Adonis Diaries

Archive for September 13th, 2016

Failed Matt Lauer’s Interview: Trump can Win

Beware of the Brexit referendum: The communities barely visited by journalists (the deep communities)are the ones who will eventually vote against the elite point of view.

I had not taken seriously the possibility that Donald Trump could win the presidency until I saw Matt Lauer host an hour-long interview with the two major-party candidates.

Lauer’s performance was not merely a failure, it was horrifying and shocking. The shock, for me, was the realization that most Americans inhabit a very different news environment than professional journalists.

I not only consume a lot of news, since it’s my job, I also tend to focus on elite print-news sources.

Most voters, and all the more so undecided voters, subsist on a news diet supplied by the likes of Matt Lauer. And the reality transmitted to them from Lauer matches the reality of the polls, which is a world in which Clinton and Trump are equivalently flawed.

Lauer focused a third of his questioning time on Clinton’s private email server. Her decision to follow Colin Powell’s advice is a legitimate blot on her record.

But Lauer did not move the ball forward on the question in any meaningful way:

The word judgment has been used a lot around you, Secretary Clinton, over the last year and a half. And in particular concerning your use of your personal email and server to communicate while you were secretary of state. You have said it’s a mistake.

You said you made not the best choice.

You were communicating on highly sensitive topics. Why wasn’t it more than a mistake? Why wasn’t it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in-chief?

Lauer followed up with four more email-related questions.

The impression an uninformed or even moderately informed viewer would receive from this interview is that the email issue represents a sinister crime, perhaps completely disqualifying from office, rather than an unjustifiable but routine act of government non-transparency.

The email exchange would not by itself be so alarming except when viewed in juxtaposition with Lauer’s hapless interview of Trump.

Trump began the interview by boldly insisting, “I was totally against the war in Iraq. You can look at Esquire magazine from 2004. You can look at before that.” This is a lie.

Trump has been quoted supporting the invasion beforehand and even afterward.

Nobody has produced any evidence of Trump contradicting his support for the war before it started. His line to Lauer was transparently ridiculous – how could a 2004 interview supply evidence of having opposed a war that began in 2003?

But Lauer did not try even a single follow-up.

A  case study in journalistic failure.
nymag.com|By Jonathan Chait

Trump went on to make a series of wild and dangerous statements.

He praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong, effective, and popular leader. Lauer did press him on this point, and when he did, Trump offered the astonishing rebuttal, saying President Obama had done equivalently brutish things.

Lauer did not press Trump on his claim that the president of the United States behaves in a fundamentally similar way to a dictator who imprisons and kills political critics and journalists.

Trump likewise reiterated his belief that “to the victor go the spoils” is the proper basis for American foreign policy, specifically with regard to his long-standing lament that the United States failed to steal Iraq’s oil after the 2003 invasion. (But the US did steal the oil and even dumped enormous quantities  of crude oil in valleys that are now condemned)

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Lauer’s attempt to press Trump was the completely ineffectual technique of asking repeatedly if he is ready to serve as commander-in-chief. Lauer probably believes the answer is no, but nothing about this question would drive home Trump’s extraordinary lack of knowledge.

Instead it allowed him to performatively demonstrate his confident, alpha-male reality-show character as a prospective chief executive.

Both of these beliefs stun and appall foreign-policy experts in both parties, as readers of the Washington Post or the New York Times know.

But the average undecided voter isn’t reading those newspapers.

The average undecided voter is getting snippets of news from television personalities like Lauer, who are failing to convey the fact that the election pits a normal politician with normal political failings against an ignorant, bigoted, pathologically dishonest authoritarian.

Update: National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke writes, “Welcome to the Club.”

Cooke’s point is that my dismay at Lauer’s performance contradicts another piece I wrote four years ago, about the liberal influence of Hollywood.

“Now (Chait) believes that pop culture — which is just as shallow and dumb as it’s always been; Lauer is no anomaly — is hurting him and his party. And we can’t have that!,” sneers Cooke.

Cooke’s accusation of hypocrisy suffers from two flaws, each of them fatal.

First, my 2012 essay, which Cooke does not link, does not celebrate liberal influence, it describes it, and indeed argues the conservative critics have reason to feel resentful:

This capacity to mold the moral premises of large segments of the public, and especially the youngest and most impressionable elements, may or may not be unfair. What it is undoubtedly is a source of cultural (and hence political) power.

Liberals like to believe that our strength derives solely from the natural concordance of the people, that we represent what most Americans believe, or would believe if Not for the distorting rightward pull of Fox News and the Koch brothers and the rest.

Conservatives surely do benefit from these outposts of power, and most would rather indulge their own populist fantasies than admit it.

But they do have a point about one thing: We liberals owe not a small measure of our success to the propaganda campaign of a tiny, disproportionately influential cultural elite.

Cooke’s notion that I have been hoisted by my own petard implies that Hollywood is my petard, rather than an institution I analyzed critically as a source of liberal propaganda.

Second, the entire focus of that essay was on Hollywood – movies primarily, but also television shows like Modern Family, Glee, and so on.

My criticism of Lauer focused on television news. Those are different things entirely. Did I think morning television or soft-focus feature news has a pronounced liberal bias? No, I don’t think that, I didn’t think that and I didn’t write that.

 

Breaking: Arrest Warrant Issued for Amy Goodman in North Dakota After Covering Pipeline Protest

An arrest warrant has been issued in North Dakota for Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman.

Goodman was charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor offense.

A team from Democracy Now! was in North Dakota last week to cover the Native American-led protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Funny, because I heard CNN distorting reality and accusing protesters of being violent.

On Sept. 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters. Democracy Now!’s report went viral online and was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post.

“This is an unacceptable violation of freedom of the press,” said Amy Goodman in a statement. “I was doing my job by covering pipeline guards unleashing dogs and pepper spray on Native American protesters.”

Watch Amy Goodman’s Report from North Dakota
FULL Exclusive Report: Dakota Access Pipeline Co. Attacks Native Americans with Dogs & Pepper Spray


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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