Plutocratic Media Defeat of Sanders by Democrats created Trump’s victory

The fake news that provably threw the election to Trump was not Russian

The Democrats introduced the term “fake news” just days after losing the election.

Opinion - commentary -analysisBy  Rob Hager   – February 23, 2017 – | Op-Ed- Nation of Change

Trump and establishment Democrats are trading allegations about “fake news.”

Trump attacks CNN and others in the mass media with his typical lack of supporting evidence for his assertions. Nevertheless, progressives can agree with Trump that during the election major mass media selected Clinton as their candidate early on. They accordingly discounted and ignored Sanders during the primary while promoting Trump, and then promoted Clinton against Trump in the general election

The plutocratic media went beyond their usual propaganda role of merely defining the limits of public discussion and setting the agenda.  This time in desperation about a mobilized populist/progressive electorate they intervened in the election on behalf of the reliably plutocratic status quo candidate, Clinton.   

Trump supporters are justifiably angry with the media. Progressives able to separate from neoliberal Democrats can concede the reality of their concerns. But such progressives also insist on consequences beyond Trumpian rants and unsupported name-calling. The latter are too easily rebutted threats against the legitimate role of the press in a democracy.

Trump needs to discover the policy-making tool of a commission of experts which could gather the examples of the mass media’s illegitimate role in the 2016 election and report a common set of facts.  Only then can the country move forward with policy-making that will prevent the plutocratic media from such direct intervention in an election in the future. Trump should establish a Propaganda Monitoring Commission to seriously study the occurrence of this new phenomenon of what did amount to partisan pathological lying by the mass media during the 2016 election.

The Democrats introduced the term “fake news” just days after losing the election. This charge expanded to support their propaganda initiative that the “Russians hacked the election.” The same propagandists who did intervene on behalf of Clinton claimed that Putin “intervened on behalf of” Trump, “a Putin puppet.”

“Hacked,” being a term with a specific meaning related to digital security, could refer with any concrete relevance only to two matters. One is Wikileaks publishing of information that is accurate and relevant, but intended to remain secret from the American people. This information could potentially but not necessarily be obtained by a hack. The importance of such disclosures to a democracy is demonstrated by an intelligence professional who reminds us of counterfactual circumstances where voters’ knowledge of information kept secret from them could have saved lives and decisively changed U.S. political history by defeating Nixon twice. Publishing such information is not a bad thing.

The other such use of the term “hacking” could relate to tampering with digital election machines, the only credible examples of which occurred in the Democratic primary elections where Clinton’s results were suspect because they were contradicted by exit polls.

Trump, who “manages at times to reveal the truth,” himself vaguely alluded during the primaries to this concern by Sanders’ supporters when he alleged “rigging” of the Democratic primary against Sanders. Progressives oppose his recent attempt to convert this concern with fraudulent administration of elections – the kind of election fraud that Greg Palast documents – into a wholly unsupported assertion of voter fraud.  This reversal serves to advance one of the Republican’s Swamp projects of enacting legislation that will suppress the vote under the pretense of preventing a non-existent problem.

The term “hack” has also been ambiguously used by Democrats to refer to some actual fake news that favored Trump more than Clinton, they claim. The implication is that some of these stories were generated by Russians. Democrats and the Clinton-supporting neoliberal media have been accused of having “not one shred of actual evidence to support these claims.” As Patrick Cockburn argues “It is difficult to see where Trump is wrong when he tweeted that ‘the Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election … so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!’”

Documented evidence that Russia did anything of this nature which resulted in electing Trump would require showing that some false story, not the true ones on Wikileaks, but a false story on say RT, or even other lesser known sources, was so effective that it changed public opinion sufficiently to account for Trump’s election. No candidate for such a story has been advanced.  More important, no polling data has been offered to show that enough people to elect Trump did not vote for Clinton because of some such fake news issue.

The truth is that there was only one example of such provably fake news important enough to cause Trump to win the election. I wrote an article on that fake news in Huffington Post before the 2016 primary season. I was motivated to write the article to counter the mass media’s blatant and pervasive misrepresentation of Bernie Sanders as not a serious candidate amidst their combination of attacks on and deliberate neglect of him. That article warned in its title “That Democrats Underrate Sanders’ Superior Electability at Their Peril.”

The article reported polling data showing that the Independent plurality of voters, who were barred from voting in many Democratic closed primaries but who do vote in general elections, favored Bernie Sanders by 36% over Clinton. This explained why other polls consistently showed Sanders to be a likely winner against any Republican, while leaving Clinton only a toss-up chance in November.

At the same time, polling also showed Democrats to be unaware of that fact. On the big “electability” question, 38% more Democrats thought Clinton “would have a good chance of defeating the Republican nominee” (87%) than would Sanders. Because Clinton was found very unlikeable and untrustworthy compared to Sanders, electability was a serious factor for many voters. I wrote: “Democratic voters thus have it exactly backwards. … Democrats are not just misinformed, but grossly misinformed, about the key issue of whether Clinton or Sanders will more likely win against Republicans.” One labor leader, ”with a special nod to NBC/MSNBC,” alleged the existence of a well-funded effort to “consciously mislead” Democrats into believing “that [Sanders] cannot win.”  Polls prove that they were effective in purveying the fake news that Clinton was more electable.

