Hate Tweets and ‘White Socialism’

I read an article on Forbes recently that captured something I had been trying to discuss (albeit poorly) with my wife a few weeks ago. Our discussion about the ‘government assistance’ much of middle and upper class America receives without thinking of it as such was started by a tweet from a local conservative talk show host that read: “”Refugees” are getting these benefits while homeless veterans are sleeping in the streets!” and linked to an article under the title: “”Refugees” Will Cost U. S. Taxpayers $4.2 Billion” here. The linked article stated in opening: “American taxpayers will spend more than $4.1 billion in the 2017 budget to support the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled by the federal government in the United States since October 2009, according to a cost estimate by Breitbart News.”

The article is a Breitbart / CIS hit piece on refuges in general which evolved into how especially awful middle eastern refugees are in that they, in their plight, dare be amongst the neediest of refugees the US brings in, costing in their first couple of years in the US as much as $13k/yr a person in government assistance according to the article — an unacceptable drain on our economy and money that should instead be spent on our own citizens. The anti-refugee message of the article was repulsive. Even more lasting with me (a non trivial accomplishment in this case) was the radio host’s comparing illegitimate refugees’ (“refugees”) receipt of government assistance with homeless vets sleeping in the streets. Intentional or not, the message of the tweet read (and still reads) like this to me: ‘Mooching foreigners lying about being needy are sucking up so much government money that we can’t afford to provide shelter for our homeless vets.’ The xenophobic baiting was sickening, which was made that much worse by a comfortable but deplorably false economic innuendo. It is the comfortable falsehood that I want to talk about here.

Jenn and I discussed how small of an amount $4.2 billion is in the US budget. In 2016 the US revenue was $3.0 trillion dollars (including a bit over $1.5 trillion in income tax revenue), expenditures were $3.5 trillion (data).

For a comparison of scale relating refugees and the US to a small town, imagine the following scenario: essentially broke due to circumstances beyond your control you are driving to a new city in search of work and a new home. Driving your van, you have with you all your belongings. You have no insurance and your savings has been consumed to a pittance. This trip is your last hope. While traveling, a drunk driver broadsides your van. You escape minimally injured, but the van and all your belongings are lost in the ensuing blaze. A teacher from a nearby small town drives by, and you wave her down. After explaining your situation she chooses to take you into her house while you get back on your feet, understanding that you have no way to pay her back at present. The small town of 500 people the teacher lives in, having a yearly income of $5 million, thanks the teacher for her kindness and offers you $583.33 per month to aid in your care as you get back on your feet.

Looking back to the US as a whole, here are a some of the government’s expenditures last year for reference:

$1.3 trillion for Social Security Unemployment, and Labor
$1.0 trillion for Medicare & health
$541 billion for National Defense
$159 billion for The Veterans Administration
$71 billion for Department of Education
$70 billion for SNAP
$17 billion NASA
$13.6 billion School Lunch Program
$6 billion Corp of Engineers Civil Works
$6 billion WIC
$4.2 billion School Breakfast Program
(Source and additional data)

So, at a glance, the $4.2 billion spent on refugee benefits, is comparable, to a small government assistance program like the School Breakfast Program, and only 2.6% of the total VA budget (which is already acting to help homeless vets). But government assistance… why should we waste our tax money on helping people not from our country? If people can’t support themselves they should either get a job and work hard, or not come here until they can support themselves, or at least that is the gist I get from conservative media. While the average Trump and Hillary supporter would disagree about government assistance programs, most would agree that they themselves don’t get much, if any, government assistance – they work hard, pay taxes, and support themselves without any help from the government? Is that completely true though?

I list below some of the larger tax expenditures for last year. These are revenue the government would have collected based on the basic tax code if not for tax breaks for individuals:

$143.8 billion from Employer Paid Health Insurance
$134.6 billion from Lower Tax Rates of Cap. Gains and Long Term Interest
$77.0 billion from Mortgage Interest Deductions
$73.3 billion from the Earned Interest Tax Credit
$65.1 billion from Deductibility of State and Local Sales, Income, and Property Taxes
$56.0 billion from the Child Tax Credit
(Source and additional data)

Note that the amount of money the government pays in assistance each year through the SNAP program is comparable to the amount of money it ‘gives’ to homeowners by reducing their tax burden commensurate with how much mortgage interest they have paid. Also note that for the approximately 100 or so million Americans receiving the a child tax credit, if they received about $60 less of a credit for each of their children, the government would collect the additional revenue necessary to cover the cost of the assistance to refugee families, ~$4 billion.

