Media goes into paroxysms of joy and fury

by Grania

Depending on what side of the fence you are on this election cycle, you probably read at least one of the following sites from time to time, if only because your friends and family on Facebook keep posting links to one or the other.

This is not a claim that either Breitbart or Huffington Post are serious news outlets. But they are well read by the electorate. The only point I am trying to make is that these sources wouldn’t know “fair and balanced” if it bit them in the ass.

It is interesting to compare the two if only to see how they covered the two scandals over the weekend: Trump’s p*ssygate and Clinton’s Speechgate.

Surprisingly enough, Breitbart appears to be offering a slightly more balanced coverage. (Who’da thunk?)



Breitbart hates Hillary Clinton and loves Donald Trump. But they have at a glance covered both stories, even if delving into the comments means wading through spittle-flecked invective and delusional conspiracy theories.

In contrast, Huffington Post has gone into a full-blown orgy on Trump. To read anything about Clinton you have to scroll way down the page. Way, way, way down the page. Past article after article on Trump.


Pretty much every single one of those disjointed phrases links to a separate article on Trump.

Keep scrolling down the front page and you get more articles on Trump (there are more than in this screengrab).


And then finally, scrolling and scrolling and scrolling down – about four fifths of the way down; you finally get the news on Clinton. It’s worth going over to HuffPo just to see how far down the front page you have to go just to get to this story.


This is located about one fifth from the bottom of the page. If her opponent was anyone else, the Wikileaks revelation would be recognised as pretty serious stuff. If you were relying on the HuffPo for your news, you could be forgiven for missing this story completely as it is virtually buried under a pile of Trump stories. This coverage is anything but fair and balanced.

Finally an aside on HuffPo (and others’) reference to Trump’s “lewd” remarks; Russell Blackford makes an important point.


  1. Christopher
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The style of these sites would be more at home in the racks at the grocery store check-out line. I couldn’t help but feel like somewhere on the page there would be a story about BatBoy or a sighting of Bigfoot. This is what passes for “journalism” on the internet these days.

    • Billy Bl.
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      But this is the sort of thing the public wants. That’s the real problem.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        I’m not so sure it is what they want. It is what they got but really…do they know how they got it?

        The media, the news, the information, people can get from anywhere has been bought up and bought out. And who or what was suppose to prevent this downward slide from happening? Besides the people, it was their government and their elected officials who caved in to other interests. When a very small number of large companies own all the television outlets and newspapers and the hardware to go with it, competition is over. The FCC was suppose to help prevent a lot of this but did they? No.

        What happened to quality journalism is the same thing that happened to many of the jobs these citizens waved bye bye to over the years. If they don’t know what happened to cause it, what are the chances they could ever fix it. Hardly, and that is why they would vote for such an idiot as Trump or have Hilary as the only alternative. Saying this is what people want not only not true but it doesn’t matter.

  2. KIA
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    What a screwed up election this is. How do we call for a mulligan on both major parties? The American people need a reset on both nominees

    • Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      The Johnson campaign has given up on a win and now is just encouraging getting enough votes to prevent either candidate from getting the necessary 270 electoral college seats for a solid win. Supposedly this would reboot the election. I’m not sure that’s a bad idea at this point.

      • KIA
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        Where’s Mr Peabody and the way back machine when you need them?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Under the 12th Amendment, if no candidate gets at least 270 electoral votes, the election is decided by the House of Representatives. Each state’s delegation to the House gets one vote; a candidate winning at least 26 states becomes president-elect.

        I don’t know what possible strategy Johnson might have. He’s not going to get any electoral votes, so his name wouldn’t go to the House under any scenario. The only way this election wouldn’t be decided by the electoral college, but by the House, is if the two major-party candidates tied at 269 electoral votes each. That’s not gonna happen, either.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Certainly true…no matter where it bites them, journalism has lost it’s best moments and times. It was once true that news was covered and simply given the time it took to give it and then carry on to the next story. Only so much time was available and if you wanted more you had to take various newspapers.

    Today, on the TV or the device of your choice it is nothing more than jumping on the most popular, click bate friendly story, push all other news into the ditch and ride that story until it bleeds. Bring forth 6 or 8 pundits to tell you how you should feel about the story and maybe spend days adding no substance to any of it. Your job is entertainment and ratings and don’t you forget it.

