SYNDICATED COLUMN: Everyone But the Media Saw Trumpism Coming

  If you suck at your job, you’ll get fired.

If you suck because you’re lazy, you’ll definitely get fired.

Unless you’re a member of the political and economic establishment of a disintegrating superstate. If you’re incompetent and indolent but reliably loyal and unquestioning, your sinecure in the system that props up the powers that be is safe.

The New York Times, an institution so beholden to the establishment that it subjects a major presidential candidate to a media blackout and Orwellian post-publication memory-holing, is this week’s case study in establishmentarian unaccountability.

After effectively donating nearly half a billion dollars of free media coverage to the campaign of Donald Trump (or is it $1.9 billion? who can count?), corporate media is finally beginning to wonder whether teeing the country up for its first potential bona fide fascist dictatorship was a good idea.

In the Times, reliably mistaken op-ed columnist David Brooks allowed that, just maybe, opinion mongers like him ought to have noticed the building voter outrage over “free trade” deals like NAFTA and TPP — agreements supported by him and his paper’s editorial board — that gutted America’s industrial heartland and are driving the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump campaigns. “Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else,” Brooks wrote March 18th.

“Moreover,” continued the man who thought invading Iraq would be a cakewalk, “many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.”

This is a stunning admission.

Let’s set aside the question of how likely it is that Brooks really will make the effort to get out more. (My guess: not very.) Why should the Times ­— and, more to the point, the readers whose paid subscriptions pay Brooks’ salary — keep a man on staff who admits that he sucks at his job because he’s too lazy to interact with the American people?

Brooks deserves to have plenty of company as he walks the unemployment version of the Long Green Mile.

On March 28th fellow Timesman Nicholas Kristof, famous for taking young men and women to Third World nations devastated by U.S. foreign policy (though I doubt he tells them why those dumps look so dumpy), went even further, in a piece titled “My Shared Shame: The Media Helped Make Trump.”

“We were largely oblivious to the pain among working-class Americans and thus didn’t appreciate how much his message resonated,” Kristof wrote.

Most Americans are working-class. In other words, Kristof and his colleagues admit they don’t cover the problems that affect most Americans. Again: why does he still have a job?

Believe it or not, there are scores — maybe hundreds — of opinion writers who do know what’s going on in their own country. Who write well. Who get stories right. Pundits who saw the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders populist phenomena coming. But you won’t find any of them in the print pages of major newspapers like the Times, or even in the low-pay ghettos of their web-only content.

Because you can’t be a good journalist and a shill for a corporate media obsessed with access to the powers that be.

As usual in these moments of MSM navel-gazing, they almost get it right. Kristof continues: “Media elites rightly talk wabout our insufficient racial, ethnic and gender diversity, but we also lack economic diversity. We inhabit a middle-class world and don’t adequately cover the part of America that is struggling and seething. We spend too much time talking to senators, not enough to the jobless.”

Class diversity is a real thing. Newsrooms at stodgy institutions like the Times have their token women and people of color, but most are women and POC from well-off families. They attend expensive journalism schools that don’t offer scholarships, and thus don’t produce graduates from poor families and towns. As Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton prove, coming from a traditionally disadvantaged minority group is no guarantee that someone understands or cares about the troubles of the economically oppressed.

More to the point, we need a new class of intuitive journalists. Men and women with empathy. People who have a clue about what’s happening in their own country.

(Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography written with the cooperation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “Bernie” is now on sale online and at all good bookstores.)

 

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38 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Everyone But the Media Saw Trumpism Coming

  1. Cruz’s convincing victory last night in Wisconsin, coupled with Trump’s insistence on stepping on his d*ck these past ten days, makes the Donald’s nomination increasingly unlikely. Watching the GOP hold its nose and eat the Cruz sh*t sandwich is truly a sight to behold.

    It’s looking more and more like we’re going to get President Hitlery, whether we like it or not.