So, for myself, I am not taxed on the portion of my pay that covers the roughly 30% of my health insurance cost that is not paid by my employer (while my employer deducts the 70% they pay from their taxes), knocking ~$2,500 off my taxable income. Additionally, we receive a $6000 child tax credit. As a renter, I have no mortgage interest to deduct, but if we owned the house we’re renting we could deduct roughly another $5,500 in mortgage interest payments. Adding everything up, I end up receiving roughly the same amount of ‘government assistance’ as a fairly expensive refugee, only it’s not ‘government assistance’, it’s just tax breaks based on circumstances; me just getting to keep more of the hard earned money I made. With the payment of mortgage insurance, a whole world of itemized deductions become available over the standard deduction. As such, as a homeowner I would be receiving even more in the way of tax credits, or if you will ‘government assistance” with every deduction. I have a safety net that the government is assisting me with through tax breaks, one that gets wider and stronger the more I make. The person receiving government assistance has a safety net being provided through a government expenditure. The government tax break assisted safety net is what the author of the article I referenced at the beginning of this post referred to as ‘white socialism’: the government assistance built into the tax code that is only able to be accessed and well utilized by those with well paying full time jobs. “By funding government programs with tax credits and deductions rather than spending, we have created an enormous social safety net that grows ever more generous as household incomes rise. It is important to note, though, that you need not be wealthy to participate. All you need to gain access to socialism for white people is a good corporate or government job. That fact helps explain how this welfare system took shape sixty years ago, why it was originally (and still overwhelmingly) white, and why white Rust Belt voters showed far more enthusiasm for Donald Trump than for Bernie Sanders. White voters are not interested in democratic socialism. They want to restore their access to a more generous and dignified program of white socialism.”

This is why, beyond the repulsive racism, xenophobia, and utter lack of compassion, the anti refugee tweet “”Refugees” are getting these benefits while homeless veterans are sleeping in the streets!” still bothered me: this well paid, radio host is receiving more in government assistance through his tax benefits alone than most, if not all, of the refugees he is decrying are receiving from the government through assistance programs. The blind hypocrisy is painful, and the weakest are hurt the most by the comfortable lie that only the lazy poor receive government assistance.

Deniers, Skeptics, and the Faithful

‪Fighting the denial of well constrained truths: excellent. Treating skeptics of artificially specific application of poorly constrained truths as deniers, not so much.

Denying the earth is warming is the game of the ignorant or the propagandist. Claiming as fact that CO2 is the primary driver of the past half century’s warming is a dangerous game. This is an awful spot to be in as the science of the question is advancing, but not at the pace we need to settle it in time if the worst assumptions of climate response are nearest the truth (if I understand correctly, one could say that if *the worst* case scenarios are true, it is already too late). On the other hand, drastic decarbonization without reasonably mature carbon free or roughly neutral energy sources significantly hinders development in the world’s many young economies. Act quickly with immature green energy and we face unexpected and potentially significant environmental impacts from young green tech along with the sacrificing of lives in young/developing economies, but we might prevent a catastrophic warming of the planet. Take a more measured response and in the short term technology grows, scientific confidence grows, global economies rise, global mortality and birth rates fall, global quality of life increases, but to what end if worst case estimates are closest to reality, a global ecological catastrophe and the collapse of civilization? More likely neither extreme is accurate, and the answer is in the middle… but we don’t know yet. Empirical studies seem to indicate a lower threat while some modeling suggests otherwise. Both extremes suck.

What is my point in all this? I saw under Obama voices who stood on sound science to question or rebut extreme climate claims that were in vogue be demonized and/or put in their place. Now under a Trump I see anti-intellectuals and charlatans being lauded for denying a changing climate! As scientists and citizens we must avoid both giving voice to those that use a false claim to skepticism to their own ignorant, corrupt, and/or destructive ends, while at the same time giving an ear to those who have a rational argument for a better or worse climate response than we personally hold. We need to advance the science, not acrimony, for in giving in to philosophical entrenchment rather than the pursuit of reality, we guarantee that we all lose.‬

‪Inspired by https://theconversation.com/climate-science-no-place-for-fundamentalists-476 but any errors mine.

The Lie Iraq’s Exclusion Belies

Does not the exclusion of Iraq put to lie the admin’s premise of using the countries excluded from the VWP as the starting point for Trump’s immigration ban?

