Not Seeing The Obvious

In this brief conversation on CNN last month, Seymour Hersh managed to say a number of interesting things.

Speaking about Trump, Hersh says:

“This guy is different. And I think people are tired of politicians. And he appeals for a lot of reasons that maybe we don’t all understand. I certainly don’t understand them. He’s got 48 or 47 percent of the people. He appeals to them. There’s something about him. This is a guy who took down 13 Republicans with a history of more than 200 years of political life.”

What seemed remarkable to me about this was that this veteran reporter couldn’t understand the appeal of Donald Trump to about half of his fellow American people. He’s still puzzled about it. Shouldn’t it be perfectly obvious to a veteran reporter like him? How is it that he can’t see? Isn’t it obvious?

I think I “got” Trump from more or less the moment he announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015. I watched the whole speech he delivered that day after descending the elevator with Melania in Trump Tower. I was immediately interested, before I even knew what any of his policies might be. I just wished I’d put a large bet on him to win that same day, rather than waiting for over a year to venture a small bet on him.

He was different. He was a dark horse. He wasn’t a politician. He’d never run for any political office at all in his entire life. And he was 70 years old. Those last two facts should have sufficed to make him a 1000 to 1 outsider. And in fact they did. More or less everyone was expecting his campaign to implode within weeks.

But he had the common touch. He could talk to anybody, because he himself was an ordinary guy. And he could talk to them in their language. He didn’t talk down to them. He wasn’t condescending.

The CNN host who was talking to Hersh said, again about Trump:

“We can’t normalise lying. We can’t normalise bigotry. That’s just not what America is about.”

Does Trump tell lies? Is he a bigot? I don’t see that he’s either of those things. And as a matter of interest I ran a search for “the lies of Donald Trump”, and turned up an Esquire article: Donald Trump Has Managed To Tell 3,001 Lies As President. Here Are Five Of His Best.

Let’s have a look at his top five whoppers.

5. “The overall audience was, I think, the biggest ever to watch an inauguration address, which was a great thing” – 26 January 2017

The furore over the inauguration crowd feels almost quaint now, but when the White House claimed 720,000 people attended – and Trump himself went for 1.5 million – it did rather set the tone. Fact-checkers reckon the number was closer to 600,000, a third of Obama’s 1.8 million-strong crowd in 2009.

That’s a lie, is it? Really? Trump speaks of “the overall audience”, and they refer instead to the size of “the inauguration crowd”. Those are two different things. The overall global audience for Trump’s inauguration speech was probably tens of millions of people all around the world. I was one of them. I didn’t watch Obama’s inauguration speech.

And even if Trump was just talking about the inauguration crowd present that day, does it really matter if he over-estimated it? Really? Does it matter? I know that Trump talks himself up. I know he likes to brag. I know that he’s always saying that what he does is “the best” and “the greatest” more or less whatever he does. That’s how he is. It’s no different from the way that Cassius Clay used to brag that he was “the greatest”. Bragging isn’t the same as lying.

Every single one of the “top five whoppers” in the Esquire article didn’t actually seem to me to be substantive lies of any kind whatsoever. I got the feeling that if Trump had said one day that he had eaten two scoops of ice cream, while video footage showed him actually eating three, CNN would have counted it as another “lie”. And if he’d eaten 2¾ scoops of ice cream instead of 3, that would have been a “lie” too.

In short, Trump’s supposed “lies” aren’t any sort of substantive lies at all. And the same applies to his supposed “bigotry”: he’s not a bigot either. Wanting your country to have borders to keep people out isn’t bigotry. Neither is it xenophobia.

If you want to find lying and bigotry in America, you’re not going to find it in Donald Trump. But you’ll find plenty of it in ubiquitous Tobacco Control, which engages in non-stop lying, and non-stop bigotry. And I bet nobody on CNN ever draws anyone’s attention to that. In fact they’re probably all in favour of it. They probably do it themselves too.

About Frank Davis

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7 Responses to Not Seeing The Obvious

  1. Roobeedoo2 says:

    I got the impression he does get it but that he was being gentle. Perhaps he didn’t want to get cut off? That’s happened more than once before with that channel.

    The fact that the interviewer explicitly referred to him as having the point of view as a ‘writer’, when he was on there to promote his book about his time as a reporter, journalist… He immediately pushed him away into little box marked ‘them’. Or rather exclude him from his comfy box labelled ‘us’.

    And ‘Not about ratings’? */rolls eyes…* June 2017 via the internet

    And May 2018: it would appear the low-hanging fruit has been plucked…

  2. chris says:

    Apt title, but not for the reasons you state.

  3. Frank Davis says:

    See also this interview of Trump by Tucker Carlson last week.

    Trump: “I think Brennan’s a very bad guy. A lot of things happened under his watch. I think he’s a very bad person. Strzok and Page. Comey. McCabe. You look at the deception, the lies, what’s gone on in the last fairly long period of time, before I won… These are people in my opinion they’re truly bad people. And they’re being exposed for what they are, and it’s a shame that it has to happen but it’s really hurt our country.”

    It’s utterly astonishing. Here you’ve got a POTUS saying that the ex-director of the CIA, John Brennan, is a very bad guy. And so is the ex-director of the FBI, James Comey. That would be like the British Prime Minister telling people on TV that the people running MI6 and GCHQ were very bad people.

    So why, if they’re all so bad, aren’t these people being arrested? How long can the two sides co-exist?

  4. mntvernon says:

    About this time, two years ago, the usual ‘blah, blah, blah…’ of the usual poli-twits had a voice of a usurper, Trump, added to the insipid fray and the populace started to take notice. We’d just been served up the news that Brexit had passed by a whispers hair. Usurpers like Nigel Farage,Boris Johnson, etc. were getting noticed over here and the possibility of electing someone besides what the traditional RINO (republicans in name only) and DINO (democrats in name only) served up seemed, just maybe, possible. The MSM, in their arrogance, gave this, many times, outrageous usurper lots of air time allowing Trump to address many of the issues people really, really, gave a ‘hoot’ about. Now the rhetoric of “Draining the Swamp” set off the alarm bells in both supposedly oppositely ideological political parties but also the entrenched deep state (FBI, CIA, EPA, and the rest of the alphabet federal entities). Of note are these alphabet federal agencies in that they’ve learned to bend these so-called BUT elected bosses sent to oversee their conduct and budgets.
    Now back to August 2016, we were at where usurper Trump had wrestled away the conservative nomination and the evil witch of ‘Slick Willy’ had cheated her way to the liberal party nomination. Frankly, I thought she was the next to occupy the White House up until election night when one of the nauseating MSM pundits, Chuck Todd, realized the hag didn’t have enough votes to win.
    Now we’re at the point where the major political parties are finding usurpers within their parties that threaten the their power and that of the deep state to control them:
    As far as it’s effect on Tobacco Control, it is unclear. If the true conservatives, like Trump, prevail and apply conservative principals to the taxpayer funding of Tobacco Control, corrupt actors like Glantz, Banzaf, etc. are toast.

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