Thursday 18 January 2018

Flake news

Retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona speaks out about the many and varied flaws in Donald Trump’s personality. He makes some excellent, but rather obvious points. Maybe Trump’s core supporters are being wilfully blind when they defend the most blatant examples of Trump’s narcissistic weirdness, but Flake hasn’t mentioned the benefits that have accrued from Trump’s recklessness. Maybe it takes a madman to shake things up in a way that a politically correct, measured, apparently rational personality could never do. 

Stupid boy!

The Today Programme featured Trump’s Fake News Awards.
Anyway, it amused me so much to listen to Jon Sopel (another beauty) demonstrating a staggeringly un-self-aware analysis of the fake news phenomenon, and for your enjoyment I give you this transcript:

Think of the Oscars, think of the Grammies, it wan’t anything like that! Donald tTump put up a Tweet, linked it to the Republican Party website and you couldn’t find anything out - you got an error message initially, so social media went into meltdown and this was instructive in itself of the whole fake news debate. 
Because the trump detractors said ‘look what a shambles, what chaos and the Trump supporters were saying the site has crashed because there was such huge interest in it.
I’ve spent the last hour, two hours watching the TV - Fox News which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, very right-wing and supportive of Donald Trump has been covering the fake news wars extensively, CNN, MSNBC barely mentioned them and NY Times next to nothing and the Washington Post are reporting it as a total flop. 
The specific incidences are journalists who have got things wrong, and let’s put our hands up, who hasn’t at times made a mistake. The number one on the list of things that Donald Trump found most egregious was from Paul Krugman, known well prizewinning economist who predicted that there would be a stock-market crash when Donald Trump became president. Now, that’s a prediction. Is that fake news? I mean, you know, again, if you are asked to look into a crystal ball there is a 50/50 chance you’re gonna get things right or you’re gonna get things wrong. But this to Donald Trump was the most egregious example because the US Stock-market has gone up 30% in the past year, and Donald Trump, over the past year, a phrase you hear again and again is fake news fake news, you’re all a bunch of liars, it’s untrue. Is that having an effect? Yes it is. if you look at polls a lot of people don’t trust journalists. 
Republicans take the harshest view, they say 68% have a less favourable view of the media compared to 54% of Democrats. 4/10 Republicans say that reports painting politicians in a negative light should always be deemed as fake news. That’s alarming.
I think, in America there is always the post Watergate, post Nixon effect, where every journalist looks at himself/herself in the mirror and thinks I could be Woodward or Bernstein and bring down the president. I think that has changed slightly in the Trump era. To some journalists no longer seeing themselves as holding power to account, speaking truth to power, they see themselves as the opposition. I watched, to my astonishment, a rally that Donald Trump gave, and at the end of it the TV presenter, in the studio, it cuts back to him and goes “Man! That was unhinged! What an embarrassment to have him as our president!” This is mainstream media. Now, could you imagine, Sarah, you coming onto the Today Programme and saying ‘Theresa May, she’s unhinged! What an embarrassment to have her as our Prime Minister” By all means invite guests on who might make that point, but when the news organisation itself is saying that I think it is starting to see itself, not just as holding power to account but as the enemy and I think that plays into Donald Trump’s hands as well. 
So is this all down to editorial decisions then? (said Sarah Montague) 
No. There is commercial element to this too. There is money. Because actually in this present climate, CNN’s audiences, for example, and it was a CNN presenter who talked about the president being unhinged, their audiences are up! Their advertising revenue is up! They are trying to ‘marketise’ the unpopularity of Donald Trump among certain quarters. The NY Times! Their digital subscriptions are going through the roof! Because they are getting more and more people wanting to subscribe to the NY Times. Does that mean they are widening their readership in terms of are they reaching pockets of Republican supporting kind of mid-west America? No, they’re not. What it is, is that more and more liberals think this is the constitution under threat, we think we must subscribe. And so you have people living ever-more in an echo chamber, where the news that they read in the newspaper or they listen to on the radio or they watch on the television are just their own views coming back to them. And fewer and fewer Americans are hearing anything other than what they already believe.


