January 23, 2017

"The incoming administration dismissed CNN and BuzzFeed News’s report as 'fake news,' a term now used by partisans and cynics to discredit reporting they don’t like. We should have seen that coming."

"BuzzFeed News’s reporting helped popularize the term to describe a new breed of fraudsters. But the dossier is a real document that has been influencing senior officials, lawmakers, intelligence agencies and, potentially, the new commander in chief. Nobody should fall for this attempt to turn the press on itself by making a reasonable debate about transparency into a media civil war. News organizations should instead consider this reality: Our audience inhabits a complex, polluted information environment; our role is to help them navigate it — not to pretend it doesn’t exist. The need to show our work and earn trust has never been more important, since once reliable official sources are peddling 'alternative facts' — as the White House press secretary did Saturday."

Writes Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed, in a NYT op-ed titled "Why BuzzFeed News Published the Dossier."

The term "alternative facts" came not from the press secretary, but from Kellyanne Conway, in a "Meet the Press" interview with Chuck Todd that I described as a 9-round fight, here. Chuck Todd kept asking Conway "why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood?"
And then we get the sound bite of the whole morning, as she attempts, at long last, to refute Todd's idea that it was a "provable falsehood":
What-- You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains--
Todd sees the gem he has caused to come into existence and plucks it out to hold in his hand and admire:
Wait a minute-- Alternative facts?
Conway tries to plow on, but he repeats the Conway's terrible phrase:
Alternative facts?... Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.
I scored a big win for Todd in what was Round 3. But in the comments at my post, I got more deeply into the question of what "alternative facts" means:
In context and read sympathetically, "alternative facts" doesn't mean that there are competing versions of the truth and you can refer to all of them as "facts."

Actually, that wouldn't bother me that much, because it would mean that the word "facts" was being used to mean "assertions of fact." Chuck Todd used the word "litigating," and in litigation there are factual issues, and litigants try to get the "fact-finder" to accept their assertions of fact as the facts. If one litigant states a fact — X is true — the other litigant may say X is not true. It would be awkward but understandable to call X and not-X "alternative facts."

But what I think Conway meant was that there are many different factual issues, and some people choose to forefront one factual issue — such as the size of the crowd at the Inauguration — when there are many other factual issues that could have been selected as the main story. There are "alternatives" in that you don't have to make such a big deal out of that one thing, and you could emphasizes something else. The "alternative facts" were all the other things that Trump did, good things, that would have put him in a good light, and the media is criticized for picking out the fact that diminished Trump.

117 comments:

Brando said...

Ann, you're doing one hell of a spin job but dancing around the obvious question--what is the point of lying blatantly about something as petty as crowd size? The crowd size is easily measurable and there's no question the turnout on inauguration day was not terrific. There are may good ways to spin this--it was on a workday, weather was lousy, more people choose to catch it at home or on the Internet, people expected protests because this is a controversial president and may have decided to stay home to avoid it, Trump's inauguration shouldn't be compared with Obama's because a black president is obviously more historic--and most importantly, who cares about the crowd size? It's not a measure of how good a president will be or how popular they'll be when it matters next. But Spicer was directed (or decided by himself?) to try and push the claim that the turnout and TV ratings were the biggest ever, which was immediately disproved, and for what? Does this help pass a policy, or get a nominee through? What does this serve?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Writes Ben Smith, editor in chief of BuzzFeed, in a NYT op-ed titled "Why BuzzFeed News Published the Dossier.""

-- "Because it hurts Trump."

Didn't need a whole op-ed for that Smith.

rehajm said...

The incoming administration dismissed CNN and BuzzFeed News’s report as “fake news,” a term now used by partisans and cynics to discredit reporting they don’t like. We should have seen that coming.

The term 'fake news' was loaded into the media manure spreader as a weapon to deploy against the legitimate stories of Clinton corruption. You shouldn't have seen it coming because there was no way Hillary was going to lose.

William said...

Some facts are factier than other facts. While it's true that more people showed up for Trump rallies than for Hillary's events, such things are not worthy of note. The fact that Obama had more people at his first inaugural--now that's a fact to conjure with.

AprilApple said...

"It was the video."

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."

"Every family will save average of 2500.00 a month for health care."


Gruber = who is Gruber?

Zero discussion from hack press on the truthiness of these statements/ these issues.

J2 said...

And Conway did not have to repeat the phrase "alternative facts" later in the conversation. She chose to.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Our audience inhabits a complex, polluted information environment; our role is to help them navigate it — not to pretend it doesn’t exist. The need to show our work and earn trust has never been more important, since once reliable official sources are peddling 'alternative facts'"

-- Does Smith in the entire Op-ed (which for some reason I can't access) ever address that Buzzfeed ignored the fact that two of the only falsifiable things in the entire dossier were untrue (Trump in Prague, someone else being overseeas when he wasn't?) I mean, that seems to be kind of an important pair of alternative facts that should have weighed heavily on whether or not to publish the dossier.

Chuck said...

If "alternative facts" had been the one single misstep of the weekend, I might accept that alternative construction of the issue.

But we had Trump, saying that his crowd had been the biggest ever. That there were "a million, a million and a half" people on and around the Mall. Trump said that as he began to speak, the rain stopped (as some sort of sign of divine providence, presumably). Others tried to make it out as the largest tv audience ever (not sure about that one).

And then there was Sean Spicer's bizarre attack-dog appearance, with no questions. His first time at that lectern!

This on top of the most colossal history of fabrication, lies, and inventions on the part of any politician, and perhaps any person in public life, in our time.

So no; there's no alternative explanation for the use of "alternative facts."

Mike said...

some people choose to forefront one factual issue — such as the size of the crowd at the Inauguration — when there are many other factual issues that could have been selected as the main story

It's the Media always choosing facts that make Republicans/Trump/conservatives look bad and studiously ignoring a wealth of facts that would have the same effect on their chosen side commie/progressive/democrat. I elaborated a bit on this subject just now in your TPP post. "Alternative facts" is an awkward and unhelpful term. "Facts you assholes ignored" would be a better phrase.

Matthew Sablan said...

"This on top of the most colossal history of fabrication, lies, and inventions on the part of any politician, and perhaps any person in public life, in our time."

-- Honestly, Trump's fabrication, lies and inventions are ... pretty much on par with others. I mean, he hasn't lied about his own name--yet.

Mike said...

The gatekeeping behavior of the press is just as odious as its partisanship, and was integral to its former formidable power in shaping the narrative.

- No respected media outlet ever interviewed security experts and asked on-air about the server set up Hillary used. There was absolutely no curiosity about the implications of her homebrew server. All articles were served up as "Republicans say this" and "Hillary says this" instead of, you know, facts about the issue.

- No traveling reporter ever asked Hillary why she did not take the training in email security or why her aids all took the fifth in testimony or if any of the lying aids who took the fifth would continue to be employed in her admin.

- No reporter ever thought Huma and her shady background and Cheryl Mills and her shady arrangements were as interesting to write about as Bannon and Breitbart and Manafort.

- No reporter ever offered the "context" to the election that for the first time a national candidate was under FBI investigation and explored whether this was an issue to be concerned with.

- No reporter ever asked Hillary why she accepted the illegal cheating help she got from CNN and other news organizations during the primary and general. No one asked her why Donna Brazile should be allowed to run the DNC after admitting she cheated -- helped Hillary cheat! -- or even wondered why NO ONE was ever fired by Hillary for unethical behavior.

There are an endless number of issues like the above which, if exposed by the Press, would have shown an unfavorable light on Hillary or Obama and so were studiously ignored by the Press. You can play the "if he was a Republican" game all day long and not run out of material. Which is also why now, as the Democrats and Press appear interested in vetting Trump's cabinet, the public has no interest in hearing their bullshit.