The point of the VWP was that enhanced vetting of visa applicants on the US’s side was necessary to make up for deficiencies in documentation etc. in the seven listed countries. Based on every available measure, that 2016 program, in concert with the vetting already in place prior, has been effective for more than the last decade. No marked improvements in Iraq’s documentation etc. of individuals has been reported, and certainly not over that last month – it challenges belief that any meaningful changes could have been implemented by Iraq in so short a time.

As such, when the EO states regarding the exclusion of Iraq: “Decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety“, it admits the VWP in combination with the extant visa process was working sufficiently. There is no justification for the ban, of the remaining six VWP excluded nations, or otherwise.

[Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/03/06/executive-order-protecting-nation-foreign-terrorist-entry-united-states]

Additional research relating to the original 27Jan17 EO can be found here.

 

FAKE NEWS

Here I have gathered a some of the more recent source material from the President relating to “fake news”.

First, here are the combined Twitter search results for “fake Media OR news from:realDonaldTrump” and “Leak OR leaks from:realDonaldTrump” (27Feb17)

Feb 26
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!

Feb 24
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
FAKE NEWS media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth. A great danger to our country. The failing ‪@nytimes‬ has become a joke. Likewise ‪@CNN‬. Sad!

Feb 20
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Give the public a break – The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!

Feb 18
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.

Feb 17
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
“One of the most effective press conferences I’ve ever seen!” says Rush Limbaugh. Many agree.Yet FAKE MEDIA calls it differently! Dishonest

Feb 17
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The FAKE NEWS media (failing ‪@nytimes‬, ‪@NBCNews‬, ‪@ABC‬, ‪@CBS‬, ‪@CNN‬) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Feb 17
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Thank you for all of the nice statements on the Press Conference yesterday. Rush Limbaugh said one of greatest ever. Fake media not happy!

Feb 16
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!

Feb 16
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and “sources,” is far more effective than the discredited Democrats – but they are fading fast!

Feb 15
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. ‪@MSNBC‬ & ‪@CNN‬ are unwatchable. ‪@foxandfriends‬ is great!

Feb 14
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?

Feb 10
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The failing ‪@nytimes‬ does major FAKE NEWS China story saying “Mr.Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov.14.” We spoke at length yesterday!

Feb 9
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Chris Cuomo, in his interview with Sen. Blumenthal, never asked him about his long-term lie about his brave “service” in Vietnam. FAKE NEWS!

Feb 8
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
’16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won’
16 Fake News Stories Reporters Have Run Since Trump Won
thefederalist.com

Feb 6
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!

Feb 6
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.

Feb 4
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS ‪@nytimes‬ is still lost!

Feb 3
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!

Jan 29
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Somebody with aptitude and conviction should buy the FAKE NEWS and failing ‪@nytimes‬ and either run it correctly or let it fold with dignity!

Jan 28
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The failing ‪@nytimes‬ has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!

Jan 24
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Congratulations to ‪@FoxNews‬ for being number one in inauguration ratings. They were many times higher than FAKE NEWS ‪@CNN‬ – public is smart!

Jan 18
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
to the U.S., but had nothing to do with TRUMP, is more FAKE NEWS. Ask top CEO’s of those companies for real facts. Came back because of me!

Jan 15
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?

Jan 13
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS! Russia says nothing exists. Probably…

Jan 12
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
.‪@CNN‬ is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!

Jan 11
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
We had a great News Conference at Trump Tower today. A couple of FAKE NEWS organizations were there but the people truly get what’s going on

Jan 11
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?

Jan 11
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
I win an election easily, a great “movement” is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!

Jan 10
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT

Jan 8
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Dishonest media says Mexico won’t be paying for the wall if they pay a little later so the wall can be built more quickly. Media is fake!

Dec 10
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Reports by ‪@CNN‬ that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue – FAKE NEWS!

Nov 27, 2015
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
“‪@MarkSimoneNY‬: Great twitter quote about Donald Trump: “Never apologize for fake controversies whipped up by the perpetually offended media

Nov 26, 2015
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
“‪@PrisonPlanet‬: .‪@realDonaldTrump‬ gets it. Never apologize for fake controversies whipped up by the perpetually offended media.”

Dec 2, 2014
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
It’s Tuesday. How many more ‘The View’ Execs will leak that they want ‪@rosie‬ gone? Show is failing.

