Media reinforces Donald Trump’s most dangerous behavior

Mosul shelling

Iraqi citizens gaze at the devastation in Mosul, where Trump-authorized airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians.

For the first several weeks of his presidency, it looked as though mainstream media might hold Donald Trump at least partially accountable for his actions. Stories regularly aired that were critical of Trump’s brutal budget and discussed his pathological lying. All of it prompted Trump to label the media the “opposition party.” Then, late last week, Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. His fireworks show earned Trump bipartisan media and political praise.

Even before Trump launched the attack, Hillary Clinton called for it. Both the Democratic Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, praised the attack, as did prominent Republican critics of Trump like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Liberal CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declared Trump “became president of the United States” with the attack while NBC host Brian Williams described the bombing as “beautiful.” FAIR found that of 47 editorials published in major papers, only one was critical.

Trump learned perhaps the first serious lesson of his presidency: if you bomb it, they will come. And Trump has escalated US bombing campaigns throughout the Middle East. In addition to Syria, he has expanded the military’s footprint in Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. For a man who is obsessed with being praised, loved and admired, this is deadly behavior to give positive reinforcement to.

Already Trump has taken the lesson to heart. On Thursday he dropped a weapon that had never been used in combat, called the “mother of all bombs,” on Afghanistan. The MOAB is said to be the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal. And while the Pentagon claims it “took every precaution to minimize civilian casualties,” Trump has been making those precautions less and less cautious. Given the MOAB’s blast radius of one mile, avoiding civilian deaths is probably impossible.

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The 21,000-ton “Mother Of All Bombs” is the largest non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal.

Becoming a war criminal is one of the few campaign promises Trump has kept. He promised he would “take out their families,” and now he’s doing it. A March strike on a mosque in Aleppo killed an estimated 46 people. A spate of March attacks in Mosul killed hundreds of civilians. His first major raid in Yemen left 30 civilians dead. And Trump’s bombing of the Syrian airbase reportedly killed nine civilians living nearby.

For the mainstream media, efforts by Trump to normalize relations with Russia are treasonous. But killing human beings on the other side of the world makes Trump presidential. Democrats in Congress are only angry that Trump didn’t ask them for permission first; if he had, they’d have readily given it.

The American political-media-military machine is a planet-sized tumor. It has hogged trillions of dollars from the put-out American taxpayer, slaughtered millions of people all over the world, triggered refugee crises and given birth to barbaric terror organizations. It’s what Trump ran against when he pretended to oppose Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy and it’s partly what endeared him to the nationalistic alt-right. Now even the alt-right is turning on Trump while the establishment is becoming his biggest cheerleader.

Much of Trump’s day is spent watching TV. He tweets in real-time about stories he sees on shows like Fox & Friends and The O’Reilly Factor. The one thing Trump wants more than anything is to turn on the TV and be told what a great job he’s doing. Now he’s learned that so long as he keeps the bombs falling, he can reliably find positive coverage. Fewer people will discuss his Russian collusion or robbery of the public trust.

As Trump is absorbed into the establishment echo chamber, the human species moves ever-closer to extreme peril. If he follows through on threats to strike nuclear-equipped North Korea – potentially as soon as this weekend – it could literally set doomsday into motion. All of civilization is in the hands of a man who is more likely to remember the cake at his country club than which country he bombed last.

Mainstream media never met a bombing it didn’t love. And Trump has never turned down an opportunity to get positive coverage for himself. As the world blows up around him, the one thing Trump will want to know is: “What are they saying about me on CNN?” The more of the globe Trump annihilates, the giddier the pundits will be. If Trump does bring the world to nuclear war, they just may declare him the greatest president of all-time.

Trump sticks to a script; media gushes with praise

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President Trump points for emphasis while Vice-President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan applaud.

On Tuesday night, President Trump went before Congress to deliver an address to the American people. It capped off a day during which Trump courted controversy by blaming the military for a botched raid in Yemen and suggesting that Jews were committing their own acts of anti-Semitism to make him look bad. But in a classic demonstration of the 24-hour news cycle’s short attention span, all was forgiven when Trump stuck to script and delivered a serviceable speech. Continue reading

Bill Maher grants professional alt-right troll a mainstream platform

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Among the people Yiannopoulos makes a career out of hating are poor immigrants.

A micro-controversy is bubbling in the world of liberal infotainment. Milo Yiannopoulos, the Breitbart editor and self-described internet supervillain, was booked as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher. In protest, Jeremy Scahill, a founding editor for The Intercept, canceled his own scheduled appearance on the show. Maher responded by saying, in part, “Liberals will continue to lose elections as long as they follow the example of people like Mr. Scahill.”

Maher further explained, “If Mr. Yiannopoulos is indeed the monster Scahill claims – and he might be – nothing could serve the liberal cause better than having him exposed on Friday night.” But Maher is missing the point. Exposure is precisely what Yiannopoulos craves. It doesn’t matter if he’s revealed as a full-throated Nazi and booed out of the building; he has already won. Continue reading

No, Donald, the ‘real story’ isn’t why there are leaks, it’s what they reveal

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During Trump rallies, Flynn, right, would lead the crowd in “Lock her up” chants. After 24 days in office Flynn has resigned over a likely violation of the Logan Act.

