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Thomas Frank Compares Anti-Trump Media To "Cold War McCarthyism"


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2 minutes ago, The General said:

The president’s first press conference as President he was talking about nazi Germany and screaming “you are fake news” at CNN :lol:

I'm not saying he wasn't a complete loon. I'm just saying that certain people have noticed the coverage was never quite above board regarding him. Trump's "fake news" accusations about CNN might have been accurate judging from the last four years.

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I’m a 180 from this guy. The mainstream media’s normalization of Trump’s psychotic, infantile behavior these past several years is inexcusable. Never has a public figure been treated with kid gloves l

Well yeah, we do inhabit different worlds, that’s what we’ve been trying to tell people for like five years now. I agree completely with @CletiusMaximus.  In my view if the media was reporting

Seriously? What world are you inhabiting? If you can't see that the media was anti-Trump, there's really no jumping off point for any reasonable conversation.

1 minute ago, rockaction said:

I'm not saying it wasn't newsworthy. CM said nobody reported on it when Trump gave a speech by where he lived. That might be true, but the implication they ignored that particular part of his ramblings is patently wrong.

OK, well it's impossible to prove but I feel confident that if some other President had made an identical rant it would have received many times as much attention.  But because Trump said nutty stuff on a daily basis, that particular rant just got thrown on the pile with all the other ridiculous nonsense he said and the media moved on to other stuff. In a normal administration that level of nuttiness would be shocking, not ordinary.

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3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I'm not saying he wasn't a complete loon. I'm just saying that certain people have noticed the coverage was never quite above board regarding him. Trump's "fake news" accusations about CNN might have been accurate judging from the last four years.

I’d say “Cold War McCarthyism” is a bit fake newsy.

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7 minutes ago, The General said:

I’d say “Cold War McCarthyism” is a bit fake newsy.

Combatants draw blood where they draw blood, I guess. I started the thread because I thought it was interesting, contra this place, that there are dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Taibbi and Frank that believe Trump got a raw deal in the press. Same with Megyn Kelly saying that, and she's no supporter of Trump. I think it's an interesting thing about perception and media trust that they're tapping into here. Because I think Trump was nuts and an autocrat, too, but thought the coverage of his actual doings as president were slanted. Especially something like the ICE and the cages, where the policy had been started by Obama, and continues to be in place under Biden, who could end it with one fell swoop of his pen if he wanted.

That story has sure hit the backburner.

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3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Especially something like the ICE and the cages, where the policy had been started by Obama, and continues to be in place under Biden, who could end it with one fell swoop of his pen if he wanted.

That story has sure hit the backburner.

The Trump policy that caused the uproar was not identical to the policies in either the Biden or Obama admninistration.

I'd also add that a lot of stories have been put on the back burner because of the pandemic and impeachment and other highly newsworthy and pressing events taking media attention.

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Several post-2016 election studies have concluded that the media spent far more time reporting on Hillary's email than any other issue during their campaign.  In retrospect, this is insane.  Yet it happened.  Was that the anti-Trump media that you guys are talking about?   

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1 minute ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

Covering Trump was difficult. The media weren't totally prepared for it.

This article by Perry Bacon is good:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/nine-lessons-i-learned-about-political-reporting-while-covering-trump/

Read it yesterday. But it seemed to touch more on what to do when a politician speaks about race more so than what to do when a politician uses populism and the populace as his main entry into the political world. That was my impression reading it, anyway. That they weren't really sure who to listen to about Trump because he dog-whistled or overtly talked about race and divided the public that way by exposing a white identity vote that was there under the surface. But is race the rail that the populist can touch that other politicians can't? It's never really addressed in the article.

I think Taibbi's article entitled "Kansas Should Go F--- Itself" (not circumventing, it's the real title) is much more illuminating than Bacon's purported mea culpa, so I'll post the link here:

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/kansas-should-go-f-itself

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1 minute ago, tommyGunZ said:

Several post-2016 election studies have concluded that the media spent far more time reporting on Hillary's email than any other issue during their campaign.  In retrospect, this is insane.  Yet it happened.  Was that the anti-Trump media that you guys are talking about?   

