Political jiu-jitsu outrages the left in the Age of Trump

Yesterday, another clueless media mandarin, CNN's "media critic," Brian Stelter, inadvertently revealed how badly the cultural (and therefore political) dominance of the left has been damaged by President Trump.  The left, and CNN in particular, branded as "very fake news," is unintentionally revealing how telling this criticism is.

Allow me to explain.

Donald Trump fights back against the cultural power of the left, something no other leading Republican has done in my lifetime.  His guts in doing so shock and dismays the left, and that is one of the underlying reasons why leftists are so anxious to demonize and ultimately drive him from office.  They strongly prefer Republicans like John McCain, who forever defined his fealty to the cultural power of the progressives when he rebuked Bill Cunningham, a radio talk show host in Cincinnati, at a 2008 presidential campaign rally in that city for referring to then-candidate Barack Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama," his actual full name (unless one wishes to include the name Barry Soetoro, which he also used at an earlier point in life).  In doing so, McCain signaled that media definitions of virtue would be his guiding principle.

Donald Trump refuses to follow that path toward powerlessness, which may be one reason why the Arizona senator seems to hate him so much. 

The problem for the left is that their cultural power, like the Emperor's New Clothes fable, exists only so long as everyone nods in agreement that yes, abortion is just a "choice" (and who doesn't want to offer people a choice?) and that no, we can't use a presidential candidate's full name (because everyone knows that Americans are so bigoted against Muslims).  By role-modeling resistance from the highest office in t he land, President Trump is changing the rules of politics and destroying one of the principal power bases of the left.

The first sign of bigger trouble for the left – mass emulation on the right of Trump's policy – was when the meme of "fake news" was manufactured as a means of discrediting Trump's election.  If you remember, the supposed malign influence of clickbait fantasy news stories, circulated mostly via social media, was offered as a reason why Hillary Clinton lost.  The hashtag #fakenews was created by leftists as shorthand to express what they saw as an unfair impediment to her inevitable victory.

The problem, as practically every conservative knows, is that the left has been manufacturing fake news for generations.  The New York Times "reported" "chaos" in the Trump transition team days after the election, a claim belied by the rapid rollout of nominations for the Cabinet.

So conservatives correctly began calling out the pervasive bias of the leftist media with the term "fake news," and the left could not stand it.  There have been a series of comical protests.

The first example was a Washington Post columnist who, even before the inauguration, solemnly instructed her colleagues that "[i]t's time to retire the tainted term 'fake news.'"  But the era in which a mandarin wannabe in the formerly prestigious media could ban an inconvenient term is over.

So that led to perhaps the most pathetic (and short-lived) attempt at thought control ever:

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday pushed back on the label "fake news," saying he views it as the equivalent of an ethnic slur for journalists.

"I see being called 'fake news' as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists," Cuomo said on Sirius XM's "POTUS."

"[It's] the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity. That's what fake news is to a journalist," he continued.

"It is an ugly insult, and you had better be right if you're going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose," the host of CNN's "New Day" added. "The president was not right here and he's not been right in the past."

While the right reacted with gales of laughter, the race lobby was outraged.  Nothing – not even the Holocaust – approaches the evil of the "n-word" – a term so powerful that it may not be used in print.

I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake -nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur. I should not have said it. I apologize https://t.co/TJGUgWz9Q2

— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 9, 2017

The term still functions as a burr under the saddle of the media.  They know they slant the news, and they think that is a good thing.  They just don't want a convenient, not to mention a powerful, label to exist to call them out.  This led CNN's Stelter to have another go at Cuomo's gambit, while studiously avoiding the perils of the power of the racial grievance industry.  Transcript via Grabien:

STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. Our panel is standing by to react to Dean Baquet's comments. But, first, redefining fake news. That's the subject of my essay today. President Trump's CPAC speech on Friday was all about us versus them, including when it came to the media. I heard him trying to delineate between good outlets and bad news outlets. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So, I'm not against the media. I'm not against the press. But I am only against the fake news media or press. Fake. Fake. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Fake. That word has gotten a lot of use in the past few months. Back before the election, you might remember, the media reporters like yours truly warned about the plague of fake news polluting Facebook and Google and Twitter. 

Now, what we meant by fake news was this. This is classic example. Stories on made up websites claiming that the pope had endorsed Donald Trump during the campaign. Many people were fooled by these fake stories. I've been snuckered a time or two myself. 

Anonymous writers invent these stories either to profit from the clicks or to spread propaganda for a government. That's the media industry definition of fake news. 