The biggest scandal this week in the Trump Administration is the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, a retired lieutenant general and hard-right conspiracy theorist who had no business in the position in the first place. Flynn was forced to resign when it became known that he communicated with his Russian counterpart prior to Trump’s inauguration and lied about what was discussed. After Flynn’s resignation Trump tweeted, “The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” Continue reading

How conservatives were able to normalize Trump

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters through a bullhorn during a campaign stop at the Canfield County Fair in Canfield

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters through a bullhorn during a campaign stop at the Canfield County Fair in Canfield, Ohio, U.S., September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX

Even someone who doesn’t follow politics can see in Donald Trump a truly unusual president. Liberals are often astounded that conservatives don’t recognize Trump’s pathological lying and disregard for constitutional democracy as existential threats to civilization. But Republicans’ worldview has been shaped by relentless, far-right, corporate propaganda. In such a paranoid and disturbed bubble, Trump may be a bit unorthodox, but desperate times called him to office.

In many ways, the reality of Trump matches the caricature of President Obama in the conservative imagination. Conservative commentators hardly ever mentioned the former president without first rattling off a list of pejoratives. Consumers of conservative media spent years hearing Obama referred to as an arrogant, ego-driven, race-baiting, divisive, wannabe dictator. When someone like Trump came along who actually was all those things, and openly so, Republicans normalized him with relative ease. Continue reading

Donald Trump channels Noam Chomsky (sort of)

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In a pre-Superbowl interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Trump defended Vladimir Putin’s kills.

A statement President Donald Trump made to Bill O’Reilly during a pre-Superbowl interview landed Trump in more trouble than usual. In defending Russian dictator Vladimir Putin from O’Reilly’s allegation that he’s a killer, Trump said, “You think our country’s so innocent? Take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the War in Iraq from the beginning… a lot of people were killed, so, a lot of killers around, believe me.”

Establishment politicians and media fretted over Trump’s frank assessment of American foreign policy, but for once he’s not wrong. In fact, Trump went much further than most politicians usually do in his remarks, venturing into territory usually reserved for the likes of Noam Chomsky. His equation of the Iraq War with Putin’s murders suggests the Iraq War was not merely an honest mistake made with good intentions, but a crime. Continue reading

Watch Donald Trump do a complete 180 in mere seconds

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On one of his many Howard Stern appearances, Donald Trump got seriously rankled by a joke – a joke he earlier claimed to like.

Since he announced his candidacy for president, Donald Trump’s old interviews and media appearances have been dug out of every conceivable archive. Some of the clips caused him great embarrassment, if not political consequences – the most amazing thing about Trump’s boast of using his celebrity status to force himself on women is that it didn’t cost him the election, or even a majority of white female votes.

Interviews with Howard Stern have yielded a trove of Trump’s sub-ape sexual impulses, but one clip that went largely unnoticed is perhaps even more revealing of who Trump is. In 2005 Trump visited Stern and praised then-Stern sideman Artie Lange for his performance at Trump’s Friars Club roast, saying, “Artie did a great job at my roast. He was the single best person… I’m telling you… he was the funniest out of 50.”

When Stern asks to hear some of the material, Lange recalls one joke in which Trump takes daughter Ivanka for a drive through Atlantic City and tells her, “Someday, honey, your name will be at the top of all these buildings. That’s if you marry a guy named Borgata.” Continue reading

“Alternative facts” becomes part of American political discourse

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If you say there are more people on the right side than on the left, it isn’t a lie – it’s a provable falsehood, an untruth, or an alternative fact.

One of George Carlin’s best bits was about euphemisms and how they obscure meaning. A truly stunning example of this took place on NBC over the weekend when prominent Donald Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway went on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. Continue reading

Enough with the Russian hacking story

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Whether they have a formal agreement or not, Trump’s agenda certainly aligns with Putin’s.

Shortly before his first press conference as president-elect, a story broke that Donald Trump was being blackmailed by Russia with financial data and a sex tape filmed in a Moscow hotel. It was only the latest unverified scandal in the ongoing saga of Trump’s Russia connection which, despite scant evidence for many of the claims, has dominated mainstream coverage of our post-Trump world. Often the reports have come at the expense of adequately exposing greater evils being perpetrated in plain sight. Continue reading

For the love of God, Trump supporters, don’t worship the man

god-emperor

A popular sub-Reddit devoted to Trump refers to him as a “God Emperor.” It certainly matches Trump’s view of himself.

Countless alarms, both at home and abroad, have been raised by the election of Donald Trump. Not everyone is worried, though. Many of Trump’s supporters are eager to defend his every lie, his every unconstitutional policy, and his every whining tweet. This part of his support base is drawn to him like a cult to its guru and feels he can do no wrong. That’s a dangerous attitude to have about any elected official, and about Trump in particular. Continue reading