Thursday, November 03, 2016


What the hell is up at The Hill? In September they published a couple of particularly egregious long-distance diagnoses of Hillary Clinton. Now look: today I saw a tweet from The Hill saying "Trump surprisingly popular in Africa." It leads to a story called "Trump’s tone resonates in strongman-weary Africa" -- an even more counterintuitive headline.

After claiming for Trump "surprising resonance in parts of Africa where people are weary of the political establishment" and that he's "enjoying a strong amount of popularity in Uganda and other African nations," the reporter quotes a "a lecturer in political science at Northwestern University and columnist for a Ugandan newspaper" who seems to agree; then, paragraph 7:
To be sure, support for Trump is not unanimous.

One poll conducted in South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s two largest economies, showed a marked distaste for Trump. According to the WIN/Gallup International Association poll, released in October, respondents in those two countries overwhelmingly preferred Clinton 69-20.
Later we hear how some people were excited by a fake Trump quote that suggested he would "lock up" African dictators ("a Trump campaign spokeswoman confirmed that the quote is false" is one of the more revealing sentences in the report), some more quotes from professors, and a joke by Trevor Noah in which he called Trump "basically the perfect African president” and showed a picture of him dressed like Idi Amin.

At first I thought this story was uniquely awful, but then I realized: It's like the apotheosis of pro-Trump "reporting" -- and indeed of the Trump campaign itself. It's built on great mounds of bullshit adorned with thin wisps of fact. Plus -- and this is what distinguishes the Trumpian from the traditional Republican variety of journamalism -- it cites stuff that is clearly, even admittedly, not true as evidence. Because why not?

We do face catastrophe on Tuesday, but to a great extent the catastrophe's already happening.

UPDATE. Speaking of garb campaign reporting, from the once-good, now Trump-in-law paper The New York Observer:
Bernie Sanders Abandons Clinton in Final Week
This week Sanders made campaign appearances for Clinton in Milwaukee, Plymouth, NH, Portland, Maine, at Dartmouth College, in Youngstown, Ohio, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. I may have missed a few. In Friday and Saturday he's scheduled to stump for her in four Iowa towns.

Nonetheless the Observer offers commentary such as this:
Though Sanders supporters have been relegated to apathy since he officially ended his presidential campaign at the Democratic National Convention, Sanders is beginning to show every intention of giving his supporters something to be excited about after Election Day. Clinton’s free pass from Sanders is over.
That's not glory you're covered in, guys.

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