  1. Furthermore, Sopel is well aware of this :

    and this

    and this

    But I like this one the best :

  2. God, I love the internet. A fantastic fat middle fingered resource of answers to the likes of Sopel.

  3. "There is commercial element to this too. There is money. Because actually in this present climate, CNN’s audiences, for example, and it was a CNN presenter who talked about the president being unhinged, their audiences are up!"

    So that's CNN's excuse, what's the BBC's?

  4. You're right...completely un-self aware.

    Why no mention that the BBC News Website were deliberately censoring news about the Awards? I think you can see why - because on radio Sopel can ramble on but on a website, you would expect them to mention specifically the Awards or the bias would be obvious.

    Why refer to Fox News as "very right wing" but not refer to MSNBC or CNN as "very left wing". And anyway, I don't think, being a regular dropper-in to Fox that it is "very" right wing. It's right wing in a kind of Reaganite I would - and the BBC's Nick Bryant was singing Reagan's praises, more or less, the other day!

    "The specific incidences are journalists who have got things wrong, and let’s put our hands up, who hasn’t at times made a mistake." Nope, these were not "mistakes". If they were "mistakes" then there would be some "pro-Trump" mistakes...some journo would accidentally say a Trump rally had been well attended when it hadn't for instance. But pro-Trump mistakes made by MSM journalists NEVER happen. This is how we know they are not mistakes but what I would call "premature wish fulfilment instances" - PWFIs or "Puffies" perhaps.

    1. "Puffies"

      Like it

      & would direct you over here

      hint : comment are read & Wankpuffins are go !

      kind regards

    2. MB, I occasionally listen to Fox News on the radio and watch it on the internet. Sopel referring to it as very right wing is plain wrong. As you say, FOX is more mainstream conservative. I certainly hear Trump skeptics given air time. Sopel's description just shows how very left wing he and the BBC are.

  5. More Flake News on Today today...Nick Robinson getting into a worked up moral lather, asking Greg Lake to comment on the public's justified suspicion that fat cats on huge salaries always seem to get away with it at the expense of ordinary people...was he looking in the mirror when he said that? People like Robinson, Gracie and Humphries are on hundreds of thousands pounds plus super-enhanced pensions, and their income is provided by a system that requires the imprisonment of poor people and people with mental health issues who fail to pay the licence fee. Talk about lack of self-awareness!

    Then on to a bit of Trumpophobia or Trump Derangement Syndrome as it is sometimes known. An extremely long item on short sleeping/sleep deprivation (which Charles Moore should have avoided). All because Trump sleeps only 4 to 5 hours a night...given he's lazing around in bed from 6.30pm, that's hardly surprising in my view! Anyway, precious broadcasting minutes wasted just so they can carry on with their failed 25th Amendment plan to remove Trump from the White House.

    The BBC are like some WW1 general who keeps throwing in more and more of their troops into useless frontal assaults long after the plan's failings have been demonstrated. Trump gets an A1 health check? Never mind, we'll point out how dangerous short sleep is to good mental functioning. See if that gets him removed from office...really?

    The sleep "expert" made me laugh. My grandmother slept about 4 to 5 hours a night and lived to over 90 at a time when such an age was something of a rarity. If you've ever read Laurens Van der Post you'll know the hunter-gatherer Bushmen (San people) of the Kalahari didn't sleep that much during the night...they often slept with their heads resting on their raised hand (lots of scorpions about). In pre-modern times people would often get up in the middle of the night and potter about or read before their "second sleep".

    The solid 8 hour sleep with no napping in between is a kind of modern construct suited to office and factory work. It has little to do with the health of an individual. Sleeping 8 hours solid on a dust mite laden pillow with no fresh air in an overheated room won't do you much good.

    1. Ha, didn't hear it, did they mention that Mrs T was also famous for sleeping only 4 to 5 hours a night? Widely regarded as the most mentally able Pm of recent times who dominated her cabinet easily through acute thinking. Of course BBC think she too was nuts.

    2. Yes they did - that's why they had Charles Moore, her biographer, on...they always like to link Thatcher and Trump as two of their "deplorables". Moore did suggest she was sleep deprived, because she was so driven. Personally I prefer elected politicians to take regular naps - like Churchill. :)

  6. I read someone on Biased BBC* referring to the BBC's censorship of the FISA** scandal in the USA, which in turn is connected to the dodgy dossier on Trump (supplied by a British ex intelligence services agent, Christopher Steele), involvement of DNC in paying for the dossier, leaking of the dossier to the media, an anti-Trump operating within the FBI who wanted an "insurance policy" in place in case Trump won the election, the FBI's incredible decision not to prosecute Clinton or her aides in relation to the private server and the actions of Huma Abedin (daughter of extreme pro-Sharia activist parents) and the use of the Clinton Foundation as a conduit (including from Russians) for "pay to play" money.

