HuffPo continues its dubious journalism

Don’t get me wrong; I’m as depressed as anyone else about the outcome of the election, and Trump’s selections for his transition team, including the editor of Breitbart, are infinitely depressing. Tomorrow I’m returning to a country that I don’t know any more, and one I don’t understand.

And seriously, Trump is still tweeting?  The man has no gravitas, and will get no respect for world leaders (except, perhaps, Putin). Here’s what the loudmouth said recently, despite his own words that show that he’s okay with nuclear proliferation:

But it doesn’t help when liberals, desperate to find someone to blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss, turn to nearly anything as a putative cause of our country’s debacle. (Even Clinton, in my view, eroded her dignity by trying to blame her loss on FBI director James Comey and his last-minute “investigation” of her emails.)

For instance, you see below a PuffHo headline claiming that Facebook was responsible for Donald Trump’s victory. When you click on it (as you can do in the screenshot below), you’ll find that the accusation goes to a New York Times article with a much milder title, “Facebook, in cross hairs after election, is said to question its influence.”

And if you read that story, and others, you’ll find that Zuckerberg’s supposed influence on the election was due to Facebook’s allowing people to spread false news stories biased in favor of Trump, and—God forbid—allowing like-minded people to talk to and influence each other on their Facebook pages.

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-8-13-48-pmAn excerpt from the Times report:

Even as Facebook has outwardly defended itself as a nonpartisan information source — Mark. Zuckerberg, chairman and chief executive, said at a conference on Thursday that Facebook affecting the election was “a pretty crazy idea” — many company executives and employees have been asking one another if, or how, they shaped the minds, opinions and votes of Americans.

 Some employees are worried about the spread of racist and so-called alt-right memes across the network, according to interviews with 10 current and former Facebook employees. Others are asking whether they contributed to a “filter bubble” among users who largely interact with people who share the same beliefs.
But seriously, is it Facebook’s responsibility to police all news spread around, seeing if it’s real? And how on earth are you going to prevent “filter bubbles” between conservatives when they’re going on with equal—or even greater—intensity among liberals? The fact is that people tend to reinforce their opinions on Facebook by interacting with like-minded people. Trumpites have Trumpish friends and demonized Clinton, Clintonites have Clintonish friends and demonize Trump. I’ve seen plenty of the latter, being on the Left.
In fact, the story suggests several instances of either anti-conservative bias or censorship that didn’t involve Trump one way or the other:

Inside Facebook, employees have become more aware of the company’s role in media after several incidents involving content the social network displayed inusers’ news feeds.

In May, the company grappled with accusations that politically biased employees were censoring some conservative stories and websites in Facebook’s Trending Topics section, a part of the site that shows the most talked-about stories and issues on Facebook. Facebook later laid off the Trending Topics team.

In September, Facebook came under fire for removing a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a naked 9-year-old girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, as she fled napalm bombs during the Vietnam War. The social network took down the photo for violating its nudity standards, even though the picture was an illustration of the horrors of war rather than child pornography.

And finally, PuffHo just made this blatant accusation about Steve Bannon, chairman of the right-wing site Breitbart and now appointed by Trump to be his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor when he’s President:

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-7-51-54-pm

But if you clicked on the post, which I can’t find any more, you’d have gone to this NBC News article:

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-8-08-31-pm

That is from August 27, when Bannon was Trump’s chief campaign organizer. Is he an anti-Semite? Perhaps, but the article that proves it says only that Bannon’s ex-wife accused him of making three anti-Semitic remarks—remarks that came to light when Politico scrutinized the legal record’s of Bannon’s highly contentious divorce battle:

The court declaration from the ex-wife outlined three separate anti-Semitic remarks that Bannon allegedly made as she toured some of the most elite private schools in the Los Angeles area for their daughters.

. . . Preate [Alexandra Preate, Bannon’s spokesperson] denied the claims about Archer in an email to NBC News on Friday.

“At the time, Mr. Bannon never said anything like that and proudly sent the girls to Archer for their middle school and high school educations,” Preate said.

NBC News reached out again on Saturday to Preate regarding the alleged comments concerning the other schools, but was unable to reach the spokeswoman.

Unlike in the domestic violence case against Bannon, the ex-wife’s allegations of anti-Semitism weren’t supported by a separate police claim or report.

Well, the remarks, which you can read at the site, do suggest some bias against Jews, but there’s nothing like the open-and-shut accusations of antisemitism leveled by PuffHo (and all they did was link to the NBC article).

Bannon appears to be a nasty piece of work: he was charged by the police for three misdemeanor incidents of domestic violence, battery, and dissuading a witness. These charges were later dropped. He has made Breitbart into an over-the-top website of right-wing distortion, the exact counterpart of PuffHo’s liberal histrionics.