No, it's not insane and wasn't insane at the time. As even The Commish will admit, her dealings with national security and national clearance could have wound up with her in jail. And should have. That was worse than Trump was behaving at the time. At the time, Trump was an erratic crank who said some awful things, but hadn't been accused of high crimes while in office.

But you know this. You're just in here to do Team Blue on the thing. Get those punches in, GunZ. He's down, but he's still moving. Make him stop resisting!

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

Read it yesterday. But it seemed to touch more on what to do when a politician speaks about race more so than what to do when a politician uses populism and the populace as his main entry into the political world.

I think the section on both sides-ism is relevant to this discussion.

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9 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Combatants draw blood where they draw blood, I guess. I started the thread because I thought it was interesting, contra this place, that there are dyed-in-the-wool liberals like Taibbi and Frank that believe Trump got a raw deal in the press. Same with Megyn Kelly saying that, and she's no supporter of Trump. I think it's an interesting thing about perception and media trust that they're tapping into here. Because I think Trump was nuts and an autocrat, too, but thought the coverage of his actual doings as president were slanted. Especially something like the ICE and the cages, where the policy had been started by Obama, and continues to be in place under Biden, who could end it with one fell swoop of his pen if he wanted.

That story has sure hit the backburner.

I like the topic as well. News for profit is going to expose some issues. 

Trump being so out of his depth on majority of topics and so unusual in his answers generated clicks. 

Would I like my news to be more responsible, sure. Would I click on the story where Trump draws a new map in marker because he said something dumb and can’t admit he’s wrong then spends 2 weeks on it, well duh. 

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5 minutes ago, tommyGunZ said:

Several post-2016 election studies have concluded that the media spent far more time reporting on Hillary's email than any other issue during their campaign.  In retrospect, this is insane.  Yet it happened.  Was that the anti-Trump media that you guys are talking about?   

There is that.

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Just now, Maurile Tremblay said:

I think the section on both sides-ism is relevant to this discussion.

That's true. It's a very relevant article. I didn't mean to undercut your post. I just think that other understandings other than traditional media's mea culpa, where both sides-ism and the denial of the importance of that has become the standard media narrative now, isn't all that mind-bending or as insightful as you might think. We've already been clubbed over the head with the media doubling down.

As an aside, the doubling down on "non both sides-ism" has culminated in potential government action against news outlets, with members of Congress actively pressuring content providers to cancel their contracts with Fox and OANN, a curtailing of the press that Trump could only dream of. So both-sides-ism and the doubling down against it is driving the narrative. That's my point -- the article from a traditional media source is still parroting traditional media narratives about why their original narrative failed. I'm personally not that interested in it. 

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46 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

That it's normal?  If ANY President had made those remarks they would have been reported on.  And would likely have received much more media attention because any other President wouldn't have followed it up with something else stupid that the media needed to report on a few hours later 

ETA:  Here's a 5 minute rant on toilets and sinks and showers.   Are you seriously suggesting that if some other President had made this speech it wouldn't have made news?  These are the ramblings of a man who has no business being President.

To play devil's advocate for a moment and maybe put Frank's point in a more sympathetic light, I very strongly agree with you that Trump had no business being president.  I mean, I super-strongly double-dog-dare agree.  When he took office, I was hoping against hope that his whole campaign shtick was just an act and that he'd govern sanely, or at least his staff would keep him between the guardrails.  No dice.  After maybe six months or so -- probably less than that to be honest but I don't really recall an exact date -- I abandoned that hope and resigned myself to the fact that we were going to be governed by a sociopathic toddler until he lost reelection or got removed from office.  Obviously that sucked, but we all lived through that same reality.  