  4. Historian
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    There are probably many more political sites on the Internet that tilt one way or the other on the political spectrum than are neutral or objective. Some will tell you upfront their ideology. When I visit a political site that I have not encountered before, I can usually tell within 30 seconds its slant. People who visit these sites should be aware that they will not be receiving objective news. Such is the situation in an age of mass, instantaneous, and voluminous communication.

  5. ploubere
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Legacy media—NYT, WaPo, etc—have published both stories prominently, although Trump is above the fold. The great thing about our free society is that all this information is available to the public. The bad result of new media is that the important information is drowned out by an ocean of misinformation and distractions. That’s the problem.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I check in on Brietbart every week or so to see what the ballyhoo boys are saying. Although their coverage might look balanced, it only ever points out negative statements about Trump if they can trash the source, thus eliminating the critique’s worth to their minions. In my opinion the problem the major media outlets have is that Trump’s core base doesn’t read/watch them, and they are assumed to be anti-Trump (which they are, and should be). When the Washington Post or New York Times publishes two editorials a week blasting Trump as being completely unfit to be President, it might make them and us feel better, but it’s not effective. Indeed, it may be misleading us into assuming that their is more sense out there than there really is. What I don’t see in the major news outlets is regular, in-depth coverage of Trump’s base, and how these revelations play. Although there was a story (NY Times?) the other day about how the groping story left the evangelicals unmoved in their support for Trump, since they weren’t supporting him for being a bien pensant anyway.

    At the end of the day, there seem to be two major positions in the electorate: Hating Clinton and hating Trump. The question is, Can Trump do anything stupid or bad enough to move people from the one to the other?

    • Historian
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Regarding evangelicals, you may be referring to an article in the Washington Post that presents an insightful analysis of why they hate Clinton so much. The key paragraph in this article is this.


      “She symbolizes much that runs against their beliefs: abortion rights advocacy, feminism and, conversely, a rejection of biblical ideas of femininity and womanhood. Perhaps even more significantly, Hillary Clinton, as an outspoken and activist first lady, is inextricably tied in the minds of conservative Christians to their loss of the culture war battles beginning with Bill Clinton’s first term in 1993.”


      In other words, Clinton is a symbol for cultural change that evangelicals fear so greatly. The dominance of white, Christian America is rapidly vanishing and they are scared out of their minds. Thus, in their extraordinary hypocrisy they support a person who is the antithesis of every supposed Christian value.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        Yes, excellent points.

      • somer
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


  7. frednotfaith2
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Maybe if Trump was caught on video engaged in sex with a 5 year old boy while quoting Koranic text ….

    • SA Gould
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Nope. Core Trump supporters (and all conservative Republicans) follow have always been able to excuse anything, especially if it is of a sexual nature. That’s *why*, they embrace God: “God forgives me” “It’s a personal matter” “God isn’t done with me yet” …whatever. It’s a Get Out of Jail Free Card. But only when played by a Republican.

      • somer
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Eating babies perhaps?

        • Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          A precedent may be Cronus, who was considered by ancient Greeks a model ruler. Apparently, they dismissed the baby-eating as a personal matter :-).

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted October 9, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            I assume he actually paid for the babies he ate?

            (Now there’s a politician you wouldn’t want kissing your baby. In case he accidentally overstepped the mark)


            • Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

              He was deposed by the one baby (Zeus) whom he failed to eat. The mother (Rhea), fed up with multiple pregnancies and no maternity, hid the baby. If Cronus had intentionally spared his child, he could say that no good deed ever goes unpunished.

              Zeus learned his lesson. His mother tricked her husband and made him fall from power. Conclusion: to remain in power, the ruler must eat his wife rather than his children. Zeus did this and cemented his power.

              Cronus campaigning and kissing babies… grrrrrr! I can imagine his sisters telling their children, “If you don’t obey, I’ll give you to Uncle Cronus to eat you.”

        • SA Gould
          Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          Are they black or brown? Was he stranded alone on an island? Did he apologize?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      Breitbart headline: “Trump Demands of Muslims: ‘Who’s Your Daddy Now?'”

      • SA Gould
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        Bravo, Sir! Bravo!

