The Hillary Clinton Syndrome: fighting for the wrong kind of votes can be hazardous to your ambitions.

As journalists have their mandated meltdown that Doug Ford won a very simple game, and became the new Ontario PC leader despite a well-crafted narrative that was supposed to put a woman in that position, it is time to look at two of those women to see how is it possible for a female candidate to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Christine Elliott was channelling Hillary Clinton in so many ways that it was truly breath-taking. She was not the gracious loser, taking a long time to concede defeat. She has more votes, but as I have repeatedly said, campaigns are not about getting more votes, but strategic ones. It is a game of skill and tricks, many of which are dirty. It is campaign warfare in the truest sense of the word.

But in 2018, just like 2016, there is some mistaken notion that you have to (a) be “inclusive”, and (b) be non-offensive. As Donald Trump proved, those are the first two steps to defeat.

You are not supposed to be all things to all of the people. You have to pick a few demographics and psychographics, push the right buttons, and get enough of them to vote. You do not need a majority. How many times do we have to have elections before the public comprehend it is not about a majority. It doesn’t matter if it took place 1984 or 2016 or 1900 — you do not win campaigns courting a majority.

It doesn’t matter what the general consensus is — what matters is what the primary targeted blocs that vote come Election Day, and often, those groups deliberately hold their cards close to their chests.

There are ways to get voters, and ways to repel them away from marking your name on the ballot. Men such as Ford and Trump understand enough to say “I am running for the public/common voter” and “I will bring change” that implies the change will benefit the targeted groups for the better because under the current regime, they are being ignored.

For all the prattle that Trump and Barak Obama are nothing alike, they campaigned using that same winning strategy — the only difference was who were the target groups. Trump went to the Right. Obama went to the Left. Same structure, but different content of message.

But journalists have a true blindness when it comes to seeing structure. They only see content.

To them, they think Obama and Trump are different. If they looked at structure of thought, they’d realize they are the same.

Ford won because his structure of campaign aligns with what successful candidates do: have you-focussed messages that promise a positive reward for the vote. Target certain groups, and they will hedge their bets on you. You focus without being all over the place, saving your enemies for other tactics.

Elliott had a me-focussed message — she ran twice before, and thus, it was, “her turn” to lead. The backdrop of #MeToo implied it was the natural conclusion to have a woman in charge.

Clinton’s defeat was a factor in creating a fertile ground for #MeToo, but her message was equally me-focussed — it was her turn to lead because it was a “woman’s” turn to run. That doesn’t explain to voters what is in it for them to vote for her. That, coupled with the unfocussed bid to get as many voters as possible, meant she set herself up to lose.

A candidate needs more than just confidence in being able to do the job: you must have the confidence in your own targeted groups to give you their goodwill. If you know a good percentage of Group A will have your back because you made it clear you’ll have theirs, you don’t do desperate things and overwork your campaign.

This isn’t to say the entire campaign is above board — you’ll have private investigators going through rivals’ garbage for dirt. You’ll have people play dirty tricks to keep certain votes away — but any of that can backfire.

You also cannot worry about offending people outside your targeted groups because you cannot please all of the people all of the time. In fact, upsetting one faction turns you into irresistible forbidden fruit that your group will vote for just to stick it to the rival faction. For Anti-Establishment candidates, they absolutely have to be ready to thumb their nose at sanctioned beliefs. It’s why activist groups are often unwitting pawns in campaigns — the second they howl, they send a signal to the offending candidates’ potential voters that their person is brave enough to stand up to those lines drawn in the sand.

Clinton played it safe, and she paid the price. Elliott took from Clinton’s playbook and suffered the same fate.

Caroline Mulroney’s case of the Clinton Syndrome was more subtle, but her problem was that she also lacked a you-focussed message. She was a legacy candidate, which gave her an initial edge, and she would have been a natural choice in the light of #MeToo, but when asked why she was running, she didn’t have the answer. She also couldn’t handle softball questions about her children being in private school — all she had to say was she wasn’t happy with the current public system — but if she was elected, she’d make sure education improved for everyone…

Or something along the lines. It wasn’t as if she was getting tough questions, but she came off as someone who didn’t think she had to answer to anyone, and when you are running to be in charge of other people’s money and hold their fate in your hands, you need to be somewhat accessible. Clinton had the same problems, and it was what always made her a problematic candidate.

But with Clinton, she became senator right after her husband’s presidency, when she was  seen as forging her own way right after her husband’s infidelity nearly got him impeached. There were other reasons why she was voted in back then — but that kind of support was time sensitive. By the time she ran for president, she got no lift in support by it because by then, it was a different ballgame.

Men like Ford and Trump get it. They use playbooks that brought others victory. Elliott and Mulroney didn’t, and it cost them both the paper crown.

As for the provincial election, Kathleen Wynne is also someone who gets it — she is a polarizing figure. She is disliked by the majority.

And yet she knows how to connect to the right coalition of groups with strategic promises to get herself elected. She is focussed, understands you-centred messages, and is not afraid to offend a majority. She knows how to tussle with the big boys, and it is one of the reasons she earns her victories.

Very rarely do you see two candidates vying for the same coveted position who are equally structurally savvy in that regard. You either have a candidate who was in power for so long that they think they don’t have to fight like a newcomer — or a candidate who sees an incumbent is disliked, and then thinks they will win by default. This is first major election that I can remember where the candidates are truly equally matched in every way.

