No More Mister Nice Media?

We seem to be having official “hair on fire” week in news media. The Atlantic is dedicating an entire issue to the disastrous consequences of Trump returning to the White House.

At WaPo, see Robert Kagan, A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.  See also How Donald Trump uses dishonesty by Philip Bump.

The New York Times is more cautious, with Why a Second Trump Presidency May Be More Radical Than His First by Charlie Savage, Jonathan Swan, and Maggie Haberman. But see also Frank Bruni, It’s Not the Economy. It’s the Fascism.

At The Guardian, see A second Trump term will be far more autocratic than the first. He’s telling us. At CNN, see Trump is showing how a second term would rewrite the rules of presidential power.

For the Trump pushback, see Trump, allies fire back at media warnings of second-term dictatorship at The Hill.

This is just a small sampling of articles that have come out in the past week. On top of that there’s Liz Cheney’s book, which I take it is a big warning about Trump. I’m hoping this marks the beginning of some more vigorous coverage of Trump.

16 thoughts on “No More Mister Nice Media?

  1. The Times article really infuriated me.  Not only are Savage, Haberman and Swan long time apologists for and normalizers of trump but they obviously are having great difficulty adjusting to our current reality.  All three have made their reportage bones off of trump and are loathe to quit him.  Haberman is really the worst, her apologist reporting is topped only by her smug arrogance about it all.  She considers herself the World's expert on trump and woe be unto those who question her take on all things trumpian.

  2. I found Kagan's piece offensively one-sided. Yes, we have the political contest of the century ahead of us but Trump's victory is anything but "inevitable."

    I do not understand Tom's objection to Maggie's coverage of Trump. What I've seen from her is highly critical, factual, and she seems to have sources close to Trump. I really don't see any indication from the Times article that there's any "normalizing" of Trump. Maybe if there had been an example of what Tom saw in the article that I obviously missed….

    Trump's ass is on the line with the trials. He's not getting any breaks from the courts. The USSC didn't give Trump anything after he lost in 2020. I don't think they will now – Trump shows no sign that he will respect any court decisions from any court unless they are completely in Trum['s favor. I don't think a majority on the USSC wants to become enablers of Trump's autocratic fantasies.

    The J6 trial looks like it will go off on schedule. IMO, the truth about what happened before and after J6 is going to come out. It will be public and voters will pay attention. Some voters will embrace the coup attempt but I think the jury will convict and the argument will morph into the crux of the decision next November.

    Do you want a dictator? 

    That's not accepted by most voters yet as the central issue of the decision they have to make. The trials are the events that allow (force) truth to displace propaganda. This viewpoint would be hopelessly Pollyannaish if the media were an extension of  Trump's propaganda machine. (Successful dictators get control of the press FIRST. Trump wishes he could but he's failed.) The press seems to have decided that the truth about the candidates is better fodder for sales than reporting the odds. The RISK to democracy should be compelling. 

    I'm not promoting complacency but defeatism will draw off votes, too. We can, we must, and we will win this thing.

    • The counter-argument I've heard, and which I'm certain has plenty of precedent in other countries and in other times, is that fears of dictatorship are overblown, and are the product of leftist media. This is from people inclined toward authoritarianism anyway. It's kind of a rationalization, a willful ignorance, which is the essence of conservativism. These people can't be reached.

      I'm optimistic for at least one Trump conviction before the election, which should sway some people.

  3. Now really, should a person who attempted an insurrection (the judgements and evidence appears overwhelming) even be able to run for president?  I guess this one has to go to the court of public opinion.  So be it.  IMO the constitution has a provision for it, but we may need to ignore everything else while we make sure NEVER AGAIN TRUMP vote carries the day.  

    If common sense really existed, this would NOT be needed.   


    • There's too much historical precedent, in other times, in other countries, where despite massive criminality, the criminal gains power anyway. Mass delusion rules, especially in an age of mass media. Common sense isn't that common.

    • should a person who attempted an insurrection (the judgements and evidence appears overwhelming) even be able to run for president? 

