When the News No Longer Resembles News

I honestly think I’ve had about enough.  If you happened to catch Chuck Todd’s apoplectic reaction to President Trump’s news conference on Tuesday.

What made me reach my breaking point came at about the 1:34 mark, “…when was the last time you saw a President of the United States defend the cause of White Nationalists?”

It’s an insane smear, but I’ve no doubt that Todd was being totally sincere in his belief that Trump was rooting for the Nazi’s.  As for me, I’ve been a news junkie for decades. Up until the internet made it ridiculous, I had a subscription to the local newspaper and I would make sure I caught a steady stream of news shows on cable and the traditional nightly news. Most mornings I would have the morning news shows on in the background while I worked. So generally, I’ve watched a lot of news.  Not just hours a week but hours a day.

But I’ve never felt so estranged from what newspaper columns and talking heads on cable are babbling about as I have this year. It’s as if they are living not just in a different moral universe, but a different factual one as well. Their editorial decisions seem like they are being made by college student government rather than seasoned, professional editors. How can you spend 8 months on wall to wall Russia when there has yet to be any actual evidence of a Russia collusion story?  It’s simply a daily rehashing of a burned out conspiracy theory.

I’m tuning out the news more and more these days.  I can get all my news online with a lot less wasted time and no smug pomposity; which is particularly galling with their track record of inaccuracy.  After the election, it occurred to me that I would have been better informed if I had spent 18 months leading up to the election just reading Scott Adams’ blog than the hundreds of hours wasted watching Morning Joe.

Hopefully, when this age of mass hysteria and moral panic has passed, and the news media has returned to some sort of semblance of normalcy, I can return to getting my media news junkie fix.  But for now, I’ll be a lot healthier if I’m off the stuff.

12 steps…

Advertisements

What Do We Get in Trade for Joe Scarborough?

Breaking news from the who-the-hell-cares department, but MSNBC token Republican Joe Scarborough, of the Morning Joe show, has left the Republican Party. . .   I’m shocked, shocked I say!

Actually I really was shocked.  I thought Scarborough left the Republicans years ago.  He didn’t vote for the Republican nominee not just last year, in 2016, but the last go around, in 2012.  If you never vote for Republicans, on what basis do you call yourself one?   Well maybe he was an “MSNBC Republican.”  If someone’s primary political issue is gun control and their most hated senator is Texas Senator Ted Cruz, you are either Senator Diane Feinstein or… “Conservative” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.  But Joe’s left leaning positions aren’t new.  I used to think Joe was trying to just keep his job.  MSNBC did fire Pat Buchanan for driving while conservative, so I figured, if you like those nice paychecks, you have to sing their tune.

When the network takes an editorial position, they can count on Joe to follow along loyally. The key to that is to join, or as is often the case, lead, the mob. Joe is the first one to pick up the torch and pitchfork and begin to emote, throwing logic and reason to the wind and just feel. He did it with Newtown, with Joe calling for tight gun control regulations (they did this daily on the show for almost 6 months after the shooting). If there is any incident that generates a purely emotional mob response Joe is there for it.

The Gabby Giffords shooting? He was there to warn the right to stop targeting innocent lefty politicians. He joined in blaming Palin and the Tea Party for the shooting.

Trayvon Martin? He joined the network in emoting about tea and skittles over and over again, even while his network was editing 911 calls from the shooting.

Ground Zero Mosque?  He demanded that be built too.

So the reason why Joe Scarborough can make it on MSNBC as a Republican is because he has been a faithful team player.  But now that he’s come out of the closet, he doesn’t need that.  It turns out that he can now to be free to be himself: A confused guy undergoing a mid-life crisis.  How else to explain first the affair, then divorce, and now engagement to co-host Mika Brzezinski?  And now a ridiculous “music” career, including Manhattan gigs and music videos.  Videos mind you, that he, without the least bit of shame, airs on his show.

As for Joe’s affair and divorce, each marriage is a mystery, so maybe I shouldn’t judge that, but I feel perfectly free to judge falling into the arms of Brzezinski.   Without claiming any psychic powers, I can tell you that on his deathbed he’ll regard his affair and engagement to Brzezinski as his biggest mistake (assuming he didn’t kill that intern in his office in Pensacola).

And yet I’ve been a long time viewer to Morning Joe.  For all the flaws of its hosts, it’s been different than any other dull and dumbed down morning show.  It’s provided some drama, such as when Mika and Joe got into a fight when she called him a chauvinist (I didn’t know at the time it was flirtation), and Yuval Levin discussing the Burkean and Paine traditions of American political thought.  You can’t get that on the Today Show. And Joe Scarborough did great work in eviscerating Paul Krugman on a debate on the Charlie Rose Show.  It’s always entertaining when a University of Alabama grad, ex-Politician, and TV host, gets the better of a New York Times columnist and Professor of Economics in his own field.

