Picture in your mind a political debate between acquaintances, perhaps on social media, or in meatspace. You make your point, your opponent makes his. Demands for evidence are made. Your opponent cites a media piece. Perhaps an article on CNN, or a reference to a study on The Atlantic. The onus is on you to prove that the item is now incorrect. Yet you cannot do so, for the citations within it are true, even though the spin has rendered it into something it really is not. How do you articulate that?
What is wrong with it? The headline is true. The children were indeed in a compound in New Mexico, and were indeed training to commit school shootings. Ah, but it omits that this was linked to Islamic terror. Now the article itself sort-of admits this in the last section of the article.
Hogrefe said FBI analysts told him the suspects appeared to be “extremist of the Muslim belief.”
Note the difference in spin. One emphasizes ‘school shootings’ and the other ‘terror-tied’ and ‘imam’. This is how the tone of a thing is subtly changed, depending on the journalist’s preferred viewpoint. Of course, aside from Fox News, most media outlets are Left-leaning. So the spin is much more weighted toward the Left, and furthermore Fox News is usually casually dismissed by any Leftist. It is, in essence, banned from the court of polite opinion. And yet, both articles are fundamentally true.
I’ve been on a Tolkien kick of late, for which I blame my friend Francis. And so I caught the connection quite readily when I read the above headlines:
The Stones of Seeing do not lie, and not even the Lord of Barad-dûr can make them do so. He can, maybe, by his will choose what things shall be seen by weaker minds, or cause them to mistake the meaning of what they see. Nonetheless it cannot be doubted that when Denethor saw great forces arrayed against him in Mordor, and more still being gathered, he saw that which truly is.
Denethor was shown nothing but truth by the palantir. It could not be made to lie to him. But Sauron could spin what was shown, and cause Denethor to mistake the meaning of the things he saw. This tactic is readily employed by the media, and in the past it has been extremely effective. The journalist, if confronted on his spin, could escape with the excuse “but everything I have said is true!” We know there is a wrong here, we can sense it, but to prove it unequivocally is difficult, and essentially impossible if the instances are few enough.
Over time, with many such incidences, we can begin to notice the pattern. The old saying “if every bank error is in the bank’s favor, get a new bank” applies here. If every coin toss is in Hillary’s favor, get a new coin tosser. If every media article from your chosen outlet slants Left, get a new outlet. Note, too, that whenever an election is close and we have to start digging for uncounted ballots, the count always favors the Democrat. This is happening right now in Ohio. But it likewise happened in my home state of Florida in 2000. Every time a pile of uncounted votes was discovered, it invariably favored the Democrat.
And they have the temerity to accuse us of election fraud.
We are told to ignore the evidence of our eyes and ears, that we are being paranoid, perhaps. Or conspiracy-minded. Yet, every bank error is favoring the bank. Why is that? Has Sauron hijacked the palantir? I should think the answer is obvious to my readers by now. The question is what to do about it? Denethor made the mistake of thinking he could control it, that he could bend it to his will. The effort drove him insane.
So how does one deal with that debate, where links to CNN are lobbed out like candy on Halloween? The short answer may be to do as they do when they dismiss Fox News. Your source is extremely Leftist, go away. This, however, contains a weakness. The spin, the rot, has infected academia as well. So many of the academic sources for information are similarly contaminated, though again they may be perfectly true in the sense I’ve described above. The real answer, though anything but short and simple, may be to go find the information out for ourselves; to document it and record it ourselves.
In other words, we may have to give up the expedient of looking into the palantir, and just find the answers on our own, the hard way.
After a short break from political posts, I have returned. This morning, I read an excellent piece at Liberty’s Torch, which touched on intimidation in politics. This, in turn, was inspired by another post at The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. Both got me thinking on the matter of subtle intimidation.
Intimidation is a common feature of Leftist politics, such that most regular folks routinely hide the extent of their true political beliefs.
