September 17, 2016

"The people complaining about 'false balance' usually seem confident in having discovered the truth of things for themselves, despite the media's supposed incompetence."

"They're quite sure of whom to vote for and why. Their complaints are really about the impact that 'false balance' coverage might have on other, lesser humans, with weaker minds than theirs. Which is not just snobbish, but laughably snobbish. So, shut up."

From "Stop Whining About 'False Balance'/Everyone wants to blame reporters for the rise of Donald Trump. How about the media consumer?" by Matt Taibbi.

Via John Althouse Cohen.

ADDED: It's a variation on the old "free speech for me, but not for thee" — not about speaking but receiving speech. It's fine for me and the people I put in the elite group to hear everything, but what reaches the masses must be filtered through the elite, because the common people lack the capacity to tell good speech from bad and to arrive at the truth through the power of their own mind.

If you really believe that, then we shouldn't be having elections at all. In this election, the elite are seeing — more starkly than in any election I can think of in my lifetime — that the people are receiving information and thinking about it in a different way, not taking direction, and the elite shrink from the disgusting opinions of the people who were decent enough when they were doing the bidding of the elite. But now, thinking on their own, the electorate belongs in the Basket of Deplorables.

That's what makes the "Les Deplorables" image so powerful:



It's a revolution. To switch to a different French Revolution play:
Down with all of the ruling class!
Throw all the generals out on their ass!
Why do they have the gold?
Why do they have the power? Why, why, why, why?
Why do they have the friends at the top?
Why do they have the jobs at the top?
The Judy Collins version of that — "Marat/Sade" — gives me chills. Here's a video matching the song to images of the Occupy movement:



AND: I clicked on the embedded "Marat/Sade" video and the ad that came up was for Maserati!

69 comments:

Sydney said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

MayBee said...

I always know the words "False Equivalence" are coming from a lefty.

MayBee said...

"They're quite sure of whom to vote for and why. Their complaints are really about the impact that "false balance" coverage might have on other, lesser humans, with weaker minds than theirs.

Great pullquote, by the way.
But isn't this the very essence of progressivism? All the rules meant to tell other lesser humans how to talk, what habits to have, how much energy to use, etc?

readering said...

Perfect example is hand wringing over
Trump's tonight show appearance.

Still, it is inevitable that people will want to try to figure out how it is that Republicans picked Trump out of supposedly the highest quality
Republican field in decades and Democrats almost picked Sanders, a socialist, as standard bearer for a party he's not a member of.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Tabibi wrote:

"An important news story or 10 will likely die on the vine while the country obsesses over Trump's latest foot-in-mouth episode."

And just who highlights those foot-in-mouth episodes and dwells on them and replays them endlessly? Just who is doing the obsessing?

But don't blame the media! It's the country's fault!

The entire article is a textbook case of projection.

Rusty said...

Maybe @ 8:14

Or to put it another way sine we don't even know what's in our own best interests.

wait for it.

Blogger Chuck said...
"Fuck you all. You fucking idiots."

exiledonmainstreet said...

And I love how reasonable complaints about clear media bias are turned into "whines." Conservatives are supposed to just accept they are the villains of our national morality play, that the sins of the Democrats will be overlooked and excused, while every real or imagined Republican transgression will be on Page 1 and discussed for days by CNN and MSNBC talking heads.

Look at the campus speech codes:

The Left: "We determine what is acceptable speech, and we order you to shut up."
The Right: "That's unfair and totalitarian."
The Left: "Oh, stop your damned whining!"

Terry said...

The Taibbi article is full of passive voice. Very irritating.
"The practice of journalists who, in their zeal to be fair, present each side of a debate as equally credible, even when the factual evidence is stacked heavily on one side." (from the Times).
Who decides what evidence is 'factual'? Who is stacking it heavily one side? Facts aren't things that exist outside of the mind, they are claims the mind makes about things that exist outside of it.

chickelit said...

