Home / General / The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is for the Media to Care Far More About Email Management Than Racism

The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is for the Media to Care Far More About Email Management Than Racism

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You might think that a candidate running an explicitly white nationalist campaign might be seen as a major scandal. But, to the media, it was certainly no EMAILS!:

I want to be crystal clear: When Trump said he would ban Muslims from this country, that didn’t get long-lasting attention. When Trump proposed an irresponsible tax plan or espoused dangerous climate change attitudes, that didn’t either. It just became an accepted part of Trumpism.

But when powerful men reacted to those things and changed their minds — or not — that became the story. So when they okayed his candidacy, it was normalizing, as if what he had done was forgivable and what he planned to do was acceptable.

Meanwhile, the story around Hillary Clinton was about one thing: emails.

Let me first show you this astounding chart, because it illustrates why some people believe the media was irrationally obsessed with Clinton’s emails:

[omitted so you click through, but it’s astounding]

It was covered far more than Trump’s Muslim proposal. In fact, on televisions it was covered far more than all policy issues combined.

From the beginning of 2016 to late October, the three major networks — CBS, ABC, and NBC — spent 100 combined minutes of their newscasts covering Clinton’s emails. They spent 32 minutes on every other policy issue, and no time on climate change, health care, poverty, and trade. This focus on her emails made it relevant throughout the election, peaking right before Election Day. Often, it was a small development that provided little new information, like FBI Director James Comey sending a letter to Congress saying the bureau had more emails to look at — and then saying it didn’t change the original decision that she hadn’t done anything criminal.

Let’s rehash what this “scandal” actually was: It started from allegations that she mishandled the Benghazi attacks in 2012. An investigation found no wrongdoing. It did find a private email server — which was also investigated — and at the end of it, her mistake was sending classified information on systems that weren’t approved for it. But the investigation found she wasn’t criminally responsible. As Vox’s Matt Yglesias writes, this is a bullshit scandal.

So it’s absurd for Clinton’s emails and Trump’s racist proposals to be put on the same scale of morality. But it’s even more absurd that Clinton’s emails were somehow a better indicator of how she would change people’s lives compared with Trump’s actual plans. It was absurd that at only a single point in this election was the Muslim ban Googled more than Clinton’s emails, and media is responsible for some, if not most, of this. We were more interested in what Clinton was doing on her BlackBerry than in how Trump was going to ban people from this country based on their religion.

And this doesn’t even account for the astonishingly racist comments Trump made that pretty much vanished without a trace. A major candidate nominee literally called for innocent African-Americans to be lynched while attracting almost no attention whatsoever from a media gripped by a consuming obsession with a trivial pseudo-scandal that involved no substantial misconduct by Hillary Clinton and was immaterial to how the candidates would preform in office.

I’m already hearing, in comments and elsewhere, a lot of “look forward not back,” that we should get over it because discussing it will get in the way of our shiny new theory about how Lena Dunham cost Hillary Clinton the election or whatever. To hell with that. This was gross misconduct on the part of the media. It probably changed the outcome in ways that will have untold horrible effects for the most vulnerable people in the country and for the planet. But even if Clinton had been able to overcome the electoral college and the four-front war being fought against her by the GOP, the FBI, Wikileaks (and the “leftist” media that acted as the dupes for a libertarian ratfucking operation) and the media, it is still absolutely reprehensible conduct. It reflects grossly skewed priorities and a consummate failure to even minimally inform the American public. And while Hillary Clinton won’t be a presidential nominee again, don’t assume it won’t happen next time too.

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  • aturner339

    I think this make a case as good as there has ever been for diversity in the media. I can’t help but believe that a lot of overwhelmingly white newsrooms trained from birth to view race as a “niche” concern wanted to focus on “real issues”

    • Bruce B.

      +23 chromosomes

    • liberal

      I think this makes a case as good as there ever was for non-idiots in the media.

    • ASV

      Also too, the WaPo napkin thing, re: gender.

  • Denverite

    don’t assume it won’t happen next time too.

    This assumes there will be a next time.

    • Srsly Dad Y

      Looking forward to forensic coverage of the Reichstag fire.

      • Keaaukane

        9/11 was the Reichstag Fire, and the hilariously misnamed Patriot Act is the Enabling Act. The pieces have been in place for awhile, just waiting for a Facist willing to use them.

        • RonC

          This sounds disturbingly correct.

  • Facebones

    This election really broke a lot of my asssumptions.

    I assumed this country was smart enough not to elect an admitted racist and misogynistic. (Wrong)

    And I assumed the media could not possibly be worse than the were during Bush-Gore. (So very wrong.)

    • Joseph Slater

      On one hand, I agree: this election made me feel significantly worse about the U.S. than I had before (and I’m an old, fairly cynical guy who didn’t think he was laboring under a lot of illusions). And yeah, the e-mail thing was horrible.

      On the other hand, when we say “press,” I guess we could note the really astounding disparities in newspaper endorsements. So very few endorsed Trump, and a number of traditionally solid Republican papers either endorsed Hillary or didn’t endorse at all. But that didn’t seem to matter at all.

      • CP

        I think the fact that everyone expected Trump to lose explains a lot of the NeverTrump reaction from both Republicans and the mainstream media.

        So for a lot of these people, the primary question wasn’t “how do I help him win” but “how can I distance myself from him,” which is why the drumbeat narrative that he wasn’t a Republican, that he was something totally new, that he broke every Republican norm (much of it nonsense) set in. And why there wasn’t perceived to be a great deal of damage done in calling him out as a racist, refusing to endorse him, whatever. Meanwhile, the question was how to delegitimize the president-apparent, Hillary Clinton, as badly as possible so that the post-2016 Republicans could attack and undermine her at every opportunity. Hence, the “break with Trump but attack Hillary” strategy.

        Only then Trump won. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

        The “normalization” process of the past week has been the GOP and MSM working overtime to adjust to the new reality. If the polls had shown Trump as a winner, it would’ve started much earlier.

    • CrunchyFrog

      I assumed there were a few well-connected powerful people who would pull strings to keep Trump from office due to the catastrophic problems with Trump on national security and foreign policy. Sane, George HW Bush types. I thought that was happening in September. Boy was I ever proven wrong.

  • XTPD

    By September, CNN will have a panel where Connor Kilpatrick UNCUCKED and David Duke agree that total subjugation of Congoloids and Asiatics is the key to alleviating economic anxiety. And NBC and the Villagers will consider this a “moderate” position.

    • lawtalkingguy

      why reach that far?
      Bernie SandersVerified account
      ‏@BernieSanders
      I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to the people where I came from.

      • Harkov311

        Heh, he really said that?

        Yeah, Bernie, I’m pretty sure Brooklyn and Vermont voted for Hillary. I’ll double check if you want.

        • smott999

          I am so fucking done with Sanders.
          You schmuck, you’re asking us to understand AND SYMPATHIZE W the very people who would put you in an OVEN.
          Schmuck.

          Good storm here blowing holes in all that WWC economic anxiety.

          https://mobile.twitter.com/yottapoint/status/798356618236702720

          • Moondog von Superman

            Maybe Bernie should join the party he wants to reform. (Actually that would be pretty great.)

            Last night he used the term “liberal elites” and Colbert interjected, do you consider yourself one of them? “No.”

        • DrDick

          The white working class did not elect Trump the white middle and professional class did.

          • Rob in CT

            The guy won an EC victory while losing the popular vote, so a lot of things “elected Trump” including a big shift in the WWC towards the GOP. But middle & upper class whites voted for Trump too (though there was some movement towards the Dems amongst college educated whites… maybe just college educated women, actually).

      • Rob in CT

        On the one hand, the Dems bled a lot of crucial support in that group and it has to be corrected if we’re to win.

        On the other, Bern… you mean Brooklyn, man?

        To be fair, Brooklyn has changed. Maybe we could look at a 2016 community that has demographics that look like Brooklyn when Bernie was young. Even then, it probably voted Clinton.

        • lawtalkingguy

          Dems bled a lot of crucial support among PoC too. I guess maybe I am less shocked that crude racism appeals to white people than I am that crude racism motivated poc voters less than Mitt Romney’s milk toast versions of it.

          • Rob in CT

            Sort of. There does appear to have been a Latino surge (turnout up) for instance. Not sure about Asian-American turnout (and in both cases these are umbrella terms for different sets of people, i.e. Latinos including Cubans in FL).

            AA turnout & Dem preference appears to have been down, though wrt turnout one has to factor in suppression tactics where appropriate. It does look like we couldn’t assume Obama-level AA voter preference because there was a horrible toxic bigot on the GOP ticket. We’re back to more standard Democrat levels (like Kerry in ’04). There also may have been some sexism at work there too.

            Clinton did try and talk about policy & helping people, but the campaign ended up being “everybody is awful” because our media is terrible and also possibly b/c the Clinton campaign didn’t make the positive case enough, trusting that Trump’s awfulness would turn off enough decent voters to win her the election.

            • gkclarkson

              Asian American preference and turnout just doesn’t play a huge role in the presidential election because every single swing states has a lower percentage of Asian Americans than the U.S. as a whole (5.6%), most severely so:

              Ohio: 2.1%
              Iowa: 2.1%
              North Carolina: 2.6%
              New Hampshire: 2.6%
              Michigan: 2.9%
              Florida: 3.0%
              Pennsylvania: 3.2%
              Colorado: 3.7%
              Minnesota: 4.7%

              Where do the Asian Americans live? Primarily in Hawaii (57.4%) California (14.9%), Nevada (9.0%), New Jersey (9.0%), Washington (9.0%), and New York (8.2%).

              • Rob in CT

                Yeah. So Nevada, basically. Otherwise, probably tiny or no impact.

              • bender

                Is that figure from census data, and is the category actually “Asian and Pacific Islanders”?

            • Dilan Esper

              Clinton did try and talk about policy & helping people, but the campaign ended up being “everybody is awful” because our media is terrible and also possibly b/c the Clinton campaign didn’t make the positive case enough, trusting that Trump’s awfulness would turn off enough decent voters to win her the election.

              I wonder if negative campaigning, in general, is a bit overrated. We all tell stories about Daisy commercials and Jesse Helms beating Harvey Gantt with an affirmative action ad, and the Swift Boat Veterans, but really, it’s likely that none of those elections actually turned on negative advertising if you think about them for a minute. (The only one that I even suspect could have was Bush-Kerry.)

              Campaign professionals love negative campaigning for the same reason bad poker players love slowplaying hands– because it makes you feel better when your actions caused the win rather than the fact that you held the better hand. Negative attacks require creativity and strategizing– having the candidate talk about what they are going to do as President requires less of it. Thus, there may be a bias.