I got really irritated with the news media as the Trump administration went along.  Not because I started to like Trump or anything, but because my mind was already made up about Trump's fitness to serve, and I was doing my best just to get through this crazy period without going insane, which it seemed like a lot of other people were doing at the time.  When you wake up every morning and CNN or whoever is leading off with Trump's Atrocity Of The Day with a big giant headline, it's like having somebody grab you by the collars, shake you, and scream stuff you already know in your face.  It gets really old, really fast.  Yes, I know, Trump is nuts.  Yes, I know he has launch authority.  Please stop screaming this at me -- I get it, trust me.  

Frank may be thinking along totally different lines and it's not my place to speak for him.  But he's a smart guy and he's not some kind of Secret Trumper or anything.  

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2 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

When you wake up every morning and CNN or whoever is leading off with Trump's Atrocity Of The Day with a big giant headline, it's like having somebody grab you by the collars, shake you, and scream stuff you already know in your face.  It gets really old, really fast.  Yes, I know, Trump is nuts.  Yes, I know he has launch authority.  Please stop screaming this at me -- I get it, trust me. 

This is exactly how I felt about the coverage. I've said numerous times to (actually to you in particular) that I started a thread comparing the coverage of his administration to the fatigue one felt in '79 with the Carter administration. People were so tired of it; they'd had enough already of the President. That was how I personally felt about the coverage. They were covering a man who I knew back in '15 was unfit to be President. But I'm talking coverage qua coverage. It was often slanted, untrue, and sensationalized -- a "bombhole," as Taibbi calls it.

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1 hour ago, timschochet said:

If he wasn’t a news reporter then why is this a problem? 

For one the lines between news and opinion is so blurry now that you can’t even tell.  Don Lemon is a described as a news anchor but he is one of the most partisan people you will see on nightly television.  With regard to a panelist/contributor using “we” when talking about a Democratic position, I guess you had to see the context to appreciate it. 

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16 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

To play devil's advocate for a moment and maybe put Frank's point in a more sympathetic light, I very strongly agree with you that Trump had no business being president.  I mean, I super-strongly double-dog-dare agree.  When he took office, I was hoping against hope that his whole campaign shtick was just an act and that he'd govern sanely, or at least his staff would keep him between the guardrails.  No dice.  After maybe six months or so -- probably less than that to be honest but I don't really recall an exact date -- I abandoned that hope and resigned myself to the fact that we were going to be governed by a sociopathic toddler until he lost reelection or got removed from office.  Obviously that sucked, but we all lived through that same reality.  

I got really irritated with the news media as the Trump administration went along.  Not because I started to like Trump or anything, but because my mind was already made up about Trump's fitness to serve, and I was doing my best just to get through this crazy period without going insane, which it seemed like a lot of other people were doing at the time.  When you wake up every morning and CNN or whoever is leading off with Trump's Atrocity Of The Day with a big giant headline, it's like having somebody grab you by the collars, shake you, and scream stuff you already know in your face.  It gets really old, really fast.  Yes, I know, Trump is nuts.  Yes, I know he has launch authority.  Please stop screaming this at me -- I get it, trust me.  

Frank may be thinking along totally different lines and it's not my place to speak for him.  But he's a smart guy and he's not some kind of Secret Trumper or anything.  

There isn't a bigger Trump-hater than me on these boards, and I had similar feelings.  I watched far less cable news the past couple of years than I did in the decade prior, but I don't blame the media for continuing to report on the atrocities.  I became numb because at a certain point, much like you, I gave up.  I abandoned hope that there was anything Trump could do that would cause enough of a wave on the right for Republicans to take action. 

I don't know the answer to this problem, but I'm not satisfied that the answer is that the news media should stop covering Trump's insaneness simply because 1/2 of America has decided that nothing matters anymore.    

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:
6 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

When you wake up every morning and CNN or whoever is leading off with Trump's Atrocity Of The Day with a big giant headline, it's like having somebody grab you by the collars, shake you, and scream stuff you already know in your face.  It gets really old, really fast.  Yes, I know, Trump is nuts.  Yes, I know he has launch authority.  Please stop screaming this at me -- I get it, trust me. 