I have had Google alert set for "Trump and "Rolling Stones" for some time now. I'm waiting to hear the usual endorsement or denial by the Stones (and or one of them). The search picks up daily hits for stories that appear in Rolling Stone and I usually scan the headlines. They have been on a one side crusade against Trump that makes the NYT look downright fair and balanced. They almost read like the whole sex, drugs and rock n roll thing is facing an existential threat. Bill Clinton was their standard bearer. I find this all so shallow and poorly thought through.

chickelit said...

There is usually at least one pro-Trump heretic at any news organization but not so for the RS. Total groupthink.

stlcdr said...

Who doesn't want a Maserati? Should ads only play for things we are capable of purchasing/owning? Personally, I'd rather see an ad for a car I would never be able to purchase than for a new vehicle which I could reasonably purchase if I stretched my budget and took out a 7 year loan and become a slave to the banks and then complain I can't buy shoes for my kids or afford health insurance because cars are important, like.

Tommy Duncan said...

Donald Trump understands the American electorate, as is demonstrated by his embracing the "deplorables" theme.

Hillary and the mainstream press are accurately depicted in this quote:

“I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” -- Pauline Kael

traditionalguy said...

The French Revolution was a Movement that created a stir of liberty for all citizens. But they had to unite or perish divided. Voila, Napoleon Bonaparte became The Leader.

Lucien said...

The whole false balance idea works better with factual issues: the earth is flat vs. the earth is round, rather than matters of opinion: I prefer candidate A to candidate B.

buwaya puti said...

Ah, Ca ira, ca ira, ca ira
Quand l'aristocrate protestera
Le bon citizen au nez lui rira

David Begley said...

Brilliant stagecraft by Trump and Bannon with that Les Mis entrance.

Down with the Queen!
We aren't your slaves any more!

It's over except for the crying and scapegoating.

Next week: more emails!

Ann Althouse said...

"And I love how reasonable complaints about clear media bias are turned into "whines." Conservatives are supposed to just accept they are the villains..."

Except in the scenario under discussion, the liberals are doing the "whining."

buwaya puti said...

Citoyen.
Damned autocorrect. Infested by communist devils, this autocorrect.

rehajm said...

Under the rules of this reality series which media consumers turn into a gigantic hit every four years, collapsing in front of a cell-phone camera at a 9/11 memorial service is more important than a dozen position papers.

Collapsing at a memorial service is more important than a dozen position papers. As for the cell phone camera, you do need the cell phone camera to prevent factual evidence from remaining rumor or rhetoric.

rehajm said...

That's the paradox with this candidate. Even the people who wish he didn't exist can't take their eyes off him. No amount of "contextualizing" or pointing out his flaws and deceptions can walk back his gravitational pull on audiences.

And he does it all without giant Roman columns!

Temujin said...

I have to say that, after years of watching the level of thinking (and writing) on the part of journalists, this field has finally taken up a well deserved place of mockery and now resides at a bottom level of respect. Though they can read the same polls that we do on how 'media' members are viewed, I think the majority of them must believe it applies to others, not themselves.

In the early 90's Thomas Sowell wrote a brilliant and well-documented book called "Inside American Education" about the level of thinkers going into the education field in our universities. He also wrote heavily on the education department heads and curricula at universities and how it had become the attraction for the lowest level of thinkers around campus. Let me toss in this disclaimer: he was not saying that all teachers are morons. But he was saying, and had the statistics to show it, that when totaling up those who went into education vs those who went into anything else, the education majors were at the bottom of the intellectual pyramid at most any university. Those who went into education had the lowest average GPAs and the lowest average SATs by category, compared to any other departments. Further, the education curricula around the country were consistently the least intellectually vigorous and increasingly showed less and less focus on how to actually teach a topic, while spending an inordinate amount of time on faddish trends in 'educating'.

I do believe that in today's world, Journalism now typically attracts that former education student. Journalism now cranks out the same low quality product as education has for decades. Something needs to get fixed, because we cannot be a society of just code writers and lawyers.

rehajm said...