Tomorrow I’ll return to a country that has changed immensely since I left. We will lose Obama and gain a doltish clown, and I fear for our Republic. But the solution is not to try to affix blame to Trump’s victory, or distort what’s happening in the service of our own ideology. Our job is to figure out what we can to to slow the Trump juggernaut without violating the democratic values the Left espouses. Huffpo will go on distorting, lying, and wringing its hands, but it’s become irrelevant. It is doing exactly what they accuse Zuckerberg of doing: creating a bubble of opinion that tolerates no dissent.

And both NBC News and the New York Times should force PuffHo to stop linking to their articles while giving them misleading headlines.

93 Comments

  1. Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Yes! Down with Facebook! Next on the chopping block: our ability to speak!

    • somer
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      +1 Yes the BBC has been hand wringing on the same lines: should Zuckerberg et al try to monitor everything that is said for acceptability/extremism, etc etc.

  2. J Cook
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Recently I have had email exchanges with two large catalog companies about the lack of US made products. One very large and popular clothing outfit had nothing, nothing that was made in the US.
    These two companies and many, many others have abandoned skilled people who made cloth, cut patterns and sewed clothing and made other products.
    That speaks volumes to why that megalomaniacal
    clown is President-elect.

    • Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Why? Because people are stupid enough to believe that a megalomaniacal clown is going to be able to overturn basic economics? Manufacturing consumer goods activities that can be done more cheaply in Mexico or overseas are not going to return to the US. I can’t believe Trump voters who pulled on their Mexico made jeans, donned a Bangladesh made shirt and China mad shoes before jumping in their Japan made car to drive to their polling place are so naive to think it might.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        “Why? Because people are stupid enough to believe that a megalomaniacal clown is going to be able to overturn basic economics?”

        I think you just answered your own question. Like incurable cancer sufferers who resort to apricot kernels or whatever-it-was, because the professionals have told them they’re hopeless and the quacks have at least offered them some illusory hope.

        cr

        • Filippo
          Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          ” . . . because the professionals have told them they’re hopeless . . . .”

          I look forward to the day when foreign professionals – scientists, engineers, economists, M.D.’s, attorneys, academics, journalists/columnists, MBA/JD corporate CEO types), no less competent than their U.S. born-and-bred counterparts – are hired in the latters’ place at bargain rates in the service of the Masters of Mankind, all for the sake of that “American value” of profit maximization and investment return.

          The U.S. professionals can join their populist working class/blue collar confreres in enlisting in the U.S. military (for the purpose of economic survival) and go in harm’s way to preserve, protect and defend this sacred value.

          That might get the attention of the U.S. “professional class.”

          • Ivo
            Posted November 18, 2016 at 12:50 am | Permalink

            I don’t know about the rest, but US scientists are already competing on a globalised market for academic positions. As do scientists from most other countries.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Jeez, did either of those two large catalog companies you were in dialogue with carry the chi-chi Trump-brand clothing that’s produced by sweatshops in Bangladesh and China and Mexico?

      Yeah, Trump’s the guy American textile workers and seamstresses can count on to look out for their interests alright.

  3. Pablo
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I do think a case can be made for Comey’s late shenanigans having affected the senate race.

    • Michael
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, but it was only part of the “perfect storm” that swept that buffoon into office.

      • Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        The Democrats did NOT show up and vote, end of story. if they had, we would not have a President Trump. read ’em and weep:

        The real question is, how can we energize Dem. (and generally left leaning) voters.

        • Posted November 16, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          The GOP vote went DOWN. We should have wiped the floor with the Donald.

          Spending the entire election saying in public how much of a piece of shit the Democrat candidate is (as some on the left did) is probably not the best turn-out-the-vote strategy.

    • jwthomas
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      But her complaint sounds too much like Trump’s “rigged election” scam. She allows herself to be tagged as a sore loser. The public hates that kind of thing.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      And Hillary & Bill have no one to blame for it but Bill & Hillary.

      Hillary, for having used that stupid private server to try to keep her State Dept emails beyond the purview of US public-records laws.

      And Bill, even more proximately, for having moronically barged onto AG Loretta Lynch’s airplane on the PHX tarmac last July, leaving Lynch little choice but to recuse herself (sort of) from the Hillary email investigation, and leading FBI Director James Comey to hold a public press conference (and resultant congressional testimony), in his clumsy effort to clean up this tawdry mess.

      But for this boneheaded move by Bubba, James Comey would’ve had no public role to play in this election.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    A couple thoughts – oh it’s hard to shut up about this.

    1. “Do you support your President Donald J. Trump?”