[yes most of this was already posted in another thread, but it's apropo here]

AReasonableMan said...

Haven't we entered a glorious new period of united government under a brilliant billionaire leader? Why are we obsessing about the press? Let's hear about all the brilliant things that our wondrously united government is doing.

J2 said...

Spicer will not last long. He had only to deliver a prepared statement; he knew he was not going to take questions. Yet his delivery was terrible. Nervous, speaking too fast and still messed up on some points.

Michael K said...

"The crowd size is easily measurable"

No, it's not. It can be estimated but, for example, the National Park Service stopped estimating crowd size in the 1990s.

The issue came up because some news media sources used deceptive timing of photos to make it seem Trump did not draw a good sized crowd. If the matter had not been muddied by the attempt to diminish Trump by lying, I doubt they would have made much of it.

For all the reasons Brando states, the crowd size was probably smaller and it was the media, not Trump, who made an issue of it.

The use of the deceptive photo set off the argument and the media is losing those arguments. As Insty said to BBC,

The counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging.

William said...

I think " alternative facts" is a more useful phrase than fake news. Every day there are a thousand events. Some of these events are more consequential than others, but, by and large, in the rush of events one doesnt always realize their significance until years later. I think it's a fact that Obama had a larger crowd at his inaugural than Trump. I think it's a fact that the press goes out of its way to discover and highlight any fact that is detrimental to Trump. In my estimation, the second fact is more significant than the first. That's the alternative fact I pay attention to.

cubanbob said...

Can't say how many people were at the inauguration but actually having been there I can tell you from where I was it was pretty full. Considering it was held in DC and its only three hours from Penn Station to Union Station in an almost solid Democrat part of the country its amazing that many people showed up to Trump's inauguration. Considering for most Trump supporters it was fairly costly to attend that is quite impressive a turnout.

Michael K said...

" Let's hear about all the brilliant things that our wondrously united government is doing."

ARM can't wait for the president to hold office for one week. Nice job of appearing fair, ARM

AReasonableMan said...

Life is not about fair Michael, it's about getting things done.

DKWalser said...

In his opinion piece, BuzzFeed's editor starts out with some fake news: But the dossier is a real document that has been influencing senior officials, lawmakers, intelligence agencies and, potentially, the new commander in chief. The dossier on Trump wasn't influencing anyone who had read it. They all thought it to be untrue (or now they all claim). Several new organizations had been given copies of the dossier and none chose to report on it because the dossier wasn't credible. The CIA director has said the document was obviously false and something his agency didn't want to be associated with. So, no one in official Washington was acting on the "information" contained in the dossier.

Obama, when a report on the dossier was included in his daily briefing, asked, "Why are you telling me this?" The answer to Obama's question is that the daily briefing included a reference to the dossier so that fact could be leaked to the press -- giving the dossier a gloss of officialness that it had lacked. This gave CNN the excuse to report on the dossier's existence and BuzzFeed the cover to print the contents. So, the reason for including the dossier in the daily briefing was to tarnish Trump and that was BuzzFeed's reason to publish it. BuzzFeed's excuse that the document was potentially influencing decisions was just a fig leaf covering its attempt to smear Trump.

Pettifogger said...

"Alternative facts" is certainly a poor word choice. A generous interpretation would be that she meant "evidence."

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...
Haven't we entered a glorious new period of united government under a brilliant billionaire leader? Why are we obsessing about the press?"

What press? The DNC house organs?

Pookie Number 2 said...

what is the point of lying blatantly about something as petty as crowd size?

That's a good question - I think Team Trump believes it has more to gain than to lose by attacking the media's credibility.

Chuck said...

Michael K said...
"The crowd size is easily measurable"

No, it's not. It can be estimated but, for example, the National Park Service stopped estimating crowd size in the 1990s.


Riiiight!

You know why the National Park Service stopped doing crowd estimates? Because Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam threatened a lawsuit when the Park Service estimated the crowd at the Million Man March as being only 400,000. So Congress told the Park Service to stop making any attempts.

It is such a hilariously similar thing. Farrakhan, and Trump, two unhinged egomaniacs, both griping about estimates of their crowd size.

Quayle said...

This strikes at the very heart of the issue: what exactly is the media?

Are they candidate fact presenter - fact asserters?

Or are they the fact finders?

If they are merely the fact asserters, then why do we find them also assigning weight to the various facts they assert or claim? That is the fact finders job.

And if they are the fact finders, what are we to do with a media who claims the mantle of fact finder, but we find them burying or lying or ignoring facts?

What good is an intermediator or an agent who is dishonest?

They are so heatedly wrapped up in this issue because it truely is an existential battle.

Quayle said...

Brandi, you are missing point.

What value - meaning and importance - does a report on actual crowd size in attendance have in a virtual world of watching proceedings on your phone?

rcocean said...

Great Comment "Mike".

As others have stated the crowd issue is not about "facts" since the crowd can only be ESTIMATED. We don't even have a good statistical analysis or projection of the crowd size. We have "ranges" and know its more than 1 and less than 1 million but that's about it.

The MSM just shows their bias and endless desire to attack Trump instead of reporting the important news. Who cares about TPP, lets report on crowd size! Oh, and lets bring up the income tax returns. So, the MSM plays trivial pursuit and Gotcha and the average tune out and ignore them. Well played Trump.

Matthew Sablan said...

"What value - meaning and importance - does a report on actual crowd size in attendance have in a virtual world of watching proceedings on your phone?"

-- It mattered when Trump was getting crowds during his campaigning. I'm not pro-Trump, but this was a stupid fight for him to pick. Just say what you said: "People had access to us in many ways, and physically being here doesn't negate the XX million of supporters across America," move on.

AReasonableMan said...

Losers whine about the refs. Winners win.

Mike said...

Chuck: This on top of the most colossal history of fabrication, lies, and inventions on the part of any politician, and perhaps any person in public life, in our time.

I see Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton as habitually dishonest, serial liars who got where they are by fooling as many people as possible as much of the time as possible. This is a fact the MSM studiously ignores. They didn't even call Hillary out on her many conflicting and demonstrably false statements about her homebrew server.

You, like the MSM hacks, choose to take Trump literally but not seriously. For some reason you think his exaggerated manner of speech, hyperbole and numerical inflation are hallmarks of dishonesty. I see Trump as communicating a meaning larger than the words he uses. I take him seriously but not literally. Obviously not every building he constructed was "the most beautiful building ever" but I'm pretty sure he described them like that, without even hearing it all. That's how he rolls. However, he has always backed those statements up by constructing big beautiful buildings on time and under budget. A real record. Facts and all that.

Are you going to be the voice of disloyal opposition all the time, Chuck? Is that your mission?

rcocean said...

The MSM has come up with the "Fact Checker" nonsense to get back some of their previous power as the "Objective" referee. But that couldn't even keep up that charade. Its obvious their "fact checkers" are primarily interested in attacking the Republicans, even if they have to label opinion as fact, and fact as opinion.

rcocean said...

"Losers whine about the refs. Winners win."

Exactly. That's why the MSM and Democrats have been whining about everything since November 8th.

They even whine about Trump attacking the Press.

Poor babies.

Chuck said...

rcocean said...
Great Comment "Mike".

As others have stated the crowd issue is not about "facts" since the crowd can only be ESTIMATED. We don't even have a good statistical analysis or projection of the crowd size. We have "ranges" and know its more than 1 and less than 1 million but that's about it.


What you just wrote is a response that is 10,000 times better, than the Trump response to media bloviating about how the Obama inauguration was a bigger deal.

