Is The Media Really Trying To Take Down Trump?

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There is no doubt that the vast majority of media coverage of Trump has been negative.  That’s not merely my opinion, nor the opinion of most Americans, but has been confirmed in a study released in May.  

According to this Shorenstein Center study, headed by Professor Thomas Patterson, 80% of the tone of coverage of President Trump in his first 100 days was negative, compared to 41% for Obama, and 57% for Bush.  Furthermore, it should be noted that most major media outlets gave higher than 80% negative coverage, with CNN and NBC topping the chart at 93%.  The overall average is only as low as 80% because of FOX News, which gave Trump only 52%, thus lowering the overall average significantly.  And it should also be considered that FOX’s ratings have been declining in the last year

Is the media just doing their jobs?

It’s certainly possible that Trump is simply so bad, that the media is giving him such negative coverage simply because the news is really that negative.  Trump has been President for seven months now, and I doubt that a further study on the tone of media coverage would reveal that the media is any less negative than they were during Trump’s first 100 days.  So if the coverage is this negative, than in seven months, surely Trump should have done something, or a series of somethings, terrible enough to warrant such negative coverage.

The Media and Candidate Trump

First, let’s think back to media coverage of Trump during the Presidential race in 2016.  During the Republican Primary, the media didn’t seem all that negative towards Trump.  Mainstream media, such as NPR, sometimes highlighted how Trump was actually reaching out to LGBT persons, which was a daring and probably principled move for a Republican candidate.  

Once it was down to Trump v. Clinton in the General Election, however, the tone became particularly negative towards Trump.  With Trump struggling to gain support among women, the media just happened across an 11 year old audio recording of Trump making his infamous comments about his ability to grab certain women in their intimate areas because he’s “rich and famous”.  These comments were disgusting, and the American people certainly had a right to know this about a candidate on the ballot for the highest office in the land.  

But consider the timing!  The first presidential debate was over.  Trump was being criticized for having interrupted Hillary Clinton repeatedly during that debate, and accused of “manterrupting” and “mansplaining”.  This may have been hurting him with women voters.  So right before the second debate, this story about Trump making those comments, 11 years before, just happened to come out?  Did Access Hollywood just happen across that story at that particular point in time?  Right before the second debate?  In a very narrow election?  When Trump really needed to not lose women voters in droves?

Despite poll after poll showing that Trump was sure to lose, Trump actually won.  The media was more than happy to report these polls, but in fairness to the media, most of these polls were not conducted by them, and they were pretty consistent.  

The Media, President Trump, and Russiagate

Since the election, CNN in particular has focused heavily on the accusation that Russia hacked some aspect of the election in order to favor Trump.  If it could be proven that Trump engaged in illegal – key word “illegal” – collusion with Russia during the election, that would certainly be grounds for impeachment.  If Russia was indeed hacking the DNC (and RNC by the way), releasing both real and fake news, and trying to influence our election, wasn’t it just as much news, maybe more so, during the presidential race as it is now?  

The Media Research Center has conducted a recent study of three major news networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) from May 17th – June 20th.  The study shows that these three networks spent nearly half or more of their air time covering the Russiagate/Comey story.  ABC was at the top of the list, with the program ABC World News Tonight having devoted 63% of its air time to Russiagate/Comey.  

Is the story really that big?  Maybe.  However, we’ve heard something about possible Russia interference since the middle of last year.  We’ve heard about possible collusion with Trump at least since the election.  During all of this time, despite ongoing investigations by the FBI and CIA, we have yet to see any solid evidence of illegal activity.  

There is some evidence that CNN is pushing this story just for ratings.  Project Veritas managed to get CNN Sr. Producer John Bonifield on camera admitting that “it’s ratings”.  He also admitted “it’s mostly bullshit right now”.  It is true that this was a hidden camera, and Bonifield was asked leading questions.  However, it does show that there has been pressure from the highest ranks at CNN to keep pushing the Russia story.  If you are questioning the validity of this story, that’s fair.  Project Veritas should be taken with a grain of salt.  But USA Today did report shortly following this video that CNN did confirm that this is legitimate, but stood by Bonifield despite his comments.