Leftists have taken it upon themselves to insinuate that this is racism, or some other -ism, and that we are all secret fascists who merely don’t want our horrible views exposed to daylight. But they have it exactly backwards, probably by design. You see, actual neo-Nazis and modern fascists are anything but secretive about their beliefs. Though they are very few, they are also very loud. They want to be seen. They have already paid the social price for it. Calling a Nazi a Nazi doesn’t hurt their feelings any. They know what they are.
In this, SJWs and their ilk are projecting their own behavior onto their ideological opponents. Many SJWs are thinly-veiled Communists, so they presume that we must all be thinly-veiled Nazis. After all, it’s the sort of thing they would do in our place.
In reality, most people on the Right are just scared. Not of physical violence for the most part, though perhaps some worry about that too. Rather, they fear character assassination. They fear being tarred as racist, sexist, or some other thing, and losing their friends, their jobs, and their good names.
Meanwhile the Left continues to increase the number of indications of racism. Eating a plate of Chinese takeout may now be considered a racist act. Wearing a kimono to an art exhibit about a well-known painting featuring a kimono is now cultural appropriation. Enjoying the wrong video game is an indication of sexism. Failing to be 100% convinced by Climate Change activists is proof of… well, some kind of violation against The One True Narrative. The specifics don’t matter. There is always something they can use against you.
In such an environment, many folks do indeed hide their beliefs. They fear that they might be the target of a political witch hunt, that anything they say will be taken out of context by the hostile media establishment and used to destroy them.
In some ways, this has bit the Left in the ass. Donald Trump’s election was unexpected in part due to the fact that people hid their support for him out of such fear. Polls were shifted as a result. The hidden Trump closet proved fatal to Hillary’s campaign.
But nonetheless, the fear is strong. I hear it from many personal friends who read my posts, but do not comment on them out of fear of being identified. One friend told me: “I love your posts. Even when I disagree with them, they always give me something to think about. But I can’t reply. It’s too public. I don’t know how you do it.”
In a Facebook thread that blew up to over 500 replies, I admitted my conservative/libertarian leanings in public view. I lost dozens of “friends” over this, one who spent the better part of the thread calling me a neo-Nazi and suggesting that I wanted to send Muslims to death camps, before he finally blocked me.
The level of vitriol you are exposed to as an open conservative is staggering, and I am not surprised that most regular folks are disinclined to weather it. Indeed, I wouldn’t have even done it, had my financial position been at all insecure. Only from a strong financial position can you weather character assassination by the media.
And I did lose some support in that quarter. The admission cost me one of my long-time DJ residencies. The promoter was an outspoken Bernie Bro, and could not countenance working with someone who as an admitted Rightist. I made up the difference with a new residency (and I maintained one of my other ones – I found out that promoter was a secret libertarian), but it was nonetheless disappointing to me. This was someone I had worked with for several years.
The financial and social penalty for admitted Rightists is non-trivial. Whereas most Rightists I know will continue to work with admitted Leftists. Perhaps this is a mistake. The Left has deployed a weapon against us, and perhaps it is time to use it against them, to expel them from our communities, to price them out of our markets, and to remove them from groups under our control.
For me, however, the price was much smaller than it could have been. By having minimal debt (only a mortgage now, and one that is approaching 50% equity), significant savings, and multiple streams of income independent of one another, it is very difficult for a Leftist to ruin me. The attempt cost me less than 5% of my income, and even that was quickly replaced.
How different is it for a man who has a lot of debt, and only one job? How much fear does he have that a media storm could deprive him of not only his job, but of his employability? I submit that such folks vastly outnumber folks in my position.
But it is always the Left that claims they are oppressed, harassed, bullied and such. The pressure on Rightists is not so obvious, but it is pervasive and everybody knows about it. This is why the Left continues to push the Nazi label. “Do what I want,” says the Leftist, “or I will make the entire world see you as the scum of the Earth.”
Of course, it’s seldom openly stated as such. But we all know it, nonetheless.
It all comes down to the media. Without the power of the media to amplify such nonsensical accusations, nobody would fear the Left. We would laugh at such insults. The stupidity of calling everybody a secret fascist would be readily apparent. But with the media able to pick any random target it wishes, and assassinate that person’s character at will, with little to no possibility of defense… the fear is there.
