Thursday, August 2, 2018

A massive exercise in projection

Two articles, read by happenstance back-to-back, from different journalists on different platforms, from opposite ends of the political spectrum, the one making an argument and the other coincidentally providing the supporting evidence for that argument.

The first article was Media don't want to understand Trump voters, all 63 million of them by John Kass. Kass acknowledges the whole sorry failure of the media with regard to their kinetic opposition to Trump. Acknowledges and sets it aside. That opposition is important and consequential, yes, but it is nothing to what it says about the media clerisy and their views about ordinary Americans.
They’re journalists, highly educated, adept at social media, Washington networking and social gatherings, a class that has deferred to the establishment for generations.
Highly educated but also incredibly ignorant, arrogant, bigoted, and hateful. Not all, but certainly the most vocal.
The jokes they tell at the White House correspondent’s dinner and the show tunes they sing in costume at the Gridiron Dinner for the amusement of the ruling class are testament to their deference.

They understand the game, as it was played at Versailles, as it is played in Washington. They also understand that peeling the skin off Donald Trump and trolling the almost 63 million Americans who voted for him, drives viewership and internet clicks.

Trump calls the Washington press corps “the enemy of the people” and “fake news,” and they hate him right back, calling him dangerous and stupid, and by doing so, they call his voters stupid, and worse.

All 63 million of them.
Then Kass cuts to the core of his argument.
So, what is bothersome isn’t that reporters and many pundits don’t understand Trump. I really don’t know who does understand him. He wasn’t my choice for president.

But what concerns me are his voters, our countrymen and women. That’s half of our nation. And what bothers me is that I really don’t think many in journalism want to understand them.

Shame them? Yes. Understand them? No.

But Trump’s voters know what put him in the White House. It wasn’t merely that Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate. It was that Trump voters detested the crowd that backed her, loathed them; and those voters in turn were viewed as something to be stepped on, to be ridiculed for heresy.

By not wanting to understand them, I worry that journalism blinds itself to something very real, critical and, in the long term, dangerous in our nation: A simmering resentment against the establishment in much of red state America.

And it’s not going away even if Trump goes away.

What’s clear from the anti-Trump punditry is that Trump supporters are still detested; the working class, the suburbanites in high-tax blue states; the families in rural America, all painted with a broad brush and dismissed regularly by the pundit class as hateful, xenophobic and worse.
I agree. There is more to his argument but I agree with the central plank. There is an establishment clerisy, of which the media is a central part, whose self-regard blinds them to their own ignorance and arrogance and blinds them to their own bigotry against anyone not like themselves. What they do not understand is fairly extensive. They don't understand Trump, they don't understand American history, they don't understand the American Constitution, and they do not understand the American people. That lack of understanding almost automatically translates in word and deed into disparagement and disdain.

Kass understates the problem when he identifies it as "A simmering resentment against the establishment in much of red state America." It is not a red state issue, it is a national issue. Trump won because a slew of traditional blue states took up the cudgel against the establishment parties. Trump is a symptom of an underlying divide between the great bulk of Americans and the media/academy/entertainment/government employee clerisy.

The article next up was coincidentally the evidence supporting Kass's argument. This time, it comes from Politico Reporter Apologizes for ‘Caustic Remarks’ After Mocking Trump Supporters at Florida Rally by Cameron Cawthorne. For "caustic comments" read "ignorant and bigoted" comments. They were intended to be witty zingers but betray a wounded, festering character.
Acosta checked in with CNN host Wolf Blitzer Tuesday night to report on the environment of the Trump supporters at the upcoming rally in Tampa Bay, Florida on Tuesday evening. He said they were chanting things like "CNN sucks" and "fake news." He would later post videos on Twitter showing the crowd chanting, prompting reporters and Democratic figures to come to his defense and condemn the crowd for verbally attacking the media.

"Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy," Acosta tweeted.
This faux concern is deceptive, mendacious and transparent. Acosta is worried about the words of ordinary political discourse and simultaneously chooses to ignore real world actions where Democrats attempt to assassinate the Republican House leadership resulting in multiple woundings. Acosta ignores the calls from Democratic Party leadership such as Maxine Waters, challenging supporters to confront and assault Republican members of the government. Acosta ignores Democratic followers hounding female Republican leaders in public places, chasing them from restaurants. Acosta ignores Democrats' death threats against the FCC Chairman's family and the Democrats racist commentary against him. Acosta ignores the Democratic protest gang, Antifa, bussed across the country to visit violence on fellow Americans who have traditional views.

The parable might be unfamiliar to Acosta and the clerisy but it retains its wisdom and pertinence among the great unwashed.
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

— Matthew 7:1-5 KJV
Acosta wants to make a mountain out of a mote of words while ignoring his own beam wielded in violence.

I think Kass is right. The greater challenge is not that the media does not understand Trump, it is that the leading lights of the media hate and despise Americans.
In a now-deleted tweet, Caputo commented on the video, saying, "If you put everyone's mouths together in this video, you'd get a full set of teeth."

In another deleted tweet, he responded to a tweet castigating his mockery of Trump supporters. "Oh no! I made fun of garbage people jeering at another person as they falsely accused him of lying and flipped him off. Someone fetch a fainting couch," Caputo wrote.

Caputo's remarks drew backlash from Republicans in the media, who said his disparaging remarks were "gross" and "elitist."
Gross and elitst? I would argue that they were typical and ignorant, arrogant, hateful, bigoted, disparaging, biased, etc. Its as if the full Democratic/postmodernist indictment against America and Americans is merely a massive exercise in projection.

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