Feb 12, 2013
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Another must read from Jeffrey Lord ‪@amspec‬: “Rove Email Leaks: Ideological War Opens in GOP” (link: http://bit.ly/YTZQIO) bit.ly/YTZQIO

Oct 16, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Between Libya, the national security leaks and Fast & Furious, Obama has had more national security scandals than any other President.

Sep 11, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Whatever happened to Obama’s ‘independent investigation’ into national security leaks from his administration? Where’s the media?

Aug 16, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Military reps have attacked ‪@BarackObama‬ over Bin Laden leaks–they believe he’s just using this for his benefit. Not a big surprise…

Jul 27, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
All the national security leaks coming from ‪@BarackObama‬’s ‪@whitehouse‬ were clearly made for political gain. Where’s the outrage!?

Jul 27, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Just as I predicted, ‪@BarackObama‬ has not allowed an independent investigation into the national security leaks from his cabinet.

Jun 20, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
Yesterday there was yet another massive intelligence leak by the ‪@BarackObama‬ administration. (link: http://wapo.st/M4FEQY) wapo.st/M4FEQY

Jun 11, 2012
Donald J. Trump‏ ‪@realDonaldTrump‬
The Justice Department’s investigation into the national security leaks is not independent. This is a very grave situation.

—–

Additionally, the President said this at his 17Feb17 Melbourne, FL Rally:

“I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news. The dishonest media which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases, they just don’t want to report the truth and they’ve been calling us wrong now for two years. They don’t get it. By they’re starting to get it. I can tell you that. They’ve become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out often times on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never, ever let them get away with it. I will do whatever I can that. They don’t get away with it.

They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” “Truth itself,” he said, “becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,” that was June 14, my birthday, 1807. But despite all their lies, misrepresentations, and false stories, they could not defeat us in the primaries, and they could not defeat us in the general election, and we will continue to expose them for what they are, and most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win.

We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe. We are free and independent people and we will make our own choices.
We are here today to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
[http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/national/read-full-transcript-trump-rally-speech-florida/DeDCpoNEKLQmWcIKndWB0M/]

Then, on 24Feb17 at CPAC the President stated:

And I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news. It’s fake, phony, fake.
(APPLAUSE)
A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people. And they are. They are the enemy of the people.
(APPLAUSE)
Because they have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, “Nine people have confirmed.” There’re no nine people. I don’t believe there was one or two people. Nine people.
And I said, “Give me a break.” Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people.
But they say “nine people.” And somebody reads it and they think, “Oh, nine people. They have nine sources.” They make up sources.
They’re very dishonest people. In fact, in covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news. They dropped off the word “fake.” And all of a sudden the story became the media is the enemy.
They take the word “fake” out. And now I’m saying, “Oh no, this is no good.” But that’s the way they are.
So I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them.
And I tell ya, I love good stories, but we don’t go…
(LAUGHTER)
I don’t get too many of them.
But I am only against the fake news, media or press. Fake, fake. They have to leave that word.
I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources.
They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out.
(APPLAUSE)
“A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.” Let ’em say it to my face.
(APPLAUSE)
Let there be no more sources.
And remember this — and in not — in all cases. I mean, I had a story written yesterday about me in Reuters by a very honorable man. It was a very fair story.
There are some great reporters around. They’re talented, they’re honest as the day is long. They’re great.
But there are some terrible dishonest people and they do a tremendous disservice to our country and to our people. A tremendous disservice. They are very dishonest people.
And they shouldn’t use sources. They should put the name of the person. You will see stories dry up like you’ve never seen before.
So you have no idea how bad it is, because if you are not part of the story — and I put myself in your position sometimes. Because many of you, you’re not part of the story. And if you’re not part of the story, you know, then you, sort of, know — if you are part of the story, you know what they’re saying is true or not.
TRUMP: So when they make it up — and they make up something else, and you saw that before the election: polls, polls. The polls. They come out with these polls and everybody was so surprised.
Actually, a couple polls got it right. I must say Los Angeles Times did a great job, shocking because, you know, they did a great job.
(APPLAUSE)
And we had a couple of others that were right, but generally speaking, I mean, can tell you the network, somebody said a poll came out. And I say, what network is it? And they’ll say, a certain — let’s not even mention names, right? Shall we?
(APPLAUSE)
Well, you have a lot of them. Look, the Clinton News Network is one.
(APPLAUSE)
Totally. Take a look. Honestly. Take a look, honestly. Take a look at polls over the last two years. Now you’d think they would fire the pollster, right? After years and years of getting battered, but I — who knows, maybe they are just bad at polling or maybe they’re not legit, but it’s one or the other, look at how inaccurate — look at CBS, look at ABC, also, look at NBC, take a look at some of these polls. They’re so bad, so inaccurate and what that does is it creates a false narrative.
It creates like this narrative that is just like we’re not going to win, people say, I love Trump, but you know, I’m not feeling great today, he can’t win, so I won’t go and vote. I won’t go and vote. It creates a whole false deal. And we have to fight it, folks, we have to fight it. They’re very smart, they’re very cunning and they’re very dishonest.
So just to conclude, I mean, it’s a very sensitive topic and they get upset when we expose their false stories. They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment, you know, they always bring up the First Amendment.
(LAUGHTER)
And I love the First Amendment; nobody loves it better than me. Nobody.
(APPLAUSE)
I mean, who use its more than I do? But the First Amendment gives all of us — it gives it to me, it gives it to you, it gives it to all Americans, the right to speak our minds freely. It gives you the right and me the right to criticize fake news and criticize it strongly.
(APPLAUSE)
And many of these groups are part the large media corporations that have their own agenda and it’s not your agenda and it’s not the country’s agenda, it’s their own agenda. They have a professional obligation as members of the press to report honestly. But as you saw throughout the entire campaign, and even now, the fake news doesn’t tell the truth. Doesn’t tell the truth.
So just in finishing, I say it doesn’t represent the people, it doesn’t tell the never will represent the people, and we’re going to do something about it because we have to go out and have to speak our minds and we have to be honest. Our victory was a win like nobody has ever seen before.
[http://time.com/4682023/cpac-donald-trump-speech-transcript/]

