September 30th, 2020


Dept. of Democrazy

Takeaways From the Shitshow

1) Chris Wallace has the right to drink heavily after last night. Possibly for days. On the other hand, ,perhaps this is karma for being a putative journalist for Fox.  The rest of us, on the other hand, can drink without any guilt. 

2) Biden did damned well, considering he was trying to deal with Trump. 

3) To everyone who says "well, both sides were awful" ... I can only quote the Democratic candidate when I say will you shut up, man?

4) Speaking of that, here, have this. The link leads to an amusing parody song. It's not brilliant, but it is good, given the short amount of time she had to write it, and besides, we need as much amusement as we can get these days.

5) In re: the "both sides" thing, seriously, don't. Just don't. Both sides weren't awful. Trump was awful. Biden was truthful. The current White House resident is indeed a clown, a liar, and a racist. Trump lied when he moved his lips.  He was also racist when he moved his lips. In the flood of amazement that he refused to repudiate the Proud Boys, his calling COVID-19 "The China Plague" was almost an afterthought. 

6) Nonetheless, there are people who will continue to vote for him, as witness this (there's an even better piece elsewhere in the Guardian, but I can't find it). And they are, as far as I'm concerned, The Lost. We can't reach them. I've known for awhile now that Trump's cultists are not just working class - a lot of people have been shouting this to the rafters, as this writer notes. The one thing I think she gets partly wrong is the easy assumption that analysts, talking heads, etc. have been completely taken in with what she calls the cartoonish stereotypes. Some of the folks who have been shouting this to the rafters are amongst those analysts, talking heads, etc.  So yes. The Lost.

ETA: I apologize; the Guardian didn't have another story. Instead, one of their editors, in speaking of the story to which I linked, above, talked about things she heard from Lois Beckett, the writer who attended the Trump watch party, things the writer didn't put in the story (or that were edited out for space.) That's a shame. I include what editor Noa Yachot said in her morning brief: 

So how did the president’s supporters think he did?

Lois Beckett, senior reporter for Guardian US, watched the debate with a group of them to get their take. At a bar called Glory Days in Seal Beach, near Los Angeles, roughly 100 voters decked out in Trump 2020 gear – but no masks – cheered for their president between bites of burgers. Most thought Trump gave a strong performance that showed off his leadership, despite what they felt was a biased moderator, whose network, Fox News, has moved too far to the left.

Our conversation about her night kept coming back to the audience’s view of the racial justice conversation taking place in America. One couple told Lois they think white people face discrimination, that their daughter didn’t get into college because she is white. Another woman called out when Biden defended racial sensitivity training: “What about our feelings? Who is being sensitive to us?”

“It is quite explicit that whiteness is part of what Trump is appealing to,” Lois says. Given his command of his supporters’ racial grievances, it is perhaps not surprising that they minimized what much of the country viewed as the most shocking part of the night: when, instead of denouncing a fringe white supremacist group, Trump instead seemed to offer the Proud Boys a tacit endorsement.

Lois heard multiple people repeat conspiracy theories around the protests of the last few months, viewing them as part of an inauthentic, coordinated campaign by shadowy interests rather than a spontaneous uprising in response to racial injustice. And given the vulnerability of so many Americans to conspiratorial thinking, she worries that journalists aren’t doing enough to challenge it.

“The approach the American media has had in dealing with the degree of conspiracies and misinformation hasn’t worked and we really need to take a different approach.” She calls on her fellow reporters to be careful not to legitimize the Proud Boys in their reporting on last night’s debate, and to describe their views accurately and unequivocally: as racist, Islamophobic, and with deep connections to white supremacist organizing.
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