So while I’ve enjoyed the longer conversational style aspects of Morning Joe; the show’s #nevertrump descent into pure snarkfest had ruined what was formerly a useful show, and turned it into a 3 hour morning long Cobert Show, only without the attempts at humor, all the while the main host acts out his mid-life crisis on live TV.

But as Joe pursues establishment approval that will never come, no matter how much he debases himself, he won’t be missed on the right, even if he takes all 12 or “Joe Scarborough Republicans” with him.

So bye Joe.

But, do we get anything in trade?  If we’re trading Joe to the left, does the left have anything to offer us?  Well as a matter of fact…

You may not have heard of Laci Green, particularly if you’re over thirty and don’t follow Social Justice Warrior intersectional feminism (and who does?) but in the world of YouTube, she’s a big star. Her feminist blogger YouTube channel has a million and a half subscribers and 146 million views.  That’s a big audience for a lot of feminist yammering about Planned Parenthood and pansexuality.  But then something weird happened earlier this year…

Suddenly Laci was talking about meeting some anti-feminist video bloggers and listening to different perspectives.  “Listening to different perspectives” is exactly the opposite of what’s typical on the left these days, and particularly among the SJW set.  Why oh why would she suddenly be interested in “different perspectives” that run counter to not just her world view and politics, but her business model?

You guessed it, she met a guy.  And the guy she met is an anti-feminist you tuber who goes by the name of Chris Ray Gun.  If you were a publicist, you could hardly craft a better Romeo & Juliet storyline.  The MTV movie practically writes itself. In the world of you tube, Chris Ray Gun is a much smaller commodity than Laci Green is, but at almost half a million subscribers, he’s still a pretty big deal.  But Chris shows no signs of reconsidering intersectional feminism, Laci is the one with her worldview shattered.

But that shattering is a long term process and as Laci struggles to deal with other perspectives on feminism than the ones she picked up at Berkeley, she’s dealing with the blowback of rethinking her worldview.  One can’t predict where that will lead.  With Joe Scarborough, once he began the process of status seeking among the establishment, the conversion was only going to go one way.  But a move to the right is a different story.  That’s usually with the understanding that, as Whitaker Chambers thought, that it’s a defection to a losing side.  And you lose everything else as well, your old friends and your old, respected position.  In Laci Green’s case, it could cost her a business.  So the process of conversion isn’t assured.  On the other hand, trading Joe Scarborough; for even a feminist who is willing to have a conversation; is more than a fair trade in my opinion.

 

Anand Giridharadas in Fear

Our old buddy Anand Giridharadas was back on Morning Joe, and boy how the tables have turned. I wrote in October how New York Times writer Giridharadas, on a Morning Joe appearance, couldn’t wait for the post election score settling with his arch enemy, white men.

“I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

But now the tables have turned, and with a Trump victory, Giridharadas has gone from a Brownshirt inciting a Caucasian Kristallnacht to shivering in fear in a Dutch attic.  Enjoy:

When Joe Scarborough has to be the voice of reason, “Hitler is not coming back,” then you know that someone’s gone off the deep end. But however much I’m enjoying the schadenfreude of Giridharadas having a special snowflake breakdown on television, it serves as a reminder that however much he now fears internment camps, Muslim banning, and all the rest, he’s the type of person who either thinks that you have your hands on his throat, or he’s going to have his hands on your throat.  If the tables had been turned, and Hillary had won, he would have been the first one urging internment camps and whatever final solution he feels appropriate to handle that pesky white male problem.

Demography is destiny and eventually the Democrats will be back in power.  And when they are, there will be Anand Giridharadas and others like him urging on their own pogrom.

A Reckoning

When it comes to anti white racism, I admit I’ve been pretty tolerant of it.  Mostly because anti white racism can be pretty funny so it’s hard to take seriously.  As anyone who has perused Salon, the website for white people who hate white people; can tell you, it’s sometimes hard not to get a good laugh out of it.  It’s hard to remember now, but at one time Salon used to be a legitimate and respectable magazine. But with stories like, White Men Must be Stopped, White Guys are Killing Us, America’s Angriest White Men, GOP base is still white and aging, and Time to Profile White Men; even the parody twitter account “Salon.com” has had difficulty topping the real articles and has often resorted to re-tweeting Salon’s real tweets.

Of course when real journalists do it, it’s slightly less funny, such as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, whose article, On a Welcome End to American Whiteness, cheers for the day of demographic apocalypse for white people in America.  Milbank sees the declining white population as an opportunity to redo American culture, to get rid of an “excess of individualism, short-term thinking and prioritizing of rights over duties.

Yeah, we wouldn’t want too many rights gumming up the works.