Some people think that may give NDP’s Andrea Horwath the same kind of default victory Bob Rae got and then fumbled, but it is not a foregone conclusion that Ford and Wynne will cancel each other out. Ford can easily turn an Orange Hamilton area Blue, for instance. Wynne can also pull a rabbit out of her hat. She is not suffering from the Clinton Syndrome, and she is someone who can get results even when the odds look bleak. Anyone who looks at her polling numbers is missing the big picture.

Who ultimately wins depends on which targeted groups get the most inspired to go out an vote, and this is a rare case where both Wynne and Ford can raid the NDP’s seats to eke out a victory.

Hamilton and Toronto are going to be big battlegrounds. Ford and Wynne both have strong support in Hogtown. Neither is well-liked as a general consensus — but are both beloved by very loyal core groups of voting blocks.

While the leadership race was a replay of the Trump-Clinton match, the election is anything but, and it will make a very good comparison to see whose you-focussed message will be most effective this time around.

The minionization of the press: When you have no power, but want to play make-pretend, you curry favour with those who don’t have it either. How the mainstream press made fools of themselves in 2016.

The New York Post has an interesting column about how certain ex-journalists (Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer) ” gave a State Department official additional unverified allegations against Trump.”

When members of the press become quasi-operatives for a presidential candidate, it calls into question every story they ever did.

But they weren’t smart enough to hedge their bets right. They picked chronic-noob Clinton. Even the Post’s Michael Goodwin buys her hype:

Thus, the Democratic nominee paid for and created allegations against her Republican opponent, gave them to law enforcement, then tipped friendly media to the investigation. And it is almost certain FBI agents supporting Clinton were among the anonymous sources.

In fact, the Clinton connections are so fundamental that there probably would not have been an FBI investigation without her involvement.

That makes hers a brazen work of political genius — and perhaps the dirtiest dirty trick ever played in presidential history. Following her manipulation of the party operation to thwart Bernie Sanders in the primary, Clinton is revealed as relentlessly ruthless in her quest to be president.

Goodwin vastly over-estimates her genius and cunning. She is of average intelligence, but above average in ego. Her methods are conniving, not cunning.

She lost an election, not because she was cunning, but because her mundaneness proved she was no match for Donald Trump. She engaged in puffery, to make herself seem smarter than she was, psyching out middle-management types who look for sure bets, and then follow the script so they could make their neighbours jealous, without having to work, think, or show just how weak and mundane they are, too.

My grandmother used to call Communist party members laktaš: people who got positions of power, not because they were smart, but because they were brutes who used their elbows (lakat) to push through and sucker punch people to push ahead. In other words, people without a moral compass who were basically a one-trick pony.

When Clinton was surrounded by other mediocre types, she thought she had an army, but that army runs for the hills at the first sign of actual battle. Sure, they give you a paper crown and wear the uniform they strut in proudly as they let you make up the rules, but only if there no way there is an actual battle to be done.

Meaning that it’s not an army you want if you have to fight a war, and an election is a form of war. Trump, on the other hand, has an entire family of loyal and capable soldiers who understand diplomacy and strategy.

And he knows how people who push and elbow their way to the head of the line behave — and was ready for it by strategically and stealthily taking just enough electoral votes to defeat her.

If she was this political genius — she would have shored up her resources, but she is an egomaniac at heart: she went after redundant votes, instead of strategic ones. That she could take advantage of a passive and broken in flock of Democrats who were too busy following scripts to see the landscape ahead of them tells you how poor of a strategist she was.

At least Bernie Sanders was smart enough to bring in fresh recruits with courting Millennials. Clinton never bothered to bring in any fresh new blood — she stuck with whoever was already in the ranks. Like I said, a noob past the best before date.

She stuck with what worked before — a red flag that a potential leader doesn’t have what it takes — you have no true sense of strategy, but you follow someone else’s playbook, hoping that will be enough, and that no one notices just how in over your head you really are. She hoped her mere sex alone would be what “differentness” she brought to the table — but not her platform or strategies.

That an amateur politician bested her should be no surprise. When you follow a script, you cannot focus on the reality unfolding because you hinge your victory on someone else’s instincts. You don’t see how to take advantage of a weakness or opportunity. You have no lateral thinking abilities. You coast on someone else’s thoughts.

That means the only people who can attract are minions. You won’t have strategists because you will be too threatened by them — perhaps they will see who you really are, and then want to topple you and take over. You don’t want people to think for themselves, or your house of cards collapses.

Which brings us to every reporter who hitched a ride on the Clinton Titanic.

It tells you these are kinds of people who fly under the radar and think they are cunning enough to play it safe by following someone who looks like a “sure thing.” These are not original thinkers, strategists, or survivors. They parrot what other people are saying because they do not have the vigilance or creativity to think of anything based on their own thoughts and observations.

They are the people who find the person who elbows her way and hold on to her because they see she is freeing a path, and they do not want to have to do any of the heavy labour.

But the people who are truly cunning create their own path by digging and paving it for themselves. They see opportunity because they know a new path is unexplored and has more resources than the one everyone else is taking from. These are active thinkers who make their own way, not relying on anyone’s elbows to do it for them.

Everyone works. Everyone contributes. No on rides on the backs of anyone else or thinks they are owed a paper crown.

That’s the reason why Western journalism collapsed: you have followers going down a path that no longer has any resources left because everyone was a scavenger, taking without growing or investing more resources. They picked it bare.

It’s why we no longer have journalism. We no longer have investigative stories or new revelations or styles of reportage. It is all whispers and gossip as reporters openly support people destined to lose because they are always puffing and hyping themselves into oblivion.

