly out of context


Phil said...

That article was awful. Thank you for calling it out - these lies need to be corrected. Trump seeks to redistribute wealth from the middle and lower classes to the 1% like every other Republican. He is not to the left of Clinton.

Victor said...

Get ready for the next 5+ months, while the MSM builds a case for tRUMP against Hillary, whom they hate for some reason(s)!

This is just an early example.
It'll get worse from now on.

Ernest Lamonica said...

EVERYTHING Trump says will be changed at a moments notice. Thus everything he says should be treated as a lie. Everything.

ladyblug said...

Shoot me now! I don't think I can take 6 more months of this! Get the rubber rooms ready, because I know I'm not alone! I miss our 4th estate!

Jeff Ryan said...

Mmm. Getting back to the point...

Trump has recently been throwing around this "the states should decide" bullshit. I suspect because he thinks it reflects Republican philosophy. (Which, in the sense that the Republican party would like to repeal the Constitution and reinstate the Articles of Confederation, is true.) To paraphrase Thin White Rope, Trump sees a quarter-inch through everything.

Someone, please, stop this man.

Unknown said...

Total popular vote to date in the 2016 Democratic primary: 22,217,498: Clinton 12,647,567 Sanders: 9,569,931
Total popular vote in the 2016 Republican primary: 25,740,410: Trump 11,025,505
Greatest all-time popular in the Republican primary: 12,034,676: Bush 2000
Total popular vote in the 2008 Democratic primary: 35,442,193: Obama: 17,584,692 Clinton: 17,857,501 Yes. Clinton earned more votes than Obama.
Sec. Clinton has already earned more votes this year than Pres. Bush did in his all-time GOP record of 2000 and more than The Great Trumpkin has earned in 2016. Numbers don't lie. However, the media lie outrageously and endlessly to sustain the ridiculous horse race narrative, especially the grossly overpaid TV corporate prostitutes.
Per the following link, 2016 general election electoral votes: Clinton 262 Trump 122 Fourteen states totaling 154 are not solid blue.
If Sec. Clinton wins any one (1) of the following states, she will be POTUS: Penn, Ohio, Indiana (that's not a mistake), Va, NC, SC (also not a mistake), Ga (not a mistake), Colorado, Arizona and Missouri (not a mistake).
Sec. Clinton will destroy The Great Trumpkin in the greatest landslide in history because she is a battle-tested vote magnet, she has the best of her 2008 and Pres. Obama's 2008 and 2012 data and staff and The Great Trumpkin is a freaking lunatic.

mlbxxxxxx said...

"Trump is a champion of ordinary Americans."

I think "ordinary Americans" means white Americans. So, yeah, the narrative is right, you just have to understand who they consider "ordinary Americans."