Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sell-Out Media, Egomaniac-Elect, Post-Truth Unreality: What Do We Do About It?

These three articles, linked below, discuss troubling issues which are somehow connected.  The question is, what the hell do we do about it?   

From Andrew Tyndall, whose Tyndall Report monitors news programs:  In 2008, the three broadcast networks, in their nightly news programs, devoted over the entire year a total of 220 minutes to issues reporting (defined as independent coverage of election issues, not arising from candidate statements or debates).  In 2016, that plummeted to a grand total of just 36 minutes.

"Journalists were confronted with the spectacle of an issues-free campaign," says Tyndall.  "They had to decide how to react:  with complicity, since such tactics were easy to shoehorn into the ratings-pleasing entertainment structure of a reality TV show, or with defiance, by delving into what was at stake."

They chose former, he says.

Nicholas Kristoff, 1/1/17, in the NY Times

Trump l'oeil?
Portrait at Mar-a-Lago.  Class or ass?
Anthony Senecal is the long-time butler at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate and private country club in Palm Beach, Florida.  His up-close observations of Trump over the years have revealed not only Trump's quirks -- he rarely appears in bathing trunks and does not like to swim, insists on doing his own hair, and likes his steak rock-hard well done -- but also his habitual, self-soothing exaggerations.

Trump liked to tell guests that the nursery rhyme-themed tiles in the children's suite were made by a young Walt Disney.  Senecal, the butler/house historian, would protest that it wasn't true.  "Who cares?" Trump would respond with a laugh.

Trump is abundantly proud of his ability to drive a golf ball, once asking rhetorically at a news conference, "Do I hit it long?  Is Trump strong?"  When hitting balls into the Intracoastal, Trump would ask, "Tony, how far is that?"  Senecal would answer, "It's like 275 yards," knowing it was actually 225.

Jason Horowitz, 3/16/16, in the NY Times

An investigator seeks the truth, but what a "self-investigator" seeks -- online or on the way to the White House -- is post-truth.

The delusional vigilante who shot up a Washington pizzeria to liberate children from Hillary Clinton's satanic child-sex ring said he had decided to "self-investigate."  After his arrest, he admitted "the intel on this wasn't 100 percent."

Our most famous self-investigator is, of course, our incoming president, Donald J. Trump; perhaps no one is more committed to embracing and trumpeting unproven claims from the internet.  He's made a career of championing his own truths and manufacturing his own realities.

In the age of Trump, data and evidence are just some unwanted roughage down at the end of the buffet.  George W. Bush may have taken a selective approach to intelligence, but Trump, in his ongoing self-investigations, ignores it altogether.

Jonathan Mahler, 1/1/17, in the NY Times




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