The press made fools of themselves in 2016 because they coasted on a losing team and the stench of defeat covered them, too. Playing it safe was the worst thing they could have possibly done because they showed the world their every weakness.

And it should surprise no one why journalism is no longer a thing: it marched right into a black hole, mistaking it for the path to paradise.

 

Memo to Columbia Journalism Review: framing journalistic sins as Mary Sue problems is not going to get past people with critical thinking skills. Why media watchdogs are really just fat cats.

Who watches the watchmen?

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A publication that shouldn’t.

CJR never had teeth or guts, and comes in with a built-in narrative that journalism is basically a moral profession.

Tell that to people who worked with Stephen Glass, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, and all the journalists and editors chronicled in my first book.

CJR’s informational value is next to nothing, explaining why its frequency of publication has whittled down over the years.

And considering the number of scandals and alienation the profession has suffered, a Columbia j-school education is not worthy of the paper the degree is printed on; so their publication has no utility to the profession.

And there is a big problem with that.

The “we are the good guys” narrative means one thing: that no problem in the profession can ever be solved, only temporarily masked with false assurances. There is no justifying allowed of sexual predators in the workplace because they will never see anything wrong with being abusive; hence, their stories will be skewed and biased, always justifying their own predatory ways in every story they do, missing all of the big stories because their filters prohibit it.

If you are a publication looking at the business and ethics of journalism, and you go in with the assumption that the profession is essential good, the kinds of analysis you will se will be of the Mary Sue variety: well yes, there was a breakdown, but only because journalists were working so hard to getting at the truth, that they missed a little detail…but otherwise, everything is wonderful!

No, sometimes you have to say: we have too many narcissists in this profession who use their poorly-paying jobs as chick bait as they sexually harass the unpaid interns and plagiarize press releases and pretend to be gathering facts as they get intoxicated on the premises and think they can deflect attention away from their own dark deeds by hurling mud at people through their stories.

The latter is closer to the truth than the former.

A perfect example of the Mary Sue problem is Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.

It is, in fact, propaganda at its worst. It begins in this way:

Fake news, much of it produced by Russian sources, was amplified on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, generating millions of views among a segment of the electorate eager to hear stories about Hillary Clinton’s untrustworthiness, unlikeability, and possibly even criminality.

Are we to assume that Clinton was a choir girl? I do have very good long-term memory, and I do recall that until she secured her party’s nomination, it was the mainstream press who had raised countless alarm bells over her for decades. It was not as if she had ever been a media darling before that point.

Or have we already forgotten?

So right away, the article begins with a deceptive narrative: that Clinton was the angelic choice against the demonic Trump, and she lost because of evil whispering campaigns.

In fact, until that point in time, it was Trump who had been a media darling; a reliable rent-a-quote for the press. Clinton was distrusted.

Although Spy magazine roasted Trump and gloriously so, Clinton’s own media blow-ups led to her also getting roasted:

 

So the subtext of this article is that people who voted wouldn’t have the previous press coverage in the back of their minds?

It was the press that flip-flopped once other media darling Bernie Sanders didn’t get to be on the Democratic ticket.

All of the sudden, the press changes its mind, and everyone is supposed to mindlessly follow their newest decree?

But the first real knee-slapper of sophistry in the CJR piece bumbles in right after:

Alarmed by these threats to their legitimacy, and energized by the election of a president hostile to their very existence, the mainstream media has vigorously shouldered the mantle of truth-tellers. The Washington Post changed its motto to “Democracy Dies in Darkness” one month into the Trump presidency…

Washington Post’s mottos sound like something you’d find on a World War II propaganda poster. The article is already justifying partisan reporting — and rank propaganda even before it starts. The media did not “vigorously shouldered the mantle of truth-tellers”: they wore the mask and got away with it precisely because they had to competition.

Do they call the newspaper to task for having a motto with a sink or swim fallacy?

Nope.

If it is a mea culpa one is expecting, there will be disappointment. The “fault” of the press is, according the article’s authors Duncan J. Watts and David M. Rothschild:

Nonetheless, we believe that the volume of reporting around fake news, and the role of tech companies in disseminating those falsehoods, is both disproportionate to its likely influence in the outcome of the election and diverts attention from the culpability of the mainstream media itself.

In other words, journalists were too involved and diligent, a Mary Sue problem.

So even when the press is to blame, they are not really to blame.

Worse, the methodology of the piece was highly flawed as it made several unfounded assumptions. Sentence counting, for instance, assumes all sentences are created equal and influence equally. Most people merely scan headlines (the reason why the Drudge Report has such dominance: tl;dr, anyone?) — and more importantly, when it comes to social media — DIY propaganda posters that litter Facebook.

And considering the number of news articles that never get a single comment or share, the methodology is mystifying, especially as the New York Times does not have broad appeal, but partisan appeal.

This is shoddy methodology worse than a poorly constructed social psychology experiment. There are no weights, no control group, and no context or proper comparison.

But the biggest flaw of the article — and its entire premise — is that assumes that no one in America would have voted for Donald Trump if they were somehow not brainwashed. 

As if voters strictly go by some sort of scandal scale, such as Ma! Ma! Where’s my pa?

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The answer?

In the White House! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Or, maybe something like this:

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Sometimes, the grown-ups don’t actually care what is on your Permanent Record.

I do not know how many times Trump voters said that they weren’t enthralled with their pick, but that was the pick who talked about jobs and the economy.

That’s it. It was a single issue that cinched it, and all this unnecessary and flawed research and methodology ignores it. It’s tone deaf.