              The reality is that I don’t think there was any large pool of voters out there who actually didn’t hear about Trump’s various problems. But I can imagine there were millions of voters who didn’t pay a lot of attention to the candidates’ agendas.

              • DAS

                I suspect most Trump voters know that Trump is a liar. They just don’t care because “all politicians lie” and they assume that when Trump says stuff they agree with, that’s when Trump is telling the truth. They even view other Trump supporters as suckers who believe Trump’s lies. E.g. I overheard a Jewish Trump supporter say “all those white supremacists who supported Trump will be in for a shock when they realize he’s not an anti-Semite”.

                I also suspect a good number of people didn’t vote because “all politicians are liars”. “Yeah sure Trump is a lying racist, sexist pig but Clinton is always implicated in some or other scandal, so both sides, amirite?”

                That’s where the “if only the Dems nominated Bernie” or “if only Clinton would have been more forcefully anti-trade and more empathetic with white, working class voters” arguments bug me. If enough voters will vote for someone they know to be a lying, sexist, racist pig and enough voters fail to vote for the viable alternative to the candidate that gives pigs a bad name — in either case because “well they all lie anyway” — well then … how is any politician going to win an election against a candidate like Trump? No matter how much a candidate might empathize with working class whites or how a candidate’s ideas would benefit working class whites, that candidate would still, by definition, be a politician and hence “a liar and a cheat” … and if people are choosing between two candidates they perceive as liars and cheats, they will either stay home, vote for a third party or vote for the yuuuugest, most unbelievable liar and cheat because “why not?”.

                No candidate can out Trump Trump. And even if a Dem candidate did, nihilism is not the Dem brand, and the GOoPer would still win. I think unless the political culture (which the media plays a key role in propagating) changes, we’re gonna end up with people like Trump for a long time.

                • Rob in CT

                  I’m pretty sure Obama would’ve beaten him. We didn’t have an Obama available, though.

      • RonC

        I think it is a great idea to attack Sanders, the only real progressive that got anywhere in the presidential sweepstakes in the last 8 years. Yeah, let’s attack those people. Good idea.

        • Origami Isopod

          Saint Bernie cannot fail, only be failed!

          And Bernouts like you have the gall to accuse people of believing this about Clinton.

          • urd

            Funny, I keep seeing that in all the excuses made for the dismal way in which the Clinton campaign was run.

            They had one job: win the election. They failed. Getting pissy about people who still think Sanders was a better choice is really telling.

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              My viewpoint differs.

              The one thing I think we can agree upon is that neither Clinton nor Sanders will be running in 2020.

              I conclude that taking time talking about either of them is a waste and keeps us stuck in the past rather than focused on the future. (Though the future looks bleak enough to me that I can see the lure of focusing on something else.)

              Yes, we can talk about how to better reach potential voters next time, how to make the process of selecting our nominee more fair, etc. But if we keep referring to either Clinton or Sanders IMO all we do is get stuck in the emotions we feel around those two individuals and past battles.

              I don’t have any expertise in national politics, but I do have decades of experience with church congregation dynamics, and what I’ve concluded is that a lot of what looks like personality issues is primarily process and structural issues. There are times of course that one or more individuals do have personality issues, but a lot of times they’re just people who get into or fall into roles that the church’s culture has created.

              Neither Clinton nor Sanders was anything close to perfect, but both of them were so far superior to any of the 17 Republican choices that I think this reflects that our voters are more sane than theirs, overall. Candidates don’t beam in from outer space fully formed; they are developed and nurtured to become the people that they are by the political cultures in which they have lived and developed.

  • Harkov311

    Given capitalism and all, I have to ask an obvious question: did EMAILZ! keep bringing the clicks and eyeballs? If so, that’s almost as damning an indictment of the public as it is of the media.

    Did enough people really care about this non-story to keep it profitable?

    • aturner339

      I think people would have watched episode after episode of the “Is Donald Trump a racist? show” It naturally titillating and dwells on a major societal taboo.

      I just think the media lacks the fortitude to have someone answer “yeeep” night after night like some damn telltale heart.

    • Yes and Yes.

    • RonC

      For whatever reason the media chooses to beat this horse continuously, just like Whitewater. There is no reason that they can’t follow other stories except that they don’t want to.

      Why you may ask? Well either they are complete assholes or they want a fascist as president.

      • Brad Nailer

        If I had to guess, I would guess the former. We saw Clinton hatred at its most incandescent and the Clinton Rules on full display. (Air time on the Clinton Foundation vs air time on the Trump Foundation is a perfect example.) Time after time, as each and every so-called “allegation” against Hillary was debunked, the media still refused to give on on going after her, even down to legitimizing trivia about her speaking voice and whether she might be dying of pneumonia. As usual, trivia elevated to sensation was the operative mode.

        Did they want a fascist for president? I’m prepared to believe that they were so obsessed with slandering and demeaning Hillary that the thought that Trump just might not be the small-d democrat he was impersonating only vaguely occurred to them. Otherwise, it’s not like the information wasn’t already out there. David Cay Johnston published a book about Trump this year that laid out in fine (and documented) detail what kind of man Trump is, but where was Johnston except on MSNBC–at night? I saw Carl Bernstein on some show a couple of weeks ago almost shouting that TV news should be devoting an hour every fucking night to dissecting Trump’s business career and his character, but, hey, got no time for that I guess. Just can’t get enough of that Hillary!

        That’s giving the media the benefit of the doubt, of course, because we certainly would expect an institution chartered by the Constitution to give a goddam about whether the Republicans were running the next Mussolini–if not the next Meyer Lansky (now there was a Jew I’ll bet even Steve Bannon could get behind)–for president.

        In either case, it was of course a complete and utter failure of the media/press in performing its duty to this country. Who’s responsible? Not sure, but there’s no doubt that everybody got paid well regardless.

    • Origami Isopod

      Did enough people really care about this non-story to keep it profitable?

      Which people? Because there are most definitely enough people who voted against Trump who would have paid attention. But it wouldn’t be the first time a big business lacked insight into the consumption patterns of customers who were demographically unlike its chief executives.

  • I’m still not clear why they were obsessed with the stupid e-mails. They don’t really seem to be ratings bait, it’s a pretty boring issue that nobody even understood, let alone involve sex or violence. What was that all about anyway?

    • Facebones

      Hillary Clinton. That’s all it was always about. It was massive false equivalence to give the media BOTH SIDES cover

      • Right but they didn’t pay nearly as much attention to the actual disgusting truths about Donald Trump. Check out the NYT today, it’s chock full of everything they should have told us before Nov. 8 but never got around to. So in other words they didn’t even need the false equivalence because they ignored the stuff they needed to be falsely equivalent to.

        • Facebones

          The reason emails stuck around so long was it was all the media had. Trump kept generating new atrocities daily, and the media would counter with “email server!”

          Like, Trump attacked the Khan family, but emails!

          Trump wants to ban all muslims, but emails!

          Trump advocated lynching black men cleared of wrongdoing, but emails!

          Because Trump kept cycling through scandal after scandal, it gave the impression that none of them were that important. Otherwise, they’d have real staying power like that Email scandal!

          • XTPD

            Any chance Obama’s going to convince Trump to use constructive discharge on Comey or the like?

          • Rob in CT

            Fuck, this is basically it isn’t it?

            • gkclarkson

              Essentially. Need to sell those papers though.

          • Moondog von Superman

            It was the same with the most prominent part of the left-leaning media — comedians.

            I lost count of how many times Colbert told me that both candidates were terrible and made email jokes.

          • RonC

            There is a reason (or reasons) that the media decided not to flog one or a couple of the Trump scandals. But other than really wanting to see a fascist as president, I have no other answer.

          • Origami Isopod

            Because Trump kept cycling through scandal after scandal, it gave the impression that none of them were that important.

            Trump kept cycling through scandal after scandal because the media treated them as unimportant. A vicious circle.

            The media’s reaction is partly because it wanted horse races, partly because the Villagers and their allies have always hated the Clintons. With Bill, it was because of his upbringing and his party affiliation. For Hillary, it’s her party affiliation and her gender.

        • Moondog von Superman

          So about today’s New York Times — do you suppose the “abrupt” changes in his foreign policy team have anything to do with Putin’s call to Trump and/or the subsequent renewed airstrikes in Aleppo?

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          Yep, and as I listened to brief moments of NPR today as they discussed all the problems of the Trump presidency, all I could think of was: if you can devote lengthy segments to this now, why couldn’t you do it in the fall when it might have made a difference?

          If policy was too boring then it’s too boring now, also. It’s too bizarre for words.

    • (((Hogan)))

      I think one thing was the way Wikileaks (and their good friend Trey Gowdy before them) paced the creation/release of “new” information, making sure the story never had a chance to die down.

      • Rob in CT

        Yes, I think this had something to do with it. So, obviously, did the Clinton Rules.

        But really, the people out to get HRC were very smart about playing the media.

        • kped

          Smart about playing the media, and the media helped by being, as always, very stupid.

          • Rob in CT

            I’m not even sure it’s smart/stupid.

            For morality, we have a word – amoral.

            The media is like… a-intelligent.

    • (((Malaclypse)))

      They needed to create a horse race. To do that meant they could not discredit Trump.

    • Scott Lemieux

      They don’t really seem to be ratings bait, it’s a pretty boring issue that nobody even understood, let alone involve sex or violence.

      Exactly. It’s not even a sex scandal where you can argue that the market DEMANDS that the media cover it rather than substantive issues. This was the media’s choice of priorities, not dictated by any profit motive.

      • kped

        And…it’s not going to get better, there is literally 0 incentive for them to improve. Hell, they probably think they did a good job.

        I still think CNN was the worst of the worst. Their debating facts with 3 sane democrats, and 3 absolute nutbars was breathtaking. Van Jones and Paul Begala are not the equivalent of Scottie Nell Hughes and Kayley Macenany and Jeffrey Lord. And don’t even get me started on that lying shit bag Liewindisky. Everything becomes a “debate” between partisans, and you have the left having to explain constantly why the smirking asshole in front of them is lying. It just muddies the water for no reason…

        …but…they got both sides, so it’s all good!

        • XTPD

          The rappers of the same name could easily do a better job of running the network and Zucker. I fully expect CNN & NBC to be regularly featuring Nazis by next autumn.

          • kped

            The President Elect is going to appear on Alex Jones radio show. He praised Alex Jones while running. The media…never covered this. I still cannot get my mind around this. CNN is a joke. MSNBC is a joke. I haven’t turned on either since election night.

            • Brad Nailer

              Don’t give up on Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell. They’re still fighting to good fight.

          • DAS

            They’re not Nazis. They’re nihilists. Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.