That's Trump's problem. He can't make an "alternative point." Trump has to say, "Our crowd was the biggest, and most beautiful, in history."

That is what I hate so much about Trump. And why Trump's supporters like him so much.

AprilApple said...

The left and the left's foot soldiers do not want to discuss the liar press - lying for Obama and his party's greater good is not a problem in their eyes.

Mike said...

two unhinged egomaniacs

This is your foundational mistake, Chuck. He's crazy like a fox, not unhinged at all and shame on you for being such a dick, and is getting exactly the results he intended. No matter how much you hate him, the rest of us hate the media more and rooting for their demise/rebirth as honest brokers.

A guy can hope anyway.

AReasonableMan said...

rcocean said...
Exactly.


I'm still hearing a lot of whining here on Althouse. Exultation. That should be the mood. Exultation.

A brave new world free of government, regulations, trade treaties and health insurance awaits. No more deficit and vast new infrastructure projects. No more deficit and tax cuts for the rich. We want it all and we want it now.

Matthew Sablan said...

"A brave new world free of government, regulations, trade treaties and health insurance awaits."

-- The fact you say this shows you have no idea what Trump is actually doing and instead have constructed a straw man. I'm not sure if it is because you simply can't comprehend the right's position on these things, if you haven't taken the time to understand it, or if you're being deliberately trollish -- but whichever one it is, you're the only one who can rectify this failure in knowledge or understanding on your end.

AReasonableMan said...

Less whining, more exultation Matthew.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Here's an example of what Kellyanne Conway meant by alternative facts: Donald Trump did have the highest inauguration attendance ever, if you count all the events in Washington, DC over inauguration weekend.

Anglelyne said...

ARM: Losers whine about the refs. Winners win.

I thought we were complaining about the winner whining about the refs here.

rehajm said...

I'm not sure if it is because you simply can't comprehend the right's position on these things, if you haven't taken the time to understand it, or if you're being deliberately trollish -- but whichever one it is, you're the only one who can rectify this failure in knowledge or understanding on your end.

I'll even provide a link for you. ARM.

One less excuse for you.

AReasonableMan said...

Anglelyne said...
I thought we were complaining about the winner whining about the refs here.


Still not an attractive look. Exultation. Golden exultation is what I'm hoping for.

The world is our oyster and we rise about the little people of the press on the wings of billionaires.

Mike said...

That is what I hate so much about Trump. And why Trump's supporters like him so much.

So maybe we need a "Chuck is like Trump" tag for this post! Because you write an obviously true statement, "That is what I hate so much about Trump" and follow that with a statement as dishonest as anything that came out of the Big Orange Man's mouth. Not one Trump supporter here or anywhere else has said that they "like him so much" because of his hyperbolic and loosely argued assertions. Not. One. Person. Yet you say things like this all the time. Every single Trump voter on this blog pretty much owned up to voting "not Hillary" or "send this guy to DC to wreak havoc." You cannot find one citation to point to where someone wrote "I voted Trump because he bloviates the way I want him to."

But that's the bullshit you choose to write because your "loyal opposition" and "lifelong Republican" schtick wear thin and let the real Chuck shine through: dishonest as a DC politician and just as defensive about it.

Tags: Chuck is like Trump

Livermoron said...

"Losers whine about the refs. Winners win."

For God's sake ARM, do you even read what you write?

Which losers are whining? Clue: check out who's rioting, engaging in lawfare.

Being self-aware isn't about recognizing yourself in the mirror.

Michael K said...

Life is not about fair Michael, it's about getting things done.

Yes, and things are going to get done unless I am very wrong about Trump's agenda. I don't think you will be as cheerful when you see them happen.

My comment about "fair" was your obvious dishonesty about accomplishments when he took office three days ago.

Nonapod said...

I just don't get this. Inaugural crowd size is just a really weird hill to fight on. If Trump wanted to once again highlight media bias, there's tons of other far more defensible ways to do it. To me, turning something that is ultimately pretty meaningless, a forgettable story, and then taking a position that is highly questionable at best indefensible at worst seems idiotic.

People keep insisting he's playing multidimensional chess here, but I just don't see it. I guess I must be pretty stupid. But I can only see this as ultimately helping his opposition, giving them lots of ammunition.

Static Ping said...

Chuck, estimating crowd size is difficult. Part of the reason that the Park Service stopped is because it was not going to be a simple task to prove that their estimates made sense. It's more or less an educated guess. If they had in fact been sued and some judge allowed this to continue, it would have quickly become a battle of experts with differing opinions and a conclusion that the Park Service really had no firm justification for their estimates. It would not be terribly surprising if it came out that they had never actually tested their estimate process, taking a crowd of known size and then applying their process to it to see how well it worked. Seriously, who needs the bother?

I've been barely paying any attention to this at all and I don't really care. But I will say that the media making a big issue out of this is making the media look small and petty. I know Trump is gonna Trump. If the media wants to prove it is some sort of honorable institution/bulwark of truth instead of the biased hacks that they revealed themselves to be during the campaign, they are failing badly. Sadly, your egomaniac comment is very easy to apply to the media as well. I do hope you realize that.

Mike said...

You're not stupid Nonapod. Mutlidimensional chess is heard to follow! Trump has a way of provoking them into overreacting. The size of the crowd isn't important. Setting out the marker that even these dishonest Tweets of the NYT will be noted, is the important act.

Anglelyne said...

I get the strangest feeling of déjà vu glancing over these Trump v. The Press threads. It's as if there's some magic spell that was cast sometime around the beginning of the primaries, which dooms everyone involved to make the same observations over and over and over again, and which will not be undone until Trump leaves office.

This makes me glad that I never watch talking-head shows.

(I just wish that, if we're going to have a trivial troll-y press, they would do more entertainingly trivial troll-y things, like asking protesting women dressed in pink knit kitty-ear caps and giant pudenda why they're so angry about the president shit-canning the TPP. That's the sort of thing I'd be assigning reporters to do, if I were in charge of generating click-bait revenue.)

Gusty Winds said...

I for one am read for a refreshing daily battle against the MSM which has been pumping out biased, coordinated narratives for the past 30 years and longer. They're self appointment of arbitrators of truth needs to be challenged because it is so false.

our role is to help them navigate it...no thanks Buzzfeed. We're actually smart enough to think for ourselves and can see the tactics behind the information. When CNN 'referenced' the dossier the night before Buzzfeed released it, it was meant to cast doubt on Trump.

Even Carl Bernstein made sure to point out that night on CNN that this secret document had been put together by and MI6 operative. He wanted to give it credibility when there was none. He could have described the MI6 operative as a paid political consultant.

They know what they are doing, and so do we. Screw them all, and I am glad Trump is there to push back. Finally.

Chuck said...

If you voted for Trump, despite his hyperbolic and loosely argued assertions, then you and I are much alike.

I just happen to also see Trump as a sociopath (the "John Baron" debacle), a weird liar (the "General Pershing" story), a compulsive liar ("my investigators in Hawaii are finding amazing things"), an asshole ("grab 'em by the pussy"), an obsessive dumbfuck ("you take this beautiful baby and then you give them these huge shots"), a cowardly wanker (his draft record), and an insulting dodger ("I've been audited every year and I'm currently under audit").

Anglelyne said...

Chuck: ...an obsessive dumbfuck...

Must be contagious.

Michael K said...

But I can only see this as ultimately helping his opposition, giving them lots of ammunition.

No, I agree with static ping. The media picked this fight. The photo that was used was obviously from an earlier time of day and that set off the confrontation. They have been openly hostile and have chosen to be the opposition to Trump. I see him as a guy who fights every, and I mean every, battle that others start.

