Friday, August 19, 2016


There is no way in hell that Donald Trump would have agreed to deliver this mea culpa if whoever talked him into it didn't also persuade him that the campaign will soon revert to soul-satisfying nastiness and vindictiveness:
... Donald Trump pivoted to contest the general election on Thursday night, expressing regret for his past failures to “choose the right words” and delivering one of the most comprehensive, on-message rationales for his candidacy to date.

... “Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that,” Trump said to laughter and cheers from his supporters.

“And believe it or not I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake is for us to be consumed by these issues, but one thing I can promise you is this. I will always tell you the truth,” said Trump, who did not specify which words he regrets saying.
And he even threw in a calculated bit of outreach to black voters:
... the businessman vowed as president to address the poverty and unemployment that has disproportionally affected African-American communities and urged black voters to "give Donald Trump a chance."

"The result for them will be amazing," he said. "What do you have to lose by trying something new?"
So hy is Trump doing this? Recently he's been complaining about demands for a pivot. He just sidelined the campaign head who was brought in to civilize him. So why did he agree to do this on the first night of the new regime, under the direction of Breitbart's Steve Bannon?

I go back to Joshua Green's 2015 profile of Bannon from Bloomberg Businessweek. It's well worth a read, despite (or perhaps because of) Green's willingness to retransmit Bannon's myth of himself in undiluted form.

We learn from Green's profile that Bannon sees himself as a guy who learned the secret to success as a right-wing media mogul: Get your product seen and validated by the mainstream. Bannon hasn't actually succeeded at this as head of Breitbart, but he thinks he hit a home run with his other project, the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), which was Peter Schweizer's base when he was writing the book Clinton Cash.

As you'll recall, Schweizer cut deals with The New York Times and other mainstream outlets to share his research for Clinton Cash and report on his conclusions. That's the Bannon model, according to Wynton Hall, who work at the GAI:
... it’s the secret to how conservatives can hack the mainstream media. Hall has distilled this ... into a slogan: “Anchor left, pivot right.” It means that “weaponizing” a story onto the front page of the New York Times (“the Left”) is infinitely more valuable than publishing it on “We don’t look at the mainstream media as enemies because we don’t want our work to be trapped in the conservative ecosystem,” says Hall. “We live and die by the media. Every time we’re launching a book, I’ll build a battle map that literally breaks down by category every headline we’re going to place, every op-ed Peter’s going to publish. Some of it is a wish list. But it usually gets done.”
And then what?
Once that work has permeated the mainstream ... then comes the “pivot.” Heroes and villains emerge and become grist for a juicy Breitbart News narrative. “With Clinton Cash, we never really broke a story,” says Bannon, “but you go [to] and we’ve got 20 things, we’re linking to everybody else’s stuff, we’re aggregating, we’ll pull stuff from the Left. It’s a rolling phenomenon. Huge traffic. Everybody’s invested.”
It looks to me as if Trump is trying to "anchor left" by impressing the mainstream press with his phony contrition. And I suppose more seemingly substantive teleprompter speeches will follow, in order to gull the MSM rubes.

I'm sure Trump agreed to this only because Bannon told him it would better prepare the ground for vicious attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So more of those attacks are coming. The point of this was to soften the MSM up.

Does this approach work? It might. Yesterday Breitbart quoted gushing praise of Clinton Cash by Mark Halperin and Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe:
[Halperin said,] “‘Clinton Cash’ is, if you did a case study of conservative efforts to get the so-called main stream media to cover the Clinton’s background -- ‘Clinton Cash,’ which Bannon masterminded, is their greatest success story.”

Co-host Joe Scarborough said, “Yeah. It really did change the discussion on the national level for months and, actually, eventually, led into the email discussion. And has made campaigning difficult for Hillary Clinton from day one.”
One one level, this is nonsense -- we were always talking about the damn emails because congressional Republicans and the press wouldn't drop the subject. Clinton was also being attacked as corrupt, but mostly for being too cozy with Wall Street firms that paid her for speeches. The actual revelations in Clinton Cash didn't actually become a big part of the conversation, as even Bannon admits ("we never really broke a story").

