Trump and the Media 671

With no sense of irony, a “liberal” media which rightly excoriates the President of Gambia for failing to accept an election result, continues to do precisely the same thing in the case of Donald Trump. No invective is too strong to be cast against a man whose election the “liberal” media did everything possible to prevent.

With the happy resignation of Stephen Daisley, a strong contender for worst journalist in the World is now Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian. He takes the irony to an entirely new level. He claims that Trump will destroy the legacy by which smaller nations “long looked to the US to maintain something close to a rules-based international system.” He completely ignores the fact that the greatest single hammer blow against the rules based international system was delivered by Freedland’s idol Tony Blair, when he supported the invasion of Iraq without a Security Council Resolution and in the specific knowledge that, if the matter of force were properly put to the Security Council, it would not merely meet three vetoes but lose a majority vote.

The UN, and the rule of international law, have never recovered from that hammer blow, which Freedland enthusiastically cheered on. Nor has Freedland apparently noticed that the smaller nations rather detest than worship the USA. It has invaded and bombed them, interfered in their elections, supported right wing coups and armies, run destabilising CIA drug rings in them, and armed and even sometimes led dictatorial death squads. Look at all those US Security Council vetoes and the resolutions that never got to a vote because of threatened US vetoes. Look at all those General Assembly votes that were everyone against the USA, Israel and the poor occupied Marshall Islands. Freedland’s hymn to the Pax Americana is a sick joke. For much of the world, a period of American isolationism would be extremely welcome.

I am thankfully too clear-headed to like Trump because of the extraordinary campaign of vilification to which he has been subjected. Freedland has no shame about repeating the lie that Trump kept Hitler’s speeches by his bedside. I was in a position to know for sure that the “Russian hacking” elements of the extraordinary “Manchurian candidate” rubbish which the entire establishment threw at Trump was definitively untrue. I had the background and training to see that the Christopher Steele dossier was not only nonsense, but a fake, not in fact produced seriatim on the dates claimed. The involvement of the US security services in spreading lies as intelligence to undermine an incoming President will go down as a crucial moment in US history. We have not yet seen the denouement of that story.

But none of that makes Trump a good person. He could be an appalling monster and still be subjected to dirty tricks by other very bad people. There is much about Trump to dislike. His sensible desire for better relations with Russia is matched by a stupid drive to goad China.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric did tap in to the populist racism which is unfortunately sweeping developed countries at the moment. The very wealthy have succeeded in diverting justified anger at the results of globalisation on to immigrant populations, who are themselves victims of globalisation. By shamelessly tapping in to the deep wells of popular atavism, the elite have managed the extraordinary trick of escaping the wrath their appalling profiteering and extreme levels of wealth should bring. His words on race in his inauguration address were good, but does he really mean them? His anti-Muslim rhetoric remains deeply troubling. His ludicrous boast yesterday that he would end radical Islamic terrorism is precisely indicative of the counter-productive stupidity that feeds it.

I am a free trader and dislike the march of protectionism. But on the other hand, international trade agreements have become routinely not about tariffs but much more about the allocation of resources within the states concerned, mandating a neo-liberal model and giving extraordinary legal status to multinational companies. The collapse of the current model of international trade agreement, if that is what Trump really heralds, has both its positive and negative aspects.

It is of course a major question whether the establishment and his own Republican party allow him to do anything too radical at all. My own suspicion is that after all the huffing and puffing, nothing much is going to change. The key intra-party battle will probably be over the only policy he affirmed in any detail yesterday, the return of New Deal type state infrastructure spending. The idea of a massive state funded programme of national infrastructure, particularly in transport, to get heavy industry back on its feet, is the very antithesis of neo-liberalism. I think yesterday cleared up the question of whether Trump really meant it – he does. Will he be allowed to do it by a party committed to small state and balanced budgets, is a huge question. As Trump is also committed to tax cuts, it implies a massive budget deficit – with which Trump might well be comfortable. If Trump does succeed, it could fundamentally shift the way western governments look at economics, turning back the clock to the happier days before the advent of monetarism.