The mainstream media are in trouble. Newspapers are losing revenue. The Washington Post is basically worthless as an asset. The NY Times is worth what its real estate would bring. The TV networks are losing viewers and ad revenue to the internet.

The Hollywood crowd is fighting for copyright enforcement. They get a lot of tax favoritism.

These people are arming Trump and his supporters with a lot of weapons.

Breitbart is opening European bureaus.

Brando said...

"What value - meaning and importance - does a report on actual crowd size in attendance have in a virtual world of watching proceedings on your phone?"

No value at all--in fact, the numbers watching online, etc. have no value either. Big crowds (and lots of attention elsewhere) is no measure of whether something's good, only whether it captures people's interest. That's why I don't see why this is worth any debate.

My best guess is Trump and Co. pushed this to change the media's focus--if they're talking about lies over crowd size at the inauguration, they're not talking about something else--maybe the protests over the weekend. But then, they're still discussing crowds (and my facebook feed was packed with people comparing the inauguration crowds with the protest crowds) so this doesn't really fully distract from that. So maybe it's something else they don't want the media focused on.

Trump has been very good at getting the media to play his game.

Gusty Winds said...

Do you need to go any deeper than watching Kellyanne Conway debate ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and former Clinton attache dog now disguised as a news anchor?

The Wikileaks Podesta emails exposed all these people as operatives for the Democrats. That's why they want to concentrate on the Russian bullshit, rather than the content of the emails.

The Godfather said...

To me, Trump v. the Press is like the old Iran-Iraq War: I want both sides to lose.

Before we get too far into the weeds, let's remember the "question" that whats-his-name-the-"reporter" asked Conway: Why did President Trump chose yesterday to send out his press secretary to essentially litigate a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size?

That's no more a legitimate question than Have you stopped beating your wife? There's no way the reporter could possibly have expected a Trump spokesperson to answer that question. It was (as Althouse observed yesterday) an argument, not a question. As long as the press behaves in a blatantly partisan fashion, Trump is going to get away with his blathering BS.

Mike said...

I just happen to also see Trump as a sociopath (the "John Baron" debacle), a weird liar (the "General Pershing" story), a compulsive liar ("my investigators in Hawaii are finding amazing things"), an asshole ("grab 'em by the pussy"), an obsessive dumbfuck ("you take this beautiful baby and then you give them these huge shots"), a cowardly wanker (his draft record), and an insulting dodger ("I've been audited every year and I'm currently under audit").

Fine. You see all those very similar things as a list of deplorables, and you fail to see they apply to every Democrat arrayed against Trump. Great for you! We real Republicans are going to cheer Trump in his battles to expose media perfidy. You can continue your monomaniacal crusade to prove your own vote wrong. I don't get it.

Static Ping said...

Back to the subject at hand, "alternative facts" is not a good phrase. It is not necessarily wrong or incorrect mind you, but it is too imprecise to be useful. "Alternative facts" could mean different facts than the ones presented that change the story/context. "Alternative facts" could mean that there is a dispute as to what the facts are. "Alternative facts" could mean lies. Given it is too vague, it makes it far to easy for it to be exploited. Dishonest brokers love words and phrases that can be redefined mid-argument, even mid-sentence, to their own advantage.

That said, a news organization like CNN has no ground to stand on. They repeatedly and obviously report stories with a bias, spinning for one side against the other, emphasizing one set of facts that serves their purposes while ignoring another set that undermines same. The entire "dossier" reporting was "factual" in the sense that it existed and apparently was produced by a former intelligence agent. Then again lots of things exist produced by impressive sounding sources that are of little or no value. The government produces such things all the time and the media is supposed to be suspicious. A rudimentary investigation - something that news agencies are supposed to be able to do as a minimum standard - would have shown that the dossier was riddled with errors and unverifiable claims that could generously be described as gossip. It was more or less a series of possible leads for oppo research. This could actually be useful for oppo research, but apparently CNN was so desperate to get Trump that they treated it like an actual intelligence report. And I'm supposed to give a crap about crowd sizes? You frigging libeled the President-Elect while completely failing to do you job! Screw you.

Anglelyne said...

Nonapod: People keep insisting he's playing multidimensional chess here, but I just don't see it. I guess I must be pretty stupid. But I can only see this as ultimately helping his opposition, giving them lots of ammunition.

I'm not seeing it either, Nonapod, but apparently everything Trump has said or done since the start of all this was "only going to help his opposition", but...well, here we are.

It's not multidimensional chess because it's not a chess game and the press isn't a chess opponent. Think of it more as a schoolyard where the tattle-tale brown-nosing teacher's pet is finally getting the ass-kicking he's had coming to him for a long, long time, and it makes more sense. Only the other suck-ups in the schoolyard think the teacher's pet "wins" because the ass-kicker gets a detention slip.

Chuck said...

Mike, I am not defending any Democrats. Although, for what it's worth, I can't think of anyone with a record of lies remotely close to Trump's. If you want to compare Trump to a Harry Reid, or an Al Sharpton, or a Louis Farrakhan, have at it. I'd rather not have a Republican who is even remotely comparable to those types.

Drago said...

Man, "lifelong republican" Chuck is really upset about being shown up as a republican insider boot licker who doesn't understand anything about the country, its politics or the media.

Expect accelerated "unhingedness" from this "noble defender" of "Truth".....and democrats.

n.n said...

The Press is a hostile witness influencing a consensus. Alternative facts, as used by Conway, means a second hypothesis.

YoungHegelian said...

Say "Alternative Facts" --- Get ridiculed by the media.

Say "Il n'y a rien en dehors du texte" --- get endowed chair in philosophy @ major university.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Mike, I am not defending any Democrats. Although, for what it's worth, I can't think of anyone with a record of lies remotely close to Trump's. If you want to compare Trump to a Harry Reid, or an Al Sharpton, or a Louis Farrakhan, have at it. I'd rather not have a Republican who is even remotely comparable to those types"

Wow, that is some serious shark-jumping in a world that contains Hillary Clinton. You're not even trying anymore.

John said...

Based on a comment in a previous thread I went back and looked again at Spicer and President Trump.

Lo and behold, neither of them said that the crowd was bigger than Obama's. President Trump said it was yuge, but didn't say it was the hugest.

Spicer said the crowd was big but not the biggest, though he didn't say it wasn't either.

What he actually said, if you look at about 2:30 into the Youtube clip, was that the inauguration was "witnessed" by more people in washington and around the world than ever before.

This is arguably true.

OTOH, he sort of gave the impression of saying the crowd was the biggest, getting the press all spun up and looking stupid.

In the meantime Trump repealed, (more or less. It is a process) Obamacare on Saturday. Not quite as quick as I had hoped. I was hoping he would do it from the podium Friday. Still, much quicker than anyone expected.

And the press is STILL flatfooted on this.

John Henry

I think we are dealing with some grandmaster trolls in the WH now.

Mike said...

Chuck, what I have written many times is that Trump is no more or less likely to exaggerate, shade, inflate, massage or shred the truth than any other major political figure and probably LESS likely to deliberately deceive than any progressive ever. Is there intent to deliberately DECEIVE in the statement, is it relevant, is something I consider to put it in context. I don't think Trump is being dishonest, in that regard. All the issues you cite (perhaps with the exception of his draft deferments) are silly or, and this is important, happened way back when Trump was a liberal NY democrat supporting the things you quote him on. He was an average Joe, so to speak, opining on issues of the day because someone asked him and his ego wouldn't/won't let him pass up a chance to opine, it seems.