  2. For “historic” perspective, the last time (end of May 2015) our self-professed intellectual superior (aka “Whimsical”) deigned to grace us with exceptional commentary, he/she volunteered that, the GOP would “crash things FASTER”. (my emphasis, link below)

    When challenged that this implied that the Dems would ALSO eventually crash the country, W offered no reply.

    This was no more than hours after Sanders announced his candidacy and perhaps just before.

    The conclusion, relative to the outcome of a hypothetical tenure of the Generalisssima (HRC), acknowledged by our self-proclaimed intellectual superior, is left to the reader.

    tinyurl.com/zp9vkuo

  3. Whimsical (because the damned reply function on the site is completely incomprehensible to me, I can’t figure out how to put this under your comment):

    I’m not expecting miracles from the candidates. I do not expect loaves and fishes. I don’t expect gasoline to cost one cent a gallon, nor do I expect that carbon emissions are going to drop to zero in a heartbeat. The ship of state, just like a ship at sea, can’t turn on a dime. I don’t expect the “perfect” candidate. FDR did a lot of good. He also put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. JFK decided we were going to go to the Moon. He also decided that invading Cuba was a good idea. I don’t have rose-colored glasses.

    But I know how things get negotiated. And just like I know Donald Trump isn’t going to get Mexico to pay for the wall with the trade deficit (John Oliver covered all this brilliantly), regardless of how good a dealmaker Trump thinks he is, I also know that HRC’s “strategy” of negotiating from a starting position of compromise is not going to lead to success. We’ve had 35 years of incrementalism. If it worked at all, we’d be driving around in Mercedes and the minimum wage would be $125 an hour. Obama tried it — on those occasions when he actually bothered to raise an argument for his side — and had his ass handed to him over and over.

    The latest instance of this? The Republicans threaten to block any Supreme Court nominee. So what does Obama do? He gives them a moderate. Think about that. You’re “negotiating” with people who start by saying, “No matter what you do, it won’t be enough.” Who the hell responds to that with, “Well, I’ll meet you as far as I can!”

    See, it isn’t that I want perfection. I want a candidate who is actually trying to win for the country as a whole. So let’s look at healthcare. HRC’s starting position is that America can’t have universal single-payer healthcare She WILL NOT explain why. She gives some vague handwave gestures and snips that we aren’t Denmark. Which wasn’t the question. The question was “Why can every first-world nation in the world have SPUH and the U.S. cannot?”

    And yes, for something that basic, for a candidate to argue from a position that tells me to just keep waiting — I’ve been waiting my whole adult life — yes, I criticize that candidate.

    And there’s lots of other things that HRC has positions on that boil down to “You’re going to have to wait.”

    No. I’ve waited for decades. So have a lot of other people. Perhaps I should just wait to get my reward in heaven while I sing spirituals as I pick cotton? Nope. This fieldhand woke up quite a while ago, and I am done waiting.

    • Alex – you can align the reply where you want it by following the column straight up to the last reply button.

      Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right. Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.Vote for a mainstream dem and watch the country lurch to the right.

      But Whimsy still thinks that THIS time it will be different. Many analogies come to mind. Charlie Brown and the football, Linus and the Great Pumpkin, and Bullwinkle pulling a rabbit out of a hat. “But that trick NEVER works” observes Rocky. “Oh, yeah? Well you’re fake liberal stupid poopy-head” says Bullwinkle.

      • I think it must be my computer. Sometimes, the Reply button isn’t there at the end of the trail. Quite a few sites have been loading up oddly for the past few weeks. I just hate spending the time to fuss with the settings and the rest of the secret innards until I have no choice.

  4. As usual, you’re not representing/not comprehending my position correctly.. And here I thought we were making progress after your intelligent and articulate (though not necessarily correct) responses to my last few posts.

    Stop Whining? Generally excellent advice.
    Stop expecting? When your goals are impossible to fulfill in the time frame you have, stop expecting them to be fulfilled and grasp that any disappointment arising from that is on you.
    Stop punishing [and start rewarding) Democrats who have given you 85%-90% of what is actually possible in the eyeblink between elections. Also excellent advice.