So that is Trump. Much that is bad but some fascinating things to watch. I suppose the reason I can’t join in the “it’s a disaster” screams, is that I thought it was already a disaster. The neo-liberal, warmongering orthodoxies did not have my support, despite Obama’s suave veneer. The pandering to racist populism of Trump is bad, and we must keep a watch on it. He may turn out not really to be different at all. Like all politicians, personal enrichment will doubtless be high on his agenda. But I do not start from the presumption the world is now a worse place than it was last week. I shall wait and see.

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671 thoughts on “Trump and the Media

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  • Aurora

    Trump keen to re-introduce state-sponsored torture, I’m guessing he doesn’t mean ‘rhetorical’ torture
    Also expected soon: non-rhetorical ban on Muslims:
    Non-rhetorical all clear given to Dakota Pipeline

    I think you probably get the picture about Trump’s ‘rhetoric’ and the reality.

      • Aurora

        Many of them were protesting. What would be good to see now is those who opposed Clinton as worse than Trump now protesting against Trump, any chance of that bevin? Or are you actually OK with what he’s doing? Seems so.

        • glenn

          There appears to be an unfathomable (to me, anyway) blithe acceptance of Trump, a lack of curiosity as to what he and his henchmen have been up to in just a few days in office, and total indifference to the way the clampdown on the media/government has been put into effect.

          The far-right Nazi Bannon has declared the media to be “the opposition” who should “keep its mouth shut”. Government agencies have been forbidden from any contact with the media, unless the President has reviewed it first. No environmental agencies, or federal agencies allowed to inform or alert the public about anything now, for example.

          Yet the likes of Bevin are ok with this hugely ominous development, because – presumably – Clinton was such a flawed candidate. And didn’t you know the DNC stiched up Sanders? And so on.

          Very odd indeed.

          • lysias

            The corporate media have, for decades now but increasingly over time, served as a propaganda organ for the plutocrats, presenting one false narrative after another.

            Perhaps what the Trump people are doing to the corporate media now will end up doing more harm than good, but it is difficult to feel much sympathy for them.

          • Aurora

            The DNC did stitch up Sanders and the democrats did choose the worst possible candidate in my view. But that’s beside the point right now: like you said, the blithe acceptance of Trump is astonishing. It simply astounds me that Trump’s plan to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants, for example, is unworthy of protest:
            This is abhorent and you can bet were it to have been ventured by Clinton this blog would be buzzing non-stop with denunciations. Instead, silence. These steps toward fascism will continue. There seems to be a fantasy that out of all this social control, inspiring of hatred and complete deregulation of capitalism, some kind of new, better capitalism and improved democratic system will emerge. How exactly? By sitting back and watching Trump’s alt-right mob trash everything, smugly satisfied that the ‘liberal media’ is now complaining that its representatives have lost power?

          • fred

            Nationalists base what they say not on what is true but what they need to be true in order to justify what they want to do. Back in the 30s when the German government was saying you know who was responsible for them losing WWI it wasn’t because it is what was true, it was because it was what they needed to be true so they could justify what they wanted to do.

            If they say the media is biassed it is because they want to censor the media, if they say the elections were rigged it is because they want to take the vote away from a lot of people.

            Many American government departments are setting up unofficial twitter accounts to counter Trump administration censorship.


          • Loony

            What is the problem with Donald Trump?

            In a few short days he has neutered Germany – for Europe this means that Germans will be forced to get their boot off of the throats of Southern Europe

            He has announced that he will build a wall along the Mexican border and demonstrated to Mexico that one way or another they have no choice but to pay for it.

            He has gone after the media – that would be the same media that told you all that Iraq was full of WMD’s and then cheered the ensuing slaughter. The same media that abandoned all journalistic probity to in favor of becoming part of the Clinton election machine.

            He has cleaned out the State Department – that would be the same State Department that has been covertly supporting ISIS. The same State Department that dissembled endlessly over the brutal slaying of Ambassador Stevens.

