Ezra Klein remarks on this piece about the sheer bullshit that flows in an endless stream from the mouth of Donald Trump and from the pack of professional liars who work for him and for the Right Wing Noise Machine:
Trump’s tactics, in a different context, would be understood as typical authoritarian propaganda — regimes make aides and supporters propound nonsense as a test of loyalty. The United States isn’t the kind of place where that can work. There’s a free and vibrant press and political debate operating wholly outside the world of Trump’s bullshit.
But by filling the heads of his fans — and the media outlets they consume — with a steady diet of bullshit, and by forcing his aides to echo his bullshit in order to win his favor, Trump is nonetheless succeeding in endlessly reinscribing polarization in American politics, corroding America’s governing institutions, and poisoning civic life.
The narrative that worked for years (and that I, to my shame, bought) was the notion of the Truth-Telling Reg’lar Folk of Common Sense vs. The Media Elite. It’s the BS that Trump and his fanbois who blather about Fake News still parrot. But the massive lies that Trump and his toadies at FOX, Breitbart, Infowars and other “conservative” sites tell have begun, at long last, to be seen through and trust is eroding with everyone but the most deeply deluded ideologues (who frighteningly still comprise about 33% of the electorate).
With the departures of Ailes, and O’Reilly and the defections of people like Megyn Kelly and other victims of the predatory creeps who lied for the Sex Predator-in-Chief (and the looming doom of Sean Hannity, the biggest remaining Lie Vendor at FOX) the tottering ruin of conservative media seem to be falling on hard times. Breitbart is cratering (falling from 45th to 281st on Alexa), FOX has fallen behind CNN and MSNBC in ratings and even old warhorses like National Review are taking hits:
Other conservative media sites have also experienced declines in traffic in recent months, but none as pronounced as Breitbart’s. According to Alexa data, National Review Online, for the first time in 17 years., The Daily Caller, and Drudge Report all saw slumps in their rankings. Over the last week, as Trump was engulfed in the Comey scandal, Fox News’s viewership dropped to third place behind CNN and MSNBC
Consequently, people who do not turn to media simply and solely to lie to them and tell them what their itching ears want to hear are ceasing to be fooled by the use of the Genetic Fallacy (“What? News from outside my Epistemological Bubble? That site you quote is ritually impure! I’m not listening! LALALALALALA!!!!”) and are willing to get their information from a wider assortment of sources and not merely Tribally-Approved apparatchiks. People who get sick of lies want somebody who will not lie through their teeth at them and if that somebody is telling the truth on a ritually impure site then so be it. Cuz Trump and his minions sure as hell are lying:
The problem always has been the lies for me. It has been since “prolife” Christians went whole hog for the lie that “noble lies” are good and that Christians should passionately embrace lying for Jesus. And the passionate embrace of a pathological liar by Real Christians[TM] has been the reason for my heartbreak and anger. Lies. Not “different points of view”. Out and out lies.
One of the biggest lies is that anybody who questions Trump is a “liberal” and that any “liberal” who rejects the “alternative facts” of Trump’s funhouse versions of reality are “elitists”. Yes, yes, I get that liberals can be annoying elitists. Indeed, one of their more endearing traits is that they anguish about their own elitism while the Right is now in a state where any self-reflection or self-criticism is a contemptible sign of weakness.
And that’s the thing: Lefties are at least capable of self-criticism. The Predator-in-Chief and the liars who assist him have not demonstrated the slightest capacity for self-criticism. They have all kinds of things to say about “libtards” (that charmingly cruel term that is oh-so-prolife and keenly aware of the dignity of the mentally disabled). But rare indeed is the occurrence of self-criticism on the Right and absolutely non-existent from the Narcissist-in-Chief.
So Kathy Griffin is heaped with chastisement from both left and right for her vile stunt. But when Ted Nugent repeatedl suggests killing Obama and Hillary, there is applause and laughter from the Right and the reward of a White House visit from Trump while the Right only gloats about how it “makes liberal snowflakes cry.” That’s the pattern, and it is set by Trump. Catholic Trump supporters who mouth the penitential rite about self-examination and humility for sin gleefully cheer his refusal to admit sin. The closest he ever came to an apology–saying that his confession of sexual assault was mere “locker room talk” was a total lie. It was not talk: it was a confession of sexual assault and it was followed by an assault on every woman who confirmed it. If that reminds you of Bill Clinton that’s because it’s identical to him. And it is what the Party of God and Personal Responsibility now stand for.
Those on the right who have attempted to warn the True Believers about what a conscience-free sociopath Trump is are routinely shouted down. Just read the comboxes of David French. Or watch the spectacle of the violent bullies in Mona Charen’s comboxes when she speaks out against beating up reporters.
The three principal weapons used by the Trump supporter (and nowhere more prominently than by Professional Catholic liars like Kellyanne Conway) never ever consist of the truth. Rather, they are consistently the Genetic Fallacy, the Tu Quoque (NO! THEM!), or the Ad Baculam (Might makes Right).
It is the contempt for truth that is the thing that fills my heart with cold fear for a subculture that boasts its God-given mandate to rule while serving the Father of Lies. And it is a lie that elitism and not love of the truth that animates opponents of Trump– a lie that makes it impossible for me to take seriously the constant tu quoque and moral equivalency lies told to defend his lies.
The core lie embraced and promoted by Trump’s defenders–and most especially his Christian defenders–is “Everybody lies and at least we lie for a good cause.” This is the language of the Father of Lies. It comes from hell and is directly opposed to the gospel. The gospel (remember that?) says to measure our actions, not against our culture war enemies, but against the standard of Christ the Truth.
The warning of the Tradition is Corruptio Optimi Pessima: the corruption of the best is the worst. The Religious Right that once claimed to uphold the truth now cynically and frankly lies while claiming to do it in a good cause. Its sole excuse is “They do it too” as though that suffice to justify it instead of making them just like their enemies.
No thanks. You’ve made yourselves worse than you enemies, O Trump defenders. You win. Hope you’re happy with the reward you will receive for it.