But Bannon sought and obtained the papal blessing of the Times for Clinton Cash, and that impressed media insiders like Halperin and Scarborough. And so the general subject of Clinton's integrity became what the MSM talked about when it talked about her. If you persuade mainstream media figures that you've got something significant, it will become significant, because they'll treat it as significant.

That, I think, is what Bannon is trying to do with the apology. The next step will be to pivot (back to the) right. By that time, if his plan works, he'll have the Timeses and Halperins and Scarboroughs hooked.


Victor said...

Yeah, there's no way t-TRUMP was being sincere and/or contrite. It's just not in him.
He CAN act this way for future gain, and has done it before.

He's like an abusive significant other. After abuse he/she is profuse with apologies and contrition.
Only to up the abuse the next time around.

After 40 years of abuse, our MSM is like that significant other. Cowardly, compliant, gullible, and complicit.

It's going to be the ugliest 2+ months in modern Presidential elections!

Anonymous said...

I really don't think any actual voters care about these "Candidate used to be running like THAT, but now s/he is running like THIS, and let's discuss the 'optics' behind the change from THAT to THIS and whether it will pay off" wank-fests that the media delights so much in covering.

Nefer said...

Yeah, I wasn't impressed with his fake mea culpa. First, he said it with such a smug, snotty, wink, wink smirk on his face. Kinda detracts from the alleged message.

Also, he "regrets" some words he said BUT he "will always tell you the truth."

In other words, all the nasty lying things he has said that he allegedly regrets were the gospel truth.

Unknown said...

No one believes him. On this or anything else he says.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Halperin had been hooked from the beginning. But, it's interesting that Bannon doesn't want to fall into the right-wing incestuous internet trap of cross-linking from conservative sites only. They *is* learning....

CF2K said...

WOW. Manafort gone. How long do we give Bannon? A week? Two weeks?

Glennis said...

I see on another site that Kellyanne Conway has dubbed this non-apology apology as "presidential."

Man, how low can you set the bar?

Never Ben Better said...

What genius in the campaign decided it would be a good idea to have Manafort resign now? When the "I'll never hit you again, I promise" apology hasn't even had 24 hours' worth of coverage? Couldn't they have waited till Monday, so the Sunday morning bloviators could solemnly celebrate how presidential Trump is becoming?

Doesn't anybody in that "campaign" know how to play this game?

Feud Turgidson said...

NBBen: events, dear boy, events.

You do NOT get married in this sort of heat unless on a Vegas bender or someone just learned of a pregnancy.

I say: there is reason for Manafort to inform Trump of a possible FBI visit on the Ukrainian money thing and the failure to register as a lobbyist for a foreign power thing. Manafort needed a QUICK exit, so this week has been about multiple smokescreens to ease that.

It really has no meaning anyway: Stone left, but not helping Trump - his partner Manafort could take over; Lewandowski got let go, it seems, but has not stopped helping Trump; Manafort was never before this up front as a campaign spokes, but his leaving is no problem: his partner Charlie Black is around to act as conduit, and Black has been involved for months as it is.

Again: Stone, Manafort and Black were all in the same firm that was founded along with Lee Atwater. Same firm. Still f**king rats after all these years. They are the cultural and ethical descendants of Donald Segretti, and perverse cousins to Karl Rove.

Beltway Rats
Been cheatin since they was babies
Beltway Rats
Griftin since sevennytwo
Beltway Rats
All got their start with Nixon
Beltway Rats
In on the Reagan speech in ol Miss

Ten Bears said...


Procopius said...

@Feud Turgidson: I don't expect any visits from the FBI. The flimsy story put out so far may be embarrassing to Trump, and Manafort is certainly something I'm glad to see go, but there was literally no evidence that Manafort did anything wrong. They glossed over the fact that he hired Podesta's brother and in the notebook they displayed there is not one mention (as nearly as can be made out from the unreadable scrawl) of Manafort's company. In other words, the notebook is not actually evidence of anything. Also, notice that the story has already died, meaning, "Mission accomplished."