            • nemdam

              They’re not Nazis. That’s offensive. They just have a unique way of expressing economic anxiety.

              • michael8robinson
                • nemdam

                  Doh! I knew the reference but didn’t realize it was directed at CNN. I thought it was just a bad use of the reference.

                • XTPD

                  @nemdan: Ironic, in that I originally meant that CNN’s nihilism would lead them to make Nazis regular features.

                • DAS

                  @nemdam,

                  Given the GOP seems to be on a quest to prove that nihilism is, indeed, an ethos, there is no bad use of that reference.

    • jam

      1. It didn’t repel any potential soap-buyers in the way that pointing out the other KKKlandidate’s bigotry would have.

      2. There was no need for people to understand. Just “Hillary Bad”.

      3. It was cheap to cover, since nobody needed or wanted to do any reporting on it.

      4. They felt it was their solemn duty to handicap the race and direct their negative attention on the leading candidate.

    • DamnYankees

      I think a lot of the answer is that the way the media is set up, you have a system where 50% of your resources and time are assigned to each candidate. Hillary didn’t have very much “news” to report on – there was the emails (which had a slow drip of leaks connected to it), and maybe some CF stuff, but that’s basically it. With Trump, it was a new thing every day. And so what happens is that since a newspaper or TV show needs to fill its time, it would fill it’s “Clinton time” with the same story every day, while it would fill its “Trump time” with a different story.

      The result was that the emails stayed in the news. Every day. Since there was very little alternative news about Clinton to report on (e.g. not just explaining policies, but new things happens). And so the narrative builds around her that this is critically important – the importance doesn’t create the news cycle, it’s vice versa.

      Meanwhile, with Trump, there’s a new story being reported every day. Because Trump makes news every day. And so no particular story sticks. It gets swept up in the current. And so the narrative surrounding Trump doesn’t build around any particular horrible thing – rather, the narrative becomes a meta-narrative about the fact that he says horrible things. But that’s just way less damaging to one’s credibility, I think.

      That’s my theory.

      • efgoldman

        That’s my theory.

        A good common sense one, I think.

    • Yankee

      Somebody was running the pump. I saw an awful lot of recirculating facebook memes like “THIS IZ IT!!! Hillary is just SICK about it!!!!”, with a link to those exact words and a random page of text with a buzzword in it somewhere. Allen West was popular. Fancy Bear? Geeks in SoCal?

    • wengler

      Because it was fueled by another entity. It became Hillary vs. The FBI or the House Republicans. Corporate media could pretend that it was just reporting the controversy.

      Corporate mainstream media doesn’t like taking what they see as an editorial position. Trump hates people, says grossly misogynistic and anti-American things, well the media isn’t going to call him out because there’s no other foil to report the controversy.

      This is the main difference between the news media of today and say at the time of Edward R. Murrow. Murrow went to war with McCarthy because he saw what McCarthy was doing as that of a tyrant and a danger to the Republic. Any journalist doing that today would likely be fired. They know the rules. Their job is to sell product, not preserve freedoms.

      • Origami Isopod

        I’m not quite old enough to remember the day of Murrow. Did he take any flak for his stance from his fellow newsmen?

        • bender

          I’m barely old enough to remember Murrow at all; I had to watch Good Night and Good Luck to fill in details. I do know that the stand Murrow took was exceptional even at the time.

      • liberal

        This is the main difference between the news media of today and say at the time of Edward R. Murrow.

        I think you’d have to read the media of that time to really make such a claim.

        I pulled out some microfiche a few decades ago and read some stuff at the time of the Vietnam conflict. It wasn’t pretty.

    • Snuff curry

      Both sets of “e-mails” as covered by the meedja appear to be a last-ditch effort at padding out an excruciatingly long election season with something truly sexy, meaty, and new, the kind of easily digestible government conspiracy that makes victims of us all, feeds into our intense desire to feel wronged but not powerless, at the center of which was a sour-faced, power-mad bitch we’d (the editorial, the royal we) like see taken down a rung or two, possibly dragging select statesfolk with her (symbolic and select cleansing through limited, carefully-orchestrated chaos is a theme Both Sides!!! found fruitful this year).

      On the other foot, same old sexism and racism and Monopoly Man tax-evasion by an aging, boorish trust fund-type does not feed into any long-simmering resentments of the politically incorrect sort, does not confirm our worst fears / best wetdreams about hypocritical liberals, cannot be incorporated into the prevailing right-wing style, pro-corporate “anti-establishment” narrative. Assaulting a woman or two, casually discriminating against black people is business as usual, theoretical shames framed as private sins speaking to poor character, not crimes like HRC’s treason or assassination or, what, payola-for-speeches?

      Also, the attention paid to Trump’s Putin associations seem, in retrospect, half-hearted, likely because (pace [BONERS]) red- or Russia-baiting does not actually come naturally to this or the previous generation of liberal and left-wing Americans.

    • Brad Nailer

      It’s the Clinton Rules. It doesn’t matter what the “matter” is, whether it’s e-mail trivia or her goddam pantsuits, if you can get a negative out of it and use it against a Clinton, you do it. And that’s no matter what the other guy said five minutes ago. Yeah, you mention that but then you let it go because denouncing Hillary is what gets people riled up and that’s what gets eyeballs.

      The one good thing that’s come out of this election is that the Clintons will finally be gone and we won’t have to suffer through any more of their public humiliation at the hands of this malignant and vindictive mass media.

  • mongolia

    one thing to remember is how liberals (or reality-based outlets) in the media had to spend all their time countering nonsense broderism throughout the campaign. like, during every one of the debates, for the first hour after them, the press literally tried their damnedest to make it seem like both did well, or each had their moments, *until* the mother jones/new republic/vox/salon/tpm/mmfa etc. shrillness about things like “trump threatened to jail her for nothing” or “he lied about his tax plan” reached a boiling point. point being, they were always trying to normalize trump, and the liberal- and reality-based part of the media was trying to hold the dam up, but when trump went into hiding, and the fbi decided that they don’t like having bosses that do such things as “acknowledge blacks, muslims, hispanics, lgbt, etc as individuals worthy of protection”, that was that.

    • It frankly amazed me how the media’s immediate reaction to Debate 2 was that Trump had done better than in the first debate. He was constantly making pissy little comments about the moderation, he seemed woozy and out of it, he lied constantly, he threatened to jail his opponent, he wandered around the stage aimlessly… it was an abysmal performance.

      What I am sick of — sick to death of — is the Peasant Whisperer mode of punditry, where instead of honest subjective analysis like “this seemed evasive”, “this argument wasn’t convincing”, etc. you get “this won’t connect with voters”, “voters care about this or that”, etc. And the meta-analysis, “who won the morning” horseshit. This kind of faux objectivity is more pervasive than even both-sides-ism, and it’s nothing but moral and intellectual cowardice.

      • kped

        That (Peasant whisperer) is the very worst, you hit the nail on the head. Like, “Pence seemed more calm, voters won’t like Kaine’s interruptions”. They danced around Pence lying about everything. It was insane, and it happened all election long.

    • DrDick

      one thing to remember is how liberals (or reality-based outlets) in the media

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

      • mongolia

        addressed a sentence later:

        the press literally tried their damnedest to make it seem like both did well, or each had their moments, *until* the mother jones/new republic/vox/salon/tpm/mmfa etc. shrillness

        i.e., there are a number of pro-dem or ant-gop outlets that point out how factually incorrect or generally incoherent djt was, and *then*, after spending some time normalizing him, did cnn/msnbc/nyt/wapo etc start critiquing. those are the ones that helped craft effective narrative pushback, but unfortunately after the 3rd debate they weren’t able to directly push back against a twitterless, bunkered djt

        • DrDick

          This in no way suggests there are any actual liberals in the corporate media.

  • Hercules Mulligan

    As I said on election night, I believe the most effective resistance for the Democratic Party is to publically put all blame (very justified) on media + FBI while organizing behind the scenes for a downballot wave in 2018. And that’s where you need Ellison and the other lefties.

    • lawtalkingguy

      by downballot I hope you mean state races, because to flip most districts Dems have to win by like 10. And if Dem coalition didnt show up for this prez election I am having a hard time seeing them showing up for legislative elections. well, unless Trump invades Iran I guess.

      • mongolia

        way you do it is run on how bad trump is, and tie the congressperson to trump. with the hope being you get a sort of ’06-style landslide. remember, something like 20-25% of trump voters think he’s unqualified, so if they want a “check” on him, then vote for the guy saying he’ll protect social security and medicare from the asshole you don’t like.

        no guarantee this will *work*, but figure it’s the only thing that would work in a midterm

        • Denverite

          I’m pretty pessimistic on 2018 for no other reason than that it’s going to take the GOP a while to pass everything, and then it’s going to take a while for the shit to hit the fan after that. Given that campaigning will start in spring 2018, that’s really not enough time for all of the chickens to come home to roost.

          • Scott Lemieux

            And the Senate map is just brutal.

            • smott999

              I think 25 seats Dems have to defend in 2018.

              • mongolia

                in such liberal enclaves as montana, north dakota, indiana, missouri, and west virginia*, too!

                * – who thinks manchin will still be a dem by then? anyone?

                • kped

                  didn’t they win those seats in bad years for them in the Senate? Instead of conceding defeat, fight and help in those elections. If Trump could win in reliably Democratic places, you cannot concede a win in Republican places.

                • Rob in CT

                  kped – they won those seats in 2012, a solid year for Dems.

                  Obviously we shouldn’t just concede defeat.

                  The one silver lining here is that the Dems are now clearly the party out of power and typically the out of power party gains some seats in mid-terms.

                  Against that: the map and a history of D-leaners not showing up for mid-terms.

                • kped

                  Ah, they gained 2 seats on a Presidential win. So will be tough.

                  Still mid terms are tough, Dems gained 5 in 2006. Maps probably different, but who knows what two years holds.

                • bender

                  Didn’t Montana just elect a Democratic governor?

                • mds

                  Well, yeah, Indiana was probably a complete fluke. Knifing the well-respected Lugar in a primary, one of the occurrences of a GOP candidate saying the quiet part about abortion restrictions out loud—it was a perfect storm. Donnelly did win by almost six points, even with Romney comfortably winning at the top of the ticket, but it’s unlikely those conditions will magically obtain in a normal midterm year. It’s been interesting to watch, though, as I’m still on Donnelly’s e-mail list: He hasn’t shied away from being an actual Democrat. No Manchin-style posturing or the like. Either he’s decided he might as well make the most of his single term, or he hopes that offering a real difference is his only shot. Still, the way Gregg and Bayh crashed and burned isn’t promising.