So, here is the memo for people in the media: people do what they want, regardless of what you tell them to do or to think.

Sometimes, the more you want some people to do A, they do B just to stick it to you, or because A doesn’t work for them, even if it works for you. As an educator, I know this to be true: if I am deemed the authority, then there will be students who will want to defy me just because their personal narrative is that no one will ever confine their options or tell them what to do. They will even take a harder route just so they do not go on someone else’s path.

And that’s their right.

Voters knew who Trump was when they voted for him. They also very well knew who Clinton was when they voted for her.

The voters made up their own minds and voted.

They did not take the media into the voting booth with them.

They did not take the scandals.

They did not take the policies.

They took their instinct as they voted for president, senator, congressman, and governor.

And that is the lesson journalists must come to grips with now.

All the little charts and graphs in the world mean absolutely nothing if you do not understand the basics of human nature.

Journalists and their educators do not comprehend basic reality.

They still live in the movie All of the President’s Men, thinking they are going to tell America about a bad and mean man, and all of the little people will be outraged on cue and demand whatever it is that the journalists decree is appropriate.

But the CJR’s article was absolutely clueless:

To be clear, we do not believe the the Times’s coverage was worse than other mainstream news organizations, so much as it was typical of a broader failure of mainstream journalism to inform audiences of the very real and consequential issues at stake. In retrospect, it seems clear that the press in general made the mistake of assuming a Clinton victory was inevitable, and were setting themselves as credible critics of the next administration.

Again, the assumption that no one would vote for anyone other than Clinton is absurd.

Give the educated a choice on university campuses, for instance, and a hamster or cat can parlay a joke candidacy into actual votes.

Or a fire hydrant.

Because it goes right back to the core of journalism’s ideological rot: that they do not comprehend their jobs because they are too selfish to see they are not puppet masters. They no longer have the goodwill of the people. They no longer have a pulse on the world around them. They no longer have the clout. They no longer hold the strings.

They no longer have the credibility.

The 2016 US Election was also a referendum on journalism itself.

And it lost.

Bad experiments are not going to make that problem go away.

Journalism collapsed, and the rot overtook the profession.

That is the starting point, and CJR will never have the courage or the savvy to come to terms with it because it is the instrument of a faulty education system that failed more than just journalism, but democracy as well.

Al Franken’s bad day, Hillary Clinton’s even worse day, and why Donald Trump has become America’s Spoiler

As a Canadian, I am not caught up into American political tidal waves. I merely ride them as I get a feel for both the zeitgeist — and the ortgeist.

So let’s just get right down to the dirty business of American politics, and why the Left have become political nerds.

In the 1960s the Left were the freaks, outsiders, and long-haired weirdoes to be feared. The Right was the Establishment and they made decrees what was to be considered “moral,” even if they did not think those rules applied to them — or that they would ever be held accountable because they had power and control.

By 2008, the Right became the freaks, outsiders, and just plain weirdoes to be feared. The Left became the Establishment and they made decrees what was to be considered “moral,” even if they did not think those rules applied to them — or that they would ever be held accountable because they had power and control.

So, what we have are opposite sides of the same coin. While the content of thought was contrived polar opposites, the more important structure of thought was absolutely identical. They are made of the same substance; it is just one side panders to one psychographic, while the other takes care of the other.

It was just fine and dandy for everyone until some 70-year-old real estate mogul/casino operator/reality show host decided that running for president via Twitter was a really cool idea.

The media, who are xenophobic and anal by nature, despises anything that veers off course of their scripts because that actually involves thinking and research. They do not want people to realize they are clueless nerds who don’t actually have a feel for reality or an eye for truth. It is easy to make predictions when things have been rigged and everyone knows their place, but when a spoiler comes out to turn over your rules to break them, your façade of oracle shatters right along with it.

I knew exactly how things were going to play out. I am not an oracle, but I am sensible.

Hillary Clinton is conniving, but she thinks she is the smartest person on the planet. She actually played out this election like a true Bond villain, complete with a death machine that was going to malfunction because James Bond/Donald Trump is not a man confined by other people’s scripts. He is a true maverick and self-indulgent eccentric who is a lot shrewder and cunning than either the Left or the Right ever give him credit for.

And what defective death machine did Hillary think was going to do Bond/Trump in?

Oh, this.

His exchange with Billy Bush. That was going to do him in, mwah ha ha, and all that jazz.

Except Ms. Clinton forgot that she was not one to talk.

That whole thing with her philandering husband who was getting it on with an intern right in his office/house was one for the books.

And said death machine blew up in her face as voters snickered at the contrived gambit, and she lost to a political neophyte who thought running for his country’s highest office was a great start.

Her own anti-feminist history made the tape backfire because while Trump never claimed to be a champion of women or a feminist, she was always exploiting those angles during her campaign.

In other words, the content of the message was contradicted by its very structure.

Practice what you preach, dearie.

She had been so blindsided, that she didn’t even give a concession speech on the night of her loss.

No, she didn’t bother to write one — a perfect jinx to ensuring that you lose.

Most movie villains never write concession speeches, either.

The Left should have learned a Very Valuable Lesson, but their narrative of being intellectually superior and more cunning than everyone else blinded them to the obvious.

And now Al Franken stood stewing behind a dais today. He looked livid as he had to concede defeat, but not without jabbing Trump, and I am certain he still has no idea why Trump outlasted him.

To paraphrase myself:

His own anti-feminist history made the attacks on his target of hatred useless because while Trump never claimed to be a champion of women or a feminist, Franken was always exploiting those angles during his campaign and tenure as a senator.