I'm as worried as anyone else about the possibility of Trump getting elected. But if it happens, it's not going to be because The New York Times allowed a few reporters to investigate the Clinton Foundation. It'll be because we're a nation of idiots, who vote the same way we choose channels: without thinking.

Some of us are idiots the rest are deplorables.

Terry said...

"Rehajm wrote:
Collapsing at a memorial service is more important than a dozen position papers."
Indeed. Imagine Hillary collapsing on camera as she leaves a meeting with Putin or Xi Jinping, or some other high profile event with foreign heads of state. She is surrounded by Secret Service agents who put their hands on the their pistols and toss her unconscious body in a van. Jesus.

Virgil Hilts said...

In some ways the opposition to DT has taken on the flavor of the global warming orthodoxy. People are so convinced he's this terrible person and won't consider any evidence to the contrary. Anyone suggesting flaws in the model (by pointing out HC's lies and corruption) is acting badly -- it is just too important to stop global warming, the science is settled, and any sentiments that might undermine that orthodoxy are apostasy, whether or not scientific.
As with AGW, however, the predictions are so dour that the average person looking at the weather/DT doesn't see anything that bad; they become sick of the preaching, PC thought control and the insults to their intelligence.
DT says occasional stupid things - he makes me wince -- but is he really, really that awful of a person? If so, then why, given a choice between being stuck on a desert isle for a month with HC or DT, would most people (including probably Bill Clinton and I suspect Ann) pick DT?

Paco Wové said...

"the very essence of progressivism... rules meant to tell other lesser humans how to talk, what habits to have"

... or to keep certain ethnic groups in a state of "productive discomfort", like pearl oysters or beasts of burden...

damikesc said...

In the end, our "elites" are closed-minded simpletons who do not want their precious assumptions challenged. They are their stereotype of everybody else.

Did the media "consumers" really give a furry rat's ass about a closed lane on a bridge in NJ a few years ago? Did they give a fuck about "macaca" back in 2008?

n.n said...

The Fourth JournoList of the DNC

Anglelyne said...

Temujin: In the early 90's Thomas Sowell wrote a brilliant and well-documented book called "Inside American Education" about the level of thinkers going into the education field in our universities. He also wrote heavily on the education department heads and curricula at universities and how it had become the attraction for the lowest level of thinkers around campus. Let me toss in this disclaimer: he was not saying that all teachers are morons. But he was saying, and had the statistics to show it, that when totaling up those who went into education vs those who went into anything else, the education majors were at the bottom of the intellectual pyramid at most any university. Those who went into education had the lowest average GPAs and the lowest average SATs by category, compared to any other departments. Further, the education curricula around the country were consistently the least intellectually vigorous and increasingly showed less and less focus on how to actually teach a topic, while spending an inordinate amount of time on faddish trends in 'educating'.

If you know intelligent teachers, you know they agree with this. One of the biggest complaints I've hear from intelligent, older teachers, who came up before "schools of education" became entrenched, is their having to periodically get "continuing education" creds or higher degrees from these institutions in order to maintain and advance their careers. They are uniformly appalled by the rock-bottom "intellectual" level of these places. I admire them, and their younger counterparts, for sticking it out to pursue their vocations in spite of this. (Though I really think they all out to get together and burn that bitch - DoE, "colleges of education" - down.

I do believe that in today's world, Journalism now typically attracts that former education student. Journalism now cranks out the same low quality product as education has for decades. Something needs to get fixed, because we cannot be a society of just code writers and lawyers.

It's an intellectual Gresham's Law in action, in part. Journalism seems also to have become feminized to a painful degree (paging rhhardin). What used to be considered content and tone for "the women's pages" has oozed into every other branch of news and punditry.

Cornroaster said...

Virgil Hilts said: "If so, then why, given a choice between being stuck on a desert isle for a month with HC or DT, would most people (including probably Bill Clinton and I suspect Ann) pick DT?"

Because Donald Trump would build you a luxury hotel/casino, while HRC was telling you how to build an environmentally correct hut for her, but he wouldn't invite you in.