                  Montana: I don’t know how much 2012 turnout would have helped a Democrat, and on the “bright” side, Trump administration plans to mine and drill everywhere might actually help pro-Keystone Tester’s chances. There’s bound to be a libertarian running again, too. It might be premature to count Tester out, especially with Bullock’s re-election reminding us that certain Dems can still do well statewide.

                  North Dakota was already a case where Heitkamp won on existing statewide popularity, despite the odds not favoring her. Retail politics can still go a long way.

                  Missouri: If kickass combat vet Jason Kander couldn’t knock out a flagrantly corrupt pro-lobbyist incumbent in a year of “economic anxiety” and “anger at elites,” then yeah, the trend away from sanity continues. On the other hand, McCaskill’s gambit in boosting Todd Akin in the GOP primary was a masterstroke. As an accredited evil genius, she might have a few more tricks.

                  West Virginia: Well, a Democrat…ish candidate has just won the gubernatorial election, which might reassure Manchin enough to assuage his hurt fee-fees over other Democrats’ refusal to line up and start sucking Trump’s scrotum. But who fucking cares whether he lives or dies at this point?

          • West

            Fair points. I’m also pessimistic on those grounds.

            However, I’m wondering if Trump’s administration will even have the bare minimum competence to do any damn thing at all? Or even Ryan’s gang in the House: I know they’ve been passing all these “repeal Obummercare” bills for practice, but are any of those bills real? As in, more than just “it’s all gone, yay!” sorts of gestures, as opposed to actual legislation? Dismantling anything in government takes effort and intelligent thought. Are they really prepared?

            Also, it’s been looking like a recession is looming for reasons beyond politics. Some shit might have been due to hit the fan anyhow. Of course the Republicans will blame Obama, but Trump has built a cult of personality that only he can fix everything. He may have some things to fix right soon and I think he has vastly less clue than I have.

            I am NOT suggesting that “the contradictions have been heightened, let’s all sit back and watch us win in 2018”. That would be a path to repeat failure. I’m suggesting we need to be ready to pounce on every chance presented, and those chances might come sooner than anyone thinks.

            • bender

              If Congress doesn’t have bills ready to go, surely ALEC will write them some.

          • Yankee

            Equities are up! Gonna have us a boomlet while we eat the seed corn.

            • bender

              Beautifully put.

            • econoclast

              Arguably it’s rather that investors are running away from bonds.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                I just realized that the essential basis for buying or owning a government bond is that you believe the government’s promise to repay you when the bond comes due.

                Could be a factor in the rush to sell bonds . . .

          • DAS

            Heck. Probably some of the good stuff Obama has done will continue to bear fruit over the next couple of years. And Trump (and the GOP) will get and take credit for it.

            We saw this in NYC where David Dinkins really fixed NYC and Rudy Giuliani took credit for it.

        • efgoldman

          way you do it is run on how bad trump is

          Only tangentially. Way you do it is to start NOW getting a variety of Dems in front of cameras and microphones with a short, sharp, clear message: “President [GAG] Orange Orangutan and Speaker Granny Starver want to take away your social security and medicare.”
          Every day. Every damned day.
          Period, end of story.
          At the same time, the DNC or DNCC should buy ten second spots, by the hundreds, in Republiklown districts, with the same message “President Shitweasel. Republiklown [congresscritter] and Speaker Granny Starver want to take away your social security and medicare.”
          Let the fuckers play defense for a change.

    • random

      I would prefer that people stop having faith that voting in rigged elections is somehow going to restore representative government. This is an authoritarian, racist regime and it’s not going to relinquish power just because most of the population opposes it.

  • koolhand21

    The Trump surprise at having to hire a WH staff is nauseatingly like the Rumsfeld DoD having to hire the staff needed in Post war Iraq (pre war from a certain perspective). The Coalition Provisional Authority needed about 4,000 staff to help run Iraq but because the State Department told them to fuck off, the CPA ended up about 2,000 short and many of the hires were young Republican staff from the election campaigns. That is, inexperienced, young, naive people with little idea of the significance of the job.

    This is going to be quite the shit show. Hope I live through it.

    • rea

      Poetic justice–we end up doing to ourselves what we did to Iraq. Hope the museums have good security.

      • Donalbain

        Won’t need it. The shitbags wouldn’t know a museum if it fell on them.

        • wengler

          The shitbags know that the museum is full of stuff they can sell for good money.

          I’ve long seen the most prevalent strain in fascism is looting. These are people that thought they were promised stuff and didn’t get it, so they will steal it.

      • UserGoogol

        To take your comment overly literally, the Smithsonian is a semi-independent organization, so it won’t be directly subject to Trump’s problematic staffing methods.

    • bender

      Hope is the last thing left in the box.

    • CP

      That is, inexperienced, young, naive people with little idea of the significance of the job.

      And with an ideology that’s a recipe for disaster.

      Sorry, but that just can’t be hammered home enough. It’s not just that they were too inexperienced, young, and naive to understand how to govern properly. It’s that they don’t understand why you’d even have to govern in the first place. They’re all Grover Norquist clones – they believe that if you just “drown the government in the bathtub” (which is exactly what they did in Iraq by disbanding the military, effectively disbanding the civil service through de-Ba’athification, and slashing revenue by turning it into a Fair Tax proof-of-concept), a wealthy and functioning middle class liberal democracy will just “poof!” into existence by sheer force of will.

      Iraq was pure post-Reagan Republican ideology in action, without voter opposition or political opponents to stand in its way, and it failed miserably. Because of course it did.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      According to a Frontline story, what happened is the neocons decided that Iraq was their opportunity to prove the inherent superiority of neocons.

      The hiring was based almost entirely on the ideological purity of the applicant; skills and experience were deemed to be of minimal relevance. The application consisted of page after page of questions about the person’s political beliefs in great detail, and almost nothing else.

      I remember one interview with a colonel who was going to work with 4 guys just out of college who were assigned to run one of Iraq’s major governmental departments. Turned out they had been frat brothers and YAFers. None of them had studied politics or anything else useful to their new positions, and as recent graduates they had no experience running anything.

      Well, the last part isn’t entirely true. One of them bragged that they had been able to organize keg parties well at their frat house, and how much more complicated could running a country be?

  • Gregor Sansa

    And while Hillary Clinton won’t be a presidential nominee again, don’t assume it won’t happen next time too.

    Remember, something similar happened with Gore. The “invented the internet” non-fact is probably still, to this day, the second or third most well-known thing about him (after “climate change guy” and possibly “fat”, where “fat” came after the 2000 election because “boring and robotic” was the line before the election).

    I realize that the thing with Clinton was probably worse. But there is no question that this is by now the standard playbook for a Republican:

    1. Punch a hippy. Supporters cheer.
    2. When there’s an article about how your hippy punching was violent, illegal, and/or dishonest, whine about how the media is biased, because they never report on (thing about your opponent that has been covered to death). Then watch the media report on (thing about your opponent that has been covered to death).

    It has a certain similarity to the Gish gallop, as it’s a firehose of falsity. But it’s not quite the same thing, so I think we should have a new name for it. The Trump two-step?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Remember, something similar happened with Gore. The “invented the internet” non-fact is probably still, to this day, the second or third most well-known thing about him (after “climate change guy” and possibly “fat”, where “fat” came after the 2000 election because “boring and robotic” was the line before the election).

      And while Kerry was not treated as badly as Clinton or Gore there were still the swift boaters plus plenty of ginned-up WINDSURFING and CHEEZ WHIZ! non-scandals to create a false equivalence. Obama is definitely the exception, not the rule.

      • Bitter Scribe

        Obama is definitely the exception, not the rule.

        Except Obama got plenty of it too. (Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, etc.)

        • Rob in CT

          It just didn’t stick, ’cause he’s cool like that (and boy, did that drive wingers NUTS).

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I think the media had some sense that they shouldn’t go after the non-white guy quite as hard.

            And Obama is pretty likeable in person, and media types value that above almost everything else.

        • Scott Lemieux

          The media did not engage in any of these potential snipe hunts with remotely the fervor with went they went after EMAILS! Not even close. Whitewater was no more substantive than Rezko and it got Bill Clinton impeached after years of media coverage.

          • Bitter Scribe

            What got Clinton impeached was getting a hummer from an intern. Whitewater was just the starting point.

            • koolhand21

              And there’s the fiction that made people notice. Monica was not an intern at time of ‘hummers’ not 19 but 23 and working a paying job at the WH. But intern sounds more like evil Bill took that poor young (white) thing’s innocence.

              Can I also just point out that at the debate where Donald brought the poor abused Billz Wimmenz, one of them was Kathleen Willey who was prominently portrayed in the Starr (Ray)Report. As someone who the prosecutor considered bringing perjury charges against. Oddly, that fact slipped right past the debate commentators.

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                Nearly all facts slipped past the debate commentators, who left no innuendo unturned.

        • smott999

          Nah Obama got a little heat for sure, but overall and throughout his 8 years he has been a Media Darling. They love the guy.
          As is Paul Ryan also a Media Darling. SO SERIOUS.

          Meanwhile the Media LOATHED Gore with the heat of a thousand suns, and while GW was a dolt, they didn’t make a BD of it because Al Gore was so fat and earth toned, and beta-male, and lied about the Internet…..
          They Hated McCain too.
          It’s possible Clinton was most loathed of all.

          After all this….They learned nothing.

          The irony is that these Villagers, these feckless morons who gave us Bush and Iraq and now Trump, which may mean the end of the whole f-cking PLANET, are only just now tweaking (and not all of them) to what they have done.
          Trump will BURY them.
          And they’re only just now realizing they’ve been digging their own grave the last year and a half.

          • so-in-so

            If he really buried them, it might ALMOST be worth it. But I doubt it. They will hand over whatever they need to (money, daughters, sons) to keep the privilege alive.

          • econoclast

            They liked McCain up until Palin. That plus the fact that he seemed completely out-of-touch with respect to the financial crisis made them turn on him.

          • Rob in CT

            What? They liked McCain.

          • liberal

            They Hated McCain too.

            LOL. What f*cking planet are you living on?

        • nemdam

          I’m still shocked to this day that Rev. Wright wasn’t a bigger deal. I barely followed politics back then, but when I first heard the story, I assumed that if it didn’t end Obama, it would at least knock him off his status as a media darling. There’s at least some substance to it unlike so many other lame scandals, but Obama gave his race speech, and it just went away as an issue. It would be like Hillary apologizing for her email server and then the media stopped covering it.

