Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The CinC Panel And Working The Refs

Apparently there was a town hall type thing with Clinton and Trump and Matt Lauer.  I was busy doing something, I guess.  But I wake up and everyone is savaging Lauer for basically letting Trump lie.  Pretty much as you would expect, Trump opens his mouth and a lie or an insult falls out.  Many noted that Lauer asked Trump about his support for the Iraq war and Trump lied.  The criticism of Lauer is that he didn't follow up by noting that there is copious video evidence of Trump saying he supported the war in 2002-4.

Josh Marshall wonders if perhaps Lauer used some sort of rope-a-dope tactic on Trump by simply letting him run his mouth.  In the course of the event Trump said the following:

- He lied about his support for Iraq.
- He lied about his support for Libya.
- He displayed ignorance about how oil works.
- He heaped more praise on Putin's leadership.
- He exposed his "secret plan" to defeat ISIS as a joke.
- He promised to purge the general staff.
- He said rape occurs in the military because that's what happens when men and women are together.

Lauer did a poor job calling Trump on this crap, and that is why he is getting savaged on Twitter and the rest of the Internet.  Clinton got much more aggressive questioning, especially on her damned emails.

The question this raises is how the media treat Clinton and Trump differently.  Clinton goes on long, detail-laden answers and gets relentlessly pressured on things that have already been asked and answered, like the email server.  OK, she needs to answer those questions.  Again.  I guess.  But she is being held to a different standard.  Trump is not pressed on issues very hard, because everyone understands he doesn't really know anything about the issues.

This will obviously have a huge spillover effect on the debates.  In the debates, we can expect Clinton to be peppered with questions about her honesty at the same time Trump is basically allowed to lie his ass off.  Because much of American politics is stupid, Trump will "win" the debate by not lighting his podium on fire and literally pissing on the audience.

At the same time, look at the material Trump has given people to work with.  Almost every answer he gave would be a disqualifying event for a traditional candidate.  Lauer, perhaps, gave Trump enough rope to hang himself with.

The problem is, as I have mentioned before, Trump has basically exploited the media's traditions of "both sides/opinions differ."  Unless a consistent barrage of reporters and pundits make a consistent case that Trump is lying his ass off when he's not talking out of it, then the "enough rope" idea won't work.

Here is the most unbelievable thing about this election.  People think Clinton is a bigger liar than Trump.

That's appalling.  And the responsibility for that lies squarely on the media.  As one of the tweets last night said, "A journalist's entire job -- literally the whole job description -- is to report what's true and what's not." It's undoubtedly clear that Lauer failed that test.

Will the rest of the media?

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