One of the main themes of the post election landscape is the fact that the legacy ‘old media’ refuses to understand why Trump won, and has been displaying this ignorance on a regular basis. It may come to a point that their undying cluelessness will need to be serialized here. For now, I’ll focus on a few threads from this week which the media unsuccessfully tried to spin into an anti-Trump tapestry:
Voter Fraud Tweets, the Recount Effort
Last weekend Trump tweeted the following:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
This is classic Trump trolling. Since the election, the only bright spot that leftists have pointed to is the fact that Trump lost the popular vote, which has led many of them to take apparent solace from the fact that most of the country didn’t want him as president. In political pundit-speak, Trump doesn’t have a ‘mandate’ from the electorate to carry out his aims. That arguement is compeltely lnullfied by the fact that the same electorate also voted for Republican control of the House and Senate ostensibly giving Trump an ‘obedient’ congress and therefore a green light to carry out his platform. Thus the electorate did give Trump a mandate.
Regardless, the popular vote issue has been and will continue to be brought up by Trump detractors. Trump countered this by declaring that millions of people voted illegally, and once those fraudulent votes were removed, Trump would have won the popular vote as well.
Naturally, the old media couldn’t let it go, and produced a slew of fact checking articles to combat Trump’s tweet, such as this one in the Washington Post. What is curious, from the persepctive of Not Getting It, is that these vociferous defenses of the integrity of the 2016 election are coming from the same publications which would have the public believe that the 2016 election was compromised by the Russian government, in order to elect Trump, its preferred canddiate.
In that light, it explains the relative lack of scrutiny over the recount efforts of Jill Stein and others on the left. Perhaps if the election was really compromised, it might make sense to have a second look. But why are the recount efforts focused on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania? These are states which Trump happened to have won, and coincidentally, if the results were overturned and Clinton were to be found to have won those states, she would then have the electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Stein and co. claim that the purpose of the recount isn’t to change the result of the election. Fine. But if that is the case, the only other reason would be to make sure that the absolute totals are 100% correct. Maybe in Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by a few hundred votes less than we thought before. If that’s what they’re trying to achieve, again fine.
But if Trump is wrong to suggest that the absolute totals may not be 100% correct, Stein is equally wrong to suggest the same. The old media has gone out of its way to mentiion that Trump has no evidence backing his claim, but neither does Stein.Yet her claim is treated as though it is merely part of the process
Furthermore, had Trump lost and had been associated with a recount effort, over an alleged discrepancy involving a sum (~100,000 votes) roughly 2000 times greater than that of the 2000 recount, the old media would have been apoplectic in its admonishment of Trump. Prior to election night, when they were all convinced that Clinton would win, they declared that Trump’s correct ‘wait and see’ approach to the question of his accepting how the results turned out was unpatriotic, that it was a stance which jeopardized the fabric of the 240 year old republic.
Now that Jill Stein has gone and done exactly that, there are crickets.
Trump on Flag Burning
Another ‘controversy’ was generated by yet another Trump tweet, coming just two days after the illegal voting Tweet:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016
Carlos Slim’s bloggers at the New York Times tackled this tweet in a piece written by its Editorial Board, titled ‘Mr. Trump, Meet the Constitution.’
The title itself, with it’s implication that Trump is either ignorant of the very foundation of the country he is to lead, or a dictator seeking riding roughshod over that same foundation is rather rich coming from the NYT. It, like most on the left is firmly in the ‘living, breathing document’ camp with respect to how the Constitution should be intepreted, which si eally to say that the Constitution is fine when it agrees with leftist ends, but should be subverted when it doesn’t.
Later on in the piece, the Editorial Board writes:
It’s interesting that so many of the people, like Mr. Trump, who are eager to punish flag-burners are at the same time so untroubled by speech that offends minorities, women and other Americans. They rail against any concern about that kind of speech as “political correctness.” But in this country, flag-burning is about as politically incorrect as anything you can do. Where is their courageous defense of speech now? Isn’t Mr. Trump the man who stood up for the freedom to say brutally unpleasant things? Who said, at the Republican convention: “I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.”