  • thegonch

    I’m afraid abandonment of press principles and morals is still going on. I’m in the UK, and I noticed earlier today the BBC ran a report on Bannon’s position. Above screen grabs of headlines such as ‘Would you rather your daughter have cancer or be a feminist’ the BBC’s wording was as follows. “The combative site [surprised they didn’t say passionate!] serves up an anti-establishment agenda that critics accuse of xenophobia and misogyny [This is deeply disturbing wording. First it posits norms of rejecting racism and sexism as ‘establishment’ second it suggests one has to be a ‘critic’ to see the racism and sexism. Also, note ‘xenophobia’ NOT racism] Under Mr Bannon, it has become one of the most-read conservative news and opinion sites in the US.”

    So, the BBC is playing the game as well. Bloody depressing and worrying :(

    • XTPD

      I remember one on one of the summer Bill Maher panels, Louise Mensch (conservative founder of Heat Street and Brexit evangelist) pulled out the “Republicans as the Party of Lincoln” talking point in why Trump’s racism was bad for the GOP. Maher and (I believe) Ari Melber called her out on it immediately, upon which she degenerated into “Harriet Tubman was a Republican” and “Democrats are the real racists!” within 90 seconds.

      Any idea how the hell British conservatives got invested enough in this particular claptrap to the point of aggressively defending the politics of a foreign nation?

      • aturner339

        Whiteness knows no borders and Gobineau may be dead but he still packs a wallop.

      • Donalbain

        Mensch has always been a special case. Her love of America massively outweighs any sense of Britishness she ever had.

      • BigHank53

        Any idea how the hell British conservatives got invested enough in this particular claptrap to the point of aggressively defending the politics of a foreign nation?

        If you’d like to indulge in some real paranoia-inducing speculation, check out Charlie Stross’s latest post.

      • sibusisodan

        Mensch couldn’t even last the full 5 years of her term as MP before getting bored and going to the US. She’s a gadfly and a self publicist.

    • gkclarkson

      The game’s always been like this.

      If tomorrow Donald Trump came out and said the world was flat, and Obama said it was round, the front page of the NY Times would be: “President Elect, President differ on shape of world”

    • wengler

      When the Iraq War started, the BBC was there singing a tune. These state-supported entities are always going to be less than critical of the official government position.

      And don’t tell me how BBC is an independent entity funded through TV license fees. The May government could end that tomorrow if they wanted to.

      • thegonch

        Yes. As Brit who teaches IR and US Foreign Policy in the UK the thing that gets me is the pathetic unseemly sycophancy that means British media never really wants to consider critique of the USA. All the rubbish ALL THE TIME about the ‘special relationship’. It’s pathetic.

        We have reaced the point in the UK where there is such an obession with misguided ‘balanced’ reporting (largely because of threats to the BBC of cuts to funding by govt) that the BBC (and others) like to drone on about how “we must give airtime to anti-establishment views [at best racist, worse fascist] because (a) it is the responsibility to report all ‘viewpoints’ and b) ‘sunlight will expose their flaws’. Sadly what results as a consequence of the mealy mouth abandonment of moral responsibility is sophistry to justtify awfulness like:
        https://inews.co.uk/essentials/news/politics/andrew-marr-marine-le-pen-interview/

        As a brit one of the things I found most offensive on the morning of Trumps win was seeing BBC reports get excited about Trumps transition, describing his ‘anti-establishment’ victory…whilst weary poppies.

        Sorry, I’m venting and it’s not helpful :/

  • libarbarian

    Well, thankfully the DNC has plans on how to win over the white working class

    “We’re hoping to make up the ground we lost with white working-class voters and union members who once made up our base with a new 10-part hip-hop musical set in rural Wisconsin, featuring a down-on-her-luck manufacturing worker played by Lena Dunham.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      What’s funny is that there appear to be actual pundits who think that Lena Dunham and Hamilton materially affected the election.

      • Someone could probably make a few smackers writing 500 words on how “Pajama Boy” ineluctably led to Trump winning Pennsylvania. VDH probably already wrote it, though.

        • D.N. Nation

          Ross Douthat, Victor Davis Maximus Aurelius Hanson, and Connor Kilpatrick are all obsessed with Lena Dunham. Definitely a party crew right there.

          • Origami Isopod

            Douchehat probably fantasizes about banging Dunham after sabotaging her birth control.

  • Fozzz

    Although the email scandal was likely opaque and abstract for most people, one thing about it that seemed to really benefit Republicans was that it was never really resolved (even when we thought it was) – it was a well they could go to week after week, month after month, always somewhere to be found in the media.

    Trump’s scandals usually resonated for a couple of weeks and were forgotten, while the emails were always in the foreground or lingering somewhere just beneath the surface.

    It seems like with how short our attention spans are nowadays, conditioned by a media that seeks breaking headlines every hour of every day, it doesn’t matter much how real or meaningful a scandal is, but how long you can milk it – how much media attention it can soak up over an extended period of time. If it soaks up enough consciousness over a long enough period of time, then that’s how that person will be defined in the minds of many people in this country, irrespective of everything else.

    • lunaticllama

      I think it was “unresolved”, because the media wanted it to be unresolved. The same could be said about any number of Trump scandals – for example, is he still sexually assaulting and harassing women? Does he still carry on affairs? There’s been no resolution to any of this (or many other Trump scandals.)

      • so-in-so

        Trump university case still pending, the rape civil suit was “resolved” when the victim bailed on a press conference because of death threats – the the press then down played.

        If the last two weeks had been “Trump followers threaten woman who says Trump raped her at age 13” would we still have a President Trump?

    • nemdam

      But it was resolved. The FBI said no charges in early July. Yet, it endured.

  • rea

    I’ve got to point out–I’m still getting front page ads here urging me to demand answers from Hillary.

  • twbb

    “I’m already hearing, in comments and elsewhere, a lot of “look forward not back,” ”

    For me, looking forward means coming up with a plan to deal with this kind of thing.

    I think it is at least somewhat plausible that the press corps will decide the next Democrat in the general is the Shiny New Thing and give them the Obama treatment as opposed to the Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Clinton treatment. But challenging them on what happened from now on is important; remember, the right-wingers successfully browbeat the press into submission. It can be done.

    • XTPD

      We deserve nothing less than Jeff Zucker’s head on a stick.

      • ExpatChad

        !

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Speaking personally, while I’d enjoy knowing his head was on a stick, I want to be as far away from it as physically possible.

  • Just_Dropping_By

    I think the media “ignoring” Trump’s bad positions/behavior (I would dispute that these things were actually “ignored” as compared to “not reported on to the extent the LGM writers and commentariat would have preferred”) is more a function of Trump’s campaign basically being an 18-month long “Gish Gallop”: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop (which I notice someone has actually edited to include a reference to Trump in it that wasn’t there last time I looked at it). Think about how many times news stories about some particular aspect of Trump’s bad positions/behavior stopped because they were replaced by discussions about some new bad position/behavior by Trump.

    Furthermore, I’m extremely skeptical that more coverage of any given bad position/behavior would have made a difference in the final outcome given that all the exit polling has showed that numerous people (far beyond his margin of victory in key states) who voted for Trump though he was unqualified, unlikable, etc. In other words, people heard these bad things and believed them, but still voted for him. Trump’s triumph in electoral terms flows from having realized that for some substantial part of the population the old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity is literally true.

    • Scott Lemieux

      But you’re ignoring the other side of it. The problem was not that the public had a positive perception of Trump but that it had a similarly negative perception of Clinton, and the media’s implicit argument that EMAILS! were worse than all of Trump’s actual scandals put together surely played a substantial role in that.

      • DamnYankees

        This is the right rejoinder in my view. The fact that public polls showed that the public (i) believed Clinton was a bigger liar and Trump and (ii) thought that the email story was literally more important than any Trump story, is just a staggering failure of media and civic society.

        I think it really portends quite badly for liberal democracy, which saddens me. What’s the overriding justification of such a system, including a free press, if that system is incapable of imparting basic facts about the world to the population responsible for voting? Doesn’t the justification for the efficacy of a democratic system sort of require that the population have a clear eyed view of reality? I support this system of course, for both moral and efficacious reasons, but you have to wonder about how long our version of it can sustain itself.

        • Rob in CT

          The #1 real advantage liberal democracy has over other systems is the peaceful transfer of power. Voters get a say, so there’s little reason for revolution.

          That’s really the big thing. The rest is, as we have discovered repeatedly (2000 and 2016 at the least, but there are other examples), fantasy (like the idea that an educated, informed citizenry will judiciously review the candidates & party platforms and soberly make the best choice).

        • JustRuss

          It’s pretty depressing, but I get some consolation from the fact that Clinton got more votes than Trump. So the majority of voters aren’t morons…but just enough are to elect one.

          • Rob in CT

            ~62 million to ~61 million at this point. There were also a bit over 4 million people who voted for Gary Johnson and over 1 million for Saint Stein. You can make a case for a moron majority.

        • efgoldman

          public polls showed that the public (i) believed Clinton was a bigger liar and Trump and (ii) thought that the email story was literally more important than any Trump story, is just a staggering failure of media and civic society.

          In retrospect, I think it [generally, not the specific case] was a predictable outcome of media consolidation and non-competition.

    • Just_Dropping_By

      Sorry, that should read, “thought he was unqualified . . . .”

  • Bitter Scribe

    But everyone knows the media was in the tank for Hillary!

    • Origami Isopod

      She got special treatment because she's a woman!

    • CP

      … this is actually what most people believe, even well beyond the right. And God help us for that.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        For the uniformed, which is a huge percentage of our population, basically what they knew from the press was “everyone said the emails were a big crime” and “Hillary hasn’t been indicted”.

        Therefore, the logical conclusion was the press was protecting her, since obviously any in-depth investigation would have resulted in her being charged. Wasn’t that the pattern in Watergate?

  • random

    Okay, but what can we do to punish the press for this or hold them accountable?

    • XTPD

      I posted a primer on where we can start a few posts down. Essentially it boils down to protesting the pliable ones until they do their jobs, while raise enough of a stink about the rest until their worst employees get the sack.

      • random

        Thank you!

        And no, I had no problem knowing exactly what entities those nicknames were referring to. :-)

    • Yankee

      Don’t be afraid to fact-check and witness about things your friends say, stories on social media, face-to-face stuff. You don’t need to waste a lot of time teaching pigs to sing, but silence signals agreement.

    • liberal

      I agree with the concerns expressed in this thread, but Jesus Christ, we’ve been dealing with this shit from the Fourth Estate for decades now.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I’m dumping the a-holes, and telling them why.

      If enough people do likewise, their ad revenue will be hurt enough to get their attention.

      Ultimately we get the media we (collectively) demand.