But after election day, Trump and some of his conservative media allies thought to redefine the term and they've largely succeeded. To Trump, fake news is any story, any network that he doesn't seem to like. 

So, let me take a minute and translate Trump for you. Here is more of what he said at CPAC. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

STELTER: Translation: Trump is incensed by reporting from "The Times," CNN, "The Washington Post," and other newsrooms, reporting using anonymous sources. But faking a source is a fireable offense. When anyone at these places has to use an anonymous source, they vet the source carefully and get approval from their bosses. But I think, when Trump says these things, we need to explain that to our viewers watching. Now back to Trump. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And they make up something else, and you saw that before the election – polls, polls, the polls. Take a look at their polls over the last two years. Now, you'd think they'd fire the pollster, right? 

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: After years and years of getting battered. But I – I don't know. I mean, who knows. Maybe they're just bad at polling. Or maybe they're not legit. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Translation: Maybe Trump wants his approval ratings to rise. But polls are not fake. They are scientifically based. Now, some polls are better than others. And that's why CNN and other outlets have polling standards. But polls are not fake news. So, on Friday, when Trump ripped into CNN and other news outlets, FOX's Shepard Smith tried to correct him. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: In short, fake news is made-up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN's reporting was not fake news. Its journalists follow the same standards to which other news organizations, including FOX News, adhere. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Thanks, Shep. So, I think you see what's happening here. Partisans are trying to redefine fake news as an insult, as a slur. Rather than trying to reclaim the term, experts are suggesting we all choose our words more carefully, choose our terms more carefully. This weekend at a conference all about misinformation, Claire Wardle said there's a spectrum of fake stuff out there. Check this out. Over on the left, you see satire, like "The Daily Show" and The Onion, not intending to hurt anybody. And then, on the right side, these are the worst of all, fabricated content, 100 percent false stories designed to deceive and do harm. Now, she defines fabricated content and that kind of stuff, that's what we've talked about when we say fake news months ago. But as these terms are redefined and exploited for partisan purposes, it is complicated out there. And, as Tara Palmeri was saying earlier, people don't know what to believe.

They only make themselves look ridiculous.

Yesterday, another clueless media mandarin, CNN's "media critic," Brian Stelter, inadvertently revealed how badly the cultural (and therefore political) dominance of the left has been damaged by President Trump.  The left, and CNN in particular, branded as "very fake news," is unintentionally revealing how telling this criticism is.

Allow me to explain.

Donald Trump fights back against the cultural power of the left, something no other leading Republican has done in my lifetime.  His guts in doing so shock and dismays the left, and that is one of the underlying reasons why leftists are so anxious to demonize and ultimately drive him from office.  They strongly prefer Republicans like John McCain, who forever defined his fealty to the cultural power of the progressives when he rebuked Bill Cunningham, a radio talk show host in Cincinnati, at a 2008 presidential campaign rally in that city for referring to then-candidate Barack Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama," his actual full name (unless one wishes to include the name Barry Soetoro, which he also used at an earlier point in life).  In doing so, McCain signaled that media definitions of virtue would be his guiding principle.

Donald Trump refuses to follow that path toward powerlessness, which may be one reason why the Arizona senator seems to hate him so much. 

The problem for the left is that their cultural power, like the Emperor's New Clothes fable, exists only so long as everyone nods in agreement that yes, abortion is just a "choice" (and who doesn't want to offer people a choice?) and that no, we can't use a presidential candidate's full name (because everyone knows that Americans are so bigoted against Muslims).  By role-modeling resistance from the highest office in t he land, President Trump is changing the rules of politics and destroying one of the principal power bases of the left.

The first sign of bigger trouble for the left – mass emulation on the right of Trump's policy – was when the meme of "fake news" was manufactured as a means of discrediting Trump's election.  If you remember, the supposed malign influence of clickbait fantasy news stories, circulated mostly via social media, was offered as a reason why Hillary Clinton lost.  The hashtag #fakenews was created by leftists as shorthand to express what they saw as an unfair impediment to her inevitable victory.

The problem, as practically every conservative knows, is that the left has been manufacturing fake news for generations.  The New York Times "reported" "chaos" in the Trump transition team days after the election, a claim belied by the rapid rollout of nominations for the Cabinet.

So conservatives correctly began calling out the pervasive bias of the leftist media with the term "fake news," and the left could not stand it.  There have been a series of comical protests.