    I reject the question – the premise being that in my view he would fail the country – therefore I voted against him. Now that he’s president means nothing to the original question. If anything, I support e.g. Warren Buffett going to the WH to give him all the help he needs and more (WB has said he will). In practice I couldn’t do anything for DJT even if I wanted to because I’m just an ordinary citizen.

    2. The election has shown the power of individuals whose everyday lives are organized such that a hobby called politics/government has become an obsession.

    3. DJT was chosen by the electoral college by a margin of about 105,000 votes – I’ll try to find the WashPo article.

    OK put the muzzle on, I have better things to do with my life now.

    • jwthomas
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      What?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I can’t help blowing off some steam on a common idea I have heard come up. I admit it’s not related to the posting topic. Trying to restrain myself.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Here’s the WaPo article:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/swing-state-margins/

      • Richard Bond
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        That is why a few days ago on this site I suggested that a stastical comparison of these marginal Trump states and their pre-election polls with “safe” states would be interesting. If I wanted to hack the process, I would just slightly tweak marginal states. Anything more would be obviously suspicious. Paranoia? Possibly, but I do not trust Putin and his army of state-sponsored hackers.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      I understand that Warren Buffett has said that, now that Trump has won the election, he’s hoping Trump will have a successful presidency. But what kind of “help” would Buffett go to the White House to give him — corporate investing tips?

      Might as well have Jimmy Buffett show up in the Rose Garden to teach him the D-G-A chords and the melody to <Margaritaville.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      I’m not happy with what I wrote above ^^^, so I wrote about the tone of my comment here:

      https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/on-the-election/

      …. however, I wanted to round out my comment on the Trump victory margin by pointing out this article, which makes a good argument to not make a big deal about how Clinton won the popular vote – long story short, both parties knew the rules of the game going in, namely, the electoral college:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/14/trump-lost-the-popular-vote-that-doesnt-mean-he-would-have-lost-a-popular-vote-election/

  5. eric
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    [DJT] will get no respect for world leaders (except, perhaps, Putin).

    I would not mistake ‘support’ for ‘respect.’ As far I can tell, Putin likes Trump because he thinks the US under Trump won’t interfere with his supporting Assad and encroaching into the Ukraine, and possibly other FSU countries. I don’t think that’s the same thing as respecting Trump.

    Zuckerberg’s supposed influence on the election was due to Facebook’s allowing people to spread false news stories biased in favor of Trump

    I don’t think that’s it exactly. My understanding is that the complaint about Facebook (and Google) is that they allowed false news for-profit ventures to buy huge amount of clickbait advertising space and put themselves at the head of search functions, actions which make it more difficult for people browsing those sites to access accurate news reporting.

    It now appears that both services will be trying to cut back on the amount of ad space they sell to fake news sites. Google, in particular, seems to be focused on not allowing businesses who hide their sources or deceive about their funding sources to advertise. That seems just fine by me. I view it much like a TV station deciding they aren’t going to rent advertising space to some unknown PAC not affiliated with an official national campaign: good riddance to bad garbage.

    • eric
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

      Just to be clear, my second point is saying that the pushback against Facebook has nothing to do with what Facebook users communicated to each other, it has to do with what Facebook advertisers communicated to users. At least as I understand it. I don’t think anyone is complaining about pro-Trump facebook users talking to other facebook users about their pro-Trump beliefs and positions.

  6. Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    “The @nytimes states today that DJT believes “more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.” How dishonest are they. I never said this!”

    He never said that in a similar sense to the way Clinton said he “never had sexual relations with that woman”.
    He never said more countries SHOULD acquire nuclear weapons, he said it wouldn’t be a bad thing if they did.

  7. Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Trump is not draining the swamp; he is just restocking it with new species of scum.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    When things go wrong it is very popular to look everywhere for blame. The main principle is to be sure the blame is not on me. Oh, look at wise me, it was the FBI, or it was the regressive left or the far out right and I can think of many other clever labels to push the blame game on them too. If not somebody then it must have been that evil electoral college. Maybe when it is all over and the dust has settled the cause is all of use. Just think real hard and go back as far as you must but the problem is all of us.

  9. Merilee
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  10. Merilee
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  11. Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    “But seriously, is it Facebook’s responsibility to police all news spread around, seeing if it’s real?”

    I don’t know, but given that 40% of people get their news from Facebook, and given that, according to a buzzfeed study(how reliable is that I don’t know), republican facebook “news” stories are twice as likely to be lies, what do we do, get better at lying?

    “He has made Breitbart into an over-the-top website of right-wing distortion, the exact counterpart of PuffHo’s liberal histrionics.”

    I have to disagree, Huffpo, as bad as it can be, isn’t even close to as dishonest. Huffpo at least has liberal sources, trusted by liberals, who will fact check them, no one on the right, who conservatives trust, fact check Breitbart.

    • Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and given the difference in this election was 120,000 votes over 3 battleground states, there are dozens of things you could reasonably blame Hillary’s loss on. Comey’s last-minute “investigation” of her emails, being one of them.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I also think there’s a pretty serious difference between an inane liberal website which propounds self-satisfied but relatively harmless messages of left-wing fluff, and an absolutely seethingly vicious, borderline neo-fascist online Mordor, which has the power to set its millions of foul white supremacist stormtroopers on any public person that displeases their editorial stance. The poison that that site spits out is like nothing in any other mainstream website in the western world.

      • Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        “The poison that that site spits out is like nothing in any other mainstream website in the western world.”

        Agreed! Infowars is close if you consider it mainstream.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        I warmly agree with both Mike & Saul. There is no comparison between the silly disingenuousness of PuffHo and the malice & lies that spill out of Breitbart.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know, but given that 40% of people get their news from Facebook,

      If this is true (NB : “if”), then it’s one of the most depressing things I’ve heard in the last year. A year that includes the election of the first member of the Trump Dynasty and the Brexit vote. And probably something bad happened in Canada too.

      and given that, according to a buzzfeed study(how reliable is that I don’t know),

      With a name like “buzzfeed”, I think it’s probably a good site for buzzards to get news about fresh roadkill. Otherwise … maybe I’ll stick to reading Auntie Beeb, the Grauniad and the Indescribablyboring

      • Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        “If this is true (NB : “if”), then it’s one of the most depressing things I’ve heard in the last year.”

        Sorry to depress you. http://www.niemanlab.org/2016/05/pew-report-44-percent-of-u-s-adults-get-news-on-facebook/

      • Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        “With a name like “buzzfeed”, I think it’s probably a good site for buzzards to get news about fresh roadkill.”

        Buzzfeed is Huffpo’s even more regressive sister site. Founded by some of the same people, targeted more towards millennials, and likely more popular than Huffpo among that demographic.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think I’ve read more than a handful of articles on both put together. I do remember having a couple of fights with “buzzfeed” to try to stop it loading myriads of third-party scripts and adverts before putting it on the do-not-follow list.

      • Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        This is the headline:
        “A BuzzFeed News analysis found that three big right-wing Facebook pages published false or misleading information 38% of the time during the period analyzed, and three large left-wing pages did so in nearly 20% of posts.”

        And a link to the article itself: https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/partisan-fb-pages-analysis?utm_term=.hodLgq7nq#.frEmjNxYN

    • jeremy pereira
      Posted November 16, 2016 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      The problem isn’t that 40% of people get their news from Facebook, the problem is that Facebook and other social media companies e.g. Google are designed to give you content that you like on the assumption that it means you’ll keep coming back. In that way, it reinforces prejudice.

      If you’d looked at my Facebook feed in the run up to the Brexit vote, you could have been forgiven for wondering where all the Leave people were. It contained nothing but stories about how bad Brexit would be and how mendacious the Leave campaigners were.

      If you’d looked at a Brexit supporter’s feed, I suspect you would have seen exactly the opposite. Facebook does not give a balanced perspective on political issues, it gives each user exactly what they want to read.

      The same applies to Google and probably every other social media site that is competing for your eyeballs.

  12. Petrushka
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I suppose Russia, India and China are too insignificant to count as countries that have expressed respect.

    Saudi Arabia is probably not happy.

    I will be mollified if Trump reverses the propensity of the US to engage in regime change through overt and covert means.

    • Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Well, when a new US president is elected, it is normal to send a congratulating message. This says nothing about the real opinions of world leaders about that person.
      The UK foreign minister Boris Johnson also expressed respect, after making some dismissive comments about Trump when few thought the latter had any chance. I understand Mr. Johnson. His country needs friends from whom to buy wheat. So this is business and nothing more.

      • somer
        Posted November 16, 2016 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        Sorry to hear that a pro Russian politician won the elections to become President in your country. Bad news

  13. eric
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Our job is to figure out what we can to to slow the Trump juggernaut without violating the democratic values the Left espouses.

    Let’s say the worst happens and Roe and Obergefell get overturned. In that case, liberals can still fight those battles at the state level, ensuring that state laws make these things legal even if SCOTUS doesn’t interpret the constitution as requiring that they be legal.

    That may seem depressing and hard to do, but I think it’s worth remembering that in national surveys such as Gallup, support for legal abortion and SSM is well over 50% each. Much like Kansas went through a yo-yo ride of electing and then voting out creationist board members, I think the US is somewhat ripe for yo-yoing on these decisions. It may become the case that conservatives banning these things simply motivates a larger turnout in the next election to restore them.

