In-Consensus

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A few things I need to get out of the way.  CNN isn’t fake news.  But for that matter, Fox News isn’t either.  Don’t get me wrong.  Fox News is heavily slanted, and some of it’s “journalists”  (Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Laura Ingraham, etc.) manipulate facts and data to support unrealistic conclusions, but it’s not “fake” news.  Both networks have actual journalists, and (usually) report on the important stories of the day.  But both networks have their slant.  Fox News’ is arguably steeper, going extremely conservative, while CNN can boast a bit more balance, and is better about retracting false or misleading stories.  But they both DO report the actual news (mostly).  So how are they capable of covering the exact same story and drawing the exact opposite conclusion? It’s ludicrous and can be totally infuriating.  I like to think that I’m a moderate that leans left.  It’s an admittedly pretty dramatic lean, but I don’t think my political views don’t stray too far away from the center.  And as such I want to find as many perspectives on the news as I can find.  But when I hear CNN and Fox News explain to me the exact same story with drastically different outcomes, I realize why it’s so easy for Trump to lie about the media and get away with it.

Truer News

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Donald Trump is once again floating the idea of creating his own, government sponsored news outlet, to combat the “fake news”.  If that sounds a little dictator-y, then you probably have heard of any fascist regime ever.  Because a state controlled news platform is basically step two in becoming a brutal dictator.  There is nothing wrong with a government helping to fund independent news.  The BBC is one of the most respected news organizations in the world, and it exists because of government funding, but the British government doesn’t run it or get to tell them what to say.  Because when the Government begins reporting the news, it stops being the news, and starts being propaganda.  And I’m sorry, but Donald Trump can’t speak for 30 seconds without lying, and as such, I would have trouble taking serious any “news” he put his rubber stamp on.  I don’t know if Trump will actually go through with trying to create some kind of rival news network to sell his narrative against the largely accurate news organizations that Trump hates, but I do look forward to the day when we get a President who doesn’t challenge the credibility of legitimate news organizations on a daily basis.

UnJustification

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There was a point early on in Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ first days, where I thought I should feel sorry for her.  I really thought she was being forced to peddle the party line.  I mean, despite my distaste for her and her family’s politics, I would have hoped that she was at least honest.  Or honest as far as she was able.  I would have thought the sort of blatant lack of honesty would eventually rub her the wrong way, which might account for her more and more aggressive posturing.  But I quickly realized that I was projecting far more decency on her than she deserved. She really is just generally dishonest and weirdly aggressive when she’s called on it.  It’s been especially obvious in the last several days, where she has been defending the revocation of Jim Acosta’s Press Credentials.  Beyond towing her boss’s line, she’s actively helping in expanding on the deception by using doctored footage from InfoWars (of all places) to try and further tarnish Acosta’s reputation.  It’s despicable, and yet remarkably consistent with what we might expect.

Victim Blaming

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I feel like in the age of the #MeToo movement, one thing you’re kind of forced to become sensitive to, just based on it’s sheer prevalence, is when a victim is being blamed for being victimized.  The idea that someone is responsible for their own harassment or assault because they didn’t act the right way, or in general be the right way is infuriating.  If someone get’s attacked, the person responsible is the person who attacked them.  So when Trump rails against the media, decries CNN as the “enemy of the people”, and continues to do so after his supporter send them a bomb, the idea that CNN is somehow responsible for their own misfortune is blatantly obscene.  You don’t have to agree with or even like CNN, but if you can somehow decide that they brought a bomb upon themselves, and it wasn’t in any way the result of Trump being unable to take unfavorable opinions, then you and I don’t have much to talk about, because your moral compass is severely misaligned.

 

Call For Unity

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So, Wednesday was a pretty scary example of what can happen when partisanship overwhelms discourse.  So what we know is that philanthropist (and provably NOT Nazi sympathizer) George Soros had a bomb delivered to him on Monday.  The Secret Service intercepted and reported bombs also being sent to the Clintons and the Obamas on Wednesday.  On the same day, CNN offices were evacuated because they received a bomb package and an envelope with “white powder.”  Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris and Andrew Cuomo may have also been targeted, but at this point not confirmed. Now, there is so much we don’t know.  We don’t know who the senders were, what their connection to one another is, assuming there is one.  What I feel we can assume at this point was that this was a concerted effort to silence, terrorize or harm people who are democrats or seen as democrat sympathizers (CNN is after all the media that Trump has branded “the Enemy of the people”).  And because this has been seen as an attack on the left, the presumption by many is that this was perpetrated by Republican or Trump supporters.  Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but it’s noteworthy that members of the GOP are being quick to call for civility and reasonable discourse in the wake of this event.  The is that they can distance themselves from this idea that they helped create an atmosphere where their supporters may have felt comfortable doing this kind of thing. The easy and obvious example of this is Ted Cruz, who last night, was rabble rousing his rally crowd by suggesting he’d lock up Hillary Clinton and Beto O’Rourke together.  Hours later, he is telling people that we all need to get along, and that he respects people across the isle even though he may disagree with them.  Which…I mean that’s crap.  And while Ted Cruz is one of the easier people to mock in this regard, he’s by no means the only Republican who are now walking back troubling rhetoric that demonizes the left so blatantly.  Partisanship has run amok in the worst way, and I’m afraid this might only be the start of something more malevolent.

Preparing to Chat

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So officials from South Korea, who had been in talks with the leadership in North Korea headed stateside to begin the process of facilitating talks.  Now, if literally any other person were sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, (and I mean literally anyone else, like George W., definitely Obama, hell Nixon would probably knock it out of the park!) this might feel like hopeful news of a resolution that we might not have expected in our life time.  As much as Trump has exacerbated tensions with North Korea, he’s not at fault for the precarious situation they’ve created.  But it will be his fault when things go south with these talks, because I can’t bring myself to believe in the hope that Donald Trump will handle this situation with dignity and class.  I just don’t have that level of optimism. I mean, he can’t seem to decide if the invitation he accepted to chat with North Korean leadership is a good idea.

Nobody in the White House Talks about Clinton

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Kellyanne Conway told Chris Cuomo on CNN that nobody talks about Hillary Clinton in the White House. “We don’t care about her. Nobody here talks about her.”  That seems to be empirically untrue, as literally right after she gave the interview, good ol’ King Don sent out a tweet about her.  It seems like SOMEONE pretty significant in the White House cares about her and talks about her.