Incidents like what happened to Justine Sacco reinforce this. Remember Brendan Eich “resigning” (we all know the he was pressured to do so). Remember the media trotting out to the middle of nowhere to find a pizza shop that didn’t want to cater gay weddings. The implication is that anyone could be a target. Being a small business owner in the middle of nowhere doesn’t make you safe.
Nobody is safe from the media. That’s what they want you to believe, but in such a way that no one clearly states it, that nobody clearly admits it, so that they always retain plausible deniability.
Note that since Trump unexpectedly won the election, the media has been dedicating itself 24/7 to doing nothing but assassinating his character. They even tacitly excuse literal assassination, in the case of Steve Scalise.
At some point in the history of this country, the gatekeepers in media and entertainment presumed that they were the true rulers of this country, that they determined what people believed, what they thought, and what they were allowed to say. They presumed to move Presidents and Congressmen merely by leveraging character assassination and establishing the framework of their accepted Overton Window. They could swing whole elections.
The Internet has deprived them of the exclusivity of this framing. People may (and frequently do) bypass them for news and information. But they still retain the power of character assassination, even if a few, like Donald Trump, have remained stubbornly immune to it. They have the funding, the airtime, the audience, and allies among gatekeepers and HR departments around the world.
It is that power which must be broken if we are to step out into the light again. It is not enough that we cast them as fake news, though this must be done also. They cannot be permitted to assassinate characters on a whim.
And if we cannot break them of this power, then we must deploy a similar power ourselves. How much economic damage can we force on them if they do this? How many people can we get fired? How many businesses can we destroy?
I really don’t want to go down that road. I’ve always thought it to be one of the lowest, most scummy tactics a man might use on a political opponent. I hate it, and I’ve always attacked the practice as the worst of mudslinging.
But if they don’t stop it soon, what choice do we have? And maybe that’s the message we have to use: “stop now, we really don’t want to do this back to you, but we willif we must.”
Perusing the usual suspects this morning, I came across a piece at Liberty’s Torch which bears some commentary. In it, Francis explains his view on the recent unpleasantness from CNN and anonymity in general:
I do disapprove of what CNN did. There are Internet users with good reasons to keep their real names a secret. Certainly the maker of that video was within his rights to travel under an anonymizing moniker. However, allow me to say that:
I have much more respect for persons who don’t hide their identities when they express themselves;
Had this fellow traveled under his right name, CNN would have been unable to do him any harm.
I understand that in our time, a policy of openness about who you are and what you believe is double-edged. Those who find your thoughts persuasive will respect you more than otherwise. However, those who find your sentiments (or you personally) offensive or threatening will be able to target you. If you regard yourself, or persons you love, as too vulnerable for my policy, I understand your decision.
But remember the breadth of the Internet, and the tissue-thinness of the concealment an anonymizing moniker provides. What CNN did to that video maker, it can do to you. For that matter, it takes far less clout and far fewer resources than those possessed by CNN to do it.
Just a quick thought. Feel free to dismiss it as the blather of a man who probably has “nothing to lose.” Except that if you really knew how much I have to lose, and how often vicious persons have threatened me and it, you might sing a different tune.
Personally, I am very divided on this issue. As a result, I continue to operate under a sort of partial anonymity. I am immune to casual attempts to discover my identity. But I don’t operate under any sort of security, and, indeed, my photograph is in the upper right corner. It is also present on my Twitter feed. My Facebook friends are aware of my generally Right-wing leanings, now. I have spoken about family history, and it would not be difficult at all to discover my identity. Indeed, I’ve been doxed before.
At the same time, I don’t sign my name at the end of every piece for a very important reason: it could cost me money. Among my clients and business partners, I deliberately avoid political discussion. No doubt a good many of them are fully aware of my views anyway. But by avoiding discussion of such matters, we focus more readily on matters of business.
Fact is, I don’t expect most folks to understand my views or how I came to believe them. And if any are inclined toward Leftism, not only would they fail to understand my views, they would possibly come to see them as racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or whatever. It is likely I would lose business.