This is exactly how I felt about the coverage. I've said numerous times to (actually to you in particular) that I started a thread comparing the coverage of his administration to the fatigue one felt in '79 with the Carter administration. People were so tired of it; they'd had enough already of the President. That was how I personally felt about the coverage. They were covering a man who I knew back in '15 was unfit to be President. But I'm talking coverage qua coverage. It was often slanted, untrue, and sensationalized -- a "bombhole," as Taibbi calls it.

I understand both of your frustrations, but again I blame Trump, not the media.  The overwhelming majority of those "he's nuts!" headlines were accurate and newsworthy.  If the media had deliberately underreported those stories  they would have been abdicating their responsibility to the public.  You are literally blaming the messenger.

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36 minutes ago, rockaction said:

No, it's not insane and wasn't insane at the time. As even The Commish will admit, her dealings with national security and national clearance could have wound up with her in jail. And should have. That was worse than Trump was behaving at the time. At the time, Trump was an erratic crank who said some awful things, but hadn't been accused of high crimes while in office.

But you know this. You're just in here to do Team Blue on the thing. Get those punches in, GunZ. He's down, but he's still moving. Make him stop resisting!

I believe that electing Trump was far more dangerous to national security than Hillary Clinton not properly following internal email guidelines.  I can't believe anyone being objective would argue otherwise.  

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10 hours ago, parasaurolophus said:

There are like 500 articles about trump complaining about toilets and how they flush.

Cnn

AP

NBC

NPR

Vox

ABC

usa today

Guardian (video)

NYT

Daily beast

Wapo

Slate

NYMag

Countless others, these were just the first google search results. They go on and on. 

I know it became a thing.  That's how I figured out what he was talking about - by googling it.  My comment just relates to my personal experience the following day, when I was listening to the radio and reading about his visit to our city, and It was odd to me because I expected some reporters would be discussing his crazy moment. I thought it would be news that day, since he is the president, but didn't hear anything.

 

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12 hours ago, rockaction said:

Seriously? What world are you inhabiting? If you can't see that the media was anti-Trump, there's really no jumping off point for any reasonable conversation.

I guess they could have made the foaming at the mouth a bit more visible when they discussed Trump.

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15 minutes ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

I understand both of your frustrations, but again I blame Trump, not the media.  The overwhelming majority of those "he's nuts!" headlines were accurate and newsworthy.  If the media had deliberately underreported those stories  they would have been abdicating their responsibility to the public.  You are literally blaming the messenger.

The sun rising in the east is very accurate, but it is not newsworthy.  There was sooooooooooooooooooo much going on in the world and if you would turn on the news it was all....Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.  Certainly the president is newsworthy, but the news the last 4 years was so unwatchable because the only story was Trump. Or even if it was a story about riots or coronavirus, the story was still about Trump's response to it.  

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4 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

The sun rising in the east is very accurate, but it is not newsworthy.  There was sooooooooooooooooooo much going on in the world and if you would turn on the news it was all....Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump.  Certainly the president is newsworthy, but the news the last 4 years was so unwatchable because the only story was Trump. Or even if it was a story about riots or coronavirus, the story was still about Trump's response to it.  

Um, that was because Trump said and did things designed to put him in every news cycle. 

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13 minutes ago, squistion said:

Um, that was because Trump said and did things designed to put him in every news cycle. 

You would think after 4-years of trolling the media would get a clue.  Nope, just so easily triggered. 

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2 hours ago, The General said:

Would a liberal candidate last as long as a Trump if they continuously threw bombs out there like Don? I mean continue as a candidate.

 

Not only would they last as long, the media would be singing their praises. And be making excuses for them.

what's absurd to me in this thread is that you guys honestly believe that any other liberal president besides Trump would have been fired long ago. That is absurd.  Democratic presidents have literally been handled with kid gloves and softballs for the last 50-plus years.  They are fawned over and made instant celebrities by the media.

Every Republican president is grilled over the coals every single time.

How are we really having this conversation?  I mean, do you guys really not see that?

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3 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

Not only would they last as long, the media would be singing their praises. And be making excuses for them.

what's absurd to me in this thread is that you guys honestly believe that any other liberal president besides Trump would have been fired long ago. That is absurd.  Democratic presidents have literally been handled with kid gloves and softballs for the last 50-plus years.  They are fawned over and made instant celebrities by the media.