  • DamnYankees

    I have maintained, and still believe, that the biggest bias this election season – a bias held by the media, but also by voters and by other politicians – was the bias towards believing that Hillary Clinton was the obvious next President and that Trump was a joke. It’s a bias which started very early on, but somehow was never dislodged throughout the entire process, even when he won the nomination, when he pulled even in the polls at the conventions or when he narrowed the gap very late. I don’t think almost anyone took seriously the idea he would be President literally until it was clear he might win Michigan on election night. The result was stuff like this – insane focus on mundane Clinton stuff, while very little focus on Trump’s insanity.

    My fear is that this is actually going to continue. I honestly don’t think people do or will take Trump seriously even though he has been elected. He’ll continue to say and do crazy shit and people will shrug it off. It’s hard for me to even imagine what it would take for him to be impeached, for example, since the bar is so low. I don’t see how this changes.

    • fledermaus

      Kinda like this:

      There were several candidates during the Canadian elections. One of them was this brash asshole who just spoke his mind. He didn’t really offer any solutions, he just said outrageous things. we… thought it was funny. Nobody really thought he’d ever be President. It was a joke! But we just let the joke go on for too long. He kept gaining momentum, and by the time we were all ready to say “Okay, let’s get serious now. Who should really be President?” he was already being sworn into office.

    • nemdam

      The left (not LGM) was arguably most guilty of this. Basically covered her campaign as though it was the transition.

      • Origami Isopod

        “The left” also includes the Jacobin crowd and their allies, though.

  • XTPD

    Looks like Pence is in EMAILZ trouble himself.

    • Rob in CT

      On November 15th. That and $6 or so will get you a pint of something with which to drown your sorrows.

  • JonH

    I’d bet that if Wikileaks had produced a pre-campaign, pre-Trump email where someone at the DNC suggested a Muslim database as a policy proposal for Clinton to adopt, the media would treat that as a bigger scandal than Trump’s actual policy of building such a database.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      Agreed.

      I get so tired of the “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” crap. Sometimes it’s the crime that matters most.

  • Cheerful

    A serious question. Knowing what we know now how would you have advised the Clinton campaign to deal with the email issue 18 months ago? I ask mostly because from the wreckage of this election it would be helpful to figure out how to deal with an obvious Republican tactic next time.

    My default notion is that in a perfect world of hindsight, Clinton could have defused some of the tension around this by having email centric press conferences or interviews where she simply answered every possible question until people ran out of questions to ask. But i feel I am perhaps being naive.

    • Rob in CT

      Knowing what we know now the advice would be “please, don’t run. It’s not fair, but they’re all out to get you. Back somebody else.”

      I don’t see how trying to “deal with it” in advance would’ve changed things.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        There is some indication that that’s exactly what Cheryl Mills did say.

        ETA by which I mean (1) it was announced early on that Mills would have no role in the campaign, and (2) Podesta wrote to Tanden “I guess we now know why Cheryl didn’t want her to run” when the emails first broke.

        IMO with this and the Goldman Sachs speeches she handed the other side a gun that, what do you know, went off in the third act.

    • wengler

      There was one candidate in this race that had a two decade long hate machine situated against her. She was literally the only candidate that could get close to matching Trump’s unlikability numbers.

      • liberal

        But she was the best available candidate!!1!

    • The problem is that “emails” wasn’t just the private server, which Clinton really did address, publicly, in detail, numerous times. It was also every micro-story that sprang from any particular email that was released. Hell, I saw some individual emails make the rounds more than once; “Hillary asks for iPad lessons” was one that popped up every month or two, as was “Hillary asks someone to record The Good Wife for her”. None of these were scandalous, but they provided a lot of * * CONTENT * *, which is the lifeblood of the post-internet media.

      In addition, unrelated email leaks — the DNC and Podesta — were lumped into the story, as well as FOIA-obtained Obama Administration emails that were not from the private server. A lot of the later “Clinton Foundation pay-for-play” bullshit was derived from emails sent and received by State staffers, not emails from Clinton’s servers. These were still frequently headlined “Clinton emails: [whatever]”. And, again, these emails provided plenty of tasty CONTENT. Podesta on risotto! Neera Tanden thinks David Brock is a poopyhead! Do these three randomly selected emails show a NARRATIVE? Of course they do! We need 500 words right goddamn now to stoke the feeble flames of our content engine or else all the Taboola money is going away and Tronc is going to start selling our organs!

      • FlipYrWhig

        I suspect that a lot of the email story became something like this: “she says the server was never hacked but look at all these private, embarrassing emails we have, what a baldfaced liar!”

    • JustRuss

      I like the press conference idea. Obama could have pushed to have the classified emails unclassified, or at least the sensitive parts redacted, and released. I’m assuming of course there was nothing there, we classify all kinds of mundane crap.

    • efgoldman

      by having email centric press conferences or interviews where she simply answered every possible question

      Isn’t that what she did in the house [email protected]!! hearings? I guess it sort of worked, but maybe only because they had the EMAILLLLZZZZ to move on to.

      • Cheerful

        And admittedly it would be more difficult to set up a definite Emails hearing, like there was for Benghazi. But the Benghazi hearing did work for her. And establishing early a reputation for being willing to respond immediately to suspicions about the email might have helped, even if it meant saying the same thing over and over.

        I wonder though if she was getting legal advice to not being too outfront while the FBI investigation was going on.

        There might have been an opportunity after Comey held his July press conference. But then again perhaps by then it might have been too late.

        I am not crazy about prolonged inquisition of Clinton campaign choices at a time when there is so much bad faith and evil on the other side. But if we can’t learn from this election the dark night will never end.

    • nemdam

      The problem I’ve had is I really don’t know what Clinton was supposed to do. If she know exactly how the email saga would play out, what would she do differently? I don’t think there’s an easy answer except don’t get hacked by the Russians. I do think her aggressively going out to the media to answer questions about it until they get sick of it may have helped. But it may have made it even worse. My best answer, and admittedly it’s not a great one, would be to attack the media. It works great for the GOP, and I don’t see why it won’t work for the Dems. It would at least make her base question the media, and she could relentlessly contrast the story with Trump. If successful, it would at least get the media to connect the story to Trump.

  • DrDick

    Let’s be real here. The VSPs really do not care about racism (or anything else that does not negatively impact them). They may not be actively racist themselves, but they are perfectly comfortable with people who are.

    • mongolia

      sober, bipartisan, pro-growth policies for the win!

      • DrDick

        Pro-growth policies that grow their stock portfolios, definitely. Policies that grow wages for low income workers (and might make eating out at overpriced restaurants or getting their hair cut at exclusive hair salons marginally more expensive), not so much.

  • kped

    The alt-left embarrassed itself as much as the media, and i will never again read stuff from the likes of Taibi or The Intercept. When the initial Clinton Foundation “scandal” was blowing up, and the left blogs and Krugman pushed back, you had guys like Taibi writing flowery bullshit about the press needing to be an attack dog digging for bones or some such tripe.

    Guys like him don’t seem to have any concept of what is and what isn’t newsworthy, or that there can be editorial discretion! Yes, they should dig around for stories and do real reporting. But if in that digging and reporting they find nothing, it is completely and totally irresponsible to put a 2000 word story on page 1 hyping a scandal that is then quietly disproved in the 19th paragraph.

    So fuck him, fuck the alt left. I’m sure they are enjoying their circle jerk “durr, we were right, Clinton couldn’t win, Bernie for sure would have for reasons!”, but a lot of people are going to suffer, and these guys, in their own way, helped out.

    • All the journalists who can actually write and think are terrified shitless at how their business is being eaten alive by “You Won’t Believe These Celebrities’ Dogs’ Names” content authored by Estonian script kiddies. Their only hope of survival is to combine the traditional prestige of journalism with an endless flood of hot takes on whatever content is close to hand. This is why they love Wikileaks — they’re a rich source of raw material for New Journalism of whatever type you prefer: the contrarian take, the thinkpiece, the “[odd number] takeaways” summary, the “we had one of our nerds do some basic statistical analysis” bit (aka “data-driven journalism”), and so on, acres and acres of juicy content with no meaning but lots of value (measured in dollars).

  • Origami Isopod

    I’m already hearing, in comments and elsewhere, a lot of “look forward not back,” that we should get over it

    I sarcastically made a comment elsewhere in reference to “identity politics” being blamed for Clinton’s loss: “This is why Daddy beats you.” But, actually, the dynamics of domestic violence are very, very similar to those of oppression. See also how victims of sexual assault or child abuse are so often pressured to “forgive,” to “move on,” to “heal” — meaning, “Stop talking about this, you’re making me uncomfortable, and anyway we value your assailant more than we value you.” This is especially pernicious in small patriarchal religious communities.

    • XTPD

      O/T, but: Project-Unbreakable was easily the most depressing website I have ever been to, and one of the few things capable of permanently ruining my mood. (Not at all speaking from experience, BTW).

      • Origami Isopod

        I’m not a survivor of sexual violence but I personally know far, far too many people who are (including men), and … I just can’t read sites like Project Unbreakable. I start seeing literal red.

    • CP

      Oh, I realized that within a couple days.

      The conservative line is that the long-suffering, unprecedentedly disrespected, poor babies in the heartland simply experienced a breakdown because too many people called them racists. (And then elected a racist).

      In other words: “See what you made me do?

  • jeer9

    The media’s to blame: Fun to see the Dems joining Trump in his outrage, making it a mutual disgust. Weirdly, Blue Wall voters didn’t seem to care about character flaws. The approach “He’s awful and temperamentally unsuited to the office. I’ll provide you with four more years of the same.” didn’t resonate with economically distressed areas. I wonder if there’s any way professional campaign people might have been able to figure that out. Probably not.

    Comey’s to blame: Florida 2000 should have taught us that government officials often act in a reprehensible fashion if it furthers their own political interest (Katherine Harris, Supreme Court). Thanks Obama for trusting bipartisanship and Republican daddies. … What was that? … LALALALALA! I can’t hear you! … Cue some Kenny Rogers.

    Racism is behind the lack of Dem support in Blue Wall states: Fails to explain why poorer counties in Blue Wall states that had voted for Obama in both previous elections flipped to Trump. Too bad there wasn’t a primary opponent who might have pointed out a weakness that needed some shoring up.

    Criticism of Clinton’s campaign is the easiest sort shameless second-guessing: Not as easy or shameless, apparently, as saying it was all bad luck once you failed, that nobody could have known that the questions would be on that part of the unit. The analogy that political professionals are like sophomores trying to skate by on assumption and glee that the test is well-known and little on it is likely to be changed does, however, seem apt.

    Anybody can take the test once you know the answers: Sure, Jimmy did slightly better – but he didn’t study either.