    “No matter how hard you try to reframe it, your plan is always “vote for mainstream dems”
    Incorrect, its about the candidate that’s best for the country.. It is neither my fault nor my responsibility that for the foreseeable past- and future- the Republicans have chosen to field unreasonably insane candidates that are clearly more detrimental to the country than their Democratic opponents.

    “Which is exactly what “liberals” have been doing for the last fifty or so years”
    Not quite. Sure they vote for a Democrat; And then turning around and make sure Republicans win when the Democrats don’t deliver on your completely unrealistic expectations in the impossible time-frame between elections instead of realizing your being unrealistic and adjusting your attitude and expectations accordingly.

    ” as we’ve slithered further and further to the right.”
    The reason we’ve slithered further to the right is because “progressives” help Republicans win the moment their unreasonable expectations aren’t met, and all this does is send the message to the party- “Move right. The American people want Republican policies, or Republicans will keep losing”

    “If you keep doing the same, old, thing, you’re going to get the same, old, results…. If you really want to change something, you have to:

    Change.
    Something.”

    I agree, and I’m telling “progressives”that if they want to move the country left, what they need to change is their attitude, expectations, and actions accordingly.

    “If the good people of Vermont had followed your advice, we’d never have had Bernie on the ballot. ”
    I really hope he wins, just to watch people with unreasonable expectations turn on him just as fast as they do on everyone else, when their unreasonable expectations aren’t fulfilled in their impossible timeline.
    Maybe when Bernie does it, they’ll realize the mistake they’re the PROBLEM, not the solution, but given that they’ve been stuck on this stupid election strategy that is driving the party (and therefore the country) right for nearly 40 years I’m not holding my breath.

    “Surely you can see that he is far more liberal than the war criminal currently occupying the oval office.”
    A) Irrelevant. The only question that has any relevance is “Is he better for the country than his Republican opponent?” Which he will be, assuming he wins the nom, which he won’t.
    B) You do realize that saying things like “the war criminal in the oval office” makes it nearly impossible for normal people to take you seriously, right? It shows you have an agenda and aren’t interested in a real conversation about what’s best for THIS country.

      • Also, that should read “and all this does is send the message to the party- “Move right. The American people want Republican policies, or Republicans would be losing their elections by landslides”

    • Whimsy – maybe you should read my usual response to Jack Heart. “Saying stupid things in a condescending tone doesn’t magically turn them into smart things”

      Case in point: “You do realize that saying things like “the war criminal in the oval office” makes it nearly impossible for normal people to take you seriously, right?”

      He’s repeatedly deprived people of life without due process … duh? He even murdered a 16 y/o American in cold blood. He’s carried out military operations in sovereign nations without a declaration of war. He’s wantonly slaughtered civilians. He’s held prisoners of war for eight years, denying them habeas corpus in direct violation of the Geneva Convention. (after promising to end that very practice in his campaign)

      Trying to whitewash that kind of behavior calls your agenda into question. It sure has hell isn’t ‘peace on Earth and goodwill towards men.”

    • “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.””

      MLK

  5. So we can agree that pols and pundits are dim and self-deluded. We can add hypocritical to that. At work they can’t shut up about the benefits of diversity and mass immigration but then they go home to their all-white neighborhoods.

    Who knew that Americans care about the interests of America more than the interests of Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Japan, etc.? Who knew Americans don’t like financially supporting criminal freeloaders be they illegal aliens, or Israeli or neocon warmongers? Golly gee, this stuff is so hard to figure out.

    Calling for war costs them nothing, but it makes them feel good to say they support fighting for “democracy and human rights!” And that’s what matters. These ‘citizen of the world’ twits have their globalist heads so far up their asses all they care about is internationalism. Is it any wonder they have so little thought for Americans?

      • Agreed except Americans really could start voting with their dollars more. At least they’re selling out of stocks.

        Regrettably, as a supporter of theft yourself, you lack the moral authority to judge other thieves.