Consider the timing

If the media really wants to take down Trump, how would they go about it?  During the Presidential race, the best way would be to appeal to voters.  Would the Russiagate story really have had any effect on the election had the mainstream media focused on that in October and November of 2016?  Clinton’s base, it’s safe to say, is most concerned about this.  But the fickle Berniebros, whom Clinton needed, were likely far less concerned about Russia.  But women’s rights?  Sexual assault?  Of course!  Either it’s an amazing coincidence that the media just happened across that Access Hollywood recording from 11 years before at that point in time, right before the second presidential debate; or, it was the perfect time to both cripple Trump’s reputation among women voters and demoralize Trump right before his second debate, knowing full well that Trump was already worried about how he was perceived by women following the first debate.

And Russia!  For months and months we’ve been subjected to ad nauseum interviews with the media asking everybody who’s somebody what they think about the Russia probe, even though until a few weeks ago, there was zero evidence of collusion.  Only now is there a shred of evidence, that being the revelation that Don Trump Jr. admitted to meeting with a Russian lawyer in the hopes of obtaining negative information on Hillary Clinton.  With Trump 3 ½ years from his re-election bid (assuming he runs again), there’s not much point in influencing voters if you hope to take down Trump any time soon.  The best bet at this point is to obstruct him from getting anything done, and take a long shot at impeachment.

It is possible that Russiagate just happens to be the news right now.  Even though there’s a major healthcare bill working its way through Congress, even though ISIS is being driven out of Iraq, even though unemployment is historically low in the US right now, even though police shootings are still a major problem in the country, even though…I could go on…but maybe Russiagate really is more important that all of this.  Or maybe, despite minimal to no evidence after all this time, maybe it’s just the perfect time to bog Trump down with scandal, hurting his ability to get anything passed through a Congress nearly as divisive and partisan as the Reconstruction era following the American Civil War, and constantly raising the possibility of impeachment.  

Either the timing and relevance of these stories are an amazing coincidence, or many in the media really are trying to take down Trump.  

Coincidence?  Or is the media fiercely anti-Trump?

In a short email conversation, Professor Patterson (from the aforementioned study on negative coverage of Trump’s first 100 days) stated:

The day journalists wake up thinking their job is to take down the president is the day that they lose their claim to the public trust. Journalists need to act as watchdogs on those in power but the same standards need to be applied to officials of both parties.”

Considering that media coverage of Bush was only a little more negative than Obama, I don’t suggest that the mainstream media is particularly partisan.  I actually thought CNN’s coverage of the 2012 race between Obama and Romney was very fair, and I remember Anderson Cooper taking then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz to task for misquoting the LA Times and exaggerating Romney’s position on abortion.

It’s certainly possible, even very likely, that for whatever reason, that much of the mainstream media, particularly CNN, really doesn’t like Donald Trump.  Whatever you might think of Trump, you should be far more concerned that the mainstream media would abuse their power and the public trust this way.

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5 Things I don’t like about President Trump

Between Clinton and Trump, I supported Trump.  There are some things I love about Trump, especially his trade policies.  But while I shower praise on Trump for getting us out of TPP, and hopefully will for more excellent trade policies to follow, I want to go on record for where I think he is wrong.

