Mainstream Media in the Age of trump


What is the context of this? I’m not even sure what this means?


A comment on the NY Times’ Bari Weiss’s penchant for writing op-eds decrying the mainstream silencing of ‘voices on the right’ when she means ‘Nazis’. In the wake of Bannon’s disinvite.


So out of the millions of possible people they could interview, NOT inviting Bannon is "silencing voices on the right?

Fine, invite George Will in his place.


Unfortunately The Economist has decided to double down on their “fire side chat with fascists” segment. Not that I read any of The Economist any more, but now I am less likely to change that.


The Economist still thinks the best antidote to bad ideas are good ideas. Sunlight is the best antiseptic and all that.

That’s the side i tend to fall down on, though i recognize nothing is 100% in every situation and on every topic. The modern progressive left’s fear of giving even the appearance of legitimacy to bad ideas by even allowing them to be aired at all does at time seem to be a paternalistic worry that the common people are too dumb to tell the difference between them. That in fact you can’t actually prove any idea is good or bad at all. It worries me in that on some level progressives don’t even care to bother to try, since their beliefs are so self evidently true that to even be forced to defend them is itself offensive, because it creates a culture intolerant to self criticism.

Practically speaking otoh, with conspiracy theories, anti-rationalism, and fake politicized news proliferating everywhere, it might well be a paternalistic attitude is necessary and valid, but i still feel it’s adjacent to and not continuous with the problem of populist fascist leanings. More importantly, i think that being a non-US based news organization keeps them a bit more at arms length.


I find myself agreeing with Rick Wilson’s take:



That, or someone at the Economist thinks Bannon’s ideas are good ideas that deserve amplifying.


To be fair, the common people just elected someone who was promising to build a wall thousands of miles long and make Mexico pay for it.


Yeah, the argument that “snowflake libs won’t give platforms to people who think they are sub-human and should be exterminated” doesn’t hold a lot of water with me. They have far too many platforms already, like FOX news and, uh, the Presidency. I’m not responsible for giving them more.


I assume you were alive in 2016.

EDIT: Just to add, this isn’t a theoretical exchange of ideas we are talking about. This isn’t a good faith debate. This is real-life actions and words that have profound and lasting consequences; consequences that ruin peoples’ lives. The slime like Bannon should never see the light of day let alone be given any air time.


Let me be honest i don’t follow Steve Bannon much except what’s reported on him, but it seems to have followed the trajectory of all talking heads that court the deplorables but not necessarily their views, and a lot of conservatives think you can keep these two seperated, and a lot of progressives say you can’t.

He does represent i think the shit-eating grin side of conservative media that’s such a problem today, courting an audience and giving the worst edges of that audience a say. In a sense it’s more like letting Roger Ailes speak than any particular FOX News blob, since in a way he’s either the worst of the lot or the most cynical.

I think wrong and kind of crazy to see the Economist letting Bannon speak as secretly pushing fascist views. That’s the kind of reductionism where the end point is that even incidentally watching, say, FOX News, at any point (let’s say, at a gym, because it’s on and you can’t change the channel) means you’re supporting genocide. I think he’s only interesting to them because of his connection to Trump. And you still get some handwringing stuff from reasonable conservatives today about Deplorable-mania.


The impression that I got from reading Fire and Fury was that Steve Bannon doesn’t actually believe in racism and bigotry at his core, but he’s all for using those sentiments to win political battles, which might actually be even more harmful to the country in the end. But a lot of that book came straight from the mouth of Steve Bannon to the author’s ears, so maybe that’s just what Steve Bannon wants us to believe.


There’s also a dearth of non-insane conservatives right now to pick from, and the Economist has been moving into this - and i haven’t quite got my head around it yet - “interactive debate model” online, where they put forward a view and have commentary from notables on one or the other side. They seem to scrape the bottom of the barrel at times to find an opposing view.

The terrifying thing of it all is the scale of the nonsense. Every.single.comments.section of news that isn’t heavily moderated is a disaster of shitheads jumping in and screaming about liberals/globalization/racism ect. I think it’s right to not completely ignore it on some meta-analysis point of view. I don’t think the deplorables have at any particular point the right to spout their conspiratorial, racist rants, but looking at the health of the body politic overall, it kind of has to be faced up to and confronted eventually. This “parallel worlds” politics is going to spill over into armed politics if we keep it up.

I mean literally. If 40% really are bat shit blood drinking crazy, this doesn’t end well for anybody, a fascist/nationalist/anti-liberal armed uprising is all but certain and just waiting for the orator to lead them. We either get the combo-guillotines ready or (hopefully) talk enough of the nutjobs down from the brink to keep that from being inevitable.



I mean, they’re not. Not yet. I live in red country here, and I’m surrounded by very nice well meaning conservatives. But it is dismaying to see them all slowly start spouting Fox News talking points over time. And now, repeating President Trump’s lies. Quite a few of these people around me, I wouldn’t have expected to be so vulnerable to persuasion by these talking points. It’s a little unnerving.

More and more I keep thinking the only people who can save us from going further down this rabbit hole are the people in charge of Fox News, and other right wing media outlets. Most of the talking points during the Bush administration were neo-con talking points that everyone repeated, so I thought since the neo-cons are nearly all never-Trump people now, I figured Fox News wouldn’t follow Trump’s new brand of Republicanism. But they did.


Kinda? I mean, i’m in as deep red country as it comes, and most of the conservatives i know seem sane. But even Country Club conservatives, speaking calmly and rationally, absolutely believe Obama was/is a Muslim, that Hillary killed people, etc.

I think it was that town hall i attended that shook my faith that rationality and commonality would win. These guys were speaking to their representative and every single one was spouting about the Deep State and conspiracy theories. I mean, here’s your chance to shine, talk to an actual person who is actually in government, and they literally cared nothing about his 10 minute speech about what he had (supposedly done) or policy or anything at all. They had no knowledge of, or concern about, actual policy. They were more concerned about the conspiracies in their head. It was surreal.


Hard to believe, unless by ‘well meaning’ you’re grading on a curve. And I’m not just being glib here, the core conservative principles as they exist in the US are neither nice nor well meaning. Cutting social programs so you can reduce taxes for the wealthy isn’t nice or well meaning. Suppressing the votes of minorities isn’t well meaning or nice. I’ll grant they might be polite.



Yes – or as Bill Maher likes to say: “Don’t want to be called stupid? Stop being stupid.”

I always looked askance at the indelible trope that the American people possessed some inchoate, irreducible political wisdom, but since November 2016 I reject it utterly.


Well, some of them don’t even think about politics that much. They don’t even get as far as “cut social programs”. Others who are more politically involved are sure to point at social programs that they support, like Section 8 housing, Medicare and Social Security (to prove that they’re not against good social programs). Others are Vietnam-era vets that I keep thinking should be liberals because they complain about VA bureaucracy but praise Medicare and Social Security, but then are very conservative socially.

Also, this is Kansas, so everyone around here is keenly aware that you can’t just cut all income tax like Brownback did, and not experience a crisis in education like the State did as a result of the tax cuts. The only people I’ve met around here who are real assholes about wanting to cut all social programs for the sake of tax cuts are Ayn Randian Libertarians who want to stop taking money from the hands of the makers to give it to the takers.