  8. Barney
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Why should they balance news stories against each other, just because they are about opposing candidates? The Trump story has senior Republican politicians saying they won’t vote for him. The reaction to Hillary’s speeches is pretty much ‘meh, this is what politicians typically say’. The Trump story is ‘this is what sex offenders do’.

    Huffington Post is talking about the more important story. One is ‘dog bites man’; the other is ‘Republicans finally realise they nominated a dog as their candidate’.

  9. Flemur
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Russel Blackford is hyperventilating. Maybe just a little bit.

    Trump: “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them, it’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.”

    Right after saying that he meets an actual beautiful woman and … they shake hands.

    Then she initiates a hug after being prompted to do so by someone else. Gasp.

    I think people are actually upset, if any people are actually upset rather than indulging in virtue signaling, over the fact that many rich guys have groupies.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    We have to take responsibility too. As long as people keep going to these sites, they’re going to remain. It’s like the equally ghastly “reality” tv. People keep watching it, and if they do, it’s easy to get drawn in.

    There is good journalism out there, but it often means paying for it. We expect everything on the Internet to be free. Then we complain about advertising.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      But…If the public wanted to pay for it they would have done so years ago when the big businesses bought up all the newspapers. They bought up all the media. The competition is all in the hands of a few and that few does not give 2 cents for your good journalism or quality. They care about money and return to the stockholders.

      If the people wanted to preserve quality journalism they would need to support it with that terrible word (TAXES). Support quality, real journalism with taxes? Must be a socialist.

    • Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      To me, both sources have their value. I have read in both of them about events neglected by news agencies. Esp. in Breitbart. In PuffHo, I read mainly people’s stories that rarely qualify as news and so are not published by news sources. I think that using multiple biased sites of this sort may be better than relying on a few “respectable” sources that occasionally betray the public.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, that’s a good point too. And it would be ignorant to believe that these sites don’t produce good stuff as well. I get my own information from a wide variety of sources as well – the important thing I think is the ability to make good judgments about what we read.

  11. HNcroatia
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see tonight’s debate!

    Trump is a terrible candidate, and I think this is something what a lot of people know – even the majority of his own supporters, but the same situation is for Hillary as well.

    I haven’t followed US news in the last few days and I cannot be sure how will this whole controversy affect him, but there is a realistic possibility that this will not affect him greatly, remember, this is the man who had said (imo) much more outrageous things. This is the man who had said, among other things that: John McCain isn’t a war hero, and that we should kill the families of terrorists.

    In addition to that, we all know about his remarks about women which he has made in the past, so this shouldn’t be a big shock to anyone. This is the man who lies every 5 seconds on the TV, and it seems like no one cares. If people have ‘forgiven him’ all the outrages, offensive, ignorant (etc.) comments which he has made not 10 years ago, but rather during his presidential campaign, why wouldn’t they go just one comment further? Of course, as I said, I cannot say for sure if this will affect him greatly or not, but I think that there is a serious possibility that this will not affect him at all.

    If he has great debate performance tonight, then everything might be fine for him. However, if he does terribly in the debate, I will start to be worried for my money.

  12. plingar
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    What I find most amusing in this whole episode is that with the exception of the BBC very few world or no North American media outlets or social posts or indeed this site seem prepared to use the word “pussy” in print.
    Pussy,or pussycat, a common name in the U.K. for the feline. Remember the Tom Jones version? “What’s new pussycat”
    My grandmother often stated that her pussy had gone off hunting again and was late for supper.
    Phew! In the Trump context the mind boggles!

    What is it with this fixation on allocating strange names to anatomy parts? This in particular regarding genitalia and then not using the words unless not in polite conversation.
    Very strange and in my experience this particular word seems to be in everyday use by both sexes as a description of the female genitalia and yet suddenly all are terribly offended and cannot bare to see the word in print.
    In my youth the word “fanny” was used in similar fashion and yet was still in use as a woman’s name and yes I am fairly long in the tooth to use the feline description for age.
    I know that word “rubber” in use in North America as a pseudonym for condom is commonly used in the U.K. for an eraser.
    Talk about two nations divided by a common language.
    To be absolutely clear I do not in any way support Donald Trump or his behaviour or activities.
    If I have offended any reader by calling a spade a spade or indeed a backhoe then please accept my sincere apologies.