  1. “Make Mexico Pay for it!” We are a sovereign nation, we have borders, and we have a right to enforce those borders.  But I don’t support antagonizing our neighbor Mexico in the process or trying to make a poor country pay for a $14 billion wall.  Furthermore, attempting to do so with tariffs is misplaced, not that I’m against tariffs.  But you aren’t making the Mexican government, or even necessarily Mexico pay for it with tariffs.  Tariffs are paid by exporters from Mexico to the US, some of whom are American, and others of varying nationality.
  2. Iran The truth is that Iran has been fighting ISIS more effectively than our own government.  We should be competing with Iran to fight terrorists even more effectively, rather than antagonizing them just because they are an Islamic Republic.  That’s also the problem with this whole “radical Islam” thing.  Muslims can be “radical”, without being terrorists.  What has Iran actually done to US since 1979 other than words?
  3. Torture Trump made an excellent choice of Gen. Mattis for Sec. of Defense, and I wish he’d take his advice on this.  Torture via “waterboarding” was used throughout much of the Bush administration and there is no evidence that any useful information was gathered that way.  It isn’t even a question of whether or not terrorists deserve it, it’s just ineffective.  The information gathered this way is very unreliable and can send us on a wild goose chase!  Fortunately, Trump is at least going to let Mattis use his methods while he is Sec. of Defense, so there is unlikely to be any torture for the time being.
  4. Restricting Scientists from revealing their research EPA Scientists funded by the government will have to have their research approved by Trump’s bureaucrats before it can be published, and the USDA is facing similar hurdles.  This is a horrible affront to academic freedom!  As an academic myself, I highly value and know the importance of academic freedom in promoting new ideas and studies that can change the way we think of the world.  I will agree that academic freedom is already impeded by much of the political left, and they are clearly pushing an alarmist agenda on “global warming theory”, but they should be countered with legitimate research to the contrary, not suppression.  (For the record, I myself am agnostic on the extent of global warming caused by human activity.)
  5. Trump’s disregard for racial injustice in the criminal justice system I saved the most important for last.  Trump has a very long history of always, without question, siding with the police.  I respect our many good police officers who put their lives on the line for our safety, but justice should be color blind, to black and blue alike.  There is significant evidence of racial injustice that needs to be addressed.  It’s a difficult balancing act, because it is also unjust for certain crime ridden black communities to be neglected by police.  Sadly, you try to fix one problem and you can create another.  Reforming our criminal justice system in a way that addresses systemic racism while simultaneously ensuring that the police can effectively do their jobs is going to require the kind of nuance and thoughtfulness for which Trump is severely lacking.  I just hope that Trump makes some very wise appointments to address this issue and leaves it in their hands.

So there you have it!  Just because I love certain things about Trump doesn’t mean that I am a blind follower of his cult of personality.  I have mixed opinions of the temporary moratorium on refugees by the way, but don’t necessarily oppose it.  But in practice, I find myself constantly defending Trump on social media because of the cacophony of vicious attacks from the hypocritical center-left who seem to think their shit don’t stink…that shit being their last nominee for President.  You tried to shove Hillary Clinton down our throats when Bernie Sanders was right there!  Now, you have to deal with Trump!

My Awkward Encounter with a “Deplorable”

So I was at the Chinese restaurant waiting for my food, a middle aged man starts talking to me about Trump, the rioters, etc. He’s condemning the rioters for burning property, hurting people, etc. He’ll get no disagreement from me there. He keeps going, talking about people who get shot by the police because they wouldn’t do what they’re supposed to. It’s Friday evening, I’m in an amiable mood, so I concur. “Yeah, I remember that guy in Milwaukee who wouldn’t put down the gun, and the cop shot him. What was the cop supposed to do?!”

Then the man goes on to start criticizing Obama (now he’s losing me), “and that Obama says Travon Martin could have been his son…Martin beat that guy up, that was a Mexican feller…He beat him up…” Time to interject. “Now as I remember, Zimmerman followed Travon Martin to his house…” “well yeah, he was a neighborhood watchman and Travon Martin was suspicious, because he was wearing a hoodie” (I promise you, that’s exactly what this man said). As I continue defending Travon Martin, a black couple walks in. The second they walk in, the man becomes deathly silent. I just remember concluding by saying, “that’s a different situation”, in comparing Travon Martin to the stuff we were talking about before.

But you’ll notice how the man’s behavior completely changes due to the skin color of those entering. As I’m white, the lady at the counter is white (Yes, the cooks are Chinese, they just have a white lady taking orders), he let’s a fly. I can’t help but wonder, considering that George Zimmerman was not a police officer. If Travon Martin were a white guy named Travis Martin, and Zimmerman were a black man, and everything else had been the same, would this man have the same reaction?

Good to be reminded that just because I’m on the team as these people for the time being, doesn’t mean I should get too comfortable with them. So, Democrats, want to win me back in 2020?

Trump Creepin’ on Clinton? Gimme a break!

Ermagerd!  He’s so creepy!

To my fellow travelers on the Trump Train, here’s how we should deal with this absurd claim that Trump was creeping on Hillary in that second debate.

Donald Trump is married to the beautiful, intelligent, exotic Melania Trump.

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Yeah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothin’ he wants!  Boom!  I’m out!

