18 Comments

Timothy Snyder also had a good piece about this. He's got a point (out of three) similar to Medhi Hasan's where he mentions the saluting the insurrectionists and Trump's general love of violence and glorifying it. He goes a little deeper, too.

But all of that aside, the second I read the full quote on Sunday and saw the "context!" arguments, I wondered if they were serious since Trump is well-known to change topics in the middle of a sentence, with no warning. Why would this be any different?

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It’s been nine years since Trump came down the escalator and there are STILL highly paid people who cover national politics who go to bed worrying that they haven’t given Donald Trump enough of a chance to explain what he’s all about.

And they wake up the next morning terrified that today is the day he’ll pull the mask off and reveal that he’s actually a smart, well-read guy who digs deep into the data, consults with a wide variety of experts and spends a lot of time in deep contemplation before issuing a policy statement.

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It just occurs to me that what Trump did with this is very, very similar to a think I see online (I think of it as from the 4Chan crowd) all the time.

1. Make some outrageous statement in a public forum.

2. Elicit an angry response from a targeted demographic, typically women.

3. Claim you were joking, and mock them for taking things so "seriously".

I've seen this so much. It's a fundamental move of "shitposting". One thing I've found effective in fighting it is just describing it, much as I've done above, in a realtime response. You know, while people are listening. Also describing it as a 'classic move'.

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Mar 20·edited Mar 20

Yes, talk to the audience, not the asshole. "You see, what Bob's doing here is..." Break the fourth wall.

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I don't understand all this pundit blather about "journalistic integrity". We are in an existential crisis, it's time for all hands on deck. Nothing should be off the table dammit. Any journalist with any integrity should absolutely be trying all day every day to make voters "feel" a certain way about tangeranus.

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Journalists make people feel a certain way about subjects and issues all. The. Time. It’s very revealing to examine what they think is “opinionating” and what opinions they think are “just common sense” — “deficits are bad” and “invading other countries is always at least worth a shot and certainly better than being considered ’weak’” are the first two that spring to mind.

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yes

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Instead of spending all day telling the Democrats that they're doing it wrong.

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100%

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I'm not in the habit of quoting Jimmy Kimmel, but he had this right: "The context is that we're having to debate whether he meant a literal bloodbath."

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Here's a crazy idea: Trump proposes a certain policy, like rounding up and deporting millions of undocumented workers, reporters spend some time and effort in reporting on the implications. Interview people in immigrant communities, interview farmers, even interview the cops on how they'd carry it out. Now do the same with "100% auto tariffs", thanks.

Is Trump unique in this? That the few actual policies that he proposes NEVER get any serious examination? Or does the media take this, "Eh, let's wait and see if it becomes a law before we report on the impacts" approach with everyone?

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I've noticed this "wait and see" approach often with legislation: No reporting on what the thing actually does, maybe some vote-counting reporting on whether it will pass, if it does pass, THEN we'll let the public know what's actually in the bill. Seems a little risky to take that approach with a guy who's promising fascism, yes?

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Also, among those who insist upon "CONTEXT OF WHAT HE SAID!", there are plenty more people who will decode "what they *really* said encoded!" for both fan-faves & foes (ex: pizza-gate, denial = confession). So for every person who understands the implication of business/trade "bloodbath", there are at least three people re-watching "Conan the Barbarian" and meditating on what-is-good-in-life and the bloodbaths from Blade :/

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I agree that PERHAPS he was intending to talk about the auto industry. But why choose the term "bloodbath". Why not "disaster?" Because trump is obsessed with violence as a whole and particularly with stoking it to his own advantage. Thus the context doesn't matter. What matters is the word used to express a "warning."

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The ambiguity is the point. There's no way to erase it or report it away, because its intended and structured to be ambiguous. It's weaponized ambiguity.

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As far as I'm concerned, the media has to do less handwringing about what Trump truly means and more analysis about how it will be interpreted by his more fervent supporters. If he says "bloodbath," some people will be incited to violence. Full stop.

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By trying to deplatform Trump, the media did him a favor for the past four years. It allowed many to conveniently forget. We should've given him a microphone, and perhaps he wouldn't be the presumptive nominee.

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He's the presumptive nominee because he's what Republican voters want, that's on them and nobody else. Thinking there's something we could have done to change that puts the responsibility where it doesn't belong.

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