My article concluded that “Democrats’ erroneous guess as to which candidate can best defeat the Republicans could result in their nominating the wrong candidate, for the wrong reasons.” This is what happened, and is the reason Trump won. This is the actual “fake news” story of 2016.

Because this story is not being told and discussed, Clinton Democrats still suffer from the same fake news syndrome that caused their selection of a potential loser. They remain in denial that favorability polling consistently showed Sanders defeating Republicans, and especially Trump, by landslide proportions. Many of the loudest protesters against Trump are responsible for his victory.

That establishment Democrats continue to lie about the reason Trump was elected remains an important issue that should not be forgotten in the midst of obsession with its consequences. Understanding causes is essential to formulation of strategy.

The Clinton neoliberal wing either ignorantly or deliberately risked nominating a possible loser instead of a probable winner against consistent polling evidence warning of the consequences. If deliberate, the fact that the loser was widely known to be a corrupt scandal-prone centrist and the winner would have been a scandal-free progressive with greater public service experience suggests a bias by neoliberal Democrats against progressives so strong that they would prefer to lose to Trump than be responsible for electing a progressive-leaning Democrat.

To avoid facing up to this truth with their supporters, they are now going to the extreme of waging a propaganda campaign against Russia, always a convenient whipping post for imperialists to deflect attention from their anti-democratic influence on domestic policy.

This neoliberal Democrat diversion about Russia is evidence of either pathological self-delusion, or more deliberate lies. None of the potential motivations why Clinton Democrats elected Trump or for their Russia coverup make them reliable partners for progressives. If progressives should decide to return to the framework of the Democratic Party in 2018 to primary every Clinton-supporter, which includes almost all incumbents, it must be done so in the spirit that neoliberal Democrats who grasped defeat from the jaws of victory in 2016 are not allies. They are rather as much opponents as are the Republican politicians who, like Trump, are similarly betraying their Independent voters as he helps the Swamp rise

 

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  • Clyde Duncan  On February 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Bannon makes stunning threat to media:

    We’re going to make it worse for you every day

    By Leslie Salzillo | Daily Kos

    On Thursday during CPAC, White House Chief Advisor Steve Bannon admitted Trump’s goal (Bannon’s goal) in appointing new precarious people figures to head protective government agencies like the EPA, is to dismantle and “deconstruct” those organizations altogether.

    On the same day, during a joint CPAC press conference with Reince Priebus, Bannon threatened the media with a quote that is undeniably one of the most odious and perilous public statements made against the free press by a White House official, on record.

    Chris Cillizza with The Washington Post cites Bannon:

    “It’s going to get worse every day for the media,” Bannon said, insisting that the “corporatist” media would continue to see Trump pursue exactly the sort of economic nationalism that journalism allegedly despises. Then he added this call to arms: “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”

    Cillizza says the message from Bannon was unmistakable:

    The enemy of Donald Trump and his team, is not really the Democratic Party, it’s the media. He adds that presidential administrations and the press have often experienced adversarial positions.

    But what Bannon and, by extension, Trump are up to is something very different than simply an adversarial working relationship with the media. Bannon doesn’t want to change the media. He wants to totally dismantle the media. He wants to break its back and leave it for dead by the side of the road.

    What is somewhat ironic, more than disturbing, and almost comical, is that Bannon is telling reputable reporters, including those at the Washington Post, that the White House plans to destroy them.

    And rather than stand up to him, reporters rush back to their laptops to write up the stories, staying respectfully neutral, while indirectly serving as a right-wing echo chamber.

    Bannon and Trump are using the press to threaten and berate — the press. When will the press, in unity, tell Bannon and Trump, to respectfully go fuck themselves? It’s obvious these mobster-like headmen desperately need the press to survive.

    Bannon and Trump incessantly use the press every day, and seem to forget that it was the media that held their hands throughout the 2016 election year and fundamentally walked them into the Oval Office.

    Why does most of the press/media accept what’s become constant degradation and why do they keep going back for more abuse? Something has to give, because these hate-filled fear mongers should not be allowed to use American media as a beacon for tyranny.

    What’s that thing Dr. Phil says? “You teach people how to treat you.”

    Meanwhile, the man who Time Magazine labels the “master manipulator,” Steve Bannon, continues to feed, build, and control conservative extremist rags like Breitbart, where everything that goes out to Trump’s base of fanatics is calculated and dangerously insidious.

    This country was built on liberty and freedom. The essence of our very First Amendment is free speech.

    When ‘President Steve Bannon’ and Donald Trump, seek to destroy the free press/media, they seek to destroy American democracy and that should be unacceptable on all counts.

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 25, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Fox News’ Israel Bureau Chief: It’s ‘Insulting’ Trump Didn’t Tag Us as Enemy of the People

    On the phone with Fox News’ Israel bureau chief, Eli Fastman: ‘No media body wants to be a collaborator of the government.’

    Nir Gontarz | Haaretz

    “Fox News.”

    Hi, who is this?

    It’s Keren.