Franken is a cunning man. He would not have made it in both television and politics if he were an idiot.

He is just like Trump — someone else who made it in both television and politics.

The difference is Trump is an outsider, while Franken had the shield of the Democrats to propel him.

And when you have a shield, that means you are more vulnerable than the one who can wade into an eye of a storm by yourself on your own terms.

Trump is the Left’s absolute worst nightmare: he is the kind of rebel hero countless Hollywood films that have been churned out over the decades to prime and groom us to admire and cheer on. He is Batman. He is Elle Woods. He is Black Mamba. He is Dirty Harry. He is Jules Winfield. He is Han Solo.

And he is the bane of the Left’s existence.

Those films had a purpose: they were a guide to show freaks, outsiders, and long-haired weirdoes how to win wars, and gain control of the societal narrative. They were targeted to the young, and it was the way the Left indoctrinated young minds into joining their cause, making absolutely certain that the model would never appeal to people on the Right.

Not once did they think that someone who had no political affinity to either camp would be able to make use of those ruses.

That is why, regardless of your feelings on the man, Trump has become America’s Spoiler. He has proven every Establishment rule to be a silly line in the sand, that so-called experts know nothing, and that people who thought they were cunning, were actually just conniving, and very, very gullible as they grossly underestimated the intelligence levels of their rivals.

The irony of all of this meta-spoiling has not been lost on me: America has perfected the rules of upsetting the power base of other people, and now one of their own has spoiled all of their rules.

It is the reason why the howls and the wails of the Left are still going on: they cannot believe they have lost the war, and that all those decades of building the perfect death machine just went kablooey.

They are seeking revenge and building a new death machine instead of just getting on with their lives, making amends to all of the people and groups they exploited as they made false promises, and try again, this time, in earnest and in a more humble frame of mind.

Memo to the Guardian: Vote-shaming Susan Sarandon isn’t proof of intelligence, just intolerance.

I usually like The Guardian. It has become just about my only go-to newspaper, and their reportage usually leaves North American newspapers in the dust.

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But Emma Brockes’s snooty profile on Susan Sarandon was just plain awful.

I do not know at what point political intolerance became seen as normal. Sarandon is not an idiot: she survived in Hollywood for decades, and for a woman in that business to maintain A-list status with a true enviable body of work, you have to have an actual thinking brain.

Looks come and go. Talent is a dime a dozen. Making it in that business without a rich and connected parent meddling requires a certain savvy.

But Brockes dismisses all that from the get-go. She is resentful that Sarandon first supported Bernie Sanders.

Yeah, lots of people loved Bernie. I know young people on this side of the border who go all happy at the mere mention of his name.

He understood the concept of political rejuvenation and reaching out to the next generation of voters. Clinton did not. She knocked free university tuition, even though New York state and the province of Ontario have moved to various levels of those models.

Bernie hit a chord and did something very few politicians truly know how to do: make people want to get involved in a political process.

When Bernie lost to Hillary, Sarandon had another very good political idea: moving support toward Jill Stein. For women, this was a prime opportunity to nurture a third party that had a woman at the helm. If she got more votes, there would have been a genuine breakthrough.

It would have given women more than one option at the polls.

But in this fragmented logic of Brockes, Sarandon was somehow allowing some evil force to win because she saw that a new path was required by women voters.

Really, Ms Brockes? Women should put all their eggs in one basket? What if the party implodes? Where would women go if the Democrats prove to be habitual sexual harassers who say one thing, but grope another?

That’s just plain flaky.

In Canada, there are multiple parties, and we are still standing. We have two (!) federal left-leaning parties, for instance. Why is America so hung up on binary systems?

Sarandon may not be right — or wrong, but she has a right not to trust an untrustworthy candidate, nor is she obliged to use the logical fallacy of sink or swim.

The Clintons are hawks. When they are in a position of power, they have signed off on bombing foreign nations, perhaps as a misdirection when people start asking them critical questions about their naughty behaviours.

The press needs to get over themselves. They have far bigger problems than a Hollywood actress who actually has her own ideas and is not a follower.

And the Guardian should remember it is still a cut above other media outlets, and shouldn’t be regressing when their profession has collapsed.

Because that thinking was one of the reasons it collapsed in the first place.

Memo to Salon: The only turkeys around are those writing for you. Why journalists can never admit they’re wrong. Ever. Even if it kills you.

Journalists can be an annoying breed of stalker, and arrogant monomaniacs are not the kind of people you want dictating what you ought to think. They cannot admit their narratives have nothing to do with reality because that would be tantamount to admitting their worldview was somehow flawed. They have an idea that the future will vindicate their beliefs, and then try to rig things to prove themselves right.

Case in point is Salon: Matthew Rozsa’s peculiar rant Here’s your leftover turkey: The case for Hillary in 2020 is as childish and out of touch as an article can possibly get, giving Donna Brazile’s claim that the Clinton’s took over the DNC complete credence. He may be trying to prime an audience to go with his ideas, but that is the last thing anyone ought to be doing.

American journalists have been in denial ever since that fateful November day in 2016 when all their manipulations and decrees proved to be wrong. Psychics and psychological profilers they were not. They have been underestimating the shrewdness of Donald J. Trump for decades. He is a man who thrives in chaos and antagonistic battles. He is a magician on a stage, and his misdirecting tweets should be a case study in how to make an audience assume they are intellectually superior and then stare at those tweets, instead of seeing what you are truly capable of doing. That he knocked out both the Bushes and the Clintons should be a huge sign that he is not a simple man with dumb luck. He provokes and understands strategy. He played Spy magazine for years, writing letters of complaint that they pinned up on their wall, assuming they had their prey hand deliver yet another trophy to them.