    That’s not by any means a ‘desired outcome.’ Its IMO far better that these rights continue uninterrupted than for us to only learn our lesson after they’re taken away. But my point is don’t mistake the loss of a battle for the loss of a war. And remember Churchill’s adage about the Americans: we always do the right thing…after we’ve exhausted every other option.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      Trump, when asked about abortion, said “Well they can go to a neighboring state where it is legal”.

      Not sure if that’s him dodging the issue, or just his view of what one might call ‘consumer economics’ or maybe ‘marketplace morality’ – if ya don’t like Chevy’s, buy a Ford. Abortion tourism ahoy.

      I don’t think either the pro- or anti-abortion camps would be really happy with that situation, though.

      cr

      • eric
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        That’s always been the public version of pro-life: they want to give States the option of banning it or allowing it. So Trump is just repeating the party line here, not making up some new middle position.

        Now if DJT gets to nominate two justices, does anyone believe that conservatives would stop at “let the States decide?” No, let’s not be naive. They’ll argue for a full, federal, constitutional ban on abortion. But that’s in the future. For the moment, I think it’s fair to say that he’s not dodging the issue with his statement, he’s just repeating the standard GOP talking points on their goals for abortion law.

  14. Posted November 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  15. Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “I’m returning to a country that I don’t know any more, and one I don’t understand.”

    In Pratchett’s Wee Free Men, when a princess marries and moves to live with her husband, she takes a few loyal men with her so that not to be too lonely in her new home. With time, she produces tons of kids and is no longer lonely. It is the aging men of her retinue who are lonely now.

    As I am advancing in age, I find this a good metaphor for real life. I feel more and more like a foreigner. Youths have other views and even other words. Some cast at me patronizing looks, as if I am an old immigrant unable to adapt give up the strange ways of her abandoned land.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      as if I am an old immigrant unable to adapt

      What did that quotations fellow say? Something about “the future is a foreign country ; they do things differently there”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        “the future is a foreign country”

        Until this election, we USians have been spoiled into thinking about it like a day trip to Ontario through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

        Now we’ve in for a real road-trip.

      • mfdempsey1946
        Posted November 16, 2016 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.”

        Quoted from “The Go-Between” — the novel by Nicholas Mosley and the film directed by Joseph Losey and adapted by Harold Pinter.

        But this may also be true of any and all possible futures as well, including the dreadful one that we appear to be facing now.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted November 16, 2016 at 5:40 am | Permalink

          The novel is not by Nicholas Mosley. It is by L.P. Hartley. “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” is the opening sentence.

  16. geckzilla
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The HuffPo headline is a reflection of the echo chamber within liberal spheres. They’ve latched onto this idea and are sure they’re right, even though it’s not really a sure thing. Maybe it is? I feel as though I cannot interject when I see dubious claims out of fear that I will somehow lose respect.

    The truth sometimes seems like an elusive, endangered creature, darting in and out of my field of vision, never fully coming into view.

  17. eric
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Tomorrow I’m returning to a country that I don’t know any more, and one I don’t understand.

    The lesson I draw from this election is that most voters are single- or few-issue voters. Promise to overturn Roe, you get the evangelical vote utterly regardless of your personal moral life. Promise to bring jobs back to the rust belt and lower people’s taxes, and you can be as racist as you want to be – it won’t matter because the folks who stand to gain from those promises will still vote for you.

    The same is probably true on the Dem side, though probably not as extreme. Dem voters historically have forsaken the party’s choice in significant percentages – occasionally. Not often. But in general as a Dem if you promise to protect Roe, SSM, welfare, etc., then its almost just as true to say it doesn’t matter what your baggage is.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      “Promise to bring jobs back to the rust belt and lower people’s taxes, and you can be as racist as you want to be – it won’t matter because the folks who stand to gain from those promises will still vote for you.”

      Quite likely including a considerable number of black voters in that area.

      cr

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        You begin to hit on one of the real issues and therefore, reasons for this upset. Going to Ohio or Pennsylvania or Indiana and promising to do something.

        Just turn the clock back to the 1970s when the rust belt really started to rust and the steal industry began to shut down and move overseas. Eventually many of these states lost millions of jobs. It was not pretty and it lasted for many years. What did the democrats do about any of this. I don’t recall them doing much of anything. Just change the subject and talk about the tech industry and move on. The once high concentration of union jobs (democratic voters) also went away. This is one good reason why Hilary lost many of these states that use to simply fall in line and vote for the demos. Listen and see if Hilary or even Obama list this as a defeat reason. Probably not.

        • eric
          Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          The once high concentration of union jobs (democratic voters) also went away. This is one good reason why Hilary lost many of these states that use to simply fall in line and vote for the demos.

