On Nov. 8th, the country found itself unable to turn off the reality show it had been stuck in the last 18 months.
When a reality show has run its course of amusement, it can be turned off and never thought of again. The trashy, sensationalized behavior of celebrity personas and relationships often serves as an outlet, reserved for judging other people and feeling a sense of superiority, because if those people in the show can’t deal with their messy lives then you must be doing pretty well. But as Trump’s behavior on screen is now determined to violently affect the people of this country for the next for years, many liberals can’t seem to snap out of it long enough to accomplish anything.
The reality is that many media platforms and liberals are still treating him as the host of The Apprentice instead of the fascist who’s going to sit down in the Oval office in less then three weeks. It goes beyond the billions of dollars worth of free airtime that began his campaign since he said that Mexicans are rapists, it’s that there is no strong resistance against Trump in any of these fields. Even though the media relentlessly dogged him in the final months of the election after building him up first, like the cyclical tabloid narrative of a pop star or a cultish actor, most media and publications didn’t know how to deal with him than and they still don’t now. For all the calls to get great journalists working now, to encourage transparency and investigative reporting only now that he’s won, it’s something that should have been happening anyway.
The solution then becomes something that didn’t work before: demonstrations of willful outrage instead of action. It’s what they’re retreating to because it’s all they know.
This inability to engage in real aggressive politics and journalism started before election night, all the way back during the origins of the Russian interference hysteria.
In the embarrassing media onslaught surrounding the DNC leaks, as one source to Bloomberg also admitted, the strategy became to blame Putin and the Russian government for everything while hardly responding to most things that were found within the emails.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 24, 2016
By the end of the Democratic convention, the Clinton campaign was outright declaring that Putin was deliberately leaking embarrassing information on them in order to get Trump elected. And a month later, Clinton was explicitly calling for military retaliation against Russia, at the same time the US was and still is in a military proxy war with Russia in Syria. Anyone who questioned and criticized this narrative was also an agent of the Kremlin. Every response to Trump, every response to more leaks became blaming Russia, because responding to journalistic inquiry was an inconvenience to the Clinton Campaign and their pundits.
When the Podesta leaks started in October, that fervor dominated the political atmosphere to an unprecedented degree. In the four debates and presidential town hall that millions of people watched on national television, seven questions were asked about Russia and Putin, the most of any topic. The words Russia and Putin came up 178 times. The Obama administration said through a joint statement they were in a position to “attribute” blame in condemning Russia for the leaks. SNL parodied it. To many liberals in the media and Clinton pundits, their mission was to make questioning the content of these possibly “fake” leaks something akin to a traitorous or illegal act.
Tim Kaine: Wikileaks email dumps could be “doctored” https://t.co/keWsCeedze.
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) October 16, 2016
After the election, anonymous sources and unnamed officials in the CIA ran rampant, claiming they had evidence of Russian interference they couldn’t show us. An #AuditTheVote campaign started, fulfilled by the Jill Stein campaign. Though it was blocked in Pennsylvania and partially in Michigan, it still demonstrated no interference in the Wisconsin results.
Soon, as Obama ordered a CIA report by the end of his term in January, Democrats have returned to following this same line of attack. If you’re having trouble winning an argument with Tucker Carlson it’s time to go back to the goddamn drawing board.
The inability to accept the larger reasons why Democrats and the Clinton Campaign bombed the election, the paranoia surrounding Russia, and the anti-Trump sentiment that was growing with every vintage super-villain Trump pulled for his cabinet culminated for some in the infamous “Game Theory” tweet thread by Eric Garland– spinning out of control, the thread proposed there was some kind of conspiracy going on by the Russians, and that Obama and Hillary were just biding their time, not instead actually laying down the carpet for Trump– dissociating from reality, the thread continued– naming everyone under the sun who wasn’t responsible, including Edward Snowden, Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning, and even Glenn Greenwald. And at the end, the thread still hasn’t explained what “game theory” is, because it didn’t matter.
