It’s Time For Media and Liberals to Stop Helping Trump Win

It is curious that a fair number of Americans claim to detest Donald Trump like plague, and yet they are at the forefront of promoting him and his agenda due to their obsession with his social media activities. By now everyone on the planet knows Trump is an incompetent fool and a mentally unstable narcissist, so it is mind boggling that so many allegedly “smart” people hang on his every social media action and then share his message with the world. It is something he depends and thrives on and uses to his advantage.

Early on in Trump’s tenure a few pundits and some relatively intelligent people said it would be helpful if Americans would just ignore Trump’s Twitter tirades and not give the petulant little child the attention he craves.  Finally, one of those “smart guys” made an easy to understand graphic titled “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets” explaining how Trump uses Twitter to his advantage and how the media is complicit in giving Trump the messaging advantage.

The “smart guy” is a real academic who has spent years explaining exactly how a tyrannical maniac like Trump could easily garner support in America among a certain group of people. They are the kind of people who need a strong daddy figure to tell them how, what, and when to think, and who to turn to for the solution to all their perceived ills.

George Lakoff was describing a “Trump-like” personage ages ago and he has once again taken the time to inform Americans, especially those in mainstream media and active on social media, how they are complicit in helping Trump’s strategy by repeating his messages.

Mr. Lakoff knows of what he speaks as an acclaimed Professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He recently put his expertise to work outlining the “four ways that the president Trump uses his tweets to control the news cycle.” Lakoff took to Trump’s favorite media outlet, Twitter, to inform journalists and social media devotees how “Trump uses social media as a weapon to control the news cycle. It works like a charm. His tweets are tactical rather than substantive. They mostly fall into one of four categories.”

The categories begin with “preemptive framing;” such as promoting the idea that the “hacking of the DNC” was the DNC’s fault and that Hillary Clinton “lost by a wide margin.” Both claims are false, but with valuable assistance from the media and Democrats “retweeting” Trump’s lies, he was wildly successful “framing and promoting an idea” with no basis in fact. Both of those ideas still resonate with his base of support because “real media” types kept his false assertions in the news for months.

Trump has survived thus far using another strategy, “diversion,” to shift attention away from his corruption and incompetence as well as his Russia problems. It is a tactic he was busy using throughout the 2016 campaign continuing to the present. Mr. Lakoff referred to Trump attacking a Hollywood icon, Meryl Streep, in a tweet two weeks prior to his poorly attended inauguration to enrage Americans and shift their attention away from the reporting on his personal conflicts of interest and his administration’s Russia-collusion problems.

A related scheme, “deflection” has been a mainstay of Trump’s Twitter strategy and an integral part of his administration’s messaging, especially when dealing with any unflattering or factual media reporting. A perfect example is what Lakoff noted was “attacking the messenger” to reframe a story to benefit Trump. By attacking the media as “fake news” Trump not only “erodes public trust,”  he “establishes Trump as the only source of truth and facts.” Trump began calling any media outlet that reported truthfully “fake news” early in his campaign and it was so successful he has had no reason to stop now.

The last category is what Mr. Lakoff calls the “trial balloon” to test the media and public’s reaction to an idea; such as his public flirtation with starting a new nuclear arms race or an actual American nuclear first strike. In fact, Mr. Lakoff noted that Trump’s “big nuclear” button tweet was another “trial balloon which Trump deployed spectacularly.”

Professors Lakoff explained on Twitter that:

Each tweet gets his message retweeted so he dominates social media. Reporters, social media influencers, and many others fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Every time…They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: Repeating his messages only helps him.”

Lakoff explained that repeating his tweets are helping “embed Trump’s message into the brains of millions of people, increase his credibility with his base,” and focus all attention on Trump as if “he is the most important thing in the world.”

As this author has preached since last November, Trump’s Twitter activity needs to be completely ignored. Or at least as Professor Lakoff suggested; “take a different approach to Trump’s social media antics” and “put them in a quiet corner of the newspaper like a throwaway item at the end of the newscast.

Professor Lakoff said one thing that cannot be overstated. Instead of being captivated by Trump’s social media activity, Americans should be “keeping a steely focus on what actually matters.”

Honest to dog, it is a travesty that many Americans are still unaware that their government is being dismantled, Republicans are transferring the Treasury and wealth of the nation to the richest one-percent, and religious Republicans are in the midst of a monumental assault on women and gays. It is not that these stories are being neglected; it is that too many Americans are focused on the latest tweet from what Lakoff said is “this disgraceful man” who dominates the media.

At this point, no media outlet or journalist has to use Trump’s “Twitter” outrages to portray him as “childish or deranged,” and the same is true of social media devotees. Of course Trump is a screaming lunatic, but spreading his insanity across social media is not “negating or undermining him.” It just emboldens him and makes him appear to be the most important thing on Earth. It also feeds his narcissistic need to dominate social media and the current news cycle; it is why he never fails to unleash something bizarre at the beginning of every weekend to keep his name in the news.

Mr. Lakoff makes many good points, but none better than “we must stop letting Trump control the media — and Americans’ minds.” While Trump dominates every stinking new cycle because the media is laser focused on his twitter activity, Republicans are raping and pillaging the nation and the government with little to no public outrage or media coverage. What is particularly appalling is that while Americans, and the media, are enthralled with Trump’s latest Twitter activity, Republicans are viciously attacking women’s rights for the evangelical fanatics in league with the Vatican.