Since he declared there is a discernible method to the things that madden you. I don't know if you'll come to appreciate it eventually, but I see it working. Setting himself up apart from Republicans (many of whom share your disdain for the man) and Democrats is genius in itself. There is great freedom in being an outsider. And you won't EVER catch Trump saying something intentionally false and damaging as "You can keep your doctor." Guaranteed.

Drago said...

The Godfather: "That's no more a legitimate question than Have you stopped beating your wife? There's no way the reporter could possibly have expected a Trump spokesperson to answer that question. It was (as Althouse observed yesterday) an argument, not a question. As long as the press behaves in a blatantly partisan fashion, Trump is going to get away with his blathering BS"

Correct. More importantly, the press is digging its own grave and Trump is more than happy to go out of his way (via launching these essentially meaningless memes into the media playground which they cannot help but run with given their partisanship) to hand them additional shovels.

Glenn Reynolds captures it well in his radio interview on the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04pj481

You can read a written expansion on his Instapundit page: https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/

Snip: "TRUMP AND THE PRESS: So yesterday I was on the BBC talking about Trump, the press, and what’s going on. Here’s a bit of an expansion.

First, the thing to understand is that, as I’ve said before, one of the changes going on with Trump generally is the renegotiation of various post-World War II institutional arrangements. One of those is the institutional arrangement involving the press and the White House. For decades, the press got special status because it was seen as both powerful, and institutionally responsible. (And, of course, allied with the Democrats who were mostly in charge of setting up those postwar institutional arrangements). Now those things have changed. If the press were powerful, it would have beaten Trump. If it were responsible, it wouldn’t be running away with fake news whenever it sees a chance to run something damaging to Trump. And, of course, there’s no alliance between Trump and the media, as there was with Obama.

So things will change. The press’s “insider” status — which it cherishes — is going to fade. (This is producing waves of status anxiety, as are many other Trump-induced institutional changes). And, having abandoned, quite openly, any pretense of objectivity and neutrality in the election, the press is going to be treated as an enemy by the Trump Administration until further notice.

In fact, Trump’s basically gaslighting them. Knowing how much they hate him, he’s constantly provoking them to go over the top. Sean Spicer’s crowd-size remarks are all about making them seem petty and negative. (And, possibly, teeing up crowd-size comparisons at next week’s March For Life, which the press normally ignores but which Trump will probably force them to cover)."

I recommend you read and listen to it all.

Trumps strategy is becoming obvious but the Press can't help themselves.

Or you could continue to read Chucks rambling insanity, basad on nothing but his own ignorance, and lead you to the same false results exhibited by the November vote.

Personally, I vote for sanity in analysis which necessarily, NECESSARILY, excludes our "lifelong republican" JEB fan.

Chuck said...

Anglelyne said...
Chuck: ...an obsessive dumbfuck...

Must be contagious.


WHY DON'T WE JUST BEAR DOWN ON THAT ONE, ANGLELYNE?

What the fuck is the deal, exactly, with Trump's maniacal vaxxerism? He did the stuipidest thing imaginable in a transition, which was to invite Robert F. Kennedy Jr to Trump Tower to discuss some crazy ersatz Vaccine Commission. When we already have real, serious vaccine commissions in several federal agencies.

What's up with that? What explains Trump's crazy statements on that subject? Why a commission featuring RFKJr, who is a certifiable nutjob?

You seem to have wanted to make this issue a problem on my part, somehow. When in fact, it is a huge multilayer problem for Trump. It's been a problem for Trump, for years. He's made one dumb comment after another, concerning a link between pediatric vaccines and autism? Why? What explains that personal behavior, when the science is so clearly settled.

And no, this is not "settled" science like "Climate Science." This is real, actual settled science with loads of data and carefully controlled multivariate studies. And on the other (Trumpian) side is demonstrable junk science (the revoked paper from the Lancet) and hilarious fools like Jenny McCarthy.

I can't think of any issue that exposes Trump's personal stupidity and his personal obsession(s) like the Vaxxer issue.


Drago said...

"lifelong republican" Chuck: "You seem to have wanted to make this issue a problem on my part, somehow. When in fact, it is a huge multilayer problem for Trump. It's been a problem for Trump, for years."

Chuck has run how many winning campaigns?

Oh, right.

Zero.

FullMoon said...

You guys think ARM and Chuck are bad? Here is a typical comment to me from a loveable woman who attended the march testerday.

His press secretary lied about the crowds at the inauguration and lost all credibility but thats OK with you? What will it take for you people to denounce this horror show? Lies seem to be fine with you. Could he rape a baby? Would that be what it took? Or would that be OK too? SMH

Mike said...

What explains Trump's crazy statements on that subject?

Liberal NY dems talking about issues like upper west siders do. Why is that so hard to understand? Measure the man on his actions, Dude. And stop falling for fake news. He didn't name a Kennedy to any commission and the Trump people shot down RFKJ's claim immediately. Not everything you need to know is on HuffPo.

Drago said...

"Lifelong republican" Chuck: "He did the stuipidest thing imaginable in a transition, which was to invite Robert F. Kennedy Jr to Trump Tower to discuss some crazy ersatz Vaccine Commission."

LOL

Chuck isn't in the same media understanding/strategy galaxy, much less on the same media planet.

He's a loser who picked losers and now wants to retroactively make it all right.

I'm sorry Chuck. It's too late to take it all back. But your operational alliance with the dems/leftist media is, once again, duly noted.

Brando said...

"People keep insisting he's playing multidimensional chess here, but I just don't see it. I guess I must be pretty stupid. But I can only see this as ultimately helping his opposition, giving them lots of ammunition."

It's not multidimensional chess anymore than Obama played it (something about Althouse's political heroes! They always play complicated chess games!). Think of it more as a distraction smoke screen, to constantly keep the press moving. Sure, it gives the opposition ammunition but that doesn't matter--Trump never had the opposition anyway, and has no interest in winning them over. He just needs to please a coalition of Trump Fans who will stand by him no matter what, and skeptical Republicans (like Chuck--for all the assaults Trump fans lay on him here, the fact is he still supported Trump, making his vote as crucial to Trump as theirs was). And skeptical Republicans are willing to look the other way when Trump lies or does something that looks otherwise mind bogglingly stupid, because they care more about the bigger picture. So none of this will make a difference, at least not for now.

"I can't think of any issue that exposes Trump's personal stupidity and his personal obsession(s) like the Vaxxer issue."

What, you don't want to return to the days when polio was running rampant?

Drago said...

You will notice this morning that its all about Jobs, Jobs, Jobs from Trump with the business execs.

Cutting taxes, decreasing regulation, shrinking the size of government, working directly with businesses to increase investment in the entire country BUT always specifically mentioning PA, WI, OH, MI, NC, etc.

Meanwhile, what is the media talking about? Crowd size, how horrible Trump is, how wonderful the vulgar and violent protests were, etc.

I wonder which message is playing better in the swing states?

Or, one could just ditch the entire media strategy and surrender to the Dem/Media Complex like "lifelong republican" Chuck advocates.

I wonder which strategy is likely to continue to yield electoral and policy success from a conservative perspective?

Drago said...

Brando: "..(like Chuck--for all the assaults Trump fans lay on him here, the fact is he still supported Trump, making his vote as crucial to Trump as theirs was.."

This is an assertion, not a provable fact.

Drago said...

"Lifelong republican" Chuck: "He did the stuipidest thing imaginable in a transition, which was to invite Robert F. Kennedy Jr to Trump Tower to discuss some crazy ersatz Vaccine Commission."

Personally, I would rank mass murder above this, but hey, everyone has an opinion!

FullMoon said...

John said...

Based on a comment in a previous thread I went back and looked again at Spicer and President Trump.