And most recently with Breitbart (27Feb17):

BREITBART NEWS NETWORK (BNN): “The big thing I kind of wanted to zone in on right off the bat is ‘the opposition party,’ the media—“
PRESIDENT TRUMP (POTUS): “Well, it’s not the media. It’s the fake media.”
BNN: “That’s what I was going to—“
POTUS: “There’s a difference. The fake media is the opposition party. The fake media is the enemy of the American people. There’s tremendous fake media out there. Tremendous fake stories. The problem is the people that aren’t involved in the story don’t know that.”
HOPE HICKS: “Just the fact that they didn’t report that accurately proves your point.”
POTUS: “Which accurately?”
HICKS: “They said ‘Oh Donald Trump said the press is the enemy of the American people.’”
POTUS: “Right. They take ‘fake’ media off. They say ‘the media is the enemy of—well, they didn’t say the ‘fake media.’ I didn’t say the media is the enemy—I said the ‘fake media.’ They take the word fake out and all of a sudden it’s like I’m against—there are some great reporters like you. I know some great honorable reporters who do a great job like Steve [Holland] from Reuters, others, many others. I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about the fake media, where they make up everything there is to make up.”
BNN: “Right and that’s what I wanted to zone in on with you because I know you made that very clear in your CPAC speech. Can you kind of more clearly define what standards and quality we should expect from those who are doing reporting?”
POTUS: “It’s intent. It’s also intent. If you read the New York Times, if you read the New York Times, it’s—the intent is so evil and so bad. The stories are wrong in many cases, but it’s the overall intent. Look at that paper over the last two years. In fact, they had to write a letter of essentially apology to their subscribers because they got the election so wrong. They did a front page article on women talking about me, and the women went absolutely wild because they said that was not what they said. It was a big front-page article, and the Times wouldn’t even apologize and yet they were wrong. You probably saw the women. They went on television shows and everything.”
BNN: “Yes, it was pretty embarrassing for the Times.”
POTUS: “[They said] ‘we really like Donald Trump and he [the Times reporter] totally misrepresented us. He said he was going to say good and it was absolutely bad.’ This was a front page article, almost the entire top half of the New York Times, and it was false. It was false. Did they apologize? No. I call them the failing New York Times and they write lies. They write lies. Nobody would know that. For instance, when people read the story on the women—first of all, the reporter who wrote the story has a website full of hatred of Donald Trump. So, he shouldn’t be allowed to be a reporter because he’s not objective. It’s not all, but it has many negative things about Donald Trump. But he shouldn’t be allowed to write on Donald Trump. And, he writes that story. But that’s one of many. So, when you read the Sunday New York Times, it’s just hit after hit after hit. And honestly, I think people are wise to it because if you look at the approval rating, you see it’s down. You know, it’s gone. There’s very little approval.”
BNN: “Now, during the campaign, one of the things you and a lot of your campaign guys like Peter Navarro talked about was breaking up some of these oligopolies in the media. If you look at the media, part of the problem seems to be that a vast majority of the media companies are owned by just a handful of different companies. Obviously, there’s a looming merger between AT&T and Time Warner. I wanted to see what your thoughts are on that and if CNN’s pretty bad behavior over the course of—they really don’t seem to be making an effort to get it right—does that give you hesitation in terms of approval of the deal?”
POTUS: “I don’t want to comment on any specific deal, but I do believe there has to be competition in the marketplace and maybe even more so with the media because it would be awfully bad after years if we ended up having one voice out there. You have to have competition in the marketplace and you have to have competition among the media. And I’m not commenting on any one deal, but you need competition generally and you certainly need it with media.”
[http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/02/27/exclusive-president-trump-new-york-times-intent-is-so-evil-and-so-bad-they-write-lies/]