          I believe you are right, but I have a hard time seeing the rationality behind that switch. The Dems failed to maintain the number of blue-collar jobs the public in those regions wanted and needed to thrive. That’s a very fair criticism. But the GOP did and still does actively work to destroy unions utterly and lower worker wages as much as possible. They don’t even try to hide this, they actively campaign as union-busters. So the way I see it, rust belt blue collar workers just chose the party that is maliciously opposed to their very way of life over the party that incompetently but at least theoretically supports them. I can only see that choice as an emotional one.

          • Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Trump, however, *did address the topic*, which as far as I can tell was not seriously done by the Democrats this time around. His proposals for changing matters are … eclectic, and some are crazy, but as far as I can tell, his *diagnoses* were usually correct.

      • eric
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        I have not seen any racial breakdown of voting, but in terms of women across the country I believe it was 45%/55%. About 29% of the US eligible voters are registered Republican, so this was not just GOP women ignoring the comments; it was a lot of independent women too. Basically, I think we need to take these numbers to mean that few to no women changed their vote based on Trump’s sexist record of comments. The women who considered such comments to be deal-breakers were already going to vote HRC. While amongst those women who were seriously considering him in the first place, the comments largely weren’t a factor.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    “In September, Facebook came under fire for removing a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a naked 9-year-old girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, as she fled napalm bombs during the Vietnam War. The social network took down the photo for violating its nudity standards, even though the picture was an illustration of the horrors of war rather than child pornography.”

    Reminds me of how Facebook removed drawings of self-examination for breast cancer for a health organization (IIRC) here in Sweden. Apparently they thought they were sexual images for some reason or other. Cultural misunderstanding, perhaps, but sad anyway. Even drawing the breast as squares didn’t help, and finally the organization took to media to get in touch with the censorship in a roundabout way …

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Apparently they thought they were sexual images for some reason or other. Cultural misunderstanding,

      Nope, nothing cultural about it. Pure simple ineffective algorithms, and probably running on inadequate hardware.
      Regardless of Moore’s Law, the computational cost of doing a detailed analysis of a random image (which is what a stateless algorithm running on a globally accessible server with hundreds of millions of users is going to face) is always going to be higher than that of doing a superficial analysis. Therefore, the business will do what it can too minimise that cost. As long as the cost of “Mechanical Turks” classifying the images is higher than the PR cost of getting it wrong, then they’ll live with the PR cost of getting it wrong.

    • Posted November 16, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      This sort of problem is not new. AOL (remember them?) apparently for a while had a group devoted to “hooter cancer” because “breast” was not allowed in group names.

      • jeremy pereira
        Posted November 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        What did the Chicken Breast Appreciation Society do? Or the Association of Breast Stroke Olympic Medalists?

        Sometimes humans make such obviously stupid decisions, it talkes my breath away.

  19. Helen Hollis
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    “Our job is to figure out what we can to to slow the Trump juggernaut without violating the democratic values the Left espouses.”

    Won’t he be his own worst enemy? What will he do after his 100 day plan ends up a failure?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Press the button.
      Assuming that he can work out how to do it. so there’s the RoTW’s protection.

      • Helen Hollis
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        I think the idea some voters had was that he was a business man who could bring in deliverables. If his 100 day plan was a pitch to an employer (the American people) then he should be evaluated for performance just like any employee would be in any company. Minus the golden parachute.
        The rumors about his children getting security clearance (and spouse of one) is, I hope just a rumor. That can not be legal can it?

        • Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          As I’ve said elsewhere on these threads:

          Unemployment is way down, low by historical standards:

          (That graph also shows that there is no correlation between the income tax levels at the tops and employment.)

          The Economy (on the brink of Great Depression II in late 2008) has righted itself under Obama, for instance employment:

          Un-taxing the wealthy has taken money from the bottom and sent it upward (duh! The GOP loves wealth redistribution, as long as it goes from the bottom to the top):

          (It will no surprise me if a Trump Admin. stops the US Census Bureau from publishing these data in the future.)

          These policies are exactly what has cut the legs out from under the working class and lower middle class.

          And don’t forget that the GOP has spent the last few decades doing their level best to gut publicly-funded education at every level. This has made the only ladder that people have to raise themselves economically ever harder to attain.

          Where are these magical economic levers that Trump has to pull to change these things? As far as I can see, he is planning just more of the same.

          Now, if he promised to fund post-secondary and technical education so that tuition was free, then we might be talking about something. Fat chance.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 17, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          “If the President does it, it’s not illegal,” quoth Tricky Dicky (IIRC).

  20. Leigh
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Re: “But the solution is not to try to affix blame to Trump’s victory, or distort what’s happening in the service of our own ideology. Our job is to figure out what we can to to slow the Trump juggernaut without violating the democratic values the Left espouses.”

