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Thread: Donald Trump and the Coronavirus

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Well obviously all media outlets are biased to at least some degree. And there are a bunch of ways they can (intentionally or sometimes, not) manipulate or influence our perception of what's happening. I'll use Trump as he's the one in the news a lot right now. But others get similar treatment.


    What gets reported at all is one big way news media can distort our perception of things. An example I saw once was in a political campaign where one party accused another of something that made them look bad, and the media ran with that and never acknowledged the rebuttal. But it could be a simple as reporting lots of negative news about a politician's policies, and not reporting positive news. Result - -we think the politician is doing a bad job.

    Another way commonly used is various techniques in presenting a viewpoint - cutting in someone talking about their policy (for example) with an expert pointing out problems etc. This makes the first person look a lot less credible, and lacks the balance of allowing them to respond to the expert, or call on other experts who support their position.

    In the same vein, use of lighting, music, framing the item by the presenters (using negative or skeptical language to introduce the piece), portraying the person in a negative light 'right-wing nationalist/ mysogynist / racist / homophobe / sexist' using simplistic labels that don't encompass the complexities of a person's beliefs and so on can influence our initial perception of someone before we've heard what they have to say.

    Something commonly used in print media online is the negative language headline, that creates a perception before we've seen the article ' Trump rants...' 'Press Secretary storms out..' , 'As death toll reaches X thousand, Trump does Y' when there is no actual logical connection between the death toll and Trump doing whatever. It's simply a way of making Trump look bad.


    Actual 'fake news' events include the reporting of the Covington kids thing; the reporting of Trump's comments on Charlottesville; the thing about Trump releasing carp in Japan or something (I forget the exact details); the 'drink Clorox' thing off the top of my head are 'events' where sections of the media persisted in a false narrative.

    I'm fairly confident that you have also seen things reported - on topics where you have personal expertise or direct personal knowledge - that are plainly false or simply extremely sloppy, lacking basic fact-checking. An example from long ago that springs to mind is an article published in a newspaper about the danger of the 'MRSA virus' - when MRSA is a bacteria, and the journalist had interviewed a doctor - a medical microbiologist - about it. At the time I was working in the field and personally knew the doctor interviewed. It's the equivalent of a journalist talking about the new "Ford pickup helicopter" having engine problems - an error so basic that to make it shows no familiarity with the field, and not even a minimum effort to understand or get the facts correct...

    I've also seen news media publish and use damaging material obtained under completely false pretenses by a third party in an 'ambush interview' right before an election. The interviewee was invited on, ostensibly to talk about his novel policy in an area where he had considerable experience and expertise, and instead the 'interview' was him being attacked with 'quotes' from a long-ago off-the-record interview by people who misrepresented themselves to him. The whole thing was simply a mendacious smear attack to discredit a politician the media disliked.

    So, yeah, I don't take anything important reported by the media at face value.
    There is no doubt that these things exist - but I don't think it has anything to do with what the media does or does not like. I remember listening to an answer John Stewart once gave on this topic when asked if he saw a difference between the MSM and outlets like Fox and Brietbart. He noted that the media, in general, is after eyeballs. So they will follow stories, jump politicians, and word headlines in ways that they think will get them the most eyeballs. That motivation differs widely with the media outlets that have an obvious and clear political agenda/bias - and that intentionally push a false narrative. Neither motivation is particularly good for a media outlet, but the latter, IMO, is far worse than the former.

    And sometimes, the perception about the media is skewed by the "MSM bad" narrative. Take the "drink bleach" narrative. I did a bit of checking, and I don't find a single news source that reports that the president encouraged people to "drink bleach." They do report that he suggested exploration of the idea of injecting disinfectants as a coronavirus cure/preventative. Comparatively few of us have access to the paraphernalia for injections, or are comfortable with the idea of injecting ourselves. So if we are going to get something internally - ingestion is likely. Most of the articles I read went on to say that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is a dangerous thing to do. Shortly after Trump's very stupid comments, medical outlet after medical outlet published blogs, updated their home page, or went to local news outlets to get the word out "don't do this!" Somehow, that has been received as "accusing Trump of encouraging people to drink bleach/Clorox."