It has now been nearly two years since Trump became “a thing” of interest for the media and they have made him the most important story on Earth based on “tweets.” It is damned high time for journalists, the media at large, and “social media influencers” to grow up, focus on how Republicans and religion are destroying America and for dog’s sake stop helping Trump win the media war.

Trump Blames Media For His Own Divisive Rhetoric and Lies

It must be rewarding for a person who believes they can do no wrong to stand in front of an audience of ‘acolytes’ and cast aspersion and blame for all the nation’s woes on everyone else, it is a typically Republican tactic. Of course no Republican alive has set themselves up on a pedestal of perfection more so than Trump, but that isn’t news to anyone keeping track of his constant criticism of everyone for his own monumentally disastrous administration.

In keeping with a persistent blame game by Republicans and all manner of conservatives, Trump blamed the division among the populace on anyone but himself or his Party’s decades of incitement against “the other.

Republicans spent quite a few years inciting animus towards the poor that Ronald Reagan portrayed as taking everything away from “good Americans,” and George W. Bush successfully incited enmity against Americans that failed to support his ill-advised invasion of Iraq to great effect and to cause more division. And, when Republicans’ outrage over Americans electing an African American man as president boiled over in a “them” (African Americans) against “us” (real white Americans), the GOP accused Barack Obama of being divisive; never mind that what made him divisive in Republican circles was being Black while President and calling for equal rights for all Americans.

Now that Trump is in the midst of a nationwide campaign to rally his white supremacist devotees to defend his divisive rhetoric and support fascism, he is blaming the media for causing division among the population. And that blame is yet another cause for concern among those who earn their living reporting accurately every word Trump spews; whether it is one of his daily lies or his divisive rhetoric and praise for his white supremacist zealots.

As is typical for Trump, he accused the media of “misrepresenting” what he insisted was his prompt, unequivocal condemnation of bigotry and hatred after the violence in Charlottesville Virginia. Most Americans, except his most fervent defenders, are well aware that Trump was prompt in blaming “both sides” for the violence in his initial remarks. And after being pressured by his staff to call out his white supremacist supporters, the next day he portrayed the violent white supremacists and Nazis as “fine people.” Each of those remarks were well-documented and each prompted intense criticism, including from fellow Republican leaders for equating violent hate groups with protesters who came out to oppose hate groups and Nazi fascism.

In what was likely a high point for Trump’s Phoenix rally, he unleashed “an angry, unbridled and unscripted performance” on par with his ugliest rallies of his last presidential campaign and his purpose was crystal clear; “deflect the anger toward him against the media.”

He claimed that it is the media, not his past year-and-a-half’s worth of hateful rhetoric that is responsible for “deepening divisions” in the nation. It is noteworthy to reiterate that Trump began his campaign attempting to divide the population and there is no group, save the religious white right, that has escaped his divisive rhetoric.

Trump continued on a theme that began the first time the media reported exactly what he said; the media is fake, crooked, sick, and very dishonest. He said:

It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions. They’re very dishonest people.” And:

The only people giving a platform to these hate groups is the media itself and the fake news.”

To prove that he is still portraying opposition to Nazis and white supremacy as a justifiable reason for violence, Trump accused the media of failing  “to focus on anarchists” he claimed showed up ready for battle wearing “helmets and the black masks — Antifa.”

As a brief aside; since when are Americans who protest against white supremacists and Nazis “anarchists?” And when did opposing fascism become a bad thing or warrant criticism from the man in the White House who is supposed to defend democracy? The answer to both questions is when Trump gained national prominence and pledged to make “his” America great.

Trump also emboldened white supremacists and neo-Confederates when he accused the news media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage.”  It is a direct reference to the raging debate over removing statues of Confederate traitors to the United States. Trump knows, like his hate-driven supporters, that the media has nothing whatsoever to do with “removing statues” or “taking away” anybody’s heritage. The media simply reports on the debate. Some outlets have actually reported on the history behind the Confederacy and the white supremacists responsible for erecting monuments to slavery and America’s bloodiest war.

Taking up a tactic he used to great effect during last year’s campaign, Trump repeatedly pointed to cameras in the convention center and “whipped the crowd into fevered chants of ‘CNN sucks.’” As was the case during his campaign last year, Trump’s incitement against the media prompted his audience to “shout epithets at reporters” and demand that the media stop doing its job; what Trump and his acolytes consider “tormenting the president [Trump] with questions about his ties to Russia.

As reported in the New York Times, a favorite target of Trump’s, his angry condemnation of the news media in Phoenix “heightened the fear among journalists that verbal attacks on the profession could lead to physical attacks.” Trump is well-practiced at inciting his crowds with claims the media is the enemy, but his attacks in Phoenix “took even seasoned journalists by surprise.” Not only did Trump label journalists as “sick people,” he questioned whether  journalists are really Americans. He said “I really think they don’t like our country.”

The only people in America guilty of divisiveness are Republicans. For the past year-and-a-half Trump has deliberately incited “his people” to rage against everyone and anyone he deems a valid target. It hasn’t mattered if they are Hispanic, Muslims, atheists, immigrants, gays, Democrats, women, judges, other Republicans, business leaders, or patriotic Americans opposing fascism and Nazis; Trump has portrayed any and everyone who fails to bend to his way of thinking as “an enemy of the people.” And he has singled out the media because their job is reporting every one of Trump’s lies. In the process, the media has revealed that not everyone in America worships Donald J. Trump and that is primarily why Trump calls journalists “sick people” who “don’t like our country.”