Now, one might say I am being dishonest with them. But that’s not true either. I explicitly avoid political discussion with them, and they grant me the same courtesy. There are no lies exchanged, only a shared understanding that political discussion can ruin otherwise good business relationships. Now, if CNN came and made a national news story out of something I said, the issue would be forced with them. Their compatriots would ask “why do you associate with him, he said (insert something they don’t like here)?” The relationship would thus be damaged, or destroyed.
On the other hand, I am not personally afraid to air my views. So I attach my photo. And to folks I trust aren’t out to cause me grief, I readily disclose my identity.
Nonetheless, if CNN made me the subject of one of their Maoist Struggle Sessions it would cost me a considerable amount of business. I could afford to suffer the loss, mind you. I generally live below my means and have significant savings and assets. Furthermore, while some of my clients are undoubtedly Left-leaning, many others are not and would probably stick by me even in such an event.
And this circles back to one of the strongest reasons to maintain some level of anonymity: your income. Character assassinations from the Left generally focus on your income. They want to get you fired from your job, or ruin your business, or render you unemployable. And they will twist and spin your words to do this, if necessary. They may even invent lies out of whole cloth, if they don’t find enough to incriminate you. They will take your words out of context, or interpret a joke seriously. If you’ve ever said anything hasty or angry on the Internet, they will unearth it and use that too.
Remember when that poor chef was tarred as a racist because she used the N-word once, decades ago, right after she was robbed?
If Leftists had respect for free speech, anonymity wouldn’t be necessary. And even today, as Francis says, putting your name to a thing shows a level of conviction that the anonymous often lack. But on the other hand, signing your name to a thing can carry a financial cost that one must be comfortable paying. It’s a trade off. Using your name grants authenticity, but can render you and yours more vulnerable.
Only you can decide if the risk is worth the reward. For myself, I have decided to split the middle. I go to no great effort to hide myself, but I maintain a sort of gentleman’s agreement to avoid too much political publicity for sake of my business relationships.
The fact of the matter is, it would be very unwise for CNN or any other entity to dox me and make me the focus of a struggle session, for then I would be freed to sign my name to all of this. The cost would have been forced on me anyway. They would get no apology from me, no grovelling. And I would only become more forceful about my opinions, not less.
Because at that point, what have you got to lose by just going with it? And that ties into another point. If the Left and the media keeps up with tactics like this, it could get very ugly. I have resources and alternate sources of income to carry me through such a time. What happens to folks who don’t have such resources to call upon? If you destroy their livelihood, you will have created an enemy with nothing to lose. You will have put their backs to the wall.
The Left ought to reflect very carefully on this. The anonymous denizens of the Internet could become a lot more dangerous if pressed into a corner. I wouldn’t recommend this course.
Remember when I spoke about the moral high ground? Well today we are witnessing another chunk of Marxist moral authority cracking and falling apart. I’m not sure how much more the Progressive Left can take before it loses all credibility, before the preference cascade sweeps it away, or forces it to resort to outright war.
Marxism’s grip on the moral high ground is slipping. They are weak. The assault must be pressed more vigorously now. Why now? Well, CNN has resorted to blackmailing random meme makers on Reddit and 4chan. Why? Because he created an anti-CNN meme that Donald Trump retweeted on Twitter. Like most tyrants throughout history, the busybodies at CNN can tolerate no dissent, no humor targeted toward them. Complete submission to the moral authority of the Leftist media, and by extension, Marxism itself, is required.
But by bringing the immense power of CNN to bear against a single random meme maker on the Internet, he has exposed the increasing desperation of the Marxists, who in their constant attacks on the Right, are exhausting the moral authority that fuels them. CNN has tried to reclaim their moral authority by saying he was an anti-Semite, a racist, and other such things. But whether true or not (and nobody trusts the media to make those judgments any longer), the thrust of the matter is that CNN has attacked a single individual of no particular importance for daring to make fun of them.
How can they claim the moral high ground if they destroy random people on the Internet?
How can Hillary say she is better than Trump when she steals money from poor black girls in Haiti?
