Friday, August 14, 2020


It's just nice, isn't it?

•   I have released another freebie from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down newsletter (though why you're not subscribing at the low low price of $7/month I can't guess). It's an editorial note from a very serious magazine about how their very serious op-ed wasn't a birther stinkbomb.

Actually, as has been pointed out by many observers, that Eastman essay suggesting Kamala Harris, though born in the U.S.A., isn't eligible for high office on the grounds that her parents were legal immigrants rather than Mayflower descendants, is worse in a way than the birtherism aimed at Obama in the early part of the last decade. Birtherism was just a clumsy conspiracy theory to discredit an elected official, while Eastman uses Harris as a shoehorn for his crackpot blood-and-soil theory that Section 1 of the 14th Amendment doesn't mean what it plainly says about who's a citizen. (To give you some idea of what animates his "scholarship," he finds a way to work in "braceros.")

Newsweek's editorial note is just funny/sad. I'm actually very sympathetic to senior editors at publications because, however much they may have come down in the world, they are still like giant ocean liners that are difficult to pilot even under the best circumstances.  But I assume adding that editorial note was just a raw pitch for more ink and clicks; nobody could possibly believe it's the editors' place to defend this bullshit from the contempt of their own readers.

I don't care about journalism so much, but there's a reason why one of our major parties is so infested with QAnon nutcakes that it has begun nominating them for high office: Because lies that soothe and appeal to enraged honkies who see the world passing them by are no longer peddled on mimeographed sheets or scrawls on a bum's cardboard sign, but on classy-looking websites.

•   The tendency of the mainstream press to sometimes (not always, obviously, and never often enough!) let on when Trump is lying his ass off or delusional can seem weird and pathetic sometimes, like Dangerous Dan McFoo going "Mr. Wefewee, I'm not one to complain but he's got something in his glove." But a moment's reflection should remind anyone with functional medium-to-long-term memory that there's no way back from it, and if anything the press is still too kind to him. Here's a pretty good reminder: a pretend-this-is-normal, remember-who-signs-the-checks account from the New York Post:
Trump says spike in crime, high taxes could help him win New York in 2020 election
The Post regularly covers Republican campaign bullshit as if it's news, and this claim that New York, which went for Clinton 59% to 36% in 2016, will flip because New Yorkers got hit first and hardest by the pandemic and has experienced a concomitant crime surge (and has high taxes! Wow, that's a new one!) is just more of the same, GOP operatives' guff ornamented with Trump's senile ramblings ("I’ll solve the crime problem. I’ll solve their tax problem. I’ll solve all their problems. Who would not vote for me?").

But here's something from it that brought me back:
Trump brandished a map of New York’s 2016 presidential election results. 
The map showed most counties in red, meaning he won them, despite losing the state by 22 points to Democrat Hillary Clinton. 
Trump tossed the paper across the Resolute Desk toward reporters from The Post. Aides also had copies of the map and handed them out too.
Remember? It's the same thing he did after the 2016 election, handing out red-tinged maps to reporters to demonstrate that, though he got a minority of actual votes, it looks like he got a majority on a map if you don't know the difference between people and real estate. The fact that, as Trump plummets in the polls, they're still pulling this routine suggests that they have one hope: That the press, eternally terrified of giving offense to bellicose rightwingers, will help them put it over one more time. And they will. Even the Murdoch employees, who seem to handle the thing with tweezers, are doing their part by circulating it, and that's why the Trumpkins will never stop pitching it, knowing that even if reporters imply or point out that it doesn't make any sense, that will just make some voters -- the kind they depend on -- think, oh that liberal media, spreading lies about our beloved President again! Also too: Lying is all they have.

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