Here, they paint Trump out to be a giant hypocrite by standing against the free speech of flag burners when he purports to be a champion of free speech. This argument falls short when looked at from a meta level. Flag burners are desecrating a symbol of that which allows them to do the desecrating. To the extent there are problems in the land over which that symbol flies, disrespecting the very symbol which allows one to voice those grievances without fear are misguided at the very best.
In this specific instance, the grievance which prompted the post election flag burning which itself prompted Trump’s tweet is Trump’s election victory, which is a proxy for the political incorrectness the NYT purports to defend, at least on the behalf of the flag burners.
The post election flag burners are, in essence, using their free speech to declare that others using their free speech to voice politically incorrect views is something that rises to such a level of injustice that the flag being burned, a denouncement of the country that would allow that, is thus a legitimate response. It is a rather anti-free speech position to take, and thus it is not surprising that the NYT would defend it.
To be sure, the opinion expressed by Trump in his tweet is wrong, constitutionally. But it is just that, an opinion, not a policy proposal or a piece of legislation. Trump is allowed to have a wrong opinion, and he is allowed to use his freedom of speech to express it.
Interestingly, the NYT piece uses the fact that Trump has now ascended to the presidency as a reason to ring the alarm bells. In the next portion of the piece the Editorial Board writes that this wrongness in opinion is possibly exponentially more dangerous now that he is the president:
Some may choose to read Mr. Trump’s social-media rants as relatively meaningless — the ramblings of a sleepless id, unmoored from thought or knowledge but tuned to Fox News, which apparently was airing a piece on college flag-burners at about the time Mr. Trump sent his tweet.
But we don’t have the luxury of merely mocking someone who is now as powerful as Mr. Trump.
In one sense, they are right. The heightened position of the president will heighten everything Trump is involved in. However, the NYT reveals its sentiments to be nothing more than feigned concern for the national good, disguising its desire to continue to yell from the rooftops the same things it merely raised its voice about during the campaign: Trump is the worst thing ever, literally Hitler, yadda yadda:
Before you tune him out, remember what the right-wing propaganda site Breitbart was celebrating on Tuesday — that Mr. Trump’s social-media presence allows him to get his message to millions, bypassing “corporate media.” He has more than 16 million Twitter followers. With Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, he can feed lies and ignorance directly to 36 million people.
He tweets, he posts, he incites. He trolls. He commands a global platform and will soon be America’s commander in chief. But it has to be said, and said again: This is not normal. It demeans the presidency.
In only a few sentences, the Editorial Board labels a differing viewpoint ‘right-wing propaganda,’ labels the political message that won worldwide in 2016 as ‘lies and propaganda,’ mocks the idea that the coterie of old media which treated Trump unfairly might need to be bypassed as a result, summing it all up by saying that the presidency is demeaned as a result. These are the words of a dying corpse lashing out with contempt at the opponent which vanquished it.
Corey Lewandowski Blames The Media
Midweek, Harvard hosted a gathering of the top operatives in the Clinton and Trump campaigns for a tradtional discussion of the election how it went. The full event is below:
Natrually, this one was testier than it was in years past. It also included several gems from the Clinton camp (Jen Palmeiri in particular, who fought tears seemingly incessantly) which served as confirmation that the right side won owing to the fact that such small minded victors would have presaged a turbulent time for America.
One of the gems the old media took issue with was the following from Corey Lewandowski:
The strangest criticism of the media, however, was by Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
His complaint: Journalists accurately reported what Trump said.
“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” Lewandowski said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar — you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”
The clearest example of what Lewandowski was talking about was the furor generated over Trump ‘instructing’ the Russian government to find the emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her private server while she was Secretary of State. For a refresher, here is the video:
Trump was clearly being facetious, perhaps mischievously so, about emails which he old media had assured the public were of little consequence anyway. To the extent they did pose an intelligence threat, operatives from all over the world would have already looked into it, well before the campaign had even started.
Yet the old media transformed this into a matter of national controversy, with some sections of the old media claiming the above video was treasonous in nature. It was used as a springboard to further the idea that the Russian government was actively controlling the election, a narrative which persist to this day.
And when being called on such constant willfully ignorant hyperventilation in service of Hillary Clinton by Lewandowski, how does the old media respond?
By pleading innocence, dashed with a pinch of snark. ‘We were only reporting on what he literally said, what is so wrong about that? What a strange criticism.’
As far as I’m concerned, the old media can keep on keeping on.