Every Republican president is grilled over the coals every single time.

How are we really having this conversation?  I mean, do you guys really not see that?

A lib candidate would not have lasted saying what Trump said. That’s fact.

People can say that’s a problem or whatever that they just stick to the script but no Dem presidential candidate is getting away with saying 1/10th of the stuff Trump threw out there. 

Bill Clinton was impeached and roasted by the way. 

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6 minutes ago, The General said:

A lib candidate would not have lasted saying what Trump said. That’s fact.

People can say that’s a problem or whatever that they just stick to the script but no Dem presidential candidate is getting away with saying 1/10th of the stuff Trump threw out there. 

Bill Clinton was impeached and roasted by the way. 

Seeing how AOC is covered, this has absolitely been proven false.  She is every bit the flame thrower that Trump is, but she gets glamorized by the media.  

  

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Just now, jon_mx said:

Seeing how AOC is covered, this has absolitely been proven false.  She is every bit the flame thrower that Trump is, but she gets glamorized by the media.  

  

Progressives love her. Fox doesn’t.

Latest headlines I saw she is bashing Biden. 

The Dems last 2 presidential candidates are moderates, they didn’t pick Jerry Springer to lead the party. 

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1 minute ago, jon_mx said:

Seeing how AOC is covered, this has absolitely been proven false.  She is every bit the flame thrower that Trump is, but she gets glamorized by the media.  

  

Yeah, but that's cause she's totally awesome.  That's the difference.  

 

 

The media continuing to be outraged by outrageous garbage even after we have already entered Trump Fatigue is not the media ganging up.  We're all sick of him by 2019, I get it.  The media still has to cover him, and he kept unleashing a fresh hell every day.  Its' their duty to cover it, it is news.  Talk about killing the messenger.  

It was McCarthyism because the media insisted on covering every new terrible thing he did? I mean, come on now.  

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The problem is this McCarthyism does not only apply to Trump, it is applied across the conservative spectrum.  We are screening our national guard if they are Trump supporters.   The idea that Rush Limbaugh deserves some kind of respect gets assaulted by the left.  Idea which comes from conservatives are branded as hate speech.  Conservative speakers are refused public platforms.  The internet tech giants cancel their accounts.   Anybody with any connection to January 6th is deemed a traitor.  IMHO, this surpasses McCarthyism in scope and impact.  

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7 minutes ago, The General said:

Progressives love her. Fox doesn’t.

Latest headlines I saw she is bashing Biden. 

The Dems last 2 presidential candidates are moderates, they didn’t pick Jerry Springer to lead the party. 

Fox is not part of the mainstream media.  Your assertion was that a lib candidate would not last.  AOC has lasted and is only growing in power.  That disproves your claim.  Who the dems pick as their candidate has no bearing on your point. 

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12 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

The problem is this McCarthyism does not only apply to Trump, it is applied across the conservative spectrum.  We are screening our national guard if they are Trump supporters.   The idea that Rush Limbaugh deserves some kind of respect gets assaulted by the left.  Idea which comes from conservatives are branded as hate speech.  Conservative speakers are refused public platforms.  The internet tech giants cancel their accounts.   Anybody with any connection to January 6th is deemed a traitor.  IMHO, this surpasses McCarthyism in scope and impact.  

That isn't true. Any screening done was to see if there were any ties to right wing extremists or terrorists, not if they supported Trump.  :lol:

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17 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

Fox is not part of the mainstream media.  Your assertion was that a lib candidate would not last.  AOC has lasted and is only growing in power.  That disproves your claim.  Who the dems pick as their candidate has no bearing on your point. 

She is gaining in power in her little bubble, just like Trump has his bubble. 

AOC would not win a national campaign against a moderate Dem.

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1 hour ago, jon_mx said:

You would think after 4-years of trolling the media would get a clue.  Nope, just so easily triggered. 