    And so we are left in the throes of defeat trying to concoct a positive narrative about this loss. I would suggest that the tale which emphasizes some poor choices (which can be corrected in the future but also include some culpability) is a better one than a story whose main metaphor concerns lousy luck at poker-playing and whose theme is blame of the media and officials exercising their worst political instincts. The first empowers because it says we can learn and do things differently next time; the second tells us we’re prey to chance and the same-old same-old. Unless you think the media’s capable of reforming itself and Republicans will start putting country ahead of party.

    • Rob in CT

      Democrats absolutely have to work at reversing the losses they suffered in their coalition. I don’t think Scott disagrees, but he’s really fired up about mediafail right now, and I can’t really blame him. If he was responsible for strategic planning for the Democratic Party it would be a real problem but thankfully he’s not.

      I also have a quibble:

      Racism is behind the lack of Dem support in Blue Wall states: Fails to explain why poorer counties in Blue Wall states that had voted for Obama in both previous elections flipped to Trump. Too bad there wasn’t a primary opponent who might have pointed out a weakness that needed some shoring up.

      Trump’s offer to kick immigrants and other Others (Law & Order, Mexico/China) matters here too. Neither McCain nor Romney really ran that kind of campaign. I think the immigration angle was especially big. I think sexism played a role too, and more besides.

      Both campaigns matter. Clinton wasn’t Obama, but then Trump wasn’t Romney either. A lot of us assumed that Trump v. Romney was a net loss for the GOP. But it turns out to have been about even, but when you focus on the particular states that flipped the EC, yes Clinton Romney.

      • Rob in CT

        Heh, I just came across this:

        http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/15/13593670/donald-trump-jonathan-haidt-social-media-polarization-europe-multiculturalism

        Many people talked about the economic trends and the dislocation we’re seeing. I think the economic trends are much less than half the story, and to the extent that they matter, they matter through social processes.

        snip

        The new sacred values on the left are about anti-racism and fighting discrimination — this has been at the heart of the progressive projects since the 1960s. And this is the force behind multiculturalism. And the best way to understand this moral worldview is to look at the lyrics to John Lennon’s song “Imagine”: “Imagine there are no countries / it isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too.”

        So this is one side of the new divide, the multiculturalism side. You may call it the globalist side, although it’s not so much global trade as the free movement of people and the unity of all mankind, all humankind.

        As multiculturalism is emphasized more and more, there emerges a reaction against it on the right, which is attractive to the authoritarian mind and also appeals to other conservatives. And this, I think, is what has happened, this is what Trump is about — not entirely, of course, but certainly this is a big factor.

        Multiculturalism and diversity have many benefits, including creativity and economic dynamism, but they also have major drawbacks, which is that they generally reduce social capital and trust and they amplify tribal tendencies.

        Note that I don’t fully agree with Haidt. But I think he’s right to bring up backlash to multiculturalism.

        Economics played a role, definitely, and immigration has economic impacts (real & imagined) so as with race/class it’s not neatly separable.

        I’m a fan of the political scientist Karen Stenner, who divides the groups on the right into three: The laissez-faire conservatives or libertarians who believe in maximum freedom, including economic freedom and small governance; the Burkean conservatives, who fear chaos, disruption, and disorder — these are many of the conservative intellectuals who have largely opposed Trump.

        And then there are the authoritarians, who are people who are not necessarily racist but have a strong sense of moral order, and when they perceive that things are coming apart and that there’s a decrease in moral order, they become racist — hostile to alien groups including blacks, gay people, Mexicans, etc. This is the core audience that Trump has spoken to.

        That’s not to say that most people who voted for him are authoritarians, but I think this is the core group that provides the passion that got him through the primaries.

        snip

        We haven’t talked about social media, but I really believe it’s one of our biggest problems. So long as we are all immersed in a constant stream of unbelievable outrages perpetrated by the other side, I don’t see how we can ever trust each other and work together again.

        snip

        There’s more, and I think it’s interesting, though there are definitely parts where I disagree, sometimes vehemently (I think his assimilationist vs. celebrate our difference dichotomy is a false one, for instance).

        But I think he’s hitting on some important stuff.

        • That’s a bit different from what he wrote a couple of years ago, hm. All the bloggers who wrote out thousands of words explaining his last book will have some more work ahead of them!

      • Rob in CT

        LOL, I just noticed that I totally garbled my last sentence trying to edit.

        Basically: Clinton underperformed Obama. But also in certain spots Trump outperformed Romney (though overall he roughly matched Romney), not just because he blathered about trade but because he blathered about stomping on the scary Other. Immigration (Mexican rapists!), Law & Order (scary black people) and of course Muslims.

        • kped

          Which is why I say Booker for 2020. Get back to those Obama levels in the core. A young, progressive, charismatic black politician with experience and intelligence.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Shorter jeer9: “we should not let gross misconduct by the media and FBI distract us from the fact that Hillary Clinton could have gotten 100 more Electoral College votes by advertising more in Wisconsin. Also, if the Republican Party has taught us anything, it’s that the media does not in any way ever respond to systematic criticism.”

      • XTPD

        Surprised Bruce Vail hasn’t popped up here to gloat about Clinton’s loss.

        While we’re still on the mediafail tear, any chance you’ll do posts about the worst post-election analyses?

      • jeer9

        Shorter Lemieux: I will continue to blame the media until they meet the standards of Gush/Bore. I will continue to blame Comey because, unlike third parties, I actually like Obama. I will not be blaming the Clinton campaign any time soon.

        Let’s get the gang back together in 2020 and do this thing again. I’ll wear my lucky underwear and sit in my favorite glider while the returns come in.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I will continue to blame the media

          Um, why shouldn’t I? Are you saying their conduct didn’t affect the election?

          I will continue to blame Comey

          Why shouldn’t I?

          I will not be blaming the Clinton campaign any time soon.

          Maybe you should stop vaguely asserting that there was something they could have done that could have guaranteed victory and actually specifying what it is, with actual evidence.

          Also, none of these are mutually exclusive. It can be true that the Clinton campaign made mistakes and the media and FBI behaved abdominably! Although I understand Nader apologists can’t grasp non-monocausal explanations.

          Let’s get the gang back together in 2020 and do this thing again.

          Yes, I’m really worried about Hillary Clinton running again. Seems like something we’ll have to work really hard to prevent, and we should definitely proceed assuming 2020 will be exactly like 2016 rather than assuming that 2020 will be a campaign with a different candidate and political context.

          • XTPD

            Totally on your side (in that I think whatever mistakes the Clinton campaign made will most likely be both 20/20 hindsight and even then not obvious to the layperson) but, just out of curiosity, who do you personally think are good candidates for 2020?

          • jeer9

            Um, why shouldn’t I? Are you saying their conduct didn’t affect the election?

            Citations omitted. Please explain NV, VA, and GA increases in the last week for Clinton.

            Why shouldn’t I blame Comey?

            Because Comey was acting in his own political interest (like Harris and the SC) and was placed in that position by Obama. Strange (or maybe not so) how the responsibility for a loss shifts when you don’t like who it lands on. You certainly don’t think a Dem appointee would have acted similarly.

            Maybe you should stop vaguely asserting that there was something they could have done that could have guaranteed victory and actually specifying what it is, with actual evidence.

            If Trump had lost, is there any doubt that you would be crowing he’d run one of the worst presidential campaigns EVAH? But since he won, we need to show RIGHT NOW where the Clinton campaign failed – or STFU. I’d suggest there’ll be no dearth of commentaries in the coming months about the flawed nature of her campaign and they’ll seem more convincing than the media and Comey and bad luck interpretations you’re peddling at present.

            Although I understand Nader apologists can’t grasp non-monocausal explanations.

            Too funny coming from a “Blame Nader” obsessive.

            Let’s get the gang back together in 2020 and do this thing again.

            Sarcasm. What is it?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Citations omitted.

              Citations have been provided. To state the obvious, the fact that she may have gone up in a few states in the last week doesn’t prove that the EMAILS drum-beating had no affect.

              Because Comey was acting in his own political interest (like Harris and the SC)

              “As a liberal, I think the Supreme Court should not be criticized for Bush v. Gore.” –nobody

              I’d suggest there’ll be no dearth of commentaries in the coming months about the flawed nature of her campaign and they’ll seem more convincing than the media and Comey and bad luck interpretations you’re peddling at present.

              “I don’t have a good argument in favor of my position or against yours, but I’m sure someone will come up with one eventually.” It’s like the Clinton Prime Directive applied to campaigns. I think that’s scene.

              • jeer9

                the fact that she may have gone up in a few states in the last week

                The same article declares that Trump’s analysts detected this upsurge in the electorate even before the Comey letters. This fact may also indicate some serious problems with the Clinton campaign’s message in the Blue Wall states that her analysts missed.

                “As a liberal, I think the Supreme Court should not be criticized for Bush v. Gore.” –nobody

                Number of Lemieux posts on Nader vs. number on Supreme Court/Harris I’d put at 2 to 1, 3 to 1. Do you even remember your own arguments?

                “I don’t have a good argument in favor of my position or against yours, but I’m sure someone will come up with one eventually.”

                I haven’t seen any evidence for this historic loss against an incredibly incompetent opponent that might fall on the Clinton campaign (as it’s only a week after the event) but I believe very strongly that other factors were more important.

        • Brad Nailer

          Nice Dennis Miller impression. The Conservative Comic: Not funny then, not funny now.

  • Drexciya

    Semi-OT, but the excellent Nikole Hannah-Jones has a piece analyzing both the election and discussing some of those “Trump voters who previously voted for Obama” that we, apparently, need to reach more. Didn’t take much digging to find this:

    Douglas never mentioned race, but polls including a recent one of Trump supporters have shown that white Americans’ support for entitlement programs declines if they think black people are benefiting. And the longer Douglas talked, the more she revealed other reasons she had voted for Trump.

    When Obama was elected, she hoped he would “bridge race relations, to help people in the middle of Iowa” see that black people “are decent hardworking people who want the same things that we want.” She said people in rural Iowa often don’t know many black people and unfairly stereotype them. But Obama really turned her off when after a vigilante killed a black teenager named Trayvon Martin, he said the boy could have been his son. She felt as if Obama was choosing a side in the racial divide, stirring up tensions. And then came the death of Michael Brown, shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo.

    “I’m not saying that the struggles of black Americans aren’t real,” Douglas told me, “but I feel like the Michael Brown incident was violence against the police officer.”

    The Black Lives Matter movement bothered her. Even as an Ivy League-educated, glamorous black couple lived in the White House, masses of black people were blocking highways and staging die-ins in malls, claiming that black people had it so hard. When she voiced her discomfort with that movement, she said, or pointed out that she disagreed with Obama’s policies, some of her more liberal friends on Facebook would call her racist. So, she shut her mouth — and simmered.