Lo and behold, neither of them said that the crowd was bigger than Obama's. President Trump said it was yuge, but didn't say it was the hugest.

Spicer said the crowd was big but not the biggest, though he didn't say it wasn't either.

What he actually said, if you look at about 2:30 into the Youtube clip, was that the inauguration was "witnessed" by more people in washington and around the world than ever before.

This is arguably true.


If neither Spicer nor Trump ever specifically said Trumps attendance was bigger, Trump can spin it again as fake news. I hope his people are looking at every statement now. Would be fun for awhile.

Chuck said...

And skeptical Republicans are willing to look the other way when Trump lies or does something that looks otherwise mind bogglingly stupid, because they care more about the bigger picture. So none of this will make a difference, at least not for now.


True. And yet, remember; Trump's margin for error in the Senate is 2. Two votes. Lose two votes, and legislation loses. And that means that Trump has to keep McConnell, Graham, McCain, Collins, Paul, and Cruz all happy. All happy, all at the same time, all on the same votes.

The Trumpkins have convinced themselves -- as I think Trump has -- that he scored a huge, landslide win. When in fact he won very, very narrowly, and is dependent upon a narrow, moderate majority in the Senate.

Mike said...

I can't think of any issue that exposes Trump's personal stupidity and his personal obsession(s) like the Vaxxer issue.

He doesn't hold those views anymore. He's learned. Why can't you?

I have a proposition. How about for the next, say, six months you work with us other Republicans to highlight and expose the media's dishonesty? And if in the course of events Trump says meaningful, demonstrably false things intended to mislead we will all look at that for what it means if and when it happens?

Leora said...

I do not recall a single question to any member of the Obama administration about why they sent out their members to say the Benghazi attacks were the result of some internet video critical of Mohammed instead of a planned attack. This is surely a bit more important than crowd sizes. And being annoyed because people including journalists and government employees were circulating pictures of the mall at different times to exaggerate the differences. I think the push back is likely to be more effective than GWB's ignoring the lies told about his administration.

Drago said...

"lifelong republican" Chuck: "The Trumpkins have convinced themselves -- as I think Trump has -- that he scored a huge, landslide win. When in fact he won very, very narrowly, and is dependent upon a narrow, moderate majority in the Senate."

Yeah, no one understands this but Chuck the political savant!

Thanks Chuck! What's next? Water is wet? Sky is often Blue? Your hits keep coming.

You know, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that in the daily meetings between Trump/Pence and the leadership in the House and Senate that this astonishing insights of yours might have been raised once or twice.

But just to be sure, why don't you fire off an email or two to WhiteHouse.Gov just to close the loop?

LOL

Drago said...

Anyone else notice that the more conservative good news related to policies and personnel that comes out of the government the angrier "lifelong republican" Chuck becomes?

Interesting.

Mike said...

And skeptical Republicans are willing to look the other way when Trump lies

I literally do not believe Trump is lying. I don't think he lied in the primary or general either*. I don't accept his assertions as lies. Lies are a specific thing. Trump speaks in a unique figure-of-speech stream-of-consciousness that defies easy characterization. But then easy characterizations are usually false. Not lies. Just too simplistic to ring true.

*So many of the "lies" the DNC-Media cite are disagreements, not facts, so I'm quite immune to taking ANY lie label at face value because the media lie all the time..

Drago said...

"lifelong republican" Chuck: "True. And yet, remember; Trump's margin for error in the Senate is 2. Two votes. Lose two votes, and legislation loses."

Really? Don't the republicans hold 52 seats?

Wouldn't a 50-50 tie be broken by Pence?

Doesn't that effectively mean the republicans would have to lose 3 votes for legislation to fail in the US Senate?

I mean, maybe it's some kind of weird new math I am unaware of or perhaps the dems changed the rules of the senate with Chucks support or something.

Brando said...

"This is an assertion, not a provable fact."

Everything on this comment thread is assertion. For all either of us know, the other one could be one of Althouse's alternate identities, created to stir up chaos.

"The Trumpkins have convinced themselves -- as I think Trump has -- that he scored a huge, landslide win. When in fact he won very, very narrowly, and is dependent upon a narrow, moderate majority in the Senate."

It still may work though--they'll probably concentrate on areas where they're not divided (taxes) and avoid ones where they are (entitlement reform). And the filibuster is going to be tossed the minute it becomes inconvenient.

"I literally do not believe Trump is lying."

Well, maybe everything is relative now. For my part, I think he lies quite a bit but then I started from a position of never trusting him and I'm sure my bias keeps me from extending him the benefit of the doubt. For example, I don't believe for a minute he ever intended to release his tax returns or that this "audit" (which we have no proof he's even under, as IRS doesn't release that info) keeps him from releasing the returns. But like those Republicans, I look the other way so long as the end result is preferable. Even a scoundrel can sometimes deliver. That's the bottom line.



Brando said...

"Doesn't that effectively mean the republicans would have to lose 3 votes for legislation to fail in the US Senate?"

You have to take it issue by issue. In some cases, they'll even get Dem votes (Manchin, maybe Heitkamp and Tester) and in others could lose Collins, possibly Toomey, McCain and Graham (it's always easier to keep everyone on ship when you're opposing, but remember McCain was much more a "maverick" when he had a GOP president, and much more "in line" when Obama was). And Rand Paul could be a wild card.

Taxes and spending will probably be party-unity, but when it gets into trade and foreign policy and national security stuff, expect to see some odd splits.

Michael K said...

The less one reads "chuck's" comments, the better the day goes.

I just spent an hour on the phone with Waste Management trying to get a small dumpster to my new house to haul away moving trash.

After an hour, the WM guy told me it would be $600 for a small dumpster for two days.

Chuck is just not a problem. Bigger issues are for real people.

Drago said...

Brando: "Everything on this comment thread is assertion. For all either of us know, the other one could be one of Althouse's alternate identities, created to stir up chaos"

Uh oh.

Ixne alkte bouta hista.

mockturtle said...

Michael, I got a medium-sized dumpster for two weeks for $75. C&D Disposal. Do you have that company where you are?

FullMoon said...

rago said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Brando: "Everything on this comment thread is assertion. For all either of us know, the other one could be one of Althouse's alternate identities, created to stir up chaos"

Uh oh.

Ixne alkte bouta hista.

Ybut Ibar Yi-boo Ti-balk I-bing I-bout?

Anglelyne said...

Chuck:

WHY DON'T WE JUST BEAR DOWN ON THAT ONE, ANGLELYNE?

All right, WHY DON'T WE, CHUCK!

Lol.

He did the stuipidest thing imaginable in a transition...

And then what happened? Because catastrophic effects on a transition ought to follow from "doing the stupidest thing imaginable in a transition".

I think what we have here is a failure of imagination on your part, Chuck. Because having dumb notions about vaccines, and talking to somebody with dumb notions about vaccines, about having some dumb government commission concerning itself with dumb ideas about vaccines, doesn't begin to add up to "doing the stupidest thing imaginable in a transition", as far as my imagination is concerned.

You seem to have wanted to make this issue a problem on my part, somehow.

Yes, Chuck, your projecting your own batshit True-Believerism onto everybody else is your problem. As has been explained to you a thousand times over, there are no Trump true-believers here, nobody who thinks he's a national savior, nobody who thinks he's a demi-god, nobody who is "giving him a pass" on things they don't like about him because they've put aside critical thinking in favor of Great Leader worship. Nobody. Or shall I say, "NOBODY! WHY DON'T WE BEAR DOWN ON THAT ONE, CHUCK!!!!!!!"