They have been gone for twenty years. Trump is in the White House.

Underestimate the man at your own peril.

The press keeps making the same two mistakes: (a) thinking Trump is some sort of an actual turnip who is less intelligent than they are, and (b) obsessing over genuine turnip Hillary Clinton.

There is no case for Hillary in 2020. The extent of her incompetence is one for the books. No presidential candidate in the history of the US came in with more resources and boosts than she did:

  1. Name recognition. She was First Lady for eight years. She was the senator for the key state of New York. She ran for president before. She was secretary of State. Her name was synonymous with politics. Trump’s was…not.
  2. She had the media’s full backing. They slobbered all over her, despite her numerous missteps, petty machinations, and questionable political practices. Trump was seen as a joke when he first announced his intentions to be ruler of the world.
  3. She had political and celebrity endorsements, and had a very popular sitting president and First Lady go stumping for her repeatedly. Trump did not even have the support of the Republican Party that did its best to distance itself from him.
  4. She had experience her rival did not.
  5. She had a husband who won two presidencies, even under the worst of circumstances and scandals.
  6. She had an enviable war chest, an experienced campaign team, and even had made certain the DNC was at her disposal.
  7. She could actually play the gender card to its fullest extent, while her rival was getting bad press for a leaked tape of him shooting off some very sexist prattle.

Clinton should have won this in her sleep. She cannot claim that Russia or the FBI thwarted her, and be taken seriously by people with critical thinking skills. She knows foreign threats as she was Secretary of State and would have had to have known the lowdown on the capabilities and intentions of foreign countries — and would have been able to prepare years in advance. She would have also had had experience with various government arms, such as the aforementioned FBI, and been able to better anticipate what could happen.

If she were capable, she would have shown the electorate that she could handle both internal and external problems because that is what a president has to do every single day. As in, none of these problems magically vanish once you get yourself into the Oval Office.

What happened?

She lost.

She had numerous chances that no one ever had — or any women will ever have again. The next woman to run for president is not going to have all those advantages — so she had better be capable of being an army of one woman who has to fight a thousand battles a day during the campaign — and after she is elected.

That is the reality of the situation.

But American journalists have proven to be a bunch of turkeys who have no idea what reality is.

They are still pining for Clinton — not because they like her, but because it was so embarrassing that they declared Hillary to be the, like obvious winner, and she, like, totally blew it, and they never even saw it coming.

The shame of being wrong in a public forum!

Well, not really.

We humans are a flawed lot, and we are wrong more often than right. If we want to increase the rights over the wrongs, we have to acknowledge we were wrong, revise our hypothesis, and be more vigilant and sensitive to our environment.

That is what journalists are mandated to do: be vigilant and sensitive as they observe their surroundings…and yet they are still determined to prove they were right in their idiotic cheerleading of a woman who could not find her way out of a paper bag.

Reporters assume anyone who does not support Hillary must like Donald by default.

I don’t like or support Trump, but I also don’t like or support Clinton.

The press has to stop looking to the past. They have to shake off the narrative that Clinton is the only woman in America who could be president. They have to drop their toxic vendettas and petty little games.

Hillary couldn’t win because she hasn’t a clue what’s it all about. She may have cleaned up her husband’s messes, but being a cleaner and being a leader require two completely different skill and mind sets.

An artist makes a mess when working — just because you have to clean up that mess, don’t think you can be a superior artist. It takes more than removing that mess to have what takes to make something viable and of value.

Clinton didn’t have it. The press didn’t see that painfully obvious fact, and are still as clueless as ever.

Move on. Stop wishing out loud, and start doing what you proclaim to do: cover the world around you.

Because for every temper tantrum you are publishing, somebody is getting away with harming another person.

And there is no excuse for that.

Why journalism needs street fighters — not apologists or propagandists

Journalism in the West is in a disgraceful shambles, and it shows with every article and segment they churn out. The problem could be easily solved, but as they keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome, the mess becomes bigger and more toxic to the society they cover.

The New York Times is a very bad offender. Their latest apologistic propaganda drivel disguised as an op-ed piece is desperately trying to salvage the reputation of Al Franken.

It was fine to finally out Harvey Weinstein as a predator because he was losing his clout, his cash and support did not translate into a Hillary Clinton presidency; so it was justifiable to throw him under the bus. He became expendable, and the press has no trouble disposing of no longer useful players.

But then came still very viable pawn Al Franken.

Now things are entirely different. 

Now, all of a sudden, the narrative is about making excuses for him. Well, everyone makes mistakes, is the sophistry used to justify vile behaviour; so let’s ignore it and move on.

No, overcooking a roast is a mistake. Grabbing a woman’s chest when she was asleep and then memorializing the disgracing pose against her will as a trophy to prove you are more cunning than your prey is very deliberate. It is fitting that this took place in a military setting because that picture itself was a guerrilla ambush

It is war and Franken won by sneak attack. There is no mistake there. That assault was a calculated one of opportunity and says a whole lot more about Franken’s content of character than most people in journalism can admit.

But journalists often serve as maids and janitors to those currently in power: they clean up the messes by spinning, ignoring, downplaying, or re-interpreting their masters’s numerous sins.

