Thursday, July 06, 2017

The game's afoot!

Continuing my obsession with the coverage of CNN's coverage of the Reddit poster who "apologized" (more on that in a moment) for posting racist things on Reddit and for getting attention called to him by the POTUS, I hear this morning that Donald Trump is still blaming Barack Obama for Russia interfering (if they did!  Trump won't quite accept that as true) in the 2016 Presidential election.

Trump still insists Obama did nothing, and if he did do something (which he didn't!) he didn't do much because he was partisan!  He expected, in Trump's own words on NPR this morning, that Clinton would win in 2016, so Obama refrained from taking any actions against Russia (not true, but that's Trump's spin on the matter).  So Obama refraining from any public statements in America (Obama did warn off Putin directly, and took some other steps in response to the information he had) because he feared it would be considered a partisan use of government resources to influence the election (a la Comey, IOW), is now being presented as a partisan non-use of government resources to influence the election.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't, in other words.

Yes, that sounds familiar.  The GOP, frustrated that it's repeal of the ACA is not being better received, has tried to attack Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton (one of these things is not like the other!) for not having plans to offer.  Such plans have been offered by all three people, of course; but damned if you do and damned if you don't is a GOP strategy they use even when it doesn't work at all.  And apparently the "liberal" press, at least on the internet (this is still an internet story.  CNN published their "alarming paragraphs" on-line, and it hasn't crossed over into the "real world" yet, because it's really not much of a story at all), has learned to apply that strategy at the least bidding of the right wing of the GOP.

So CNN reveals many details about the Reddit poster who created the video that Trump sent 'round the world, and that reveal becomes the story.  Slate has a new article on it this morning; it seems CNN was "petty" and "self-righteous."  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Maybe CNN inartfully expressed itself in those "amazing paragraphs."  But they didn't threaten anyone, and the subject of the threat insists he doesn't feel threatened (again, more on that in a moment).  No matter, this is the internet and there must be outrage!

Aye, there's the rub.

The "liberal" media on the internet has learned to dance to the tune piped by the right wing.  They cannot defend CNN (quelle horreurs!  Defend another media outlet!  My dear, it just isn't done!) so they parrot right wing media in order to sound "objective."  They blame CNN for making the "gaffe," for exposing themselves to this kind of critique, to giving the right wing an excuse to attack.  As if the right wing needs an excuse:  damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Trump attacks Obama for not stopping Russian interference in the 2016 election to deflect any responsibility for it away from Trump.  Away from his campaign, and away from his Presidency, where the only foreign leader he won't insult, disparage, or have a public hissy fit over, is Vladimir Putin.  The GOP can't get it's "reform" of the ACA up to just 50 Senate supporters, so it blames Clinton, Sanders, and Warren, their unholy trinity of dangerous liberals.  And what did those three do to deserve such condemnation, except to lose to Trump?  If that attempt wasn't so ludicrous and poorly aimed, I suspect it, too, would lead to tut-tutting articles on Slate, Vox, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post about the mistakes Democrats had once again made.

Because the important story here is what people are saying about CNN.  Even when those people are the very people who would shut down all "liberal" media outlets if they had the chance.  The term "useful idiots" comes to mind.

And what about that apology, and the Reddit poster who didn't feel threatened by CNN?  Amanda Marcotte points out it's really not much of an apology.  What HanAssholeSolo apologized for was getting national (perhaps international) attention for his racist and misogynistic views.  Despite the rise of Trump and the rise of public displays of racism, racism itself is still not acceptable.  HAS (let's just abbreviate it, shall we?) wants to express racist views; he doesn't want to be labeled a racist.  He knows he can't defend what he's posted as non-racist, or somehow as not his views, so he separates himself from his on-line persona and says, in effect, he was possessed when he was posting anonymously.  It was his persona saying those things, maybe akin to the narrator of Jonathan Swift's most famous essay, because it wasn't Dean Swift advocating cannibalism.  Personae, of course, don't work that way; but desperate to not be "outed" as a racist, even behind a pseudonym, and suddenly finding himself the bug under the national microscope, the person thrust into the spotlight on the national stage, HAS retreats in a cloud of squid ink.

Marcotte is right:  the apology isn't much of an apology.  But look, over there!  "Amazing paragraphs" in a CNN article!  That's the REAL story!

Not racism, not the power of critiques of racism (truly none dare speak its name; even racists don't want to be "outed" as racists), not even the video that was publicized by a sitting U.S. President; but the clumsy phrasing (at worst) in a CNN article.  I understanding "doxing" as a way of creating threats (that's how it's being used against CNN staff because of this tempest in a teapot, which I suppose is CNN's fault, too, right?), but I don't quite understand the virtue of anonymity on the internet when it shields racists from the consequences of their ideas.  But that's too nuanced and complicated, I suppose.

Better to follow the leader and run with the baying hounds.....

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