It’s one of the the worst things that’s been written about the election this year, but the only reason it went viral among Democrats is because it was only a slightly less coherent and jumbled version of what they had already been saying and thinking for months.
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) October 22, 2015
Then, Trump was assuming office in a month. Now it’s less than three weeks. As the fate of the world quite literally depends on the Democratic party fighting back for control again, are they prepared for what’s coming?
This ad nails everything that is wrong with the media. Fascism as ratings spectacle. pic.twitter.com/KHtJrqpRcJ
— Joe Hagan (@joehagansays) December 17, 2016
That the same media that let this narrative run largely unchallenged is also failing to cover Trump in the right way is no coincidence– the media bubble that coddled the Clinton campaign has much in common. Media and publications have long hidden their ability to challenge government and institutions– the very reason they became so important in the first place.
In the absence of this, the unwillingness to actually fight Trump on almost anything combined with demonstrations of willful outrage over and over again are their only response to Trump’s incoming presidency.
— Maia Efrem (@maiaefrem) November 21, 2016
Here is the segment. That chryon. These times. pic.twitter.com/5vXn5GM7ll
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) November 21, 2016
Just a few weeks after the election, CNN held their infamous discussion of whether or not Trump condemning Neo-Nazi groups would be “worth the risk”. “Does President-Elect Trump need to formally denounce and disavow these groups as a whole?” One host asks, plastering Neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer’s picture and quotes across the screen, the ultimately devilry of allowing “both sides” to have a “civil discussion” over whether or not “Jews are people”.
“We won. America belongs to white men.” – Richard Spencer pic.twitter.com/3LTiBSILiv
— Mistlejoe (@josefgoldilock) December 7, 2016
It’s also the constant 24/7 news cycle publishing political stories allowing no time for real research or insight to give people information beyond misleading headlines, like when
Trump announced his carrier deal on Nov. 30th it was reported as if it was fact, generating positive coverage spun out of what was eventually denounced by others as corporate welfare and bad politics that still lost jobs.
It just happened again today, as Trump used a job announcement that was already happening to generate more positive coverage for himself.
Sprint confirms to me what we suspected: the “5,000 jobs announced today are part of the 50,000 jobs that Masa previously announced”
— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) December 29, 2016
New episodes next week. For now, last night Trump THANKED HIMSELF. Icymi from 11/29: Stop Pretending He’s Not Insane pic.twitter.com/QxAbPnPCKy
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 28, 2016
Earlier today, Keith Olbermann released a clip fro of the 11/29 episode of his GQ series The Resistance. In four and a half minutes, Olbermann criticizes Trump’s hypocrisy in claiming he would have won the popular vote in different circumstances. As stupid as it was, Olbermann goes over the top– as he does in every episode of his show– and declares over this action Trump to be an existential threat, equivalent to dictators across history, and possibly having a condition of “treatable neurosis” or something brought on by physical injury. Can’t you see how angry he is? Can’t you see at all?
“If there are still doubts about what we face and how our hands are tied just a little more tightly every day, then there needs to be a debate about how sick this man is, whether this is “treatable neurosis”, or illness brought on by a physical calamity or injury, or full-on malignant narcissism, or paranoia, or psycho or sociopathy, so be it. We may still have time for a national dialog about exactly what is wrong with him. But in pronouncing, after arguably the greatest upset in American electoral history, that he would’ve won by more, because the odds were “still rigged against him”, Donald John Trump has made it inarguably certain that there is something desperately wrong with him, and he is not psychologically fit to assume the presidency next January 20th. Resist. Peace.”
Olbermann has declared himself part of “The Resistance” with a useless ally safety pin on top of the title card, wrapped in his American safety blanket, pushing out clips of him yelling about Trump, to be consumed and absorbed on an everyday basis as part of some time table in anticipation of the next episode. Little he says in this episode is particularly incorrect– but in others he’s called on the US to retaliate against Russia, constantly backing up claims of Russia interfering in the election.