    • SA Gould
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      We are an easily offended people. Were not entirely sure about what- facts really don’t matter this election year- but we do know what we do not like. (Which is most everything.)If we don’t like what someone says, we want some outside source to make them stop. Or we can just shoot them. (Very popular here.) Either way seems to work for us.

      • Taz
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        We’re not as easily offended as we pretend to be – we like to play “gotcha” when it comes to public figures.

        • SA Gould
          Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink


    • Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      I think it is based on our Christian heritage with its taboos on sex. It would be interesting to me whether such turns of language exist in societies without sexual taboos.

  13. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    This is news, and news on facts. “Fair and balanced” would append to articles on opinions. The pattern has always been that Trump has consistently managed to get into the news more, because he is a sociopath egotist.

    And the Trump news dump is also likely patterned on remaining misogynist tendencies, such that few successful women are allowed to be sociopath egoists in public. (Though Jennifer Holmes seems to break that glass ceiling right now.)

    the Wikileaks revelation

    I am not a New Clintonist, but I’ll have to bite on this one: what is “the Wikileaks revelation”? There is nothing but the Trump Dump locally. And I refer to the nation’s fair and balanced newspapers.

    • Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      I’ve updated the post with the BBC’s take on it:


      • Historian
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        When Hillary refused to release the transcripts of her talks to business groups, it should have been obvious to all that she was trying to hide something embarrassing. One could have easily guessed correctly that these talks were much more pro-business than her more progressive talking points in her public speeches. Tactically speaking, the Clinton campaign should have released the transcripts shortly after the Democratic convention. By this time they would have already been forgotten. She is quite lucky that the latest Trump scandal has buried this story about her. Assuming she is elected, let us hope that she is not so foolish as to renege on the promises she made to her base.

        • Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          Yes, so lucky that the Trump-or-die contingent have declared the timing to be irrefutable evidence of a cover-up 😉


          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            I don’t buy any grand conspiracy theory.

            But it wouldn’t surprise me that whoever leaked the “hot mic” tape to WaPo was looking to do Hillary a solid. The leak appears to have been timed to coincide with the Wikileaks dump.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              Or, I should add, at least to ensure that the “hot mic” tape would be released before tonight’s debate. NBC was preparing its own story about the Trump tape, but didn’t plan to release it until early in the coming week. The leak to WaPo‘s David Fahrenthold on Friday forced its hand.

        • Reginald Selkirk
          Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          She is quite lucky that the latest Trump scandal has buried this story about her.

          Yes indeed.

          But remember that the views she allegedly professes in those leaked documents are not illegal nor immoral. They just wouldn’t go over well with the “Bernie” end of the electorate whose votes she would like to recieve.

          There is a case to be made for more open trade. When done right, trade is a win for both sides. Probably if you look at the results of any one treaty, say NAFTA, the US came out ahead. It’s only when you look into detail and break “the U.S.” down into smaller pieces do you notice that it has exacerbated the division of wealth.

  14. dfg
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Breitbart reported the Cologne molestations of women on New Year’s Eve before the mainstream press.

    And their reporting, I remember, was more clear and direct.

    So yes, on some things, the right-wing media is more reliable than the left-wing mainstream media.

    But don’t look for it to report as clearly, or at all, on politically inconvenient items. However, that too often applies to the mainstream one.

  15. Rick Graham
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The moron is the fundamental particle of politics.

    Bound in a party, morons have right or left spin; but free in space, they’re just morons.

    If you leave two doors open, morons will appear to go through both.

    Morons have a very long decay time, turns out to be the problem. After 13 billion years, here we are.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Trump is sorry IF anyon r offended.
    Talk’st thou to me of “ifs”? Richard Iii
    (context greatly changed)

  17. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s p*ssygate and Clinton’s Speechgate.
    Surprisingly enough, Breitbart appears to be offering a slightly more balanced coverage. (Who’da thunk?)

    How very strange to see someone who has participated in the evolution vs. creationism battles to be apparently calling for “balance.”

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      I assume you are referring to the absurd notion that there is even a possibility of a balance between those positions.

      There is no balanced position because creationism is empty of substance while evolutionary theory is heavy with truth.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        And what of substance is in the Drumpf? (Which is not necessarily to suggest that Clinton is heavy with truth – but she’s certainly a great deal heavier than Drumpf.)