For once in my life, I’m seeing the Right do what it ought to have done all along: fight back and contest the moral high ground. The fact that CNN feels the need to attack small time individuals on the Internet shows their increasing desperation. They know the high ground is slipping from their control.
One way or another, folks, this is coming to a head. In the next few years, we’re going to see who is going to win this thing. Nothing is off the table anymore. All decency has been jettisoned. All mercy extinguished. This is a no-holds-barred fight to the finish. If the media loses the power to commit character assassinations, I’ve no doubt that the Left will increasingly resort to the more literal form. And if it takes all the might of CNN to take down one anonymous guy on the Internet, their power is definitely on the wane.
They deployed everything against Trump and lost.
Isaac Asimov once said in his Foundation novels that violence was the last refuge of the incompetent. For the Left, it is the last weapon they can deploy in order to keep their control over our country, our civilization, and maintain themselves as the arbiters of right & wrong, the ultimate moral authority. They are edging closer to deploying that final weapon, and CNN is the proof.
They have declared war on /pol/ and /r/The_Donald. They may not like where this heading.
Enjoy the show, as CNN is rendered impotent, turned into a pale shadow of itself. Their reputation is falling apart. First Russia conspiracies, fake sources, lies… and now targeting individual normals. They are fast running out of weapons. They will be as powerless as Sauron, soon. Nothing more than a foul wind that cannot even hold form or shape.
Ever since Trump became a force in the Republican primaries, the media has been engaged in a constant battle against him. Even Bush Derangement Syndrome resulted in occasional gaps in media attack coverage, occasional lulls in hit pieces. Trump Derangement Syndrome is 24/7. It never lets up, not even for a second. Every celebrity timeline is filled with anti-Trump posts. Every media talking head is constantly talking about Trump.
It never ends. Trump could sneeze, and it would be racist. He can executive the Constitutional prerogatives of office, and discharge political appointees, and it’s evil Russian collaboration. He could appoint an Attorney General, and it’s the KKK coming back from the dead. Snark-peddlers call him “Putin’s cockholster.”
Step out of the slow boil to this for a moment. Be the frog who steps out of the slow-boiling pot.
Have you ever seen coverage like this? When Trump won the primary, the media looked for every possible avenue to keep him out of office. When Trump won the election, they peddled insane conspiracy-minded theories about hijacking the electoral college and getting faithless electors to keep him out of office. When he won, everything was a constant 24/7 scandal worthy of impeachment, and if impeachment doesn’t do the job, they want to use the 25th Amendment to get rid of him.
Note, this isn’t a few kooks and crazies proposing this. This is constant media coverage.
The entirety of major-media “reporting” these past four months has been dedicated to the Spaghetti Theory of Political Combat: Fling enough at the wall and eventually, some will stick. Nothing they’ve flung has adhered to Trump yet, but they remain dedicated to their strategy. Worse, supposed conservative luminaries are buying into it as well…on the basis of the media hysteria and nothing else.
I cannot imagine that Trump foresaw this during his campaign. If he had, would he have wanted the job?
This is not going to let up for even a moment. If Trump proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that every single accusation ever lobbed at him was blatantly false, it still wouldn’t be enough. They’d come up with more. As far as these people are concerned, Trump is guilty. He was always guilty. Presumption of innocence doesn’t matter. Courts of law don’t matter. Nothing else matters, except that they hate Trump, and therefore he must be removed by any means possible.
Today’s headline news is that an alleged Comey memo indicates President Trump tried to obstruct justice in the Flynn investigation by saying to Comey in a private meeting, “I hope you can let this go.”
Key word = hope
How did the New York Times characterize Trump’s expression of hope?
Do you see Trump asking Comey to end the Flynn investigation in the quote “I hope you can let this go”?
All I see in that sentence is “duh.” Obviously Trump HOPED his friend and advisor Flynn would be okay. Did it need to be said? Was there some confusion on this point with Comey? Did Comey enter the meeting thinking maybe President Trump wanted to see his friend and advisor Flynn get eaten by the system?