After blaming Russia for the outcome, Keith called on the electoral college. After they didn’t stop him, he’s now calling on the Obama administration and its intelligence agencies to stop him, and congress to impeach him after he’s sworn in.
The stakes of Trump’s presidency are so high that we all want a miracle. But that’s all it is. Delaying Trump’s presidency is the best Olbermann seems to be offering. Trump is going to be president: that is the reality we are left to deal with. How exactly is Olbermann or celebrities denying this resisting anything about what Trump is going to do?
Meanwhile, White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi “Alt-Right” groups are popping up in Washington D.C. and landing profiles in publications– because a lot of people who work in the media have been in a bubble for so long that they no longer know the difference between leading criticism against and giving these people a platform. It hasn’t just been Richard Spencer, it’s also been Samantha Bee and Glenn Beck.
It’s not even been 2 weeks since the election and these publications are profiling Nazis like they’re hip entrepreneurs or something. pic.twitter.com/1QtDqkOHLl
— San (@sansdn) November 21, 2016
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) December 18, 2016
These people aren’t going to help you. Talk show hosts aren’t supposed to save you.
This is just a strain of what Hillary Clinton did during the general election; constantly trotting out ex-Bush administration officials, Neoconservatives and other Republicans, exonerating their names and reputations in exchange for making Trump seem “different” from the Republican party, when he’s really just a cartoonish version of them, a strategy that ultimately backfired.
Clinton saying that Trump “gives a bad name to billionaires” helps reveal the real issue behind the Democrats strategy and media coverage: Like politicians, they are beholden to special interests, corporate funding and are out of touch with lives of everyday and working class people, with public trust in the media at an all time low.
People voted Trump to spite liberals who (they imagined) thought them ignorant, are now shocked that they may lose health care. Just saying.
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) December 13, 2016
Liberals think the solution is to continue repeating themselves, blaming poor people who didn’t even vote for Trump for losing health care their lives depend on while they’ve given up on the solution of single-payer universal health care as a party.
The smugness is relentless, finding all kinds of different scenarios, dramatized or not, to blame poor people.
When Trump starts a war, I’m just hoping the other side understands the deal and only bombs, like, the Midwest and the South.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) December 29, 2016
While Trump won working class voters in key swing states, his real key to victory was a low turnout of working class people altogether, because the Clinton campaign ran a disastrous personality campaign that didn’t connect with them. Corporate media wasn’t speaking about most issues that are relevant to people in this country either. The fear and spectacle of Trump was all about profit. Donors who Trump once criticized as part of the establishment are now working with him.
Much like they do by default, it didn’t even take until Trump’s inauguration for media professionals and journalists to suck up to him.
— Mike Allen (@mikeallen) December 19, 2016
Reminder that some people are journalists because they worship power in any form and need to be adjacent to it https://t.co/NhF1l5R4EQ
— Ned Resnikoff (@resnikoff) December 19, 2016
Reporters shouldn’t pal around off-the-record with Trump until he agrees to have a public, on-the-record news conference. Grow a backbone https://t.co/3Tb59y7g4M
— Will Bunch (@Will_Bunch) December 19, 2016
Very organized process taking place as I decide on Cabinet and many other positions. I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2016
When Rex Tillerson was hired to be head of the EPA, the headlines became not about how he’s an oil giant who will accelerate climate change and kill us all, but that he has some business interests that are Pro-Russian.
Tillerson’s corruption merits coverage and investigation, we’re going to need it for the entire administration the next few years, as we should with anyone– but that this is the main takeaway the media has and the main line of attack for Democrats calls for a massive shifting or priorities. It bears similarities with the Clinton campaign, who attacked Trump on scandals like his server’s vague connection to a Russian bank instead of more on actual issues. The media has a way of underreporting important issues and instead focusing on scandals in general, not just with Trump.
These last few weeks there’s been simply too much coverage of Trump feuding with celebrities over his inauguration ceremony, with too little of it reporting that Trump could be trading some of these slots for ambassadorships taking a backseat.
