How the media makes reality – and may make Donald Trump president

trump

This may one day be a painted portrait in the White House.

It’s been said that the far right is reaping what it sowed with Donald Trump. For eight years their cabal of media and politicians unrelentingly attacked President Obama for everything from inviting rappers to the White House to purposefully destroying America. They fomented racial hostilities and deep paranoia to create the atmosphere in which Trump now thrives. But if Trump actually becomes president it will be the mainstream media’s reckless pursuit of ratings that puts him there. Continue reading

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Someone who’s ‘not really a Democrat’ is just what the DNC needs

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Clinton’s accusation that Sanders isn’t “really a Democrat” is true, but it actually makes him a stronger candidate.

At Thursday’s Democratic town hall, Hillary Clinton unleashed a new line of attack against Bernie Sanders, saying, “Senator Sanders has also attacked President Obama. He’s called him weak; he’s called him disappointing. He tried to get somebody to run against him in the 2012 election in the primary… Maybe it’s that Senator Sanders wasn’t really a Democrat until he decided to run for president.” Continue reading

Scalia’s death shows the dysfunction of politics, media and the GOP

Antonin Scalia

Justice Antonin Scalia served on the Supreme Court for nearly 30 years. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986.

The death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia on the morning of February 13 triggered an immediate political firestorm. Party-line politics, debates on the man’s legacy, and conspiracy theories have been swirling in the media in the days since. No doubt his death is of great consequence, but the reactions reveal a great deal about the brokenness of our political-media establishment. Continue reading

If Democrats want to win the White House they best nominate Bernie Sanders

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Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont, is zeroing in on the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton.

Bernie Sanders is surging. In the first primary in Iowa, he came from far behind to virtually tie with Hillary Clinton. In New Hampshire he beat her in a 22-point landslide. He’s been getting more exposure than ever. Yet Sanders’s prospects for the Democratic nomination remain in heavy doubt. And with that, so too are dimming the Democrats’ prospects for winning the White House in November. Continue reading

Clinton camp drags race into mud with allegations of sexism against Sanders

Steinem

Steinem apologized for remarks she made on Real Time disparaging young, female Sanders supporters. In 1996 she declared Sanders an “honorary woman.”

When serious coverage of the 2016 presidential race began last year, pundits assumed the general election would come down to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Such a matchup between two families that have dominated presidential politics for 30 years would be as establishment-friendly as could be imagined. Instead, both parties’ nominations have been disrupted by insurgent candidates who are not beholden to classic Washington interests.

Both of these candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, have faced strong resistance from their party’s establishment. Republicans, however, seem more willing to praise Trump for shaking things up; Democrats are less amused at seeing their establishment rankled. With Sanders gaining real momentum with his primary performances, the Clinton camp and its supporters have been escalating an attack that’s been in play since the beginning of the race: accusing opponents of sexism. Continue reading

Roosh V and MRAs’ toxic mix of entitlement, misogyny and violence

Beefcakes

If this image inspires you then you might hate women, too. Now there’s support for you.

Daryush Valizadeh, often known by the nickname Roosh V, has had enough of women calling all the shots in society. Women today make almost as much money as men, hold almost 5 percent of CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies, and are bossy enough to say “no” to sex sometimes. Against this rising tide of feminism man’s reign is speeding toward an untimely demise.

That’s why Valizadeh is calling on proud, masculine men around the world to band together on February 6. On his website, Return of Kings, Valizadeh announced hundreds of meetups in dozens of countries for “neo-masculine” men. No projected attendance figures for any of the meetups have been released; the events have apparently been created just in case there are men nearby who subscribe to Valizadeh’s worldview.

What that worldview entails can perhaps best be gleaned from a post at Valizadeh’s website, Return of Kings, called “35 Things Wrong With America.” While he’s right on some points – wastefulness and police militarization, for instance – other gripes include the expectation of tipping, gay marriage and women who vote. Overall the list is a bitter reflection on how the world has moved away from Valizadeh’s simple, straight-male-dominated ideal. He comes across as a younger, more hateful Andy Rooney. Continue reading

Why the ‘pragmatist vs. idealist’ framing is so cynical in the Democratic primary

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The media has adopted a narrative of Sanders as the wild-eyed idealist and Clinton as the pragmatist.

On Monday the first official leg of the presidential nomination process took place in the Iowa caucuses. As results came in throughout the night, the Democratic race was as close of a nail-biter as can be imagined. At the time of this writing, Hillary Clinton maintains an extremely slim lead of less than half a percent over Bernie Sanders. Whatever the outcome this showing is undeniably a boost to Sanders’s momentum, making it clear he’s got a shot at winning the nomination overall.

With an intense race still to be run, a narrative has been forming over the last couple months. It holds that Hillary Clinton is the pragmatic, sensible choice for Democrats – a centrist with the political clout to make moderate changes. Sanders, meanwhile, is a naïve idealist proposing lofty, transformational reforms that will never see the light of reality. Better, then, that voters choose Clinton.

There’s a subtext in this analysis that often goes unspoken: It’s as though everyone who believes it is saying, “Sure, we would like to see Bernie’s policies implemented, but we just know it can’t happen.” For a presidential candidate especially, this is a depressingly cynical tack to take, and certainly no example of strong leadership. Continue reading