Exposing Franken was a tactical error, but it was the fallout of war: the point of this entire Weinstein/#Metoo campaign was a game of Go against Donald Trump: he was accused of being a boor; so the point was to slowly surround him by exposing a few weakened titans who were accused of doing the same or worse.

The gambit didn’t work the first time when the Clinton campaign went after the now infamous recording of him prattling to Billy Bush — but perhaps if there was a longer arc on it, there is a chance he could be eventually stymied.

Prime your audiences to renounce sexual harassment, and then shaming him is the natural and foregone conclusion.

Except it didn’t work out quite as planned.

Because people in power don’t become powerful because they are gentle and sensitive, or even intelligent or competent.

The power structure in this society is such that people who are conniving rig things to ensure that their conniving ways are rewarded, and that intelligent and benevolent people are too distracted to challenge them.

If there is a direct comparison, the connivers are going to lose. So, ensure that the moral and intelligent are too unfocussed and overwhelmed to be serious threats.

So when the sexual harassment Pandora’s box opened, there truly was no telling what would happen.

Because once upon a time, journalism had an iron-grip on what information would be made public, and it made outcomes easier to manipulate and control.

But with the Internet, things are less predictable, yet journalists still hold on to those old rules, making the results of their campaigns not quite what they were aiming for.

So when valuable pawn Al Franken got exposed as the pig that he is, the press now has a dilemma as they lavished positive press on him for years.

And now the backtracking begins, which itself will undermine the entire narrative: if journalists say that sometimes it is okay to sexually humiliate women, then harassers will just cop to saying it was all a mistake, they are sorry, and then women will be placed in a worse position than they were before: once again being seen as hysterical harpies who should be compassionate and accommodating toward their abusers, who, by golly, are just making mistakes at women’s expense.

Do not think that can’t happen. It is already starting, thanks to the apologists at The New York Times and the Daily Kos.

If women truly do not want to be oppressed even worse than they were before, they must ignore the apologists and demand Franken’s resignation. There must be a line drawn somewhere, and it must be a very severe and serious one.

No, it is not okay to humiliate a woman. No, it is not okay to take a photograph of you fondling her when she is asleep. There was no consent. You were on a job, and she was your coworker. It would not be any different under any other circumstance, but this is the epitome of sexual harassment, and we do not make exceptions to popular Democrats who morally masturbate in public just because traditional media drool all over him and he once handily won Celebrity Jeopardy.

But the Times’s propaganda piece does raise one more interesting question to ponder: why didn’t the press see the Franken debacle coming?

The answer is very simple: because you have journalists who are not trained to be street fighters, but sheltered, ignorant, and arrogant teenagers who think they are smart just because they have a university degree or two.

Journalism requires those in the profession to understand that they are soldiers in an intellectual war. You have to fight to hunt and gather every grain of truth. J-schools do not train soldiers: they indulge brats who cannot be bothered in learning how to fight and how to survive. They sit at their computers all day, and have no idea about this thing called reality. They imagine themselves as kings and queens, telling people how to think — who to shame and who to hero worship, and then all the little peasants follow their decrees.

Journalists love having war stories, but so long as they do not have to actually fight in any battles.

The profession got decimated precisely because journalists really had no clue they were in a war.

They never fought. They haughtily schemed. They all thought they were royalty in a castle, not the knights who had to defend that castle called Truth at all costs.

They saw Republican hypocrisy, and thought that aligning themselves with the Democrats was the easy answer by default.

No, the Clintons and the Frankens of the world are your enemies, too. They used you, abused you, exploited you, manipulated you, and lied to you again and again and again.

And all you ever did was kiss up to them and reward their conniving ways. To them, it must be like shooting fish in a barrel.

Stop your maid service to Franken. Stop your janitorial detail to the Clintons.

Take off that ridiculous crown and maid’s outfit, and get out your soldier’s uniforms, and put them on right now.

If you haven’t noticed, there is a war raging out here right now. You are surrounded by hostile forces, you lost far too many liberties, and you have no idea how to fight as you threw away your weapons, and wouldn’t even know how to use them if you still had them because you gave them to the enemies who are using those weapons against you.

If you can’t read between the lines, then here is the memo: the war is over, and journalism lost.

Now what?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not sitting around waiting for the enemies of truth to dictate anything to me…

Do as I say, not as I do: How media actions reveal an outlet’s ideological truth

I was always fascinated by magic and mentalism: not because I wanted to trick others, but because it was fascinating that people could actually be fooled. I wanted to know the structure of such deceptions so that I would be a better verifier of truth, reality, and the perceptions and interpretations of each. I studied magic and mentalism since I was a kid, and though my hands were always ridiculously too small to be able to do the actual magic adequately (I did consider being a professional magician a viable career choice at five after I discovered that a job as a superhero was not realistic), I did have the consolation skill set of being able to figure out the feints and ruses of the profession at first glance ever since.

What magic helped me understand was that our brains must contend with several threads: truth, reality, perception, and interpretation. Once I began to study psychology at university, I learned about the mechanisms of each, especially how easy it was to deceive perceptions to influence interpretations of both reality and truth. When I became a journalist, I saw the next level of this singular weave: that there were people who were adept at hiding truth and reality in places other than a magician’s stage show.

Like in the journalism product itself.

PR firms were the ultimate masters of psychological deceptions. Corporations spend billions of dollars studying how people can be influenced to buy certain products, believe certain ideals, and vote for certain candidates. They have their focus groups and experiments, hooking people up to lie detectors and even brain scans to see what people think and how to shade truth and reality to nudge them into believing that those artifically induced thoughts are their own.