    Personally, I was glad to see the warnings come out fast and furious. If the President of the U.S. makes that kind of suggestion (i.e., that it is even possible that injecting disinfectants might possibly be helpful) publicly, there are going to be some people who decide he must know and act on the implication. It is why it is so important that a president be judicious in their use of language when speaking publicly, something Mr. Trump has no patience for and no desire to do. It is one of the many, many reasons that man is so thoroughly unfit for that office.

    I highlighted the part of your post that I absolutely agree with you on. None of us should ever be taking anything coming from any media outlet "at face value." When you read something, read it from multiple diverse outlets before coming to a conclusion.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  2. Amen MaxVel amen'd this post.
  3. #842
    tWebber MaxVel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    There is no doubt that these things exist - but I don't think it has anything to do with what the media does or does not like. I remember listening to an answer John Stewart once gave on this topic when asked if he saw a difference between the MSM and outlets like Fox and Brietbart. He noted that the media, in general, is after eyeballs. So they will follow stories, jump politicians, and word headlines in ways that they think will get them the most eyeballs. That motivation differs widely with the media outlets that have an obvious and clear political agenda/bias - and that intentionally push a false narrative. Neither motivation is particularly good for a media outlet, but the latter, IMO, is far worse than the former.

    And sometimes, the perception about the media is skewed by the "MSM bad" narrative. Take the "drink bleach" narrative. I did a bit of checking, and I don't find a single news source that reports that the president encouraged people to "drink bleach." They do report that he suggested exploration of the idea of injecting disinfectants as a coronavirus cure/preventative. Comparatively few of us have access to the paraphernalia for injections, or are comfortable with the idea of injecting ourselves. So if we are going to get something internally - ingestion is likely. Most of the articles I read went on to say that injecting or ingesting disinfectants is a dangerous thing to do. Shortly after Trump's very stupid comments, medical outlet after medical outlet published blogs, updated their home page, or went to local news outlets to get the word out "don't do this!" Somehow, that has been received as "accusing Trump of encouraging people to drink bleach/Clorox."

    Personally, I was glad to see the warnings come out fast and furious. If the President of the U.S. makes that kind of suggestion (i.e., that it is even possible that injecting disinfectants might possibly be helpful) publicly, there are going to be some people who decide he must know and act on the implication. It is why it is so important that a president be judicious in their use of language when speaking publicly, something Mr. Trump has no patience for and no desire to do. It is one of the many, many reasons that man is so thoroughly unfit for that office.

    I highlighted the part of your post that I absolutely agree with you on. None of us should ever be taking anything coming from any media outlet "at face value." When you read something, read it from multiple diverse outlets before coming to a conclusion.
    Well, I think it pretty clear, that in full context, (1) what Trump meant was 'inject' into the lungs (where the infection was) something that could kill the virus (light and disinfectant were the two things being discussed when he asked the question); and (2) he wasn't telling 'people, go so this' but asking his advisors to look into the possibility. But there was a media determined to put the worst possible light on what he said, so there was not even an attempt at an impartial analysis, or a clarification on the spot at the time. Even the 'Trump says people should inject bleach' kind of headline was an uncharitable misrepresentation (and I'm being kind).

    I think expecting any President never to say anything that could be misunderstood by the most idiotic American and lead them to do something dangerous to themselves is a completely unrealistic and unfair expectation. I consider it plain simple common sense that you don't swallow or in any way just go put bleach into your body - it's usually written right there on the bottle - and if someone is really that stupid, well, they're going to die of their stupidity sooner or later. Kids know this stuff, even kids who can hardly read yet. But we are talking about Americans, so maybe you have a valid point. If there is anyone to blame for dumb people doing dumb things in this case, apart from the dumb people themselves, it's the media, IMHO.


    Imagine if, instead, the media there had asked a neutral immediate follow-up question to clarify: "President Trump, do you mean that you think people could inject themselves with bleach to kill the virus? Isn't that dangerous?" ; or failing that, presented some possible interpretations of what he said, covering a number of possibilities. That would be actual journalism and reporting, in the midst of a pandemic.