            El Chapo has been delivered into US custody thus most likely closing off a pipeline of slush money for the CIA. Who knows what the CIA have been doing with this kind of money. Nothing good obviously otherwise they would have simply used legitimate Federal funds.

            So illegal immigrants have come out of the whole deal badly. People need to understand the choices here. They are simple. Either there are laws and the laws are enforced or there are no laws. If people do not like the law then they are free to argue that it should be changed. If the people want unlimited and uncontrolled immigration then they can vote for it – or rather they can’t because no politician would dare stand on such a platform. Instead they have been following a policy of simply ignoring the law. Now someone is in charge who intends applying the law. Anarchists everywhere will be outraged.

          • fred

            “What is the problem with Donald Trump?”

            Pro Israel, pro torture extreme right racist.

            That’s just for starters did you want more?

          • Loony

            Oh no pro Israel. Name any US President (or potential President) that is not pro Israel.

            He may personally be pro torture but the Defense Secretary isn’t so torture will not be part of US policy. What does it matter what a persons personal beliefs are? All that is important is whether those beliefs are acted upon.

            What does “extreme right wing racist” even mean? Is he about to set up gas chambers. He can’t really step up the incarceration rates of African Americans as the well known non racist Bill Clinton beat him to it. He is not keen on illegal immigrants – that does not make him a racist it makes him a person that intends following the law. Maybe you think the law is racist – well he did not make the law. He not that keen on ISIS. Are you? He has done more for Greek people in a few days than you could or would ever an entire lifetime.

            Do you have a point or are you infected with the fake news virus?

          • fred

            “Do you have a point or are you infected with the fake news virus?”

            My point is that I am pro Palestine, anti torture and anti racism so I oppose Trump who has expressed opposite beliefs to me.

            Did you have a problem with someone having principles?

    • Loony

      So many times I have read whinging missives from people bemoaning the fact that politicians say one thing and do another.

      Now we have a politician who does exactly what he says he will do – and what have we got for entertainment why more whinging from people bemoaning the fact that politicians say one thing and then do that thing.

      What is it you want? For people to actively lie to you?

      • glenn

        Are you actively trying to make stupid comments? Some racist, sexist bigoted idiot who puts evil plans – well advertised in advance – into action must be OK with you, I take it.

        Suppose someone said “I’m going to beat the hell out of you!” prior to giving you a thorough kicking. You’d say, “At least he told the truth” and admire him?


        • Loony

          If Trump is so sexist how come he hired Kellyanne Conway as his campaign manager and how come Kellyanne Conway is the only woman ever to run a winning Presidential campaign. Surely non sexist people like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were free to hire female campaign managers – but they didn’t did they and Trump did.

          For putting a woman into a job that no woman had ever previously held Trump becomes a sexist.

          We could go through all of the rest of your ad-hominem words of choice, but I cannot be bothered as the end result would be the same.

          Your understanding of the meaning of words beggars belief.

          • glenn

            Because Trump’s women do what he tells them to do, don’t be so freaking dense.

            Btw, Trump said he wanted to do more torture, introduce more religion, ban abortion, steal other country’s oil, deport many millions and build a wall and extort that cost from his neighbour. That’s all good in your view, right?

            What about “draining the swamp”, and denouncing Hillary for her Goldman-Sachs connections? In the meantime, very big donators and Goldman-Sachs cronies are put into high positions of office.

            But I don’t suppose you have a problem with that either.

            Your credibility is quickly disappearing around the U-bend, Loony. Pick it up a bit, would you? Otherwise, just bugger off and stop wasting everyone’s time with your idiocy.

        • michael norton

          The Scottish Donald has been chosen by the voters of the U.S.A. if he is the right man for them, that should be it.
          Or do you have a problem with Democracy?

          • fred

            The American voters chose him and we’ll all have to live with him.

            Insisting everyone changes their beliefs to match those of the leader is not democracy that is totalitarianism. We have the right to dissent and I for one am going to exercise it.

            Having a Nationalist government in Scotland does not stop me speaking against the evils of Nationalism and having a Nationalist president in America won’t either.