Cornroaster said...

Should have been she wouldn't invite you in. The "s" key on my laptop sticks sometimes.

readering said...

Talk a out groupthink. Read these comments to this post. Will folks at least recognize that the Nevertrump movement on the right is quite unprecedented for the Republican Party and that the support on the left for Bernie Sanders--Bernie effing Sanders!!--is without precedent for the Democratic Party?

Kylos said...

I made the Les Mis connection back on Tuesday right here on this blog. I've been humming the song ever since. It really resonates. I'd like to think my post caught someone's attention.

mockturtle said...

'Les Deplorables'. I like it.

William said...

Voltaire didn't like to discuss atheism in front of the servants. He felt that it was important that they keep believing in God.....The discretion of mandarins is more annoying than their opinions.

William said...

There are a lot of things about Hillary that the mandarins are loathe to discuss before us peasants.

Meeeea said...

Kylos, I remember that. I thought it was brilliant!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Tommy Duncan said...
Donald Trump understands the American electorate, as is demonstrated by his embracing the "deplorables" theme.


Indeed, and the Democrats have forgotten where they came from. Nobody remembers Al Smith?


To settle one ongoing dispute about a proposed appropriation by Moses on the south shore, Smith summoned Moses and several landowners to a conference, so he could hear both sides. When one of the landowners explained that they didn't want to be "overrun by rabble from the city," Smith looked at him coldly and replied, "Rabble? That's me you're talking about," and signed the appropriation form on the spot.

Gojuplye said...

The media is little more than a group of "mean girls" telling each other lies about how smart, witty, insightful, etc. they all are knowing they are lying about all the others, yet fervently believeing all the other are tell the truth about him/her.

The media's problem is not that they are totally lacking in morals, ethics, or complete lack of ability to reason rationally - its having to realize that the public is fully aware of their shortcomings.

mockturtle said...


To settle one ongoing dispute about a proposed appropriation by Moses on the south shore, Smith summoned Moses and several landowners to a conference, so he could hear both sides. When one of the landowners explained that they didn't want to be "overrun by rabble from the city," Smith looked at him coldly and replied, "Rabble? That's me you're talking about," and signed the appropriation form on the spot.


Every time I hear someone call Trump a 'rabble-rouser' I think, yeah, that's what you think of millions of Americans! The rabble are really pissed and tired of being pissed on. Are the 'rabble' not entitled to a fair share of representation? Elitism is dead, or at least moribund.

mockturtle said...

I well remember my Poli Sci prof talking about 'false equivalence' [and this was EONS ago]. He said that to give the political Right the same weight as the Left was to assume their views are equally valid. I am not making this up and I'm sure things haven't gotten any better.

tcrosse said...

Off with their heads !
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pZHXr4FE44

Humperdink said...

readering said: "Will folks at least recognize that the Nevertrump movement on the right is quite unprecedented for the Republican Party and that the support on the left for Bernie Sanders--Bernie effing Sanders!!--is without precedent for the Democratic Party?"

In recent months though, the NeverTrumpers have been given a greater voice, probably because they are the elites of the former Republican party. The Sandernistas on the other hand, have gone silent.

Ann Althouse said...

I think a lot of people independently thought of Les Miserables. It was one of the first things Meade thought of as we talkec about it. I, on the other hand, thought of Lunchables. Didn't go so far as to blog it.

coupe said...

"...sons of the ass-licking dying regime"

Judy, Judy, Judy...

I hate it when peasants want more. Johnson gave them more, a Great Society, bankrupted the country to give them more, and when the Generals took them to war, all they did was cry in their beer on the boat to French Indochina...

damikesc said...

The media being as it is made Trump's stunt yesterday glorious. He is just letting them know how little he thinks of them.

Talk a out groupthink. Read these comments to this post. Will folks at least recognize that the Nevertrump movement on the right is quite unprecedented for the Republican Party and that the support on the left for Bernie Sanders--Bernie effing Sanders!!--is without precedent for the Democratic Party?