    It is a scandal of gargantuan proportions involving huge constitutional issues and yet the BBC (but also ITV and Sky, it has to be said) are virtually silent on it despite Congressional hearings being held. This cannot be must be a deliberate decision taken in order to "protect the narrative".

    * Couldn't find it to reference it sadly.
    **Foreign Intelligence Services Act

    1. It hasn't quite popped yet. Various Rep's are asking for the memo to be released to be read openly by the public.
      I think you'll know about it if/when that happens.

    2. There have been lots of Congressional hearings. Nothing on the BBC. Judicial Watch have been forcing release of e mails. Nothing on the BBC. Texts show that FBI officers reviled Trump and were planning an "insurance policy" (the dodgy dossier Russian thing) in the event of a Trump win. Nothing on the BBC. A retired British intelligence officer is involved in the biggest ever scandal - a politicised attempt to remove an elected President from office. Level of interest from the BBC since the story broke? Virtually zero, and certainly no searching questions about that officer's role. What is the BBC headlining with in its US/Canada coverage? Things like: is Trump really 6 foot 2 rather than 6 foot 3? Does he suffer from sleep deprivation?

      Of course at some stage the BBC will have to come clean. But they are in my view deliberately protecting their narrative, which is: "Trump didn't really win the election. It was the Russians who got him over the line. Hillary Clinton is a shining example of high minded feminism who should have won. Trump is insane, dangerous and incompetent and has to be removed from office by whatever means are available."

  7. I don't disagree with you - the BBC is appalling, and getting worse by the day. They've run out of steam because they've run out of journalistic integrity.

    But they can't afford not to ignore the (as they view them) disparate events you highlight because acknowleding them will blow their 'Obama years' narrative clean out of the water. They've set so many traps for themselves that they must be constantly reviewing what the hell they said at any given point. And they've decided on an anti-Trump narrative no matter what. They can't afford to give any ground, and they've decided they don't want to anyway.
    But, I think at some point quite soon, a series of recent past events will form a chain they can't ignore. And I think they know it too.

    The Peterson interview on CH4 (a very close financial and philosophical relation of the BBC) has opened up a can of journalistic panic that has resulted in this from their tabloid enabler :

    I have only seen and read civilised criticism of Newman after the interview - and lots of it. The only weapon these people have left is to suggest the opposition is evil. They have already lost because they chose partisan politics over integrity, and they know it.

    This is where modern journalism is, and they look down on The Mail ! :

    1. "They can't afford to give any ground..." I agree...I also agree that they realise how serious things are, regarding the possibility of the whole Comey-FBI Anti-Trump conspiracy-Dodgy Dossier-Democratic Party Russian connections-Clinton Foundation corruption-Abedin security breach house of cards collapsing.

      But like generals who commit their troops to a hopeless campaign, they have to maintain the delusions that allow them to carry on.

      Not many people at the BBC will be aware of the true state of affairs in the're probably talking about less than 50 most BBC drones are the equivalent of the "poor bloody infantry" who fully believe the lies they are being fed. But those in charge I guess, like many a general, are hoping "something will turn up"...some unexpected turn of events, some definitive scandal that will destroy Trump.

      Sometimes things do turn up...and who knows with a figure like Trump?

      But that is all they have got. The idea that the Republicans in Congress - forensic inquisitors like Trey Gowdry - are going to turn down the opporunity to prove the FBI were politically biased against Trump, that the Clinton crime family are corrupt, that Abedin was secreting away damaging e mails as future "security" is far-fetched. They will be relentless in their pursuit of the truth because in this case the truth is wholly favourable to the Republicans.

  8. \\Why refer to Fox News as "very right wing" //
    cos it's a boo-word label
    it evokes fear
    The build up the narrative so "rightwing" evokes fear whereas "leftwing" doesn't

    Look for the MO


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