The message was always the façade and the cover. The actions of the messenger could be in sync with the message, meaning the message could be accepted at face value. As a journalist, I interviewed enough people with zero media training or experience talking to journalists to know how “experimentally naive” those interview subjects happened to be.

And then I interviewed people who had plenty of PR training and experience talking to journalists — sometimes because they were in journalism. Those subjects had a completely different code and approach when dealing with a reporter like me. How they phrased things and handled questions were nothing like the way untrained people behaved.

When I began to analyze interview subjects, I would actively compare and contrast the answers because how they answered my questions would determine how I would go about verifying their comments to me.

Double-checking the naive subjects was almost always a simple and straightforward affair. They would tell me “X happened this way”, and in the majority of cases, X happened that way.

But double-checking the worldly ones took much more work. Phrases would often be parsed, questions would be dodged, and there would be all sorts of subversive feints to analyze, and in each “dodge”, there was reason to have it: the truth would usually reveal exaggeration or something to weaken a subject’s narrative. From the truths I gleaned, I would write what I could verify and be ready to fully defend should anyone question me. I had to stand by my work with confidence.

I almost always found that the dodgers knew how to say certain things far more positively and progressively than the more rough-hewn sources, but when it came to the actual verification, the opposite was true: those who did not have the sophistication of experience had far more honest observations and truths than the ones who said one thing, but practiced the opposite.

I learned for sources with media training and savvy, what they said was, in fact, a subversive form of sarcasm. It was like a parent telling their trusting four year old with absolute seriousness that the monster under the bed would punish them for not falling asleep right away. The kid takes the words at face value, but does not notice the smug little smirk on the parent’s face. There is a certain power knowing that you know the truth of your narrative, but your audience doesn’t, and completely trusts you with whatever nincompoopity you spew.

Or, it is a like a hormonally-driven teenaged boy assuring the guillble girl he wants to practice sex with that he really, really loves her and respects her because she is special to him. He doesn’t, of course, and when the inevitable happens, she is devastated because she didn’t see the obvious coming. She heard the words, but the actions and motives leading up to the false promise would have completely revealed the truth. He is a mentalist and a magician in a dark and interactive magic show, and he will smirk and laugh when he sees others like him make the same promises to an audience that sees only what it wants to see.

But for all those not in the same frame of mind, they smile and gush over young love. 

The Harvey Weinstein nuclear bomb has become fascinating fodder for many reasons, but a big reason is that the once flawless magic show the communications industry snowed the public with for decades has been uncovered and the audience got disgusted — not just because the consequences of rape culture really is that disgusting, but because an audience has been exposed to being naive fools themselves. 

They bought the act without question, and now the world knows how absolutely preposterous it was to believe the act in the first place.

You would think the audience would learn their lesson, but there is a lot to process. This scandal should, if handled correctly, completely force every Western media outlet to completely get rid of the old guard and old structure and have to build from the ground up.

If anything less than that happens, it will all happen again, only worse than the last one.

To wit, Vox was always a online rag filled with silly and pouty chilidsh sophistry. It is a poor-man’s version of the equally intellectually-devoid The Atlantic. It is an outlet where those who proclaim to be progressives get to preach about lefty things, except it isn’t genuine, but an unreasonable facsimile of progressive beliefs. It is the Left’s version of the Fox News Channel, and something I know quite a bit about as I had written a book on that Right-wing propaganda machine over a decade ago.

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 The FNC proved to be a hinky place to work if you were a woman, but boy, did the vixen network’s white boys preach and preach about all things morality. They were looking out for the women, yes sir, until it finally came out that the network had to shell out tens of millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment claims over the years.

In other words, it was all hogwash from beginning to end.

Vox is absolutely no different, just far less successful. It is the mirror image of the FNC in many ways, mostly writhing in agony that they were all for Hillary Clinton because they were the moral and feminist Left, and when that buffoon Clinton proved that even a grandpa with a Twitter account could wipe the floor with her, despite all of her cunning movie villain moves, Vox became very, very sad.

And oh, how they whined and threw a big fit with a knee-slapper diatribe all about how misogyny won in the 2016 US presidential race.

The piece is full of logical and factual goofs. Had I been a professor having to mark this tripe, I would have gloriously failed it and unleashed my intellectual righteousness at the author before agonizing at what point did I completely bomb as an instructor in not properly communicating to the student the importance of actual and real thinking. 

But why did Vox think this piece of tripe was worthy of publication?

Because they have no idea what feminism is. If they had a clue, they would not be caught up in a sexual harrassment scandal of their own.

They had to so far turf out two predators for misconduct.

What would Vox know about feminism if this is the sort of acceptable behaviour that went on — and only stopped because the dam broke and the abused finally roared their agony.

Had people like Rose McGowan not kept up with the battle, Vox would have still had unprofessional employees among their ranks.

So shame on Vox for manipulating the optics for so long. If you have people like that as news producers, they will never report on truths and reality because their truth and reality is very ugly; so they must deflect attention by manipulating perceptions and interpretations of reality.

When they tell the sad readers that Clinton was a victim, they were, in fact, making fun  of their guillible flock for believing it.

Vox is no better than Fox. They play the same games, and a mirror image is the same beast, only moving the opposite hand in their act.

Journalism was always a patently sexist operation. It needs far more than change. It needs a revolution. Pseudo-hip dreck like Vox is in no position to tell the world how to think.

We need something other than yet another magic show to deceive us to the point we begin to think the lies we are told have anything to do with the truth or the reality we live in. So far, we are coming up short.