Far right blames negative Trump coverage for congressional baseball shooting

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At rallies across America during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump called for violence from his podium.

At a practice for the Republican congressional baseball team Wednesday morning, a mass shooter opened fire and struck five people. One of them was Steve Scalise, the third-ranked Republican in the House of Representatives. The shooter, identified as 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, was killed in a shootout with Capitol police. In the ensuing news cycle, Hodgkinson’s political persuasion became public knowledge. He was, apparently, a political progressive who volunteered on the Bernie Sanders campaign and despised Donald Trump’s presidency.

Figures on the far right wasted no time blaming Trump’s critics for the attack. Comments on right-wing message boards, and on Hodgkinson’s own Facebook page, excoriated liberals for dividing the country and encouraging violence. Sean Hannity, whose FOX News program is the leading Trump propaganda hour on cable, warned, “When Democrats continue to dehumanize Republicans… the climate around the country becomes more than toxic.” Newt Gingrich blamed “an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” Continue reading

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Media reinforces Donald Trump’s most dangerous behavior

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Iraqi citizens gaze at the devastation in Mosul, where Trump-authorized airstrikes have killed hundreds of civilians.

For the first several weeks of his presidency, it looked as though mainstream media might hold Donald Trump at least partially accountable for his actions. Stories regularly aired that were critical of Trump’s brutal budget and discussed his pathological lying. All of it prompted Trump to label the media the “opposition party.” Then, late last week, Trump fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase. His fireworks show earned Trump bipartisan media and political praise.

Even before Trump launched the attack, Hillary Clinton called for it. Both the Democratic Senate and House Minority Leaders, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, praised the attack, as did prominent Republican critics of Trump like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Liberal CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria declared Trump “became president of the United States” with the attack while NBC host Brian Williams described the bombing as “beautiful.” FAIR found that of 47 editorials published in major papers, only one was critical. Continue reading

Trump sticks to a script; media gushes with praise

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President Trump points for emphasis while Vice-President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan applaud.

On Tuesday night, President Trump went before Congress to deliver an address to the American people. It capped off a day during which Trump courted controversy by blaming the military for a botched raid in Yemen and suggesting that Jews were committing their own acts of anti-Semitism to make him look bad. But in a classic demonstration of the 24-hour news cycle’s short attention span, all was forgiven when Trump stuck to script and delivered a serviceable speech. Continue reading

“Alternative facts” becomes part of American political discourse

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If you say there are more people on the right side than on the left, it isn’t a lie – it’s a provable falsehood, an untruth, or an alternative fact.

One of George Carlin’s best bits was about euphemisms and how they obscure meaning. A truly stunning example of this took place on NBC over the weekend when prominent Donald Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway went on Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. Continue reading

For the love of God, Trump supporters, don’t worship the man

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A popular sub-Reddit devoted to Trump refers to him as a “God Emperor.” It certainly matches Trump’s view of himself.

Countless alarms, both at home and abroad, have been raised by the election of Donald Trump. Not everyone is worried, though. Many of Trump’s supporters are eager to defend his every lie, his every unconstitutional policy, and his every whining tweet. This part of his support base is drawn to him like a cult to its guru and feels he can do no wrong. That’s a dangerous attitude to have about any elected official, and about Trump in particular. Continue reading

Between Bannon and Trump, press freedom looks dim

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Bannon stepped down from Breitbart to join Trump’s campaign, but the site remained a loyal propaganda arm.

We’ve now had time to digest a week’s worth of President-elect Donald J. Trump stories. Already the prospects for democracy, civil rights and the environment look very dim. Far from “draining the swamp,” Trump is staffing his entire administration with lobbyists, corporate executives, and a cadre of far-right operators. But among the most ominous developments are Trump’s continued assault on the press and his appointment of Stephen Bannon as chief strategist and senior counsel.

The appointment has become a lightning rod of criticism for the incoming Trump Administration due to Bannon’s operation of Breitbart News. With Breitbart, Bannon has been accused of – and admitted to – providing an online safe space for the alt-right, a loose assortment of far-right internet trolls, racists, porn addicts, and even white nationalists. As a clue to the audience Bannon attracts, American Nazi Party Chairman Rocky Suhayda and former KKK grand wizard David Duke applauded his hire. Continue reading

Trump may be more dangerous than anyone can fathom

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Trump is America’s first serious flirtation with a racist, nationalistic strongman.

One of the most curious aspects of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is the way his supporters defend him. From televised surrogates to people on the street, there is a tendency to dismiss the most outlandish things Trump says as mere showmanship and to insist of his most bigoted and authoritarian proposals that he doesn’t really mean them. This is the opposite of most politicians. Usually it’s cause for concern that a candidate won’t meet his promises; in Trump’s case it’s supposed to be reassuring.

It isn’t. Nothing about the candidacy, policy proposals, personality, or tenor of the campaign of Donald J. Trump is reassuring. He is the only candidate in history to get the benefit of the doubt – that who he will be in office is better than who he is on the campaign trail. Far from expecting a toned-down Trump in the Oval Office, there is every reason to believe he will be much worse once elected. Continue reading

Impervious no more: How the media makes and unmakes Trump

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Trump formally announces his candidacy for president.

Donald Trump has been receiving some very bad headlines. Last week his poll numbers took their first serious hit after he fought with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, parents of a Muslim Army captain who heroically sacrificed himself in Iraq. He topped himself on August 9 by committing an act of stochastic terrorism, using his pulpit to plant an idea in supporters’ minds that assassinating Hillary Clinton might be a good idea.

What lasting effect any of this will have on him remains to be seen. His supporters are cult-like and he has proven almost impervious to bad publicity. Yet for a man who relentlessly seeks the spotlight and who recently said, “All press is good press,” Trump has long had a tumultuous relationship with the media. Continue reading

Media declares Clinton victory in a contest that isn’t over

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Imagine waking up on election morning and seeing this before you’d even had a chance to vote.

The media delivered good news Monday night to people who hate democracy: there’s no need to bother voting in the six states that hold primaries on June 7 because Hillary Clinton has already secured the Democratic nomination for president. Sometime Monday evening, the AP came to this conclusion by surveying super delegates, Democratic Party insiders who can vote for the candidate of their choice regardless of how the constituents in their states vote. Continue reading

How the media makes reality – and may make Donald Trump president

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This may one day be a painted portrait in the White House.

It’s been said that the far right is reaping what it sowed with Donald Trump. For eight years their cabal of media and politicians unrelentingly attacked President Obama for everything from inviting rappers to the White House to purposefully destroying America. They fomented racial hostilities and deep paranoia to create the atmosphere in which Trump now thrives. But if Trump actually becomes president it will be the mainstream media’s reckless pursuit of ratings that puts him there. Continue reading