      • The good news is that you’ve finally learned that CEOs are, indeed, thieves. I can only assume that means you won’t be voting for the Donald.

        The bad news is that you haven’t learned to stop making idiotic accusations. I have never supported theft and unless you can post a link to where I have done so I shall subject you to mockery and scorn.

        As usual.

      • No news here. Of course you don’t know how they are thieves, and more to the point, your solution involves other theft.

        And of course you yourself have admitted that one need not support every position of a candidate to be a supporter of that candidate.

        You are an admitted progressive (a thief), who supports single payer (theft), and who supports socialist Bernie Sanders (a thief).

        If need be, I can link to all four of these though denying these obvious statements of yours would demonstrate your dishonesty like never before. Alas, one link per post to get through unmoderated. Here’s the important one:

        Theft: A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent.

        CH, if you don’t know the definition of a word, it’s OK to ask. If you’re too embarrassed to do so, there’s always Google.

      • And yet, no links to my posts? You can’t say I didn’t warn you:

        “You are a complete and utter fool, incapable of learning from your mistakes. You still think saying stupid things in a condescending tone somehow turns them into smart things. You fail to realize the inescapable fact that it simply makes your stupidity all the more obvious. Besides, you’re ugly and your mamma dresses you funny.”

        If you can find a single, legitimate, definition of the word “progressive” which includes the word ‘theft’ or a synonym I’ll donate a hundred dollars to the charity of your choice. Hint: Conservapedia is in no way a legitimate source, but even they don’t try to redefine the word.

        I could just as easily state that “heart” was synonymous with “thief” or “wombat” for that matter, but I would be hard pressed to find links to justify it.

        Nor is single payer healthcare “theft.” Your own post defines it as a “criminal act” – and if it was a matter of law then it is *not* a criminal act by definition . (duh?)

        When something is stolen from you, you do not get something of equal value in return. Under a properly run single-payer system you would get MORE value for your money. It would go to your care rather than lining the pockets of an already-wealthy CEO. Hmmm, the CEO pockets your money and gives you little-to-nothing in return. That sounds a lot closer to theft to me.

        While many conservatives like to insist that taxes are ‘theft’ they most assuredly are not. They are simply the price of admission. You don’t expect a theater to let you in for free, neither can you reap the benefits of our country for free. If you try, then you are indeed a thief – taking that which other people have paid for without their consent and in violation of the law.

        I’ve already posted my one link, so your homework assignment is to look up the legal definition of “Implied Consent”

      • I don’t consent to having my money taken from me. It is not my choice. It is taken from me by force. I will never see any of my money that goes to medicare and social security. If a robber takes my money but gives me a sandwich, is it no longer theft? I mean I got something for it, right?

        Progressives define themselves. If I asked Hitler to describe himself, would he say he were an evil monster? No, he would describe himself in the most glowing terms.

        This is so simple a toddler could understand. When you take something from someone without permission, you are stealing and that’s wrong, CH. Didn’t you finish kindergarten?

        But here you go. Specific economic policies that are considered progressive include: progressive taxes and mandatory income redistribution… (hint: that’s Newspeak Leftwing code for theft, but you knew that.)

        So you complain that I didn’t link to your posts. Are you denying that you have called yourself a progressive? Are you denying that you have called for single payer? Are you denying that you support Sanders?

      • “Your own post defines it as a “criminal act” – and if it was a matter of law then it is *not* a criminal act by definition . (duh?)”

        I knew you would say this. But if you believe this, then do you believe the Patriot Act, for example, to be legal? It can’t be criminal by definition, right? And CEOs can’t be thieves because they follow the law (mostly), right?

      • Jack – the patriot act is in direct contradiction of a higher law (the constitution) Taxes are not.

        And since I already refuted the rest of your points in the post you were theoretically responding to, I won’t bother doing so again.

        Instead, I’ll suggest that your ‘response’ is the semantic equivalent of holding your hands over your ears and screaming, “IS SO! IS SO! IS SO!”