You, on the other hand, are a party-faithful nut-job who thinks John McCain is a foreign-policy sage and Marco Rubio is "a visionary". In tandem with this you have certain autistic personality tendencies that by all appearances severely limit your ability to analyze and understand the behavior of people who are not you, i.e., normal people who don't go in for True-believin'. Thus the projection.

I'm not having hysterics about Trump and vaccines, because I am a sane adult, with adult powers of disinterested observation and analysis, and have concluded that the probability approaches zero that Trump will take any actions whatsoever on vaccines that will have deleterious effects on public health policy. This conclusion is weighed against dozens of other considerations, ordered and prioritized. How party-faithful tru-believin' nutjobs weigh choose to weigh these inputs is of entertainment interest only, and does not affect my calculations.

Henry8 said...

Trump can't credibly claim the Press is dishonest, considering all the alternative facts and fake news he's passed along. Over the weekend he once again proved he can't report real occurances honestly. Claiming his feud with the CIA was something that the Press invented, please. His own tweets always give him away. How can he not realize that what he's said in the past are readily available for anyone to fact check? Does he depend on people who aren't his fans to simply believe him? Doesn't that seem odd to anyone?

Michael K said...

"Michael, I got a medium-sized dumpster for two weeks for $75. "

I got one in Orange County for $65 for a week.

Maybe Tucson is really the wold west. Anyway, I found a guy who will come out with a truck and haul it away for $250.

Waste Management needs a guy like Trump to take over. I talked to seven people before I got the guy who gave me the $600 price.

Michael K said...

"Trump can't credibly claim the Press is dishonest, considering all the alternative facts and fake news he's passed along. "

This blog seems over run with leftist trolls since the election. Another blank profile.

I wonder how many are sock puppets ?

FullMoon said...

Henry8 said...

Trump can't credibly claim the Press is dishonest, considering all the alternative facts and fake news he's passed along. Over the weekend he once again proved he can't report real occurances honestly. Claiming his feud with the CIA was something that the Press invented, please. His own tweets always give him away. How can he not realize that what he's said in the past are readily available for anyone to fact check? Does he depend on people who aren't his fans to simply believe him? Doesn't that seem odd to anyone?


Huh? A liar cannot call another liar dishonest?

Stephen said...

Althouse writes:

"But what I think Conway meant was that there are many different factual issues, and some people choose to forefront one factual issue — such as the size of the crowd at the Inauguration — when there are many other factual issues that could have been selected as the main story. There are "alternatives" in that you don't have to make such a big deal out of that one thing, and you could emphasizes something else. The "alternative facts" were all the other things that Trump did, good things, that would have put him in a good light, and the media is criticized for picking out the fact that diminished Trump."

Question 1: You are adopting the role of a judicious neutral, judging the competing narratives. But wouldn't a disinterested neutral want to know what the facts actually were? It seems clear that Spicer's attack on the media, ordered by Trump, was false, and given the ease with which the accurate facts could have been determined, recklessly so. Trumps further comments about the media making up his feud with the CIA were equally dishonest. Why do you avoid that conclusion? Can you remember another President whom you would not have squarely said was acting wrongly by doing this kind of thing? Put another way, why avoid the merits?

Question 2: Your effort to defend Conway's statement makes no sense. On your view, Conway is saying that the "alternative facts" are things like the inaugural address and the executive order--good things that aren't being referred to. But what she's defending when talking to Todd is not a complaint about leaving those facts out, and in fact MSM did report those facts. The complaint that Trump and Spicer made was not about emphasis, but about accuracy. They focused directly on the crowd facts, and away from "alternative facts" as you define them, and they directly accused the MSM of falsehoods on that score, though they had no proof and their own complaint was riddled with false statements. In short, it was Spicer and Trump who distracted from the "alternative facts" as you describe them. So on your reading of "alternative facts" Conway wasn't describing the conduct that Todd put in issue and neither are you.

I'd like to see you write a piece explaining about why you are you spinning for the President's spin master. Is the President issuing demonstrable falsehoods OK with you so long as Conway can put a spin on it that you can find a defense for? Or is your interest purely aesthetic? This reader since 2004 wants to know, because I'm not finding much that's enlightening here these days.

slarrow said...

Look, you're forgetting your Scott Adams and your recent history.

First, Trump is counterpunching here because news organizations were publishing pictures before everyone got there and trying to make it look like no one likes Trump. He sent his press guy out to hit them in the mouth for that. It sends a message. Maybe some of the brighter ones got it, so they're not talking.

Second, Trump understands memory and anchoring. If you're not a political junkie, what you'll hear about this story is the big number (million, million and a half) and that the press really cared a lot about the specifics of something that doesn't mean anything to you. If the right images get passed around, too (like the empty Mall before the show compared with the full one when Trump was being sworn in v. Obama's), the memory will be strengthened because of the strong visual. Plus, if you hear it from the "right" place, you'll just remember the media lied to make Trump look bad. Again.

Finally, Ann thinks "alternative facts" was a big mistake. But it's the next "fake news". Go ahead, run with that, commit to it just enough to think you're gaining momentum. Then watch the other side flip it on you so hard you'll think you got hit by a truck. I've already seen several lefties fall for it, and I just smile in anticipation.

Michael Brand said...

Trump is a master at misdirection. Getting you to focus upon the trivial instead of substance. The media, desperate for clicks and eyeballs, falls for it every time. Kellyanne Conway was on Meet The Press yesterday and the entire discussion was about crowd size. Chuck Todd could have grilled her on any number of substantial issues - TPP, DeVos, Obamacare changes - but instead he used that valuable time on trivia. Chuck just couldn't help himself.

This is how Donald Trump controls the narrative.

tim in vermont said...

Where did we learn to look the other way when our leaders lie? By watching you Democrats, by watching you!

You guys are acting as if your side had presented an honest leader as a choice.

Bruce Hayden said...

I empathize with Dr K and his trash problems. We closed on the new place in Dec, and moved into the empty house a couple weeks ago. We now have furniture in the master bedroom and the family room, thanks to a mega American Family Warehouse less than a mile away, but most of the stuff will be coming in starting in maybe a week. Nevertheless, the city has still not provided us with the official city trash container that we have been paying for for almost a month now. Luckily, we have construction across the street, and my partner flirts with the workers every day when she takes out the household trash (normally, that would be my job, but she has unique advantages right now in this department that I do not have. Hopefully, the house across the street won't be completed when the first load of furniture shows up in a week, and we can use their dumpster (for those who question the morality here - we just spent quite a bit of money with the builder buying the house paying for the dumpster)

Michael K said...

Yes, my comments are during rest periods. We are going to have a Craig's list sale of boxes when we finish.

The movers helpfully rolled all the packing trash into a huge ball that fills the garage before they left. We have a few missing items that may be lost in the trash plus boxes.

Bruce Hayden said...

As for trash, I think that I would greatly prefer a Waste Management over municipally supplied trash service. In MT, trash pickup is by a private company. It is a bit pricey, so I make runs to the dump every other weekend. Much less fuss, esp when dealing with non-standard trash, and it helps justify my pickup (every time she complains, I retort by asking if she wants the stench of household trash in the Tahoe).

For our apartments, we recently replaced another company with WMI, and have been quite happy with them. For the same price, we got bigger dumpsters, newly painted, fewer missed pickups, etc. But that comes from buying in bulk in a competitive market (west Denver suburbs).

Michael K said...

Good comment slarrow.

I am learning to take Trump more on image than words. He is a master at that.

Michael K said...

I previously had a house here that used Tucson city trash pickup and it was fine. For big stuff I just went to the dump. WM seems to have been taken over by idiots. I was literally on the phone an hour and talking to people with southern accents who were barely understandable. They kept transferring me back and forth and everybody apologized for the wait.