These recent statements can be seen as a warm up toward the President keeping the campaign promise he made to open up libel laws against “the media” while speaking in Fort Worth Texas 26Feb16:

“I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met. They’re terrible. “The New York Times,” which is losing a fortune, which is a failing newspaper, which probably won’t be around that much longer, but probably somebody will buy it as a trophy, keep it going for a little longer, but I think “The New York Times” is one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life. The worst. The worst. The absolute worst. They have an agenda that you wouldn’t believe. And they’re run by incompetent people. They are totally incompetently run.

“Washington Post,” I have to tell you, I have respect for Jeff Bezos, but he bought “The Washington Post” to have political influence. And I got to tell you, we have a different country then we used to have. We have a different – he owns Amazon. He wants political influence so that Amazon will benefit from it. That’s not right. And, believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.

And one of the things I’m going to do – and this is only going to make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before – but one of the things I’m going to do if I win, and I hope I do, and we’re certainly leading, is I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open up those libel laws.

So that when “The New York Times” writes a hit piece, which is a total disgrace, or when “The Washington Post,” which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they’re totally protected. You see, with me, they’re not protected because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money. I’m not taking their money. So we’re going to open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re going to have people sue you like you never got sued before.”
[http://us.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1602/26/cnr.05.html]

———————-

Bellow is a quick attempt to distill the above info and some early thoughts.

It is plain to see that President Trump takes issue with the media, particularly the “dishonest” media or “FAKE NEWS”, and make a distinction between the two. What then distinguishes the fake from the real, the honest from the dishonest, in the President’s mind. Let us look at some quotes:

— “The fake media is the opposition party. The fake media is the enemy of the American people.”

— “It’s also intent. If you read the New York Times, if you read the New York Times, it’s – the intent is so evil and so bad. The stories are wrong in many cases, but it’s the overall intent.”

— “the reporter who wrote the story has a website full of hatred of Donald Trump. So, he shouldn’t be allowed to be a reporter because he’s not objective.”

— “you read the Sunday New York Times, it’s just hit after hit after hit.”

— “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them”

— “the large media corporations that have their own agenda and it’s not your agenda and it’s not the country’s agenda, it’s their own agenda.”

— “They’re very smart, they’re very cunning and they’re very dishonest.”

— “They are very dishonest people. And they shouldn’t use sources. They should put the name of the person. You will see stories dry up like you’ve never seen before.”

— “They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. “A source says that Donald Trump is a horrible, horrible human being.” Let ’em say it to my face.”

— “So I’m not against the media, I’m not against the press. I don’t mind bad stories if I deserve them.”

— “[The fake news] have no sources, they just make ’em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, “Nine people have confirmed.” There’re no nine people.”

— “They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda.”

— “They’ve become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system.”

— “The dishonest media which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases, they just don’t want to report the truth and they’ve been calling us wrong now for two years.”

— “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT”

— “I win an election easily, a great “movement” is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!”

— “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to “leak” into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

— “Totally biased @NBCNews went out of its way to say that the big announcement from Ford, G.M., Lockheed & others that jobs are coming back… to the U.S., but had nothing to do with TRUMP, is more FAKE NEWS. Ask top CEO’s of those companies for real facts. Came back because of me!”