        … a type of behavior often witnessed in kindergartners.

      • Your intellectual laziness on display for all to see yet again.

        The highest law is natural law. And your politics violate it. Figure it out, CH.

        The Founders never intended for crushing tax rates because they understood it to be a violation of personal freedom. But again, you know this.

      • > The highest law is natural law. And your politics violate it. Figure it out, CH.

        I’m sorry, Jack – my intellect just isn’t on the same level as yours. You’ll have to be a little more specific. Which natural law, what politics, and how is it violated?

      • Rights are derived not from government but from nature. A cardinal natural right is that to be left the fuck alone. But you as a progressive believe you know better how to spend other people’s money and crown yourself arbitrator of their earnings through legalized highway robbery.

        You believe in mandates, coercion, and force. You’re a morally bankrupt barbarian. You’re no better than the fascists you decry. You have no place in a civilized society that respects production, cooperation, freedom, and peace.

      • Money is a natural right? Wow, I learn something new every day.

        Sill waiting for a link to one of my posts backing up your lunatic ravings.

      • Lunatic ravings? Is that what you call a philosophical perspective differing from your own?

        You claim to be a progressive here.

        “The overwhelming number of us who want change (“Progressives”) want peaceful change.”

      • Here’s you supporting Sanders.

        “Bernie may not be everything I might hope for, but he is a damn sight closer than anything I’ve been offered lately.”

      • And finally, here’s you supporting single payer.

        “Under a properly run single-payer system you would get MORE value for your money.”

        Not sure why you wanted these links as you will insist they mean nothing.

        As an aside, it may well be the case that single payer would bring more value; however, an actual free market system would bring more value than either that or the current system.

      • If you are really first hearing these viewpoints from me, then it shows you are not as well-learned as you put on…

      • > If you are really first hearing these viewpoints from me …

        No, not at all. I’ve heard them repeatedly from the same operatives who conditioned you. Yes, I’m a progressive and yes I support Bernie and yes I support single payer.

        But what I’m looking for are links that show I support theft and coercion and barbarism. I know you’ve been conditioned to believe those are the same things, but that only shows that you are a gullible tool.

        We knew that already.

    • “Theft: A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent.”

      Right up to the point until global corporatism owns and controls the government-redefined and regulated COPYRIGHT of all things, both material and non-material. Then? We will only be renting our daily bread — from lips to anus — for the rest of our lives. Eventually, eating without copyright permission will involve the death penalty.

      Prevalently, it is one of the end-games being contested in various national and world courts.Ultimately, only the sponsors of immortality will win.

      As a conditional fact, the imaginatively incorporated master exists forever, but also only as long as the mortally limited consumer remains to define it. Each human being involves (at their zenith) around seven hundred trillion or so codependent cells. Imagine the government design encompassing all that. It is that unfathomable shadow government that allows each of us to be who we are.

      Though it possibly could destroy us, how can Skynet ever actually compete with all of us, were we to focus?

      DanD

      • When I say “government design,” I’m referring to the cellular regime of natural genetic engineering for all the functions of our bodies that anonymously perpetuates an independent self-focus for all biological creatures.

        Each of us is a self-contained universe.

        DanD

  6. The analogy we’re all most familiar with is that of the mediocre sitcom. X happens in episode 7: the lead gets a cat or buys something large. In episode 8? the cat’s never seen again, the large object is just, mysteriously, shunted into storage somewhere.

    The same thing with Brooks and Kristof. Brooks is like your doddering uncle who lives in a redlined district and insists, insists, he’s not a racist. You finally trap him in a racist situation and he says, “Gosh. I need to do better.” Does he demand his neighborhood eliminate restrictive covenants? Of course not. He changes nothing. it’s just lip service. And, in the ultimate version of revisionism, he congratulates himself on how much he’s grown as a human being. EVEN though he hasn’t changed a single thing.