          • michael norton

            Fred, I was actually directing that at glenn.
            But I take your point.
            However, there are many horrible regimes in the world, I would guess about half of all states in the world are run by horrible regimes.
            We can’t do anything about them.
            Take Zimbabwe as an example.
            The place has untold riches, a wonderful climate, unlimited potential renewable electricity, potential to regain its position as the bread basket of Southern Africa, yet for about half a century it has descended into Hell.
            North Korea, just look from one Korea to the other Korea, no need to say much else.
            Yemen/Saudi Arabia/Pakistan/Sudan and so on.

          • fred

            Yes wherever Nationalism raises it’s ugly head there is injustice and rest assured anyone on this blog extolling the virtues of Kim Jong-un would be hearing my opinions as well.

      • Dave

        America First and My Country First is the basis for true internationalism, peace and respect for international law, because national as opposed to imperial ambitions are more limited in nature and therefore more easily resolved. Its the nihilistic ambitions of Imperial NWO acting in the name of humanity (a double speak lie) that is the menace of humanity that Trump and now May are putting back in their box.

        And America First isn’t “isolationism” (another NWO lie) it just means America will trade on soft power that wins friends, rather than military intervention/destruction that makes enemies or as Ron Paul said, don’t confuse defence spending with military spending.

  • Loony

    Another day and another alligator ejected from the swamp.

    The entire senior management of the State Department has just resigned. A former senior manager at the State Department opined “It’s the biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate”

    Or maybe not so difficult. Some people had noticed that the State Department was not fit for purpose, and could not be relied upon. Therefore they set up their own mini State Department to provide all of the information that the State Department should have provided had it not been a rotting corpse feasted on by political nihilists.

    Who could these people be that setr up their own mini State Department? Why ExxonMobil. Who is the new Secretary of State? Why Rex Tillerson late of ExxonMbil.

    Here is Seymour Hersch reminding everyone of what we have just lost

    • Hieroglyph

      That’s interesting, didn’t know Exxon had set up their own advisory department. A rather telling comment on the fantasists in the state department, who had no idea what they were doing. And Hillary is, in every way, an utterly failed human being.

      Old Trump has just green-lit Torture, if reports are to be believed (though often they aren’t), and oil pipelines. I’ve been moderately positive about Trump, but whoever advised him that ‘torture works’ should be fired. Also, they really do believe that man made climate change is a Rockafella’\China hoax, which can be ignored entirely. I have no problem with ‘conspiracy theories’ generally, but really not buying this one. As ever, I hope they are correct, but fear they are not.

      • lysias

        Actually, torture does work, if what you want is confessions, whether true or false, that will support a preconceived narrative, which, again, may or may not be true. Stalin’s secret police was well aware of torture’s utility for this purpose. And of course the CIA, whose job it was to follow the doings of the Russian secret police, was well aware of that predilection of Stalin’s secret police. In fact, the SERE training that the U.S. military adopted was for the purpose of learning to resist torture by Communist states, and was later repurposed to serve as the U.S. very own “enhanced interrogagion” methods of torture.

        If you look at the 9/11 Commission Report, you will see that its whole section on the operational details of the alleged 9/11 conspiracy is all based on the testimony of tortured detainees, as the footnotes to the section reveal.

      • Loony

        As you say reports in these days of fake news are often not to be believed.

        Trump has said that he is all in favor of torture. He has also said that General Mattis (his defense secretary) is not in favor of torture on the grounds that it is not an effective tool. Trump concluded by saying that he intends relying on the advice of General Mattis and therefore the US will not sanction a policy of torture.

        It is probably best to ignore climate change – after all everyone else is. If things are as they are claimed to be then it is already probably too late to do anything about ti, and if it isn’t too late then radical changes are needed that go way beyond windmills and renewable energy. It means getting rid of tens of millions of cars and disconnecting hundreds of millions of people from the electric grid. It is simply not going to happen on any kind of voluntary basis.

        People are already calling Trump all kinds of crazy names – imagine what they would say if he switched off all the lights in California and sequestrated all their cars. Not going to happen. People that disagree are free to disconnect themselves and get where they want to go by walking.