  18. eric
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    My prediction: Trump will respond by going after Bill Clinton in tonight’s debate. You heard it here first. I also think there’s an outside chance he’ll mention Biden.

    Of course, those are non-sequitur attacks since it’s Hilary who is running, not her husband. And she had nothing to do with Obama’s VP choice. But “yeah? So’s your husband” is (a) about the only response Trump has, and (b) is just exactly the sort of intellectual comeback Trump is capable of.

    I hope she doesn’t take the bait and get into an argument over whether Bill’s infidelities were the same or better or worse than Trump’s sexism. That’s not going to help her. You don’t want to spend debate time defending your husband’s infidelities. I hope she just shuts it down by pointing out that Bill is not the one running.

    • SA Gould
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Going after Bill has been frequently mentioned by stations I listen to. Hillary has had her entire adult lifetime to prepare that answer. (And Trump doesn’t see his behavior as wrong in the slightest.)

    • Johnw
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      If she does use the “Bill’s not running” response tonight, Trump will undoubtedly throw back the Hillary the enabler smear, which I’ve always seen as especially week stuff that she can counterpunch effectively on. Lot’s of assertions have been made over the years about her role, but no real evidence exists that she ever did really anything more than be aware of counter tactics by staff and operatives that fall in the politics ain’t beanbags category imho. And after reading up on Jaunita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Troopergate, Gennifer Flowers, and Paula Jones etc these past few days, I find the serial philanderer storyline for slick Willy more credible than the Bill the rapist narrative. Even Hitch’s book passages I’ve read seem to be largely evidence-free, overwritten assertions motivated by personal animus.

      • FA
        Posted October 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Unless coupled with the “believe the victim” narrative, which Clinton is happy to support except when the accusations are against her husband.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      I expect he’ll go this route, too, since he feels no sincere contrition for his conduct — and since he so rarely feels the need to fake sincere contrition that it isn’t in his repertoire of tricks.

      I can’t see this tactic playing well in a town-hall setting. Imagine some nice Missouri hausfrau standing up to ask him how she should explain his “hot mic” tape to her kids, and his immediately launching into a rant about all the crazy cooze-chasing stories Bill Clinton regaled him with over the back nine at Trump National.

    • Carl
      Posted October 9, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Trump going after Bill Clinton is a pretty safe bet. So is the fact Hillary Clinton is well prepared to deal with it.

      I’ll make a little riskier prediction that Trump has a meltdown.

      Another safe prediction: genuine reality TV in all its low brow glory for those who care to watch.

      If you want a little more substantive evening, Gad Saad makes perhaps the one reasonable argument for Trump against Sam Harris in their recent conversation:

  19. Posted October 9, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink


  20. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t care if Trump raped the entire line-up of Miss World 2005. (The hardcore Trump faithful would probably say the same, but NOT for the same reasons).

    What concerns me is the guy is clearly unhinged, and if he gets into power it’s likely millions of people will suffer for it sooner or later – and I mean people in other countries who don’t get a vote in this election.

    If Trump’s grievous error (of leaving the microphone switched on) costs him the election, so much the better and everyone in the rest of the world will heave a sigh of relief. But it will just have been a fortuitous and incongruous stroke of luck.

    (I’m also concerned about Clinton’s big-business-friendliness, but – since she doesn’t appear to be completely loony – she’s infinitely far the lesser evil).


    • Posted October 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Warmongering plutocrat is the better choice over unhinged psychopath, wrt the rest of the world, anyway. (At least the former may give you reasons that you can dissect to find the real ones!)

  21. Tim Harris
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Why all the fuss so often about the Puffington Host? It seems pretty dreadful on a brief perusal, but it is surely not altogether bad. I haven’t noticed many complaints on WEIT about years of misrepresentation of just about everything on Fox News and other of Murdoch’s outlets (the happily defunct News of the World, for example, about which Nick Cohen was very eloquent). Pace dfg’s praise above for Breitbart for reporting on the mass groping in Cologne better than did other outlets, PuffHo reprints the New York Times on ‘How U.S. Torture Left a Legacy of Damaged Minds’, something that Breitbart or any other self-respecting right-wing US ‘news’ site would, I suspect, never do.

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