    But Kristof? He’s even worse. Why? Because he actually DOES see the flaws in the system. He sees how poverty completely destroys lives. And he writes his columns and pats himself on the back. But when has he ever said on the record, “Shit, man. The Times does a crap job. Here’s the people at the paper who really, really, ought to be fired for being such utter corporate toadies.”

    But he doesn’t. He writes his words and goes to bed at night proud of his contributions, which do NOTHING to eliminate the causative agents of the conditions he rails about.

    He has the opportunity, and he does nothing with it.

    • Alex

      I think you’re right that Kristof sees the problems, but the issue with him is that he can’t get to the point where he understands that you can’t fix anything without changing the system wholesale. Pointing out how ridiculous the Times is won’t really get you anywhere. Of course, in the states, no one would publish anyone who actually wanted to change the system. Well, not quite fair, the Nation, and the Village Voice back in the day, did publish Alex Cockburn.

  7. Well of course this stunning turn of events will bring about a revolution in journalism. Just look at how they turned themselves around after finding out that Bush lied about Iraq. They … uh … oh, never mind.

  8. I’d change the quote to: “We inhabit a middle-class world and don’t adequately cover the part of America that is struggling and seething. We spend too much time LICKING THE ASSES OF THOSE WHO’VE DESTROYED MILLIONS OF AMERICAN JOBS, not enough to the jobless.”

    • All this brings to mind the whole “Bernie or Bust” movement: Those people who will not vote for HRC, even if it means a Trump presidency. Voting in HRC is simply going to be four more years of the same wink-and-nod politics we’ve all had for decades now. She’s “sick” of hearing about her oil industry funding. She’s “sick” of being held to a different standard when asked to release her transcripts. And a lot of voters out there are saying, “Oh, she’s still better than Trump. I’ll vote for her.”

      Why? It’s the same thing as continuing to read Kristof and Brooks and let them draw paychecks for being either completely wrong all the time or completely ineffectual all the time.

      Why keep rewarding the politicians who can’t get anything right? Look at Obama. Eight years of nothing exception his mindless drones murmuring about how great he is. He has been a terrible president. Tell that to Edward Snowden. Tell that to the other whistleblowers who Obama went after.

      • “Voting in HRC is simply going to be four more years of the same wink-and-nod politics we’ve all had for decades now.. .And a lot of voters out there are saying, “Oh, she’s still better than Trump. I’ll vote for her.”

        Because Trump (and Cruz, for that matter) are country ending nightmares, and same old same old trumps country ending nightmare every single time- or at least it should.

        “Why keep rewarding the politicians who can’t get anything right?”

        Why do you keep punishing politicians who delivered the vast majority of what was actually possible? Because your expectations are completely and utterly unrealistic, and thus clouding your judgement.

        “Look at Obama. Eight years of nothing exception his mindless drones murmuring about how great he is. He has been a terrible president”

        As I said above, your expectations are completely and utterly unrealistic, which slants how you see things- and that’s on YOU, not Obama. He is not obligated to fulfill your impossibly unrealistic expectations.

        When looked at through the lens of history Obama will be remembered as one of the most important and consequential Presidents of all time.

      • * WHIMSY’S PLAN FOR WORLD DOMINATION *

        Stop _____ and vote for mainstream dems.

        A) Whining
        B) Expecting
        C) Punishing
        D) ????

        You see, Whimsy – it doesn’t matter what you put in the blank, because none of those things appear on the ballot. (although if “punish” were on the ballot you can bet your sweet bippy I’d check it)

        No matter how hard you try to reframe it, your plan is always “vote for mainstream dems” Which is exactly what “liberals” have been doing for the last fifty or so years as we’ve slithered further and further to the right.

        If you keep doing the same, old, thing, you’re going to get the same, old, results. It’s the philosophy generally known as ‘conservatism.’ If you really want to change something, you have to:

        Change.
        Something.

        If the good people of Vermont had followed your advice, we’d never have had Bernie on the ballot. Surely you can see that he is far more liberal than the war criminal currently occupying the oval office.

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