So I suppose I do fundamentally view a major difference between the comic anti white hatred of Salon, ranting Black Nationalists on Youtube, or various SJW’s on college campuses, and legitimate journalists positing their anti white racism in the public sphere without any backlash at all.

anand-giridharadas

That’s why I found myself someone shocked by the comments of New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas on Morning Joe this week. Giridharadas is one of those semi regular guests to the set of the MSNBC show that doesn’t, to my view, seem to offer anything particularly compelling in the way of opinion other than the mouthing of whatever the latest conventional wisdom is.  In the case of Giridharadas he also brings some sort of incomprehensible thing going on with his hair.  It’s like he’s stacked a couple of bird’s nests up there.  I guess that’s his gimmick.

So check out the video at this link of Giridharadas.

Or I’ll just transcribe the relevant comments.  When co-host and white male Willie Geist asked Giridharadas a question about what happens to the frustrations of the people who supported Trump post election, he responded thusly:

“I don’t want to wait for a leader to deal with this energy because I think how badly we went when we don’t deal with each other as human beings. I think every institution needs to do this. I would say to your point, this needs to be a two-way reconciliation, and here’s my suggestion for kind of each side. I think the elites we’re talking about who relate to understanding this pain, who didn’t see the roots of Trump, need to see it–need to re-engage with What American needs to understand what’s doing on.

I think the people who went that way and that Trump movement and perhaps supported things about women they don’t actually support or supported things about bashing Muslims that they don’t in their deepest of hearts support, need to think about the fact that globalization and all of that was hard on everybody. It wasn’t just hard on White guys. For some reason, women lost their jobs in globalization, Black and Brown people lost their jobs in globalization, and managed not to lash out. I think there needs to be a reckoning, frankly, with white manhood in this country.”

Geist’s reply?  “Interesting.”

Putting aside the idea that if globalization is so hard on everyone, why are we doing it, I thought the real take away was, I realized that these guys, the establishment elite types like Milbank and Giridharadas were serious.  They really do regard whites as some sort of problem, like an atavistic hold over that’s harshing everyone’s buzz.  It’s pretty blatantly racist, but it’s not a racism that anyone particularly cares about.

I’ve been writing about the increase in tribalism and identity politics for years, but it looks like it’s going for a new level.  Nothing good will come out of this of course, but now it’s not just that nothing good will come out of this in a general way, but now I feel like I’m being targeted personally.  Unfortunately Joe Scarborough recognized the rabbit hole Giridharadas was going down and sidetracked the conversation into one of “reconciliation,” I would have much rather heard Giridharadas elaborate on his point and find out just what exactly he had in mind with his reckoning “with white manhood.”

Although I think I’ll eventually find out.

 

Two Americas: Dunham and Duck Dynasty

After spending days of airtime excoriating Donald Trump for asking why Mrs. Khan didn’t speak at the Democratic Convention, Morning Joe decided to take a breather to interview Hollywood Reporter writer Michael Wolff for his new article, “Michael Wolff on Hillary’s “Self Delusion, “Trump’s S- Show” and the Media’s Final, Frantic 100 Days.”  Wolff’s basic thesis is that the two conventions show that we’re too different countries with almost no middle ground.  He uses the example of two convention stars, Lena Dunham for the Democrats and Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame for the Republicans.  As Wolff writes:

“The Nation divides over many lines, but a basic split is between Lena Dunham, who made a prime time appearance July 26 at the Democratic National Convention, and Willie Robertson, a star of Duck Dynasty and a celebrity endorser at the Republican convention. No longer an actual aspect of political decision-making, party conventions are wholly symbolic affairs, an elaborate messaging apparatus and targeted media platform. In this instance, Dunham represented a cosmopolitan, millennial, pan-sexual, women-focused view, abhorrent to a significant part of the country, and Robertson a nativist, older, gun-associated, military-inclined, white-male-focused view, abhorrent to the Dunham part.”

That’s basically true I think.  If you drew a Venn Diagram of Dunham fans and Robertson fans, the two circles would probably just sit there without even touching.  I’ve had my own fun with Dunham, so just knowing I’m in the non Dunham circle should tell you a lot about me.

Wolff doesn’t sound very optimistic about the two Americas, but the division is not a new invention.  America has over big issues and small, long been a divided country.  What’s different now has been the tendency to nationalize every issue into a one size fits all, top down approach; exactly the opposite of what the founders intended.  I suspect the divide began to take on national consequences with Roe v Wade in 1973.  It may be hard to believe now, but the country was gradually moving towards a pro choice position when the Supreme Court decided to short circuit the democratic process and impose a court written national law that froze the debate in place. So for 40 plus years, the needle has barely wiggled on abortion and it’s still a contentious issue.  And you can add up every single issue that we’ve had either decided for us by the courts or imposed on us at a national level issues that were usually a state and local concern. Now that the federal government is vitally concerned about who goes into what bathroom in North Carolina, and every state in the union, there are effectively no limits to what the national government can decide or impose.  So every issue is a national issue in which at least half the country feels burned on.