    Instead, they seized with glee on something Trump said that could be distorted to make him look dumb, out of his depth, and foolish. That becomes a self-reinforcing lens, eventually. People don't exercise critical thinking, are ready to assume the worst, and read that assumption in to something about Trump. So instead of putting the best possible light - exercising charity and graciousness to an 'opponent', or avoiding creating a strawman caricature of his position - they interpret him in the worst possible way. When presented with an alternative interpretation they reject it, because 'I know Trump is a blowhard, bullying idiot' - but that 'knowledge' is based on ingesting a stream of negative and strawman caricatures of Trump. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've seen posters here succumb to it. Please don't add yourself to that group, Carpe.

    Trump has his faults, no doubt. But if you have intellectual integrity then you should attempt to address him when his statements are put in the strongest possible way - that is, when reading him most charitably, rather than most uncharitably. If you (general) do that, then you show that even his best possible positions are flawed or wrong. If you (general) don't do that, then people can easily reject your opposition to Trump because it's based on what they can feel is strawman misrepresentations - which allows them to escape the full force of your objections.
    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

  4. #843
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Well, I think it pretty clear, that in full context, (1) what Trump meant was 'inject' into the lungs (where the infection was) something that could kill the virus (light and disinfectant were the two things being discussed when he asked the question); and (2) he wasn't telling 'people, go so this' but asking his advisors to look into the possibility. But there was a media determined to put the worst possible light on what he said, so there was not even an attempt at an impartial analysis, or a clarification on the spot at the time. Even the 'Trump says people should inject bleach' kind of headline was an uncharitable misrepresentation (and I'm being kind).
    Max - I think most of us know what he meant. The discussion was about light and the efficacy of disinfectants. He suggested that they should explore/examine the possibility of using light/disinfectants inside the body to kill the virus. The light proposition is just laughable on the face of it (though I can imagine not a few people spent more time in the sun as a result). The disinfectant suggestion was, IMO, moronic and dangerous. Even a passing suggestion that it is possible that using disinfectants inside the body might work and should be investigated suggests significant idiocy on his part, and a dangerous message to the populace and anyone as poorly informed as he apparently is. That is not apparently just my opinion, since almost immediately after we saw widespread jumping on this by medical experts across the country, as well as the manufacturers themselves!

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    I think expecting any President never to say anything that could be misunderstood by the most idiotic American and lead them to do something dangerous to themselves is a completely unrealistic and unfair expectation. I consider it plain simple common sense that you don't swallow or in any way just go put bleach into your body - it's usually written right there on the bottle - and if someone is really that stupid, well, they're going to die of their stupidity sooner or later. Kids know this stuff, even kids who can hardly read yet. But we are talking about Americans, so maybe you have a valid point. If there is anyone to blame for dumb people doing dumb things in this case, apart from the dumb people themselves, it's the media, IMHO.
    I don't believe I set the standard you imply here. I recognize mistakes will be made. This one was, IMO, criminally stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Imagine if, instead, the media there had asked a neutral immediate follow-up question to clarify: "President Trump, do you mean that you think people could inject themselves with bleach to kill the virus? Isn't that dangerous?" ; or failing that, presented some possible interpretations of what he said, covering a number of possibilities. That would be actual journalism and reporting, in the midst of a pandemic.
    Yes - that would have been ideal. If you go back to the video, Philip Rucker attempts to raise a question about what was just said and is cut off before he even gets to the end of his question, with an accusation of being "fake news."