Then came the guy with the $600.

The house is in a little HOA district which may have a WM contract. I'm not sure we are in the city proper.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Dr K - Tell me how the Craig's List sale goes. My partner claims that this is our last move, where we finally combine my stuff from CO and her stuff in storage in PHX. She has already planned out the lift for the stairs for when one of us gets to that point (hopefully decades from now). Which means that we are going to have a lot of spare boxes for the first time in decades.

Chuck said...

Michael Brand said...
Trump is a master at misdirection. Getting you to focus upon the trivial instead of substance. The media, desperate for clicks and eyeballs, falls for it every time. Kellyanne Conway was on Meet The Press yesterday and the entire discussion was about crowd size. Chuck Todd could have grilled her on any number of substantial issues - TPP, DeVos, Obamacare changes - but instead he used that valuable time on trivia. Chuck just couldn't help himself.

This is how Donald Trump controls the narrative.


But the takeaway from that interview, and the whole weekend, was "#alternativenews."

That's supposed to be Trump's home court; Twitter. But instead, it's the hilarious Trump meme of the year.

I'm not sure that anybody but the Wall Street Journal wants to grill Trump on TPP. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, the UAW, the AFL-CIO; they all HATE the TPP. Obama was bucking his left wing, with TPP. TPP opposition is for damn sure no conservative cause.

Gusty Winds said...

Media Fact: Trump made fun of a disabled reporter.

Alternative Fact: There were numerous videos showing Trump using the same gesture at other rallies suggesting he was not actually mocking the reporter's disability, but that he was changing his story.

Bruce Hayden said...

Talking City of Tucson - DIL officially, I think, now teaches music there (she was in a suburban district up until this year), but mostly, it seems, is involved with the youth orchestras.

I can understand the question about city limits coming in from the east on I-10, there is a Tucson City Limits sign way out by Vail, several miles from anything that is obviously Tucson. Pretty common in AZ for cities to annex empty land like crazy - which is why PHX and its suburbs all look like strips running north for 20 miles or so, of mostly empty land. Friends in Carefree were legally within the Scottsdale city limits by a block or two, when there was almost nothing between them and the 101 20 miles south.

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing that drives me crazy about this whole thing is, is that Trump is obviously a heavy user of hyperbole. At least most of those who voted for him recognize and understand it. Which is the literally wrong, but figuratively right thing. My partner is notorious for this sort of thing - she either grossly overestimates, or underestimates, depending on circumstances. For example, I might ask her how much something costs. She might respond $20. From that I know that it will likely cost $40, but I had better budget $50 or so. And, i joke that she learned it from my mother, who was as bad, except about money.

Brando said...

"That's supposed to be Trump's home court; Twitter. But instead, it's the hilarious Trump meme of the year."

Chuck, I assume that like me and a minority of commenters here you shake your head at Team Trump's frequent lapses into childishness and idiocy, wondering what the hell the point of all this is, while at the same time hoping they're going to deliver on what we want them to. (and admit it--some part of you does grin at how much they troll the Left--underneath their mockery there's a bit of fear. Not the "I fear he's going to sell us out" that some on the right feel, but more the "I fear he and the GOP are going to scew us" on the left).

But instead look at this as an extension of his reality show. He's been directing the media since the '80s nationally (and '70s in NY) and knows how to drive them. He wants attention most of all, and will keep the sideshow going while in the meantime the GOP has the votes it needs on at least some issues (though with ACA and immigration, that's going to be trickier). So while none of this stuff serves a purpose, it's entertainment and maybe if the media is talking about crowd size (a truly dumb issue) it isn't talking about how the GOP is getting ready to punt on the ACA.

Michael K said...

I can understand the question about city limits coming in from the east on I-10, there is a Tucson City Limits sign way out by Vail, several miles from anything that is obviously Tucson.

There is a "Welcome to Oro Valley" sign near us but I don't think Oro Valley is a city. We are in the foothills and I'm not sure about city limits. I just know the other house was well within the city and the trash pickup was much better,

Michael K said...

" it isn't talking about how the GOP is getting ready to punt on the ACA."

I think the media will call anything not burning down the house, "Punting on the ACA."

The "ACA" is really expanded eligibility Medicaid. Th exchanges are either broke or insolvent.

My suggestion is to just make it voluntary. Remove the mandates, which the Democrats were afraid to impose on employers anyway.

A parallel system that is basically the old system would be painless and would allow time to develop several options.

Static Ping said...

I'm not sure that anybody but the Wall Street Journal wants to grill Trump on TPP. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, the UAW, the AFL-CIO; they all HATE the TPP. Obama was bucking his left wing, with TPP. TPP opposition is for damn sure no conservative cause.

Trump ran on opposition to the TPP. He's the guy that wanted a better deal, remember? Hillary was for it, then against it. The TPP is no conservative cause because it isn't a conservative cause. This is one of those issues that fails to divide evenly along party lines.

It may also help explain why Trump won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, made it interesting in Minnesota....

tim in vermont said...

Peeling off a sizable chunk of blue states is a conservative cause.

Chuck said...

Brando;

So much to agree with in your post just above. I don't feel the need to quote it again.

An alternative theory for the Trump crowd-size kerfuffle was one that I noted a day ago; that it was not merely to drive the ACA off front pages, but also to drive the Womens March off the front page.

The Womens March had only one point as far as I could tell; the sheer size. The messaging was garbled, the images were lousy, the speech clips were awful (ie., Madonna's f-bombs.) So the fight over crowd size blunted the one thing they had going. Because those crowds really were impressive. (The marchers, not so much.)

Bad Lieutenant said...

Henry8 said...
Trump can't credibly claim the Press is dishonest, considering all the alternative facts and fake news he's passed along. Over the weekend he once again proved he can't report real occurances honestly. Claiming his feud with the CIA was something that the Press invented, please. His own tweets always give him away. How can he not realize that what he's said in the past are readily available for anyone to fact check? Does he depend on people who aren't his fans to simply believe him? Doesn't that seem odd to anyone?

1/23/17, 11:54 AM

So, Hen, or whichever sockpuppeteer you really are,

is "Two wrongs don't make a right"

too hard to spell?

Or, au contraire, does leftist violence against Trump supporters legitimize retaliation? And, to follow your apparent example, massive over-retaliation?

Joe said...

Re: Ben Smith

There is the old saying, "If you can, do, if you can't, teach." To which I'd add, "if you can't teach, become a journalist."

So, when you wonder, "can anyone be that stupid?" The answer is "Yes, and here is Ben Smith."

Brando said...

"An alternative theory for the Trump crowd-size kerfuffle was one that I noted a day ago; that it was not merely to drive the ACA off front pages, but also to drive the Womens March off the front page."

Right, though by going on about crowd size it drew such an obvious comparison to the Women's march that if anything it buttressed the Women's March narrative. Trump is a master of distraction, but sometimes he flubs it. Remember during the campaign when we'd get a big Hillary email dump, then Trump would decide that's the perfect time to blast a judge for being Mexican? He finally wised up in the end by not stomping on the James Comey announcement in the campaign's final weeks, allowing the public to focus on Hillary just enough to drive her polls down. It likely made the difference in such a close race.

As for crowd size and poll numbers, Trump doesn't need to worry about that right now. The bigger issue is what parts of his agenda and the GOP agenda might clash, or face other internal divisions. Because the best way for those poll numbers to turn around by 2020 is to convince about 20 percent of the population that this gang isn't going to set the country on fire literally. (Can't assume the Dems will automatically nominate someone as unpopular as Hillary again)