Monday, June 25, 2018

The Times: it doesn't just break the news it vaporizes it

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Generator

In this fevered environment when new assaults are levied on the rule of law and other pillars of our Republic non-stop, lots of news organizations are doing a good job of breaking news.   But only a few, including The New York Times, go beyond breaking the news all the way to blasting it to incomprehensible smithereens.

Case in point: Sunday's version of that media favorite, liberals forcing supporters of the Bigot-in-Chief to, wait for it – support the Bigot-in-Chief.  We've seen this hot take before, like here and here and here, but it keeps coming back.

This time, though, it did not go so well for ace Washington correspondent Jeremy Peters who as usual assembled his hot take with the standard recipe of interviewing three white people, and seasoned it with a few graphs.

First up was one Gina Anders, described by Peters as “a Republican from suburban Loudoun County, Va., with a law degree, a business career, and not a stitch of “Make America Great Again” gear in her wardrobe.”

All true enough but there was so much more about Ms. Anders worth knowing.  Mr. James J. Southpaw, Esq. (@nycsouthpaw) revealed that Ms. Anders wasn't just any suburban professional: 

She was an ardent supporter of crackers Ron Paul, a magnet for white supremacists and neo-Confederates.  Nothing to see here, said our correspondent:

In fact there was nothing in Peters' story to support his claim that Gina Anders or any other white supremacist crackpot was feeling conflicted about supporting President U Bum.  And why should she be?  After all, he's given her everything she wanted: hatred, bigotry, and support for her undeserved feelings of white privilege.

But Peters doesn't stop at his ridiculous mischaracterization of one of his lovable bigots; he also validates her claim that she supports U Bum even more because he is attacked for his racism and hatemongering by liberals:
“All nuance and all complexity — and these are complex issues — are completely lost,” she said, describing “overblown” reactions from the president’s critics, some of whom equated the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children and parents to history’s greatest atrocities. “It makes me angry at them, which causes me to want to defend him to them more,” Ms. Anders said.
Now if you stopped to think about this for even five seconds (the amount of time it took Mr. Southpaw to out Ms. Anders as a white supremacist), you would realize this makes no sense.  Here's a hard right bigot who loyally supports the Bigot-in-Chief.  When the Bigot-in-Chief is attacked, what would any of his loyal supporters do?  That's right – they would support him.  When the Bigot-in-Chief isn't attacked, what would any of his loyal supporters do?  You'll have to figure this one out for yourself.

Would anyone in the world ever say, “You know I used to support President U Bum until I realized he was a hateful racist grifter.  But then liberals attacked him so I went back to supporting him”?   Does anyone in the world think like that?

For asking Peters why Ms. Anders' background was omitted, Brian Beutler, doing his job as CNN's Media Correspondent, was blocked by Peters in violation of Times policy.  Perhaps for that reason, Peters today consented to be quizzed by Slate, and good for him we say.

The Slate interview was doubly surprising: first, that Peters would consent to being questioned pretty rigorously, and second, that Slate is still in business.  We had thought that it had confected its last hot take (What's so great about the Fifth Amendment? Why won't liberals give up a woman's right to choose an abortion?) eons ago, but we, unlike Peters, admit when we're wrong.

Here's Peters' explanation for the phenomenon he claims (wrongly) to have discovered and described in his story:
I think they don’t really appreciate the fact that the perception that the left and the media is going overboard with this president is causing them to be more protective of him than they otherwise would.
So in an alternate universe in which no one criticized U Bum for his grifting, his bigotry, or his contempt for the core institutions of American Government. good folk like Gina Anders would protect him less?  How does Peters know this?  Other than because U Bum supporters hand out that talking point to any credulous interviewer?

Peters seems to think that if you're wearing a red MAGA hat you're hopelessly hardcore but if you're part of a white supremacist cult you're another open-minded professional, just like him:
Right, but you end the piece with a quote from her, which is: “It all coalesces around Trump. It’s either, ‘Trump wants to put people in cages, in concentration camps.’ Or, on the other side, ‘Oh the left just wants everybody to come into the country illegally so they can get voters.’ ” And then she says: “We can’t have a conversation.” This make her seem like someone more in the middle of the road who wants to bring everyone together—
Yeah when she spoke to me that’s exactly the way that she seemed. I found her to be very thoughtful and not at all blindly following Trump just because he is Trump. That is the caricature that this story tried to break down. There is an awful lot of nuance and shades to these people’s beliefs. Because Gina apparently has an affiliation with a PAC in West Virginia that does a bunch of small races as far as I can tell, I don’t see how that is at all discrediting. This is something she appeared to do six years ago when she worked for Ron Paul’s campaign. I went to do my due diligence and asked people in Paul world if they had ever heard of her, and they said they hadn’t.  (emphasis deleted in part)
So because she was a small-time white supremacist crackpot that's OK?

Honestly, we can't go on much longer.  We'd only note that we share Ms. Anders' concern about how hard it is to have a conversation especially with bigots like her who equate the truth (that U Bum is yanking babies and children away form their mothers and sticking them in cages) with lies (that anyone opposing U Bum's evil believes that we should close down all border inspection stations and let in the whole world, a position that no one has ever advocated).

And his graphs?  The purport to show that Republicans like the Grifter-in-Chief more than they liked any previous Republican President, except the last one.  And that proves . . . . (the answer our judges will accept: nothing).

Speaking of research, we assumed that Peters' combination of ignorance, laziness, arrogance, and condescension could have come from only one place.  But five seconds of digging revealed that contrary to our expectation, he did not obtain his journalistic, um, training at The Harvard Crimson.  It turns out he was an editor of The Michigan Daily.

All we can say is we know editors of The Michigan Daily.  Editors of The Michigan Daily are friends of ours, to say the least.  And you, Mr. Peters, are no editor of The Michigan Daily, because at The Michigan Daily, like at The Daily Show, when news breaks, they learn to fix it, not shatter it into a million tiny pieces.

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