They got the clue early on. Trump coverage - positive or negative - gets great ratings. So Trump got tons of coverage - positive and negative, depending on the outlet.

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1 hour ago, wikkidpissah said:

we're minimizing how much of this was aesthetic more than political. for millions of Americans, POTUS45 was like having Steve-O, Divine or the Smoking Baby representing the greatest nation in the world to the world. shame is the only word -

Yes to all this.

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39 minutes ago, jon_mx said:

The problem is this McCarthyism does not only apply to Trump, it is applied across the conservative spectrum.  We are screening our national guard if they are Trump supporters.   The idea that Rush Limbaugh deserves some kind of respect gets assaulted by the left.  Idea which comes from conservatives are branded as hate speech.  Conservative speakers are refused public platforms.  The internet tech giants cancel their accounts.   Anybody with any connection to January 6th is deemed a traitor.  IMHO, this surpasses McCarthyism in scope and impact.  

A lot of conflation here with conservatism and this bizarro Trump MAGA world. 

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30 minutes ago, Gr00vus said:

They got the clue early on. Trump coverage - positive or negative - gets great ratings. So Trump got tons of coverage - positive and negative, depending on the outlet.

He provided so much bizarre content daily. Maybe this all goes on behind the scenes in every administration and we just never saw it (I’d wager it doesn’t).

 

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37 minutes ago, The General said:

She is gaining in power in her little bubble, just like Trump has his bubble. 

AOC would not win a national campaign against a moderate Dem.

And it wouldn't be close. Although she has quite a following, she would still be a fringe candidate along the lines of a McGovern or a Goldwater and I can't really foresee her becoming the Democratic Party standard bearer for that reason.

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14 hours ago, rockaction said:

Seriously? What world are you inhabiting? If you can't see that the media was anti-Trump, there's really no jumping off point for any reasonable conversation.

i would expect and hope the media would always be anti-mentally-unhinged-narcissistic-sociopath.  are they not supposed to report the comment about injecting disinfectant to fight COVID?

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2 hours ago, The General said:

A lib candidate would not have lasted saying what Trump said. That’s fact.

People can say that’s a problem or whatever that they just stick to the script but no Dem presidential candidate is getting away with saying 1/10th of the stuff Trump threw out there. 

Bill Clinton was impeached and roasted by the way. 

That is not even close to fact.   Dem candidates AND President's have been nothing but fawned over like a leader of a cult.  There is no way they would be roasted.  The media wouldn't even bring it up or put it on the back page of the paper - at most.

But, fair enough, you believe it.  So, to @rockaction's point, the divide is so great that there really is no way we can agree.  You don't even believe Democrats are favored in the media.

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4 minutes ago, BladeRunner said:

That is not even close to fact.   Dem candidates AND President's have been nothing but fawned over like a leader of a cult.  There is no way they would be roasted.  The media wouldn't even bring it up or put it on the back page of the paper - at most.

But, fair enough, you believe it.  So, to @rockaction's point, the divide is so great that there really is no way we can agree.  You don't even believe Democrats are favored in the media.

Biden saying he likes POWs that don’t get captured would be news.

Biden getting sued for defrauding people with a fake university would be news.

Biden saying a judge couldn’t rule fairly against him because he’s Mexican would be news.

Biden redrawing a map in marker to prove he was “right” about weather would be news.

This could go on for pages. 

This is a Donald problem. The dude produced more storylines than the best episode of VEEP weekly. 

I thought this was by design half the time.

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Trump fans always complained about Sleepy Joe in the basement. Maybe just a few hours less of Don a day would have been good for him.

I thought this was his plan - to take all the news cycle and make it about him?

 

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19 hours ago, rockaction said:

Interesting. Thomas Frank, author of "What's The Matter With Kansas?" and lifelong liberal, discussing media treatment of Donald Trump. I'm a passionate member of the anti-Trump crowd, but I also always noted how over-the-top and oppressive the media was in covering him.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1354249371676676096

Discuss.

It’s very accurate and scary how many are accepting of it as long as it benefits their “side”. 

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