There is an easy solution to this of course, good old fashioned constitutional federalism.  Leave the bathrooms, abortions, and gay marriage cakes up to each state, and suddenly we have a lot fewer things to fight about on the national stage. Unfortunately good old fashioned constitutional federalism is as abhorrent to half the country as Duck Dynasty and country music.  So prepare for more squabbling between Dunham and Dynasty.

 

The Dumbed Down Gun Debate

I hadn’t intended to write anything about the flared up gun debate simply because as an issue, it’s been done to death, and no one’s mind is ever changed.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever written about it, in spite of the frequency in which it comes up as an issue. On the other hand, anytime there is a shooting the issue flares up as if we’ve never discussed it before, and we get treated to the same old arguments…

Of course, as I noted earlier in the week, if we’re going to debate anything, it should be terrorism, but the media has guided the issue away from that to guns because, that’s what they feel comfortable talking about.  They don’t feel comfortable talking about terrorism, so guns make a nice distraction from the real issues. To that end, one of my guilty pleasures, the Monsters of the Morning radio show, had an oh so serious gun control discussion.  Although I was slightly irritated at having my morning dose of fart jokes cut off, it’s a local Orlando station and Central Florida needed the catharsis of talking about the tragedy.

Monsters of the Morning

 

Listening to the show on podcast, it more or less fulfilled my expectations.  In other words, I was in a constant state of facepalm.  Of course listening on podcast meant the show was in the can and I couldn’t call in for any corrections.  On the other hand, what’s the point?  I’ve seen other gun debates in which the pro gun person would have to correct all of the typical mistakes that anti gun people make because in general, the anti gun people, not having any interest in firearms other than as a hate totem, don’t know anything about them. In this debate the primary anti gunner was producer Carlos Navarro, who, as a superlib Obama supporter, was the natural default antigun proponent.

But there is a way to argue with liberals on guns and a way that is totally ineffective. Like most leftists, he didn’t care about the 2nd Amendment, and was pretty clear that he didn’t think much of the constitution; or care about the rights of people they hate (you know, “bitter clingers”) having access to weapons for recreation or self defense.  In fact, from his perspective, the onus on justifying why you need an AR-15 was on the gun owner, which was the question he asked every single caller.  From his perspective, they had to justify to him why they had to have an AR-15.  As you can imagine, every reason fell short. So trying to argue from those points is worthless.  When the constitution only means what the next liberal judge on the court says it does, constitutional arguments are moot.

But there is a line of argument that they are vulnerable on, because it’s already part of their suitcase of issues. They totally don’t accept the logic of prohibition.  They know that the war on drugs is a failure, and they know making drugs illegal; particularly weed, doesn’t keep anyone from getting some.

But when it comes to guns, prohibition seems totally plausible. But that is the crux of the current gun control argument: the logic of prohibition.  Liberals do care that the war on drugs is a failure since the government has totally failed to restrict the sale or import of drugs.  Prohibition can’t work with drugs they will say, so why do they think it will work with guns?  Take a typical leftist or libertarian argument against drug prohibition and replace the word ‘drugs’ with ‘guns’ and you have the same argument. It’s just a matter of whose pot is being gored.  In fact, I credit host “Dirty” Jim Colbert for making that point regarding cigarettes.

After all, if you are really concerned about saving lives, wouldn’t you be in favor of banning alcohol? Annually, 88,000 people a year die from alcohol related causes. However in 2015, there were 12,942 gun deaths in the US.  A large number, but if you were interested in saving the most lives, you would ban alcohol.  But….most people like to drink.  So if you like to drink but don’t own weapons, then you want the government to go after the other guy, and that’s the case here.

Interestingly the most eye opening thing about the show is that most of the callers still supported keeping AR-15’s legal, and that’s in Orlando, three days after the city suffered the worst terrorist attack in the US since 9/11.  That’s reassuring when everything in the media wants them banned.  So while I expect Morning Joe to go off on another 6 month crying jag on gun control, there still seem to be people who are immune to it.

 

The San Bernardino Shooting Might have been stopped

The political firefight over the San Bernardino shooting terrorist act started almost before the event was over, with President Obama calling for gun control even while the suspects were still on the loose.  Morning Joe seemed to think this was another Sandy Hook and peppered all of their interviewees with gun control related questions.

But for me, the take away of this event is the utter failure of “see something; say something.”  As reported by CBS:

A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.

Americans have been taught, and have learned the lesson, that it’s better that multiple people die horribly than to be thought of as racist.

Political Correctness kills.