Tag Archives: Clinton

Erasing Obama

BY STEVE BATES

Welcome to the Museum of Revised American History. Straight ahead is the Hall of the Presidents.

What’s that you ask? Why is there a giant empty space where the 44th president would be enshrined? An excellent question.

All traces of the eight years he served have been eradicated. You’re too young to have lived through that terrible, awful time. But I can tell you, it is amazing that our people and our country survived it.

We’re not supposed to talk about that time. Better to let the healing continue, our wonderful President for Life says.

obama

Believe it or not, before the President for Life, there was something called a free press, not the state-controlled media we have now. People were bombarded with fake news. They really didn’t know what to think. They even were led to believe that the President for Life was not very smart and he did some things that were not in the best interests of our great country. Boy, did he correct those false claims.

We can guess that the sorry mess that is our health care system can be traced to the terrible decisions made by whoever was the president back in those dark days. And the fact that several horrible wars have broken out across the globe in the past few years likely also can be linked to that worst-ever president.

No, I don’t recall his name. Those of us over the age of 21 have all had microchips implanted in our brains, with the wonderful result that all of our unpleasant memories of that miserable time have been erased. I do have the vague feeling that the man was an illegal immigrant, born in Africa or Hawaii or some other foreign country bent on our destruction.

How could one man do so much damage? Another excellent question. Historians believe that he did not act alone. There was a Deep State Conspiracy that our President for Life detected and wiped out, though the battle was long and bloody. There was one woman in particular who was particularly heinous. She sent several e-mails, I’m told. I shudder to think of how much our wonderful nation was corrupted by her disgusting actions.

But let’s not dwell on the past. Up ahead is a huge exhibition illustrating the accomplishments of our President for Life. The glowing monument at the center celebrates the historic peace agreement under which we relinquished our autonomy to the Russian Federation. Life is so much more serene now that the tension between our countries has been alleviated.

Next stop is the cafeteria. Today’s special is borscht. Of course, borscht is the special every day. Remember that if you want bread with your meal, you’ll need to get in that line. Looks like a two-hour wait today. Not nearly as bad as some days.

What’s that you say? You didn’t enjoy your visit to the Museum of Revised American History? Guard! I think we have a new recruit for the Labor Camp.

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The Media: Down in the Mud

BY STEVE BATES

The role of the news media in the 2016 election troubles me.

Maybe after the dust settles it will be easier to judge our mistakes and excesses. We are in the heat of a campaign that is completely unprecedented in so many ways. Both candidates have negative ratings with the electorate. One party is in danger of being torn apart. Allegations of sexual assault are flying left and right. The media feeding frenzies that have accompanied these events have been fascinating—like watching a train wreck–but disconcerting nonetheless.

trillary

Most of the extreme media treatment has been directed at Donald Trump, of course. In a sense, the media created Trump as a national political figure. Thank “The Apprentice” and Trump’s birther claims. During the early stages of the 2016 Republican primary contest, journalists interviewed Trump almost nonstop. He was “good copy”—the kind of entertaining interviews that sell newspapers and boost ratings. Because almost no one took him seriously as a candidate, it seemed harmless.

Then came Trump the frontrunner and Trump the nominee. Calling immigrants “rapists” and attacking family members of opponents was judged by the media to be outrageous, and with good reason. Trump’s rallies got ugly, with the candidate failing to urge restraint as his supporters punched protesters and yelled that Hillary Clinton should be jailed or executed. Trump barred some news outlets from attending his events, increasing tensions between the candidate and the mainstream media.

Clinton has been under less of a microscope, in part because she has refused to double down on her own indiscretions. The revelations about her misuse of email accounts were a little too weak for the Trump campaign and the media to make into an earth-shaking scandal. Issues regarding her foundation were also tough to pump up. Her public description of Trump supporters as “deplorables” did not get as much traction in the media as some of Trump’s middle-of-the-night tweets, however. The WikiLeaks release of Clinton emails that some people said proved that she would coddle Wall Street came on the same day that the “Access Hollywood” Trump dirty-talk video surfaced, so it was barely noticed. Timing is everything.

Now, about that dirty-talk video. When I was a reporter for The Washington Post, I covered state and local politics. My editors and I did not have to deal with issues that were this big or this sensitive, so it’s difficult for me to criticize today’s national campaign reporters. Back then, we didn’t have the plethora of blogs and social media that we have today. Instant information sources are competing with traditional print and TV media for the hearts and minds and dollars of Americans. Decisions about what to publish or broadcast are influenced by what people are saying online. News is history in a hurry, and there is immense pressure on editors. Go too far or publish prematurely, and the public and the campaigns condemn you. Get beat on a juicy story—well, that’s not an option.

I get it. But some bits of coverage have been particularly inexcusable, despite this pressure. On a recent Saturday, I watched a CNN anchor pummel a Trump supporter with nonstop “How can you defend…?” questions, so much so that the supporter could not even speak. Another unfortunate practice is the prominent use of question headlines such as “Will Trump Quit Race?”–especially when he said that he would not. And don’t get me started about huge headlines with terms such as “Piece of Ass.”

Meanwhile, legitimate debate about taxes, jobs, immigration, foreign policy and other key issues gets lost. Moderators on the televised debates have raised some of these issues, but these moderators have also gotten down in the mud with Clinton and Trump by asking them to respond to each other’s allegations and personal flaws. And the moderators wonder why they have a hard time getting the candidates to behave like adults.

Trump has done himself a lot of damage this year. Clinton has shot herself in the foot as well. We don’t need the news media destroying them—and the media’s own credibility–at the same time.