The first example was a Washington Post columnist who, even before the inauguration, solemnly instructed her colleagues that "[i]t's time to retire the tainted term 'fake news.'"  But the era in which a mandarin wannabe in the formerly prestigious media could ban an inconvenient term is over.

So that led to perhaps the most pathetic (and short-lived) attempt at thought control ever:

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on Thursday pushed back on the label "fake news," saying he views it as the equivalent of an ethnic slur for journalists.

"I see being called 'fake news' as the equivalent of the N-word for journalists," Cuomo said on Sirius XM's "POTUS."

"[It's] the equivalent of calling an Italian any of the ugly words that people have for that ethnicity. That's what fake news is to a journalist," he continued.

"It is an ugly insult, and you had better be right if you're going to charge a journalist with lying on purpose," the host of CNN's "New Day" added. "The president was not right here and he's not been right in the past."

While the right reacted with gales of laughter, the race lobby was outraged.  Nothing – not even the Holocaust – approaches the evil of the "n-word" – a term so powerful that it may not be used in print.

I was wrong. Calling a journalist fake -nothing compared to the pain of a racial slur. I should not have said it. I apologize https://t.co/TJGUgWz9Q2

— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) February 9, 2017

The term still functions as a burr under the saddle of the media.  They know they slant the news, and they think that is a good thing.  They just don't want a convenient, not to mention a powerful, label to exist to call them out.  This led CNN's Stelter to have another go at Cuomo's gambit, while studiously avoiding the perils of the power of the racial grievance industry.  Transcript via Grabien:

STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. Our panel is standing by to react to Dean Baquet's comments. But, first, redefining fake news. That's the subject of my essay today. President Trump's CPAC speech on Friday was all about us versus them, including when it came to the media. I heard him trying to delineate between good outlets and bad news outlets. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So, I'm not against the media. I'm not against the press. But I am only against the fake news media or press. Fake. Fake. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Fake. That word has gotten a lot of use in the past few months. Back before the election, you might remember, the media reporters like yours truly warned about the plague of fake news polluting Facebook and Google and Twitter. 

Now, what we meant by fake news was this. This is classic example. Stories on made up websites claiming that the pope had endorsed Donald Trump during the campaign. Many people were fooled by these fake stories. I've been snuckered a time or two myself. 

Anonymous writers invent these stories either to profit from the clicks or to spread propaganda for a government. That's the media industry definition of fake news. 

But after election day, Trump and some of his conservative media allies thought to redefine the term and they've largely succeeded. To Trump, fake news is any story, any network that he doesn't seem to like. 

So, let me take a minute and translate Trump for you. Here is more of what he said at CPAC. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources. They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

STELTER: Translation: Trump is incensed by reporting from "The Times," CNN, "The Washington Post," and other newsrooms, reporting using anonymous sources. But faking a source is a fireable offense. When anyone at these places has to use an anonymous source, they vet the source carefully and get approval from their bosses. But I think, when Trump says these things, we need to explain that to our viewers watching. Now back to Trump. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: And they make up something else, and you saw that before the election – polls, polls, the polls. Take a look at their polls over the last two years. Now, you'd think they'd fire the pollster, right? 

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: After years and years of getting battered. But I – I don't know. I mean, who knows. Maybe they're just bad at polling. Or maybe they're not legit. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Translation: Maybe Trump wants his approval ratings to rise. But polls are not fake. They are scientifically based. Now, some polls are better than others. And that's why CNN and other outlets have polling standards. But polls are not fake news. So, on Friday, when Trump ripped into CNN and other news outlets, FOX's Shepard Smith tried to correct him. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: In short, fake news is made-up nonsense delivered for financial gain. CNN's reporting was not fake news. Its journalists follow the same standards to which other news organizations, including FOX News, adhere. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Thanks, Shep. So, I think you see what's happening here. Partisans are trying to redefine fake news as an insult, as a slur. Rather than trying to reclaim the term, experts are suggesting we all choose our words more carefully, choose our terms more carefully. This weekend at a conference all about misinformation, Claire Wardle said there's a spectrum of fake stuff out there. Check this out. Over on the left, you see satire, like "The Daily Show" and The Onion, not intending to hurt anybody. And then, on the right side, these are the worst of all, fabricated content, 100 percent false stories designed to deceive and do harm. Now, she defines fabricated content and that kind of stuff, that's what we've talked about when we say fake news months ago. But as these terms are redefined and exploited for partisan purposes, it is complicated out there. And, as Tara Palmeri was saying earlier, people don't know what to believe.

They only make themselves look ridiculous.

RECENT VIDEOS