As always, I’ve no idea if Trump is guilty of anything or not. What I do know is that the media hates him with a passion I’ve not seen in my lifetime. Many of their attacks have been proven to be blatant lies, or even outright hoaxes (remember when 4chan took them for a ride with the Russian prostitutes story?). So given the media’s track record as hateful liars with an incredibly obvious agenda, people would be absolute fools to trust them on any of this.
Some folks on Twitter have asked why we trust Trump, given all of the smoke around him. The thing is, I’ve never said I trusted Trump. Rather, I distrust the media, and I’ve correctly identified them as manufacturers of smoke. There’s a world of difference there. Trump is a politician, so I am wary of him on that basis alone. But the media is a pack of lying, disgusting, filthy animals who are steering us down a path of Social Justice and Marxism, and doing so obviously now.
If some folks think Trump is genuinely guilty of something, perhaps they ought to tell the media to shut up and stop manufacturing bullshit. After all, in a cloud of fake smoke generated by liars, how in the hell am I supposed to tell if any of it is real? The only people the media have won over are those who hated Trump anyway. They aren’t making their case, they are making us trust them even less. And, quite honestly, I’m amazed it’s even possible for them to achieve that. I thought we already hit rock bottom with them.
And it’s not just the latest character assassination that shows this, it’s the media themselves. They admit their role is to control the public, to tell them how to think and what to believe, not merely to report on the facts.
Mika Brzezinski has committed a Kinsleyesque “gaffe.” Michael Kinsley defined that as an occasion on which a politician unwittingly tells the truth. I submit that the definition applies with equal accuracy to mask slippages among media figures.
The luminaries of the media really would like to control what you think, Gentle Reader. They aspire to the authority of Orwell’s Ministry of Love. That President Trump has denied them the homage they expect from the White House has evoked their counterfire. Not that that’s likely to have the effect they seek.
The Presidency is suppose to obey the press, to operate solely within the narrow Overton window constructed by manufactured public opinion. Not only is the press the fourth branch of government, at this point, it is supposed to be preeminent over the other three. Media consensus is supposed to turn legislation, check the President’s veto pen, and steer court rulings.
This is their job, as stated:
This is not surprising, except to note that it was admitted openly, which is usually taboo for them. The thing to note about the media is how inaccurate and disingenuous they can be. Pick a topic you are an expert in, any topic. Choose mechanical engineering, or Byzantine history, or theology. The subject doesn’t matter, so long as you are well qualified to speak on it.
Now, go look up media articles, hit pieces, videos, and otherwise on that particular subject. Note the level of inconsistency, the many lies, the spin, the incompetence and blatant, obvious errors.
Now, extrapolate that across the entire media and everything they do. Are you beginning to see it?
There used to be a detractor of mine that would comment here. And he’d often ask why, if I didn’t trust the media, I would post links to media articles here. Aside from the obvious answer, which is I often post the links to point out the lies, there’s a deeper reason.
For some bizarre reason, many Leftists actually trust the media. Perhaps this is because the media tells them what they want to hear, or perhaps they don’t really believe it, but merely use it as a cynical weapon. Whatever the reason, unless it’s sourced from AP, CNN, or some other such outlet, they don’t believe it. So when even one of those outlets is forced by the obviousness of the truth to report on something, it can be a fearsome weapon against them.
If there was no Internet, no way for the hoi polloi to get the word out, I’ve no doubt that CNN would have buried it, or even outright denied it was happening. But even there, they will cast doubt, spin to the maximum of their ability, and try to manipulate public opinion in their favored direction as much as possible.
Sometimes they just lie, other times they tell the truth because they are forced to, but try to spin it as much as they feel they can get away with. Oftentimes, it’s a combination of both.
Either way, however, they cannot be trusted. They are the enemy, and Donald Trump is right to treat them thusly. He is reasserting the primacy of the elected government over the unelected bureaucracy and the de facto media branch, which has long been accustomed to unchallenged dominance.
For the court of manipulated public opinion needs no judge, nor jury of peers. Such a court needs neither evidence, nor witness, and, indeed, generally disdains both. Only the journalists seething hatred, the reporter’s smug sense of self-righteous superiority, is needed. “Believe me,” says the journalist, “for if you do not, I shall destroy you too.”