        • Hieroglyph

          Indeed, reading the corporate media is like wading through treacle. I have previously wondered aloud if it’s all gotten worse, or if I have just become more ‘savvy’. But, it’s really all got worse. Much, much worse, and within the last 3 or 4 years as well. Everything they write about Trump is just a game, as though they are teenage girls, mocking a boy with a bad haircut. Sad.

          Climate change requires rationing. In other words, a command economy. One that is admitted, rather than the one we currently have – because neoliberal economics is much the same as Soviet economics, though with different soundbites. But such energy rationing – which I suspect won’t even prove that hard, or unpopular – runs contrary to the various lies, disguise, and bullshit which currently props up the market. The fall will be swift, and brutal.

    • nevermind

      yes it will Brian, and beastly for that. First they infected the Indians with their illnesses, then they shoved them into reservoirs, now they are desperate for the good ol’ oil days and they once again take aim at the native population.
      Humanity comes way behind oil for these feckers.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Just for the record – in case the transcript changes – I’d like to put up something very curious I have noticed on the ABC News interview of President Trump by David Muir. A section of the interview has been cut out of the video, which remains in the transcript. It is a very important section which identifies a specific lie by Trump on screen. I will enclose what has been cut out in square brackets.


    PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’re gonna launch an investigation to find out. And then the next time — and I will say this, of those votes cast, none of ’em come to me. None of ’em come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of ’em come to me. But when you look at the people that are registered: dead, illegal and two states and some cases maybe three states — we have a lot to look into.

    DAVID MUIR: House Speaker Paul Ryan has said, “I have seen no evidence. I have made this very, very clear.” Senator Lindsey Graham saying, “It’s the most inappropriate thing for a president to say without proof. He seems obsessed with the idea that he could not have possibly lost the popular vote without cheating and fraud.” I wanna ask you about something bigger here. Does it matter more now …

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s nothing bigger. There’s nothing bigger.

    DAVID MUIR: But it is important because …

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you know what’s important, millions of people agree with me when I say that if you would’ve looked on one of the other networks and all of the people that were calling in they’re saying, “We agree with Mr. Trump. We agree.” They’re very smart people.

    [ The people that voted for me — lots of people are saying they saw things happen. I heard stories also. But you’re not talking about millions. But it’s a small little segment. I will tell you, it’s a good thing that we’re doing because at the end we’re gonna have an idea as to what’s going on. Now, you’re telling me Pew report has all of a sudden changed. But you have other reports and you have other statements. You take a look at the registrations, how many dead people are there? Take a look at the registrations as to the other things that I already presented.

    DAVID MUIR: And you’re saying …


    PRESIDENT TRUMP: And you’re gonna find …

    DAVID MUIR: … those people who are on the rolls voted, that there are millions of illegal votes?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t say there are millions. But I think there could very well be millions of people. That’s right.

    DAVID MUIR: You tweeted though …

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: And I also say this …

    DAVID MUIR: … you tweeted, “If you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally, I won the popular vote.”

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: David, and I also say this, if I was going for the popular vote I would’ve won easily. But I would’ve been in California and New York. I wouldn’t have been in Maine. I wouldn’t have been in Iowa. I wouldn’t have been in Nebraska and all of those states that I had to win in order to win this. I would’ve been in New York, I would’ve been in California. I never even went there. ]

    DAVID MUIR: Let me just ask you, you did win. You’re the president. You’re sitting …

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.

    DAVID MUIR: … across from me right now.

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: That’s true.

    DAVID MUIR: Do you think that your words matter more now?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: Yes, very much.

    DAVID MUIR: Do you think that that talking about millions of illegal votes is dangerous to this country without presenting the evidence?

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, not at all.


    Check for yourself – unless the transcript changes too.


    • fred

      The seeds were sown for an attack on democracy long ago. Trump supporters pushing fake news, like the claims that Clinton had won six out of six coin tosses when there had been more than six coin tosses and Clinton had won around half if you counted all of them.

      They don’t say what is true, they say what they need to be true to justify what they want to do, you watch and see.

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