Do the Sanders supporters still exist? I've not heard a word from them since the DNC.

Yancey Ward said...

Yes, Les Miserables was the very first thought I had when I read of Clinton's remark. I even wrote on my very first comment about the remark that Trump should immediately seize and use the phrase "The Deplorables."

It is so effective, I expect the owners of the copyrights and trademarks of the musical to make a very, very public display in the coming week about suing Trump's campaign for violations. It will also be counterproductive, but I think his opponents have lost their minds completely now.

cubanbob said...

I'm not convinced that Trumpy will win but damn, the funk of desperation by the Left is awesome.

Theodore James said...

"Les Deplorables" is a perfect flip of an insult into a joke which humiliates the opponent.

It's so American.

"Yankee Doodle" was sung by the British soldiers to insult the American revolutionaries but was flipped when the Americans used it as a rallying song.

coupe said...

The tone of the book Les Misérables was very depressing. It went on and on. I don't even think you could cover it in a semester. If you cut out all the crap, you get a better story in The Count of Monte Cristo written 20 years before.

The Château d'If still exists!

Life was no better with the Little General in exile...

Yancey Ward said...

Talk a out groupthink. Read these comments to this post. Will folks at least recognize that the Nevertrump movement on the right is quite unprecedented for the Republican Party and that the support on the left for Bernie Sanders--Bernie effing Sanders!!--is without precedent for the Democratic Party?

Readering, I think most of the commentators on this blog do recognize this, but I kind of get the feeling that you are the one who doesn't really understand its meaning. Would you acknowledge that the rebels against the establishment lost in the Democratic Party this year, but won in the Republican Party? This also isn't new, either, for just this year- the Republican Party has been dragged kicking and screaming in this direction since late 2008. The Republican Party leadership stemmed the tide in various ways over the last 8 years, even as this revolt actually succeeded in giving them back the House and then the Senate, but Trump is now breaching the last defenses. The ironic thing is that the NeverTrumpers (also called by me, The NeverTeaPartiers), are down to having Hillary! as their standard bearer. I predict that in November, the NeverTrumpers vanish completely, and it won't matter if Trump wins or loses.

Michael K said...

" you do need the cell phone camera to prevent factual evidence from remaining rumor or rhetoric."

Yes and that guy that shot the video needs to look both ways twice when crossing streets.

I don't think Victor Hugo will being a copyright case against Trump. If the music composers did so, he would turn it to his favor.

Patterico is still pretty much a NeverTrump site but a few commenters are starting to get wise.

mockturtle said...

And I still think that Jean Valjean was wrong, wrong wrong to steal the bishop's candlesticks. Poverty is no excuse for criminal behavior.

"Les Miserables" was one of the first classic novels I read. I was home sick from junior high school and read all four volumes. I've never cared for French literature. Maybe it loses a lot in the translation. We did read Moliere [in French] in high school French class and it was quite good. "Tartuffe", I believe.

Yancey Ward said...

I read the novel in college, but my first introduction to it was the candlesticks story which was excerpted in an elementary school reader that I had, I think, in the sixth or seventh grade.

I have to say, I found the novel tedious, but I love the musical a great deal, and I am not, in general, a lover of musical theater.

coupe said...

It should be Les Déplorables as adding the accent aigu gives it that French Fry look. You won't like how it sounds though... lay-day-plohr-ah-bluh

Déplorables has a different meaning in French though. They use the word to mean "worthy of compassion", "lamentable", "regretable".

Completely different from the English "pathetic", "condemnation".

Oh well, the meaning has less to do than the visual.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

And I still think that Jean Valjean was wrong, wrong wrong to steal the bishop's candlesticks. Poverty is no excuse for criminal behavior.

Was necessary to set up the bishop to forgive him and demonstrate his belief in Valjean's redemption.

mockturtle said...

Was necessary to set up the bishop to forgive him and demonstrate his belief in Valjean's redemption.

I was being purposely and facetiously obtuse. You mustn't ever take me too seriously ;-).