      You'd hope not, but because the DoJ apparently spent two years sitting on its hands trying to avoid getting involved in judgements about Trump, the necessary judicial notice of his criminality was never taken.

      There might be some good defense for D inaction during the first couple of years of Biden's time but if so I have not heard it articulated.

  4. WaPo comment of the day

    Take it from this criminal defense attorney, Jack Smith’s team is painting Trump into a corner. He will be his own worst witness. The evidence will undoubtedly include video of him spouting off. It will be disclosed on discovery and he will be able to view it at his attorneys offices. I’ll bet we’ll know when he sees it… there will be an explosion heard far and wide!


    Biden: ‘not sure he’d be running’ in 2024 if Trump wasn’t: ‘We cannot let him win’

    I love it, we need democrats in the house and senate to lean into this. You say Biden is too old, Well Stump is fucking insane, let's have Stump suspend his campaign and we'll let Kamala and Nicky have it! Of course that won't happen; they (the democrats and the bobble-heads) will figure out some way to make this statement work for Stump.

    FBI Director Wray: “The threat level has gone to a whole ‘nother level since Oct. 7,” he said."

    A terror attack (the mooslim kind not the RWNJ kind, that happens a few time a year) will be devastating for Biden during the election. Every day that the slaughter in Gaza goes on Bibi releases new little tidbits about the Hama's terror attack to occupy the media and justify the IDF slaughter. Today it is that they used sexual violence. Imagine murderous fundamentalist barbarians commiting rape, I'm shocked? OK yeah lets talk about that today, it's cool go ahead and kill five thousand more Palestinians. Israel put 2.5 million people between a wall and an Ocean with no way to escape and now says they need to slaughter many of them to kill Hama's. Has anyone asked why Israel can't let the civilians (women and children) out of Gaza, maybe they could live in Israel until Hama's is defeated? Guess not. Bibi is doing his damnedest to get Stump back the WH.


  6. I just got off a zoom call, sponsored by Force Multiplier, for my senator, Jacky Rosen, who's running for re-election in Nevada. I knew almost zip about Rosen, but came away really impressed with her. She's a former computer programmer and president of her synagogue (what a combination), who started out waitressing at Caesar's Palace. Rosen is a first-term senator, and as such she's been targeted by the Republicans.

    This post is really about Force Multiplier. They're a volunteer group that got started in the despair following the 2016 election. They identify Democratic candidates in the House or Senate who 1) are in battleground states/close races and 2) have a decent shot at winning. It's about maximizing your donation dollars to have the best chance at winning the House or Senate for Democrats. They recommend slates of candidates, but you're free to donate however you please. They do the research so you don't have to, is their motto.

    I learned about the zoom call for Rosen thru Robert Hubbell's substack. Thrilled that she's my senator and that I can lean in for her.

    • I only moved here in July. It's amazing I even know her name, but that's probably more than many of my neighbors who've been here for years.

      Thrilled that I have a new project.

  7. No doubt a second Trump presidency will be worse.  Trump was not expecting to win in 2016 and had no plan or philosophy other than grifting for himself and his family, and he did that.  This time, they'll have a roadmap to autocracy in Project 2025, with committed foot soldiers, lieutenants and institutions like Heritage ready to carry it out.  In many ways Trump is the useful idiot in all this.  The real decision makers are the wealthy backers and corporations who've long salivated over complete control of government unconstrained by "democracy."  They'll tolerate his vengeance plans and dictator power obsessions, as long as regulations are cut, barriers are removed to allow them unfettered ownership of the economy.   

    Unfortunately, the average voter doesn't understand what any of this means for them.  Many already don't understand how government works and think the president has king like powers.  They blamed Joe Biden for not passing student loan forgiveness the first time, extending the child tax credit, and the voting rights act.  And truth be told, many would have no problem with being relived of the civic burden of participating in the decisions of government thru voting.  

    Autocracy is a means to an end. The end in this case is a neo Gilded Age, more powerful, entrenched and less constrained then before. And they’ve never been closer to achieving it. If Trump wins, its game over.


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