But perhaps the most ridiculous scandal yet in the transition period was the argument over whether or not the RNC’s statement on Christmas Day was comparing Trump to Jesus, or the “new king”.
When I wander the ruined streets of human civilization while dumpster diving for scraps I’ll be sure to remind those I meet huddled around lit trashcans that in the final days before the world ended that we were arguing about what celebrities were going to attend Trump’s inauguration and whether or not Reibus compared Trump to Jesus during Christmas.
2. The pro-Putin ‘left’ has joined RT in going into freakout mode, treating what is on the face of it a sensible measure as somehow sinister
— Christopher Stroop (@C_Stroop) December 28, 2016
I am growing more and more full of rage toward leftie sites that are mining outrage for clicks https://t.co/KFApjGgqzX
— erin mccann (@mccanner) December 28, 2016
Trump’s presidency will give a lot of people on the left what they want: Opportunity for constant feelings of outrage and moral superiority.
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) December 27, 2016
Josh Barro is describing what himself and others who are not leftists have been doing since the election.
When Sanders warned us to “never, ever lose your sense of outrage”, this isn’t what he was talking about.
All this behavior is not abnormal, it is simply a less consequential manifestation of liberalism, animating the backbone of passive aggressive and smug media types. It is a smaller and more trivial expression of how liberals and democrats have always acted, directly in scale with the consequences now being even larger than before. Like fish out of water, they flop and flop around on the ground with increasingly less energy and effectiveness, helping no one in their suffocation.
The Obama administration has rolled out the mat for Trump, handing him the dangerous and illegal military and foreign affairs powers that Obama has expanded to a degree that Bush couldn’t achieve. The little they’ve done to limit him is ban some arctic drilling, and today there’s been buzz the administration will soon announce sanctions on Russia in response to the unproven “election hacking”.
Hillary Clinton has gone hiding into the woods and hasn’t come out for anyone except herself.
After glossing every civil-leaning insult in the book from Democrats, no one has refused to work with him or continued to fight him. Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a show of herself on Twitter several times earlier this year while working for the VP slot, now agreeing to work with Trump, but she’s introduced legislation to prevent conflict of interest in the Trump administration. Sen. Bernie Sanders worked politics to pressure Trump into folding to some of the changes he promised, but it hasn’t worked. In the meantime, aside from introducing legislation himself and appearing in interviews and on talk shows to lead the party in a new direction, he’s done more work for Democrats than anyone else, like hosting a town hall with Trump voters and demonstrating that you can win people over with class solidarity. But the house and congress remains in dire shape, re-electing Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi at the worst time, as opposition to Trump’s selections seem limited only to the most obnoxiously bad choices like Steve Bannon, ignoring many of the pro-torture and corporate interests swelling up Trump’s swamp.
Earlier today, Democrats announced a series of rallies around the date of the inauguration to protests against GOP plans to cut medicare and social security, in a letter written by Schumer, Pelosi and new Director of Outreach Bernie Sanders. This is the first step we needed weeks ago and the right path to fighting back. But the party will have to become much stronger and more aggressive across the board if they want to have any hope of not just taking back the Executive Office, but stop bleeding and start winning at the local level as well. Yet Democrats let their best hope, Keith Ellison, get smeared across the board, as his chances for the DNC chair are no longer clear, and their 2020 choices are embarrassing. Have they really learned anything?
Organized labor and activism will be incredibly important to fighting back against issues like jobs, wages, abortion, health care, social security, and other topics from Trump’s administration of horrors not just next four years, but right away as early as his first 100 days.
These doors stay open. pic.twitter.com/YqrMBnWflM
— Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) November 9, 2016
It’s horrifying to think that several weeks after the election with only a few more to go, most liberals and democrats still haven’t adjusted their behavior to prepare for what’s about to happen. As some argue about whether or not booing at Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump is okay, destruction is coming. By the time it gets here, despite all the warnings and chances they’ve had, they likely won’t even know what’s hit them.