Home 2016 elections Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Media Failure and the Double Standard

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Media Failure and the Double Standard


One of the amazing things about being a political blogger at this moment in time is having to deal with the abject, historic and catastrophic failure of the so-called mainstream media. For an entire year, the media bent over backwards for Trump before they even began to question him. The negligence is major malpractice.

The double standard between how Hillary is treated versus how Trump is treated was never more clear than Wednesday night. Matt Lauer tried repeatedly to cut off Hillary’s substantive answers. He was only interested in milking the nothing-burger fake e-mail scandal. She was cleared. Yet Lauer wasted twenty minutes on the e-mails and mostly let Trump get away with repeated, bald-faced lies. There is one place that has given real reporting a good try. James Fallows has a Trump Time Capsule of over 90 fact check articles. You owe it to yourself to head over there.

Donald Trump almost never tells the truth. He has the worst track record for lying in modern history, while, as has been noted here at BV, Hillary was found by PolitiFact to be the most honest. But the untrustworthy meme persists thanks to relentless lying by Trump and the GOP – and failure by the media to do its job.

Meanwhile, Trump deflects from his own record for lies, scamming (Trump U. and more) and fraud (scamming investors, employees and contractors) by the absurd meme he created: “Crooked Hillary.” It’s called projection. And if you look at the breadth of the accusations, you can see that everything he falsely accuses Hillary of he is actually guilty of himself. But that is a diary for another day. Trump is a bigger fabricator than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and that’s really saying something. It is clear the so-called mainstream media won’t adequately fact check him. They barely try. They pretend that there is equivalence between the bald-faced lies of Donald Trump and factual statements by Hillary Clinton. It’s infuriating.

Donald Trump fabricated that he was against the Iraq war from the beginning – false. He made up that the administration doesn’t do what the CIA tells it to do in briefings, that they do the opposite. (That is not what happens in a briefing.) He lied that briefers were unhappy with the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. Intelligence briefings have never been politicized in this way before. He lied that Hillary caused the problems is he is criticizing. He continues to blame Obama and Hillary for mistakes of the Bush administration. He lied that Hillary has accomplished nothing. He lied that the military is in a shambles. He lied about the generals “being reduced to rubble” under President Obama. He lied that the military has no judicial system. (Or just didn’t know.) He made up a poll and fake numbers about Putin’s favorability back in Russia (there is no freedom to disagree with Putin). He had the gall to claim Putin is “Getting an A.” He claimed Putin said he was brilliant, but Putin never did (per the research on the latest Rachel Maddow show this evening). The translation meant shiny or flamboyant. Putin later clarified in an interview that he did not say brilliant. He lied that President Obama and the military have no plan to deal with ISIS and that he does. He has no plan because recently he admitted he cannot solve ISIS on day one as he previously claimed. He’s going to give the generals thirty days to come up with a plan. As if. He lies about how ISIS became enabled. He lies that he has anything in common with Ronald Reagan. Trump lied about men and women in the uniform. He lied about Hillary Clinton ad nauseum.

Where to begin? For starters read what David Cay Johnston says in his new book on Trump’s ties to and conflicts of interest with the Russian oligarchs. Donald Trump owes money to Russian and Chinese banks, which is why he will not make his tax returns public. It is a great read.

And please read about Trump playing right into Russia’s apparent plans to destabilize the West.

Fundamentally, Trump admires that Putin is a “strong leader,” a dictator whose own citizens just go through the motions with voting because Russia is not democratic. Worse, security agencies believe Russia is hacking into computers in the US. We know that Putin is becoming aggressive and inappropriately territorial with respect to other countries’ borders. It is unbelievable that Trump would come down so clearly supporting Putin when we have serious problems with Putin’s increasingly aggressive country. We do not want another Cold War, but this a very tense moment in international relations which Trump is tampering with. He likes Putin more than President Obama, he says, thus enticing Putin to meddle with this election, among other things. This, folks, is treacherous stuff. And after all his lies, bungling of facts, and treachery, Trump gets almost no fact checking by Matt Lauer. And Chris Wallace said he has no obligation to fact check at a future debate.

More likely than not, Trump admires Putin because he fashions himself as another strongman, who aims to violate international law and support torture. Trump plans to purge the military and install only those loyal to him. And, unbelievably, he proposed last night the pillaging (stealing) Middle East oil in opposition to the laws, rules and policies of war. It is a violation of international law.

Still, everyone yawns and forgets that this is the most temperamentally ill-suited and most poorly prepared man ever to run for the US presidency. Had the media done their job, Trump would have been dispatched to go back to phony “reality shows” instead of making the nation his newest reality show in the worst way possible. Meanwhile, Matt Lauer harped on emails about which Hillary has been investigated repeatedly – and cleared. She did nothing wrong. Indeed, the emails revealed that she had much better practices than her predecessors. And she did not use unsecured email to send classified material. That accusation is totally false.

When last night’s town hall ended, Trump’s family members, campaign organizers and GOP spokespersons fanned out to lie some more. They made up fibs about Hillary Clinton’s health. Have you ever looked at the utter garbage on the internet coming out of the extreme “right” (er wrong)? Google “Hillary’s health” – or don’t, as it is disgusting. Many progressives have no idea about the alternate universe of the conspiracy theory, extreme-right-winger sites. Just this week, Chris Matthews gave Giuliani a platform for spewing this BS health nonsense. Donald Trump is a physical and psychological train wreck who faked a medical letter. The health nonsense is just more projection.

But you know, Hillary supposedly didn’t smile enough, according to Reince Priebus. If all else fails, harp on the old RBF. You know, what is referred to (forgive the slang) as “Resting Bitch Face.” That is the sexist construct Priebus is alluding to. Analyses today showed Hillary actually smiled MORE than Trump, but you know, who’s counting when you are Trump and his enablers. If a woman ever looks appropriately serious or stern, watch out. Some supposedly well-meaning man will tell her to smile more. It has happened to nearly every accomplished and professional woman I know. Every woman who has ever worked in a largely male environment has experienced it. Even some women themselves pejoratively use the term. A woman will be criticized, mocked, and attacked. You’ve “gotta” look nice when you are serious, or else.

This, ladies and gentlemen, shows how little the other side actually has to make their argument against Hillary Clinton. The negative case is as empty as their own positive one. It is laughable that Brian Williams had Mark Halperin and Nichole Wallace pretend she needs to learn how to debate. They claimed Trump is a great communicator. Hillary should do a 180-degree turn on her style, they said. Halperin said she needs to be more spontaneous, like Trump!!!!! She “needs to be more like Reagan,” less “mean.” Unbelievable. You wanna just tell them where to go with their nonsense.

I have been watching campaigns on TV since I was eight years old and going to rallies since I was 16. Trump’s style is obnoxious, offensive, nasty, hateful and pathological. And Hillary should be more like him? It’s the most idiotic and insincere advice ever. Donald Trump is the most unpleasant, nasty campaigner in my long life. But hey, he isn’t criticized for RBF when he is the world’s biggest example of it.

Some Americans actually think Trump should be the next president or are too cowardly to admit he isn’t qualified. Lindsay Graham is not my favorite person, but even he gets it when he says, “I think this is the biggest miscalculation since people thought Hitler was a good guy.” What he said. To heck with “Godwin’s Law.” He didn’t anticipate Donald Trump.

  • Jim B

    Trump must have a perverse Saturday Night like crew scanning the news for all the outlandish stuff he says. Most people viewing the TV program realize the news is fake, except now in real life Trump supporters don’t care. And, the mainstream media seems to be in on the act.

  • Quizzical

    Trump University scandal is still playing out