 

Trump Should Walk In Humility

 

Sexual assault is no joke.

(This blog post contains sexually explicit stories – no images.  Reader discretion advised.)

I confess, when I first heard the story of Trump’s “hot mic” comments, my first instinct was to brush it off.  As a man who worked in a UPS warehouse for 3 years, I’m very familiar with “guy talk”.  Nothing was off limits – there was no filter.

“Hey, sorry I’m not keepin’ up!  Yer wife wore me out last night!”

“Hey bitch!”  “Who you callin’ bitch?”  “I know you like it!”

“Hey, do you know what they call ‘rodeo fucking’?”  “No.  What’s that?”  “It’s when you’re about to get with a girl, you reach around and grab her tit with one hand, put the other around the waist, and then whisper in her ear ‘yer the ungliest bitch I ever seen’, then you try to hold on for 8 seconds.”

And God have mercy on our souls for the things we said when a box of pornographic magazines busted open.

I saw the light

But this morning, our priest gave a sermon in part dealing with this topic.  I was worried at first that she was about to get political.  She and I have different political views, and I’m fine with that.  As long as she is a priest, and not a political activist at the pulpit, she’s entitled to her political views and I think no less of her as a priest.

Fortunately, the sermon was only slightly political, and focused instead of the real victims of sexual assault.  She spoke of how this recent news has opened up old wounds to men and women who have been groped, or worse.  I quickly let my guard down and let her words in, and I’m glad I did.  (This is why us sinners need church.  He came not to call the righteous.)

I have a few close female friends in my life, and between them and family, I’ve heard stories of sexual assault, ranging from some jerk in a bar grabbing her in the wrong place repeatedly, to full scale rape.  When I hear numbers like 1 in 5 women have been victims of sexual assault, I am at first skeptical.  But when I think of the women with whom I’ve been close enough that they’d confide in me, I find that number more believable.  Just in my life, it seems half the women I’ve known well have a story like this.

The problem with guy talk

Like my 23 year old self sweating my way through UPS to pay for college, Donald Trump was likely engaged in “guy talk”.  But whether he meant to or not, his words, like the words of so many of us, contribute to rape culture.  Sure, I’d never do that to anyone.  But other people, hearing words like that from people like me, might take it a step further.

It desensitizes us.  When comedians joke about prison rape – “Don’t drop the soap” – it desensitizes us to the roughly 20% of prison inmates who are raped.  When Trump jokes about grabbing women (you know where), it desensitizes us.

I’m glad that Trump apologized for this.  Tonight, as he debates Hillary Clinton, it’s inevitable that this will come up.  Given Clinton’s sorted past, she hardly has the moral high ground.  I’m not merely talking about her husband’s actions, but also her defense of her husband’s actions.  I won’t blame Trump one bit if he counter punches her inevitable attack.  I hope, however, that he will show humility and penitence for his comments 11 years ago.

How Trump should handle this issue tonight

I hope Trump will express genuine compassion for the victims of sexual assault.  If I were advising Trump, I’d recommend that early in, he makes it clear that he is humbled by this experience, and it has forced him to do some deep soul searching.  I’d advise that he then make addressing sexual assault part of his platform.  He’s the “law and order” guy, right?  He should therefore propose increasing efforts to bring rapists and other sexual criminals to justice.

Furthermore (and I hope Ivanka Trump is advising her father of this as I write this), we need to focus on education in order to prevent this from happening in the first place.  I have before scoffed at third wave feminists when they say things like “teach men not to rape”.  I still don’t think that alone is a solution, but I do think it is part of the solution.  Don’t take those words too literally.  Of course, in principle, we know rape is wrong.  But yet we are desensitized to rape and other forms of sexual assault.

Trump should even reach out to Hillary Clinton.  He ended last debate by saying that if she wins, “I’d absolutely support her”.  He should now say that, win or lose, he will work with her, Joe Biden, and anyone else to end the rape culture and bring rapists to justice.  He should then ask if Hillary Clinton would be willing to do the same.  I don’t know if Trump will think to do this.  He may just fall into his old ways and go on the attack.  But I can always hope.