    I absolutely agree. I hope everyone is working on what needs to be done. If you can’t, don’t have time, or won’t work, then at least throw as much money at as many good organizations as you can.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Just a plus one on your comments. As I attempted to say in an earlier comment, running around pointing figures at everything and everybody for this disaster is a total waste of energy. Even if there was a magic reason that caused this whole collapse of our modern reason, it is gone now. You cannot go back and fix it. The fix, if there is one is in the future and I am not so sure that we even know how to act or what steps to take. But if all we can do is speculate like a bunch of pundits we have solved nothing.

  21. colnago80
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid that I will have to disagree with Professor Ceiling Cat about the accusation relative to Coney. I have not the slightest doubt that this contributed to her loss. Proof of that is that she had a lead of about 7 points on average in polls taken just before Coney which was cut in half after Coney’s outburst.

    I see no reason why Clinton and Obama should show the slightest deference to Donald the dunce. He certainly showed no respect for them before the election. I don’t agree with the notion of good losers. There are no good losers, there are only losers, a sentiment that our new president would heartily agree with.

  22. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Tomorrow I’m returning to a country that I don’t know any more, and one I don’t understand.

    I haven’t left the US of America in the last week, yet I too have woken every morning since feeling like a stranger in a strange land.

    Unfortunately, as a wise Frenchman once observed, “every nation gets the government it deserves.”

    That being so sure speaks ill of our American polity.

  23. Infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    “The fact is that people tend to reinforce their opinions on Facebook by interacting with like-minded people.”

    Not just Farcebook, everywhere (including, of course, WEIT). The only people who consistently hang out with the ‘opposition’ are the most dedicated campaigners, or trolls.

    cr

  24. Carl
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan Haidt 20 minute TED talk on American politics:

    • somer
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Great video

  25. Posted November 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I was one of those Facebook friends inflicting your timeline with a tiresome parade of anti-Trump postings. Mea culpa. But I have not gone on Facebook once since that horrible night a week ago, and have felt considerably better without it. Same with Twitter.

    I’m thinking of swearing off social media entirely, except perhaps as a vehicle for letting interested people know about my occasional blog postings. Even there, I might just forgo any dialogue in the comments or reply tw**ts. It got really tiresome mucking about there, sadddled with this spurious sense of obligation to explain every nuance of my opinions to vocal and often misinformed people whose orbits had once intersected superficially with mine over some bit of common interest (e.g., atheism) but with little in common otherwise. I also grew tired of the echo chamber, having my concerns about the state of the world reinforced by well-meaning acquaintances who agreed with and “liked” my posts and yet, in so doing, only made me brood more on those concerns.

    Also, I’ve read nearly three books this past week. So, there’s that.

    • Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      “I’m thinking of swearing off social media entirely”

      My FB friends consist entire of family, and close real life friends. My wife on the other hand adds everyone she’s known from school in the past, and everyone she works, and has worked with, and I think this is what most people do. So contrary to what Jerry seems to think, unless you are particularly political you aren’t going to live in a liberal, or conservative facebook bubble, and if the numbers I cited earlier, that conservative FB “news” sources are twice as likely to report false stories, it a war of misinformation we’re going to lose. Particularly given it’s the least political, and thus those who are least likely to see it for what it is, that are its victims.

  26. Merilee
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Sub again✔️✔️

  27. somer
    Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Article about Steve Bannon by John Podhoretz who was a friend of Brietbart (who is now deceased) doesnt sound encouraging:

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/notes-on-steve-bannon-appointment/

    “No, the key moral problem with Steve Bannon is that as the CEO of Andrew Breitbart’s namesake organization, he is an aider and abetter of foul extremist views, including anti-Semitic ones. He used the site to promote the alt-right, which has retailed anti-Semitism as well as general outright racism and white nationalism. The distinction may seem like a minor one, but it isn’t; the hatred Breitbart has channeled is too general for it to be singled out for its anti-Semitic content.”

    “He is a self-described Leninist who wants to use Lenin’s “by any means necessary” philosophy to extirpate liberalism on the one hand and to pursue the concomitant extirpation of those he perceives as collaborationist conservatives on the other.”

    “It should go without saying that the president of the United States should not have a tawdry, destructive, and repulsively uncivilized goon as a chief strategist. “

    • somer
      Posted November 15, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      I opposed Bush and his fondness for the Israel lobby but I agree with Podharetz in the above article when he also worries about formation of polar extremes in politics and is critical of the consideration of Keith Ellison to chair DNC – a black Muslim congressman who Bernie has endorsed
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/15/why-keith-ellison-is-a-bold-pick-for-dnc-chair-and-a-controversial-one/
      meanwhile the Federal minimum wage is $7.50, undermined by free trade agreements, and in some places also by illegal immigration and low taxes for the wealthy, not that Im suggesting immigrants be dealt with a la Trump. Free higher education is not a priority. Secure and well paid jobs with a decent safety net including health of course look after all the other priorities. America needs democrats with realistic foreign policy like it used to have

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted November 15, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        It takes a right-winger like Podhoretz to draw a false equivalency between an alt-right nut-job like Steve Bannon and a member of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party like Congressman Keith Ellison.