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

@mockturtle--sorry my sarc meter was off :) And, GO HAWKS!

mockturtle said...

Regarding Marat-Sade. A group of us drove down to Portland, Oregon, for a screening of the film version of the play [late 60's, I guess] at the Duck Soup Cinema. Then we noticed it was shown on the local PBS station the very next night. We staged our own version later as part of 'guerilla theater'. I was not Charlotte Corday but a member of the chorus.

mockturtle said...

Yes! GO HAWKS! :-)

damikesc said...

Trump never was accused of stealing money from low-income donors.

Hillary...http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/report-clinton-campaign-may-have-overcharged-donors/article/2602044

Bruce Hayden said...

The stealing money from small donors seems to work like this. Crooked Hillary campaign worker gets a credit card from a small donor for maybe a $25 donation, then charges that, another two $25 charges, and a $19 charge, keeping it below $100, exceeding which would force the banks to deny their credit card services to her campaign. The non-$25 charge is the giveaway that the scheme is intentional, and not mere accident. Oh, and then her campaign makes it nearly impossible to get their money back, requiring dozens and dozens of calls.

Terry said...

Blogger I Have Misplaced My Pants said...
. . .
Was necessary to set up the bishop to forgive him and demonstrate his belief in Valjean's redemption.

You mean that Valjean was not . . . IRREDEEMABLE?

wildswan said...

I've sent for my Les Deplorables T-shirt and figured out a place I can wear it.

The picture was made up by somebody named Keln who will never get a cent from the T shirt people so all I can do is say:

Thanks Keln.
A truly deplorable effort.

mockturtle said...

Dang, there's a whole page of this stuff! I want some!

https://www.ifrogtees.com/collections/deplorable-merchandise

Molly said...

The Judy Collins song this made me think of was Pirate Jenny (though I find Marianne Faithfull's version more moving).

And so then, what about three-penny opera? An attractive (charming can we say?) prince of thieves (Trump) is set against Mr. Peachum, the "king of beggars" (Clinton) who claims to be devoted to improving the lives of the poor beggars, but in reality is using the beggars for his own aggrandizement. And both are struggling for the affection of (approval of) Polly Peachum (the voting populace). She loves them both and hates them both. She historically has always stuck with family (the establishment), but now (because she wants to express her independence and because Mack the Knife is so amusingly charming) is on the verge of rejecting daddy establishment.

Ok, I know I'm inclined (aren't we all) to start with a vaguely plausible analogy and them stretch it beyond what it can really bear.

But, if you're with me this far, google Marianne Faithfull and Pirate Jenny, listen, and your time will not be badly spent, even if the relevance to 2016 election is ridiculous.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7-XNVa5Gic

Michael Fitzgerald said...

readering said...
Will folks at least recognize that the Nevertrump movement on the right is quite unprecedented for the Republican Party and that the support on the left for Bernie Sanders--Bernie effing Sanders!!--is without precedent for the Democratic Party?

9/17/16, 10:52 AM

I agree that the NeverTrump faction of the republican party is something I've never seen before- Probably because I've never seen the republican voters nominate a non-politician for the presidency, and that's why NeverTrumpers are crapping in their silk underwear. They thought that they killed the Tea Party movement that demanded accountability from them, but the Tea Party made Trump possible, and the irresponsible and weak republican leadership made Trump inevitable.

As far as the democrat party goes, the presence of a socialist is the logical progression of the party that has caucused with, courted and supported socialists and communists for generations. I'm sure President Obama's first press secretary was thrilled to see Bernie Sanders representing...

Robert Cook said...

"Who decides what evidence is 'factual'?"

Presumably, the person who knows or can determine which evidence is supported by facts that are external to and independent of the beliefs individuals may have have about the event, action, or thing in contention.

Joe said...

Whoa! Isn't the meme that Trump is thin skinned? Yet, he keeps turning things back on the critics, press and Clintons.

I've said before and will say again, these groups have a serious problem with psychological projection.