— “The failing ‪@nytimes‬ has been wrong about me from the very beginning. Said I would lose the primaries, then the general election. FAKE NEWS!”

— “Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.”

— “The failing ‪@nytimes‬ does major FAKE NEWS China story saying “Mr.Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov.14.” We spoke at length yesterday!” [Note: 10Feb17 08:35 tweet; also: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/world/asia/donald-trump-china-xi-jinping-letter.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0 and http://www.nytimes.com/images/2017/02/10/nytfrontpage/scan.pdf%5D

— “FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and “sources,” is far more effective than the discredited Democrats – but they are fading fast!”

— “The Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly (306), so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!”

— “Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”

— “Russia talk is FAKE NEWS put out by the Dems, and played up by the media, in order to mask the big election defeat and the illegal leaks!”

— “The FAKE NEWS media (failing ‪@nytimes‬, ‪@NBCNews‬, ‪@ABC‬, ‪@CBS‬, ‪@CNN‬) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

So, simplifying, the FAKE NEWS…
Are the opposition party
Are the enemy of the people
Have evil intent
Full of hate
Produce hit after hit after hit
Purposefully write negative, horrible, false articles
They have their own agenda
Their agenda is not your agenda
Are smart, cunning, dishonest
Very dishonest people
Use anonymous sources
I don’t deserve what they say
Make up sources
Are big part of the problem
Part of the corrupt system
Don’t want to report the truth
Have been calling us wrong for two years
Political witch hunt
Crooked opponents
Belittle our victory
Tried to diminish my accomplishments
Repeatedly didn’t predict I would succeed
Invented Russia story
The mainstream media
Democrat tools
Masking Democrats big loss
Masking Illegal leaks

Additional background:
A look at Trump and his 2014 Buzzfeed Bio: http://gothamist.com/2014/02/15/lol_wtf_what_we_learned_about_donal.php [attacking a reporter who did not write a profile piece to Trump’s liking]

Handwritten critical notes to reporters: http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-handwritten-note-reporter-2014-4

Trump sues NYT reporter and publisher over report of his net worth in a book on him:

From all this I think it is fair to say that from all the President has stated that he truly is distinguishing between Good and Bad media, though I infer he does so with definitions that diverge from typical expectations. From the material here, I interpret the President as seeing Good Media being those that consistently praise the President, recount his accomplishments, are on his side, are ideologically like minded, strengthen his valuation of himself, and helps him accomplish his goals (including covering for him). Bad Media for a variety of reasons do not consistently do all these things, an as such are the subject of abuse, and recently now retribution. What struck me as interesting is that while claims of a lack of truthfulness (factual accuracy) came up a fair amount, such seemed to be less a core criticism and more a weapon for not keeping to the attributes I listed under Good Media. Factual accuracy seemed less important to the President than intent. As such, even if adopting the President’s definitions, it is not accurate to say that the FAKE NEWS is the enemy of the people as the President stated initially on February 17: “The FAKE NEWS media (failing ‪@nytimes‬, ‪@NBCNews‬, ‪@ABC‬, ‪@CBS‬, ‪@CNN‬) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”. Instead the “FAKE NEWS media” is the perceived enemy of the President. This is interesting as the President proactively went out of his way to say that this was not so.

In short, “fake news” is that which does not serve the President’s interests.  It is typically only applied to the mainstream media who the President identifies as the opposition party.

Hello World

I never saw myself as having a blog.  For the most part, I still don’t, yet here I am.  I don’t envision this being much more than a place to infrequently post some of my thoughts in longer form than Twitter allows, whike also allowing me to more easily share those thoughts if desired.

For any who might be reading something I posted here and are wondering who I am, where I am coming from: I am a middle aged husband, father, an operational meteorologist in the private sector, and a follower of Christ.  I lean conservative fiscally and socially, though have become more moderate socially over the last several years after I began to work to listen to voices outside the conservative echo chamber I grew up in, and gradually began to grow skeptical of.  I am by nature skeptical, and as life allows I enjoy research and getting to foundational beliefs and facts.  I have a special abhorrence for liars and charlatans.

For fun: Favorite three movies I’ve seen over the last year off the top of my head: Kubo and the Two Strings, Arrival, and Take Shelter.  Favorite three books/series I’ve read over the last year off the top of my head: The Power of the Powerless, The Red Rising Trilogy, and John Dies at the End.  Currently reading Raised on Ritalin by Tyler Paige, and Liars for Jesus Vol. 1 by Chris Rodda.