    To which I say, yes, we absolutely can reach people like her. But we can’t do so without compromising goals that should be central to pluralistic conceptions of left-principles and, in truth, Obama himself didn’t reach such people without compromising, at least rhetorically, on aspects of that aspiration himself. Relatedly, Jamelle Bouie’s piece about Trump voters is also fantastic, and both pieces serve as a tonic to efforts to legitimize the assumption that political empathy can be neutrally rendered:

    Whether Trump’s election reveals an “inherent malice” in his voters is irrelevant. What is relevant are the practical outcomes of a Trump presidency. Trump campaigned on state repression of disfavored minorities. He gives every sign that he plans to deliver that repression. This will mean disadvantage, immiseration, and violence for real people, people whose “inner pain and fear” were not reckoned worthy of many-thousand-word magazine feature stories. If you voted for Trump, you voted for this, regardless of what you believe about the groups in question. That you have black friends or Latino colleagues, that you think yourself to be tolerant and decent, doesn’t change the fact that you voted for racist policy that may affect, change, or harm their lives. And on that score, your frustration at being labeled a racist doesn’t justify or mitigate the moral weight of your political choice.

    In the same way that the election-year demand for empathy toward Trump supporters obscured the consequences of Trump’s support for his targets, this demand for empathy does the same. It’s worse, in fact. In the wake of Trump’s win, the United States was hit with a wave of racist threats, agitation, harassment, and violence, following a year in which hate crimes against Muslim Americans and others reached historic highs. With Trump in office, millions of Americans face the prospect of a federal government that is hostile to their presence in this country, and which views them as an intrusion, even if they are citizens. Even if they’ve lived their entire lives as Americans.

    To face those facts and then demand empathy for the people who made them a reality—who backed racist demagoguery, whatever their reasons—is to declare Trump’s victims less worthy of attention than his enablers. To insist Trump’s backers are good people is to treat their inner lives with more weight than the actual lives on the line under a Trump administration. At best, it’s myopic and solipsistic. At worst, it’s morally grotesque.

    Yup.

    At some point, we should wonder why many left people of color and many left/liberal white people are having substantially different reactions to this election, different conversations about its import and different reactions to the narrative that left-writers wish to foist on us. We should wonder whether better/different facts are what’s leading to different conclusions when the divide and the priorities that divide reflects have been racial. We should also wonder what it means for the anti-racist internalization of left/liberal argumentative/political spaces that, to the extent that such a divide exists, it’s been strikingly (but not unsurprisingly) ineffectual at simultaneously capturing non-white concerns and allaying their intra-coalitional fears. That’s especially striking when they’re, presently, among the major recipients of danger external to that coalition.

    • When she voiced her discomfort with that movement, she said, or pointed out that she disagreed with Obama’s policies, some of her more liberal friends on Facebook would call her racist.

      This sounds so mild-mannered and reasonable, and yet I find myself wondering what exactly “voicing discomfort” and “pointing out disagreement” actually means.

      • Rob in CT

        Indeed.

        But also, too: facebook sucks. Twitter sucks. Yes, get off my lawn, I know. But these things are shit. I hear constantly from people who are angry because of some shit they saw on somebody’s facebook wall…

    • FlipYrWhig

      When people have said, “oh, well, some of these same people voted for Obama in 2008, did they just become racists in 2016?” I have wanted to say, “it’s been a slow and steady process.”

    • liberal

      But Obama really turned her off when after a vigilante killed a black teenager named Trayvon Martin, he said the boy could have been his son.

      Revolting.

    • kped

      Need to listen more to the Bouie’s and less to the “economic anxiety” white left people in my opinion. Thanks for posting this. If all this “empathy” talk leads to policies that spit in the face of the most loyal parts of the coalition, Trump won.

      And that’s one of the main reasons I hate, absolutely hate, these peons to the nobility of the WWC and how we need to “work” harder to woo them.

      • kped

        Great line from his piece, and one I’ll say I share very passionately, which is why pieces about economic anxiety, here and elsewhere piss me off to my very core:

        Millions of Americans are justifiably afraid of what they’ll face under a Trump administration. If any group demands our support and sympathy, it’s these people, not the Americans who backed Trump and his threat of state-sanctioned violence against Hispanic immigrants and Muslim Americans. All the solicitude, outrage, and moral telepathy being deployed in defense of Trump supporters—who voted for a racist who promised racist outcomes—is perverse, bordering on abhorrent.

        I have a very good Muslim friend living in Jacksonville. Iranian no less. She is quite on edge. Sorry if I don’t care about the “economic anxiety” of her boasting white male coworkers (who live in gated communities) and instead worry for her safety and well being.

        • CP

          Not to suggest for an instant that my situation’s comparable to hers (and I have friends in her position that I similarly worry about).

          But: I am contemplating the end of my health insurance. And I’m doing it because too many of my fellow countrymen either voted for the most cartoonishly awful politician in, quite possibly, the entire history of the country, or simply couldn’t be bothered to come out and vote against him.

          Fuck these people and their economic anxiety. I’ve got very well justified economic anxiety right now, and they’re the fucking reason for it.

          • kped

            No need to downplay those concerns, as someone with a chronic, expensive medical condition (crohns), I fully understand the anxiety that this could bring you. Good luck.

  • Joe_JP

    Crowding out other stuff colors (ha) voter decision-making.

    I saw this at Jost on Justice recently:

    A few dozen executives from mid-level banks have gone to prison, yes, but the top-ranking executives from the “too big to fail” banks all escaped prosecution even as their companies agreed to pay billions in civil fines for improper foreclosure practices.

    This seemed to me a bit of hand-waving. Wait. “A few dozen” went to prison?! And, “billions” in fines? Now, I realize that isn’t a lot of money for some people, like maybe our new fearless leader, but to peons like myself, that sounds a tad impressive.

    This without other new legislation and regulations in place thanks the the Democrats. Things that might require a bit of discussion, including with personable stories that put a human face on it.

    EMAILS!

    • Rob in CT

      And, “billions” in fines? Now, I realize that isn’t a lot of money for some people, like maybe our new fearless leader, but to peons like myself, that sounds a tad impressive.

      Sadly, no. Those billions are drops in the bucket for the banks in question. They’re not nothing, but there’s no reason to think those fines will deter those companies from doing shady shit.

      • so-in-so

        Especially since they come from the institution, not the executives. Recall how much pressure it took to get Wells Fargo to claw back bonuses for their CEO in light of a huge fraud scandel.

      • Joe_JP

        They’re not nothing, but there’s no reason to think those fines will deter those companies from doing shady shit.

        I realize the truth of that, more or less, but it at least SOUNDS impressive and if it was promoted more, especially along with imprisonment & regulations/new laws, it would show Obama and the Democrats actually did something here.

        • liberal

          But, in fact, they did very little.

      • Warren Terra

        You may think those fines are drops in the bucket. You may even be right. But under Trump we can expect transgressive banks – or at least the right ones, like Deutsche Bank, which is owed vast sums by Trump and is on the hook for billions in fines right now – to face penalties that are more a hint of mist than a drop in the bucket.

        Deutsche Bank’s stock went way up with Trump’s election.

  • FlipYrWhig

    at the end of it, her mistake was sending classified information on systems that weren’t approved for it.

    I don’t think even this was true, though. Her mistake was running an email server through which her aides sent and received classified information. Comey was always fuzzy on this, but AFAICT Hillary Clinton herself never sent information to anyone that was classified at the time, and she may not have _sent_ information that was up-classified retroactively either.

    • so-in-so

      It is a lot like the Bill Clinton impeachment. The GOP started sniffing around Benghazi and expanding the circle until they found something they could keep harping on – most people have no idea what the complaint is, she did something bad involving emails. Berniacs think it was to hide stuff, TPers are sure that the email saying to attack the embassy (or, at least, the order to the U.S> Military to stand down) is somehow involved.

      In other words, they piled the bullshit high enough.

    • nemdam

      No, the investigation was about classified information and preserving records correctly. It actually wasn’t even about using private email, or using an email server as it was all clearly legal though against department guidelines.

      Hillary did not send or receive any emails marked classified. None of the classified emails were marked as such.

      Hillary did fail to properly maintain her emails for record keeping purposes. But she did not do so intentionally or commit any kind of obstruction. This was actually the bulk of the FBI case, and they could find no evidence that Hillary intentionally did anything wrong. She merely was sloppy storing all of her emails.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    The new post hoc shiny bauble is “fake news sites” and Facebook/Google algorithms, with everyone from Chris Hayes to John Oliver insisting you should blame partisan echo chambers and false memes for voters being misinformed even though, as you can see here, most of the inane bullshit voters knew about Hillary Clinton came straight from the good old legitimate MSM.

    • Origami Isopod

      I’m not as familiar with Hayes, but Oliver really ought to know better. Is he afraid to offend his corporate masters?

      • XTPD

        I’m pretty sure Oliver knows better – his piece on the presidential scandals affirmed that Clinton’s troubles were total nothingburgers – but I’d venture that his broader sympathy towards the press and its decreasing viability are clouding his judgment regarding their coverage. If he does recognize 2016’s media failures as largely independent of its recent challenges regarding viability, then it’s likely that he a) considers altering audience media diets more mutable than the press’ attitudes regarding politics, or b) thinks a direct call for “working the refs” will undermine his credibility via being considered too “partisan.” Hayes’ piece is probably due to being overly sympathetic to his colleagues, although I recall him being rather good during the election.

  • Brad Nailer

    Just to add maybe nothing to the discussion, I do and I don’t get the constant hate-on for MSNBC and its inclusion in the pantheon of bullshit artists that seems to be ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN (I never watch any of them, but I know what I read). Yes I know that “Morning Joe” is what a lot of us have to wake up to, but that’s after signing off with Lawrence O’Donnell, who has not given Trump an inch much less the mile that other networks gave him. Same with Rachel Maddow and same with Chris Hayes. The problem with MSNBC is that Scarborough gets three hours in the morning to himself, his panel and poor Mika trying to get a word in edgewise. Then it’s news up until the dinner hour. It used to be all liberal commentary all day long but of course Sharpton, Ball, Schultz, Wagner, Harris-Perry et al. were purged, but that doesn’t mean that Hayes, Maddow and O’Donnell deserve to be lumped in with the jerkoffs from the networks and CNN. If not for those three, I don’t know what I would do. Maddow, especially, is on Trump like a wolf on a rabbit. It was Maddow, by the way, who practically broke the Bridgegate story for a national audience two years ago and made the Bergen County Record a household name (well, a very small household).

  • wkiernan

    The major news media in a nut shell? Go to CNN’s home page and search for the word “Medicare.”

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