Does self-defense work?  My story

Lastly, I’d like to share a story of my own.  When I was 12 years old, I was a trouble maker.  I was skipping school one day, and hung out with two other boys.  One was about my age, the other was probably 15.  The boys were joking about raping some girl.  I didn’t take them seriously.  But then they started joking about how they should rape me.  I still thought they were joking.  Then one of them grabbed me.  From behind, he wrapped his arms around me.  I struggled, and managed to gain enough wiggle room that I elbowed him in the stomach as hard as I could, and I took off running.

I’m glad I was able to defend myself.  I don’t feel like a victim, I am not traumatized.  I felt, and feel, empowered!  I’d encourage women everywhere to take self-defense courses.  Again, this is not the only solution!  This is only part of the solution.  I know that it won’t always work.  But often it will.  And I’d rather more rapists get elbowed in the stomach, than more people getting raped just because third wave feminists think that the only solution is to “teach men not to rape”.  I don’t think those two boys who attacked me could have been “taught” otherwise.  Maybe I’m wrong.  But there are thousands of them out there, and some are even women by the way.

Solutions, people!

We need to put all solutions on the table and address every form of rape and sexual assault, including but not limited to someone breaking in and raping someone, groping in crowds or parties, frat boys taking advantage of the unconscious girl who had too much to drink, prison rape, child molestation, all of it!  Whoever becomes president, I hope they will show more integrity than the Washington Post, who sees this as nothing more than a political opportunity, and instead takes sexual assault seriously.

Who is really giving a megaphone to “deplorables”?

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Who is really giving a megaphone to “Deplorables”?

Throughout the last several decades, white supremacist groups have been in their rightful place – the margins of society and the butt of several jokes.  The most attention that the KKK could hope for was a slot on the Jerry Springer show, somewhere between the lesbian cousin lovers and the “kung fu hillbilly”.  In the late 1910s to early 1920s, however, the Klan enjoyed a brief period of being part of the American mainstream.  The Klan of today sometimes tries to make itself palatable to the American mainstream, and desperately seeks attention, but they can’t achieve this if nobody even bothers to notice them.

The “Deplorables”

According to Hillary Clinton, there’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics, steeped in racial resentment. But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until now.”

Frequently we hear stories of some Klansman, or former Klansman, who decided to support Donald Trump.  White supremacists in this country are very anti-immigration, and Trump’s desire to build a wall and deport 11 million illegals certainly appeals to them.  But one need not be a white supremacist to support enforcing immigration laws.  And these white supremacists would likely disagree with Trump’s support for LEGAL immigration.  

Of course, Trump has also received kind words from the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.  Farrakhan, an avid anti-Semite, likes that Trump is the only member who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said ‘I don’t want your money.”

There’s plenty of reasons that radicals, and “deplorables” might support Clinton or Trump, but acknowledging these groups only gives them a megaphone.  No such megaphone has been given by the Trump campaign to the USA Communist Party, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton, nor should there be.

Who is really granting them a megaphone?

Remember David Duke?  Most Americans, especially young Americans, probably didn’t even know the name until it came out that Duke was endorsing Trump.  Those who did know the name were probably more than happy to let him fall into anachronistic obscurity right along with the KKK of which he was once a member.  But David Duke cleverly breathed new life into his infamy by giving the mainstream media the opportunity to tarnish Trump’s campaign by drawing attention to David Duke’s half-hearted endorsement.  Trump made the mistake of individually disavowing him, thereby giving him the attention he sought.  Fortunately, Trump has been careful not to repeat that mistake.

In truth, Clinton and her supporters do more to help groups like the KKK, or the less extreme white nationalist “alt-right” movement by constantly denouncing them and Trump for having their tacit support.  There are plenty of Klansman nobodies, trying to become somebody by saying, “Hey, I’m wearing a white sheet with a swastika on my arm and I’m voting for Trump”.  Every now and then, someone from the Klan will get clever and endorse Clinton instead.  Oooopsss!  Didn’t see that one coming!  

If Trump goes through each of his deplorable endorsements, calling them out by name and disavowing them individually, all he will accomplish is recognizing that these people are even worth noticing.  Trump has collectively disavowed all white supremacists, and that’s all he should do.  Anything more just gives them the attention they crave, which it seems Hillary Clinton and her supporters are happy to do.