        Anyway, what’s the relevance of Rep. Ellison being, as you put it, “a black Muslim”? (FWIW, Ellison is black and he’s a Muslim, but he isn’t a “black Muslim” in the Nation-of-Islam sense.) Is the lesson to be taken from this election that Democrats should be afraid to name someone who’s not a Confessing Christian Caucasian as head of the DNC, for fear of spooking all the resentful white folk across the nation?

        • somer
          Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

          Yes Ellis is not an extremist but he is pro Islam, has some nation of Islam background at a time when the nation really needs unity – it indicates a shift even further left on foreign policy / islam/ migration and some areas of race issues.

          you have to concentrate on basics of whats possible and good for most people without harming minorities but not pandering to them at the great expense of the minority either. The left will continue making more and more concessions to non american interests re foreign policy and re Islam and re immigration and re closing down some reasons for problems (e.g. the Christakis Yale professor being closed down re any suggestion that African American absent fathers is part of the problem, despite all her and her husbands work in support of african americans)

          National realism is the same institutional structures that keep the UN in place, delivering essential health services world wide and regulating/checking national excesses but its not perfect. Nothing is perfect. A nation is actually a nation and its foolish to pretend otherwise. I think the Jonathan Haidt video makes some very good points. I know working class democrat voters in the US who are utterly fed up with the direction the democratic party has taken and want return to earlier style (ahem … compassionate And realistic)

          • somer
            Posted November 15, 2016 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            PS the Democrat voters I spoke to comes from and lives in a rust belt state and has done all his life

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted November 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            So far as I know, Keith Ellison has never done anything that could be construed as pro-Islamist. And I’m uncertain of what you mean by “pro-Islam,” but by any rational measure, Ellison has been less “pro-Islam” in his public pronouncements than 90% of the sitting members of congress are vocally pro-Christian in theirs.

            (Also, keep in mind that anyone who may be upset by a Muslim being named DNC chief would likely scream even-bloodier murder were an atheist so named.)

            Personally, I don’t give a rat’s behind what an officeholder’s private religious convictions are, as long as he or she refrains from pushing them upon the rest of us in the public sphere.

            Keith Ellison’s Muslim faith became a cause célèbre only after some reactionary idiots made a stink over him placing his hand on a Qur’an while taking the oath of office.

            • somer
              Posted November 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

              Im just concerned the democrats will move to accommodate and progress traditionalist non western culture and an ExPanded multiculturalism in response to this and I don’t think that is a good thing

          • Posted November 16, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            Ellison is from the next district over from mine (just a few miles).

            He’s a very reasonable guy. He’s one of our tribe (despite the religion thing*).

            (* I don’t think he’s any more religious than any other typical pol. I can;t really blame him for trying to defend his religious community.)

  28. somer
    Posted November 16, 2016 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Already Assad is angling to get Trump allied with him and Russia in the “fight against ISIS” although in reality they are abetting ISIS in the fight against Sunnis in general in Syria to support the Alouite/Shia regime
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37995444

    • eric
      Posted November 16, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I often disagree with you, but in this case I think you have it right; if Assad can get Trump in his corner as well as Putin, then he’ll just keep ISIS around – as a brand name, if not an actual threat – until the major powers have taken out all his other enemies.

      I seem to recall Murabak was accused of doing something similar. He talked up the threat of extremist political groups, then used that as a cover to go after his moderate critics. Only after all moderate political opponents were eliminated did he actually turn his attention to the extremists.

  29. Posted November 17, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    as for Bannon, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and the other ducks say it’s a duck, I’m pretty sure it’s a duck.

    • Merilee
      Posted November 17, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Last night Trevor Noah compared Bannon to the honey badger ( not giving a shit) but Imho this is a grievous insult to Mr. Honey Badger.

      • Posted November 20, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Indeed it is a terrible insult to the badger. I am amused when so many people do their best to insist that Bannon isn’t the ass that he is. This is indeed a time to acknowledge that one is judged by ones associates. If you choose to hang out with Nazis, then there is no reason to think you aren’t a Nazi.

  30. Posted November 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    to your point it seems more people live in their own constructed echo chamber, only hearing and seeing ideas of those with similar ideas and ideologies. Unhealthy for a thriving democracy if you ask me.

  31. Merilee
    Posted November 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Now Jeff Sessions for AG?????


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