Media smears on Trump and his supporters starting to get juvenile
Ted Koppel says 'the Establishment press is out to get' Trump.
—Howard Kurtz, March 21, 2019
What pass for our "news" media have a strategy to churn out a plethora of articles every day that represent Donald Trump, Republicans, and conservatives in a negative light.
The idea is to keep up a steady barrage of negative articles so that the voters will simply think negative thoughts when they hear the words "Trump," "Republicans," or "conservatives."
One of these that appeared recently illustrates this strategy perfectly. Ed Mazza of the Huffington Post, in an article titled "Trump-Defending Fox News Host Drops Accidental Truth Bomb: 'Seems Kinda Stupid,'" writes that "[a] Fox News personality known for his fealty to Donald Trump may have accidentally insulted the former president ― potentially even calling him 'kinda stupid' over allegations he kept highly sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago, possibly in violation of federal law." Mazza is referring to Mark Levin (J.D., Temple University), who, commenting on the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago said the following:
Let me ask you a question: If you're gonna commit a crime, do you keep the video cameras in your home on, 24/7? I don't know, would you? Seems kinda stupid, doesn't it? Or would you do it in front of the Secret Service? I don't know, that seems kinda stupid, doesn't it? Well, that's what you're expected to believe.
In fact, of course, Mark Levin did not here imply or even suggest that Donald Trump is stupid. Mark Levin here states two arguments that Trump did not commit a crime. Levin's two implicit arguments take a familiar logical form. The first is this:
If one is going to commit a crime then one does not videotape it.
Trump did videotape the proceedings at Mar-a-Lago (with an extensive security system).
Therefore, Trump did not commit a crime.
The second argument takes exactly the same form:
If one is going to commit a crime, one then does not do it in front of the Secret Service.
Trump's actions at Mar-a-Lago were performed in front of the Secret Service.
Therefore, Trump did not commit a crime.
These arguments have a name. They are both instances of "modus tollens." The logical form of modus tollens is:
If P then Q.
Paraphrasing in plain English, the argument in both cases is this: if Trump were going to commit a crime, then since he is not stupid, he would not do it in front of witnesses. But he did everything at Mar-a-Lago in front of witnesses. Therefore, he did not commit any crime.
It is a premise in Levin's argument that Trump is not "kinda stupid." Quite the contrary: Levin's argument is that since Trump is not stupid, he would not do the criminal things he is being accused of doing at Mar-a-Lago. The import of Levin's argument is precisely the opposite of Ed Mazza's smear, a fact that should be understood by anyone capable of passing a freshman critical reasoning course at community college. Got it yet, Ed?
One might reply that this is only one article, but the fact is that the news media are flooded with similar sophomoric partisan smears every day. One might cite the shameful racist taunts by MSNBC's Elie Mystal against black Republicans like Herschel Walker. Another is MSNBC's Joy Reid's bizarre statement that Republicans want to defund the military if it teaches CRT. One might also mention the daily Don Lemon comedy hour. It is part of the left's dishonest election strategy to set up an association in the minds of readers between Trump or Republicans or conservatives and negativity, chaos, crimes, stupidity, and the like. It does not matter in the least if any of it is true (which it usually isn't). Just as Pavlov's dogs are trained to salivate when they hear a bell from the person who feeds them (even when that person is not bringing them food), the media attempt to train the voters to shudder when they hear the words "Trump," "Republicans," and "conservatives" so that they will carry that automatic shudder into the election booth.
In many cases, it does not even matter if people actually read the article or watch the video. Seeing a steady stream of magazine titles on the newsstand or video clips that imply that Trump or Republicans or conservatives are unsavory characters is enough. This is a dishonest strategy to manipulate the voters, not inform or enlighten them. Although the Democrat-media complex is always complaining about the Republican attempt to undermine our democracy, this kind of dishonest media behavior is the real attack on our democracy. In fact, the media convey a contempt for the American people when they try to manipulate them in this way — a contempt displayed every day in countless demonstrably false and often childish attempts to smear Trump, Republicans, and conservatives.
Given everything they have got wrong about Trump over the past six years, one would think the news media would apologize to the American people for these mistakes or at least try to be more neutral in the future. In fact, the media that pushed the Russia-collusion hoax against Donald Trump, now known to have been paid for by his presidential opponent at the time, Hillary Clinton, are reacting in exactly the same breathless, hopeful way (for a Trump prosecution) with regard to the recent FBI raid on Trump's compound at Mar-a-Lago, even giving a significant amount of airtime to disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok as an expert commentator on the raid. It has not, apparently, occurred to our "news" media that Strzok has a personal interest in the outcome of the raid.
It is no surprise that according to Gallup (22/7/10), trust in the news media is at an all-time low.
Television news is now considered the second least trusted institution in America, after Congress, with just 11 percent of respondents saying they have "quite a lot" of trust in television news. Newspapers aren't much better at 16 percent.
In the same report, Gallup adds that only the Democrat-controlled congress (7%) is trusted less by the public than the news media — a well deserved humiliation. It appears that the "news" media are incapable of learning. "Journalism" has become a sick game for them: "Get Trump!" Unfortunately, that is not their job and something for which they are not qualified.
Image: U.S. National Archives via Picryl, public domain.