Liddick: The invisible man in the White House
May 21, 2018
So are the media really Russian 'bots?
For those who missed it, a recent analysis of Russian social media activity during the 2016 election by University of Madison researcher Young Mie Kim concluded that Vlad the Terrible's trolls were not out to throw the election to Donald Trump, but to destabilize our country by sowing discord.
The campaign was cheap, but sophisticated. Using the tools and algorithms of advertising perfected for the electronic age, divisive messages were quickly created, refined and promulgated. Those who checked law-enforcement-friendly sites were targeted for a "back the badge" campaign. Others who followed "black lives matter" quickly began receiving material about arrests for "driving while black" and "racist police killers." The undertone was division, intense partisanship and the idea that America was fatally divided and broken, victim to sinister forces.
Now Vlad's wreckers can knock off and have a vodka. Their work has been taken up by a large majority of America's media outlets whose owners, financiers and workers have been driven to madness by Donald Trump winning the presidency in a contest they all expected their darling, Hillary Clinton, to take in a walk. They are now working night and day to reverse what they see as the American electorate's terrible error in judgement, and to do so, they are perfectly willing to leave no stone in our national institutions standing on another — if only the destruction will also bring the president down.
We saw another example of this behavior last Thursday in a Washington Post headline about a presidential meeting with ICE officials: "In Reference to 'Animals,' Trump Evokes Ugly History of Dehumanization." The story also made one think that the reference was to all immigrants, which would have merited the attack of the vapors over the "presidential tirade" shrouding the day's news cycle. Except the president wasn't talking about "immigrants," legal or not. The comment was about MS-13 gang members, a group so odious that comparison to animals is an insult to decent animals everywhere. Nevertheless, there it was, and there it remained. Expect neither apology nor correction: the press has division to sow.
They are remarkably diligent. The president's language toward North Korea was consistently described by the commentariat as so intemperate it would plunge us into nuclear war, so when the thuggish maximum chief of North Korea wavered and called for a peace conference it was he, and South Korean president Moon who got praise. The man who forced the event into reality is still an idiot and a boor to most of the press corps.
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"I will destroy ISIS" was dismissed by most consulting experts as Trumpian braggadocio, but … where is the Caliphate's capital today? Where its conquering armies that struck terror into the Middle East in 2016? Apparently wiped from the face of the Earth by the invisible man; the issue has vanished as surely as the credit for the event.
In the past 16 months the president has fulfilled other campaign promises and has been proven correct about a number of his statements about the 2016 campaign, such as his team being surveilled by the Obama administration; few in the media have had anything but ridicule for the latter and obliviousness or criticism for the former. Tax cuts, but "only for the rich;" patently untrue, unless one conflates federal and state taxes. Cancellation of the ill-negotiated Iran nuclear agreement, which "insures Iran will get nuclear weapons." Whereas it was the agreement itself that threatened to do so. Open the US embassy in Jerusalem, something promised by every president since Kennedy, and finally, achieved. Will it blow up the Middle East, as most media coverage suggests it will? See "North Korea," above. Mahmoud Abbas doesn't get to say where the United States puts its embassy. Except in the Washington Post, whose columnists made the occasion a hatefest. One, in an apparent attempt to be generous, called it "dueling realities."
So are most media outlets really Russian 'bots? Or are they — in today's term of art — "colluding" with the Kremlin to accomplish Vlad's aim of sowing dissention and hatred throughout our fair land? Remember, every time Donald Trump is called an idiotic, racist, unbalanced, dangerous, warmongering waste of skin, so is the half of the electorate who voted for him. Mostly, the insults are implied, save by Hillary Clinton, who just blurts them out.
The media, and all of us, should remember: when this is over, and it will be, just as the Obama presidency is over despite his supporter's wishes it would not be, we are all going to have to figure out how to live with one another again. Disparaging the character of the president and of his supporters makes that task harder, not easier.
If anyone is not too far gone to care.
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.
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