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Instead, they seized with glee on something Trump said that could be distorted to make him look dumb, out of his depth, and foolish. That becomes a self-reinforcing lens, eventually. People don't exercise critical thinking, are ready to assume the worst, and read that assumption in to something about Trump. So instead of putting the best possible light - exercising charity and graciousness to an 'opponent', or avoiding creating a strawman caricature of his position - they interpret him in the worst possible way. When presented with an alternative interpretation they reject it, because 'I know Trump is a blowhard, bullying idiot' - but that 'knowledge' is based on ingesting a stream of negative and strawman caricatures of Trump. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. I've seen posters here succumb to it. Please don't add yourself to that group, Carpe.
    Max - Trump IS a blowhard, bullying idiot. The news isn't making him that. He makes reveals himself to be that every time he bullies another person on camera or by tweet, every time he makes a moronic comment from the bully pulpit or (again) by tweet. He is the quintessential blowhard. I don't need the news to tell me this. I get it directly from his mouth when I watch his rallies or other public engagements. I follow him on twitter and see the constant stream of this. The news isn't making him that - they are simply reporting on the reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxVel View Post
    Trump has his faults, no doubt. But if you have intellectual integrity then you should attempt to address him when his statements are put in the strongest possible way - that is, when reading him most charitably, rather than most uncharitably. If you (general) do that, then you show that even his best possible positions are flawed or wrong. If you (general) don't do that, then people can easily reject your opposition to Trump because it's based on what they can feel is strawman misrepresentations - which allows them to escape the full force of your objections.
    Trump's base has already shown itself to be immune to any discussion that might suggest their leader is flawed, never mind dangerous. And I certainly am not going to try to paint Trump to be something he is not. Even the most charitable interpretation of most of what he says is still pretty foul. He occasionally mouths the "appropriate" words, usually on formal occasions and usually from a script. But shortly thereafter the "appropriate" sentiments are undercut by his own tweets and words and actions in other contexts, and sometimes in that context.

    My days of giving Trump the benefit of the doubt are gone. My days of hoping that members of his base can be reasoned with are likewise gone. The true battle is going to be fought for the hearts and minds of those nearer the center. Frankly, I probably wouldn't even be on this forum anymore were it not for Covid-19 and long days.

    But I'll put a challenge to you: find one thing that Trump has done that you think was well done (i.e., done as a statesman) and good policy (i.e., put in place for the betterment of our country and its citizens). I think you could probably find several things that meet the latter description that we agree on. I think it will be hard find much of anything that meets the former description.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  5. Amen DivineOb, shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Max - if there is one thing I suspect we CAN agree on, it is the pointlessness of this kind of reporting. Someone posts a tweet with a video of Trump standing less than perfectly still and speculates on why, and suddenly it is news that someone posted this tweet? It's ridiculous and does exactly what you are talking about: cheapening the conversation and undermining the case against Trump.

    But I do not put this in the same category as his behavior in the coronavirus briefings, his bullying, his vengeance-seeking, his chronic lying, his enrichment of himself via his office, his attempts to engage foreign powers in our elections, and all of the rest of the unscrupulous things he has done.

    And I hold these separate from policy issues like eroding the protections for our ecology and giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy while handing a sop out to the middle and lower classes. I have disagreed with many presidents on policy issues without outright rejecting them as "my president." Part of the cost of being in a democracy is recognizing that sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes the bear gets you. Policy will change from president to president - and that's life.

    But putting such a vile, unscrupulous man in the highest office in the land is a travesty - and would be a travesty if it was done by either the Republicans or the Democrats. In other words, I would find Trump just as vile and unacceptable if he had run as a Democrat and won and was pushing forward policies that 100% aligned with my political, social, and fiscal leanings. I could never cheer a man who says and does what he does. And I would be equally scathing to the Democrats if they had acted as unpatriotically as the Senate Republicans (less Romney) did in the impeachment trial.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  7. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Max - if there is one thing I suspect we CAN agree on, it is the pointlessness of this kind of reporting. Someone posts a tweet with a video of Trump standing less than perfectly still and speculates on why, and suddenly it is news that someone posted this tweet? It's ridiculous and does exactly what you are talking about: cheapening the conversation and undermining the case against Trump.
    Please tell this to DivineOb here: http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...l=1#post741551

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I read the article. I agree with carpedm that articles mocking Trump's medical condition are unhelpful. Fortunately I didn't do that, I merely pointed out how the evidence for his medical condition is growing.

    Now back into your cage.

  10. #847
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Happy to!
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  11. #848
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivineOb View Post
    I read the article. I agree with carpedm that articles mocking Trump's medical condition are unhelpful. Fortunately I didn't do that, I merely pointed out how the evidence for his medical condition is growing.

    Now back into your cage.
    What medical condition?
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  12. #849
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    What medical condition?
    Trump's worsening dementia. As noted in that other thread it killed his father.

  13. #850
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivineOb View Post
    Trump's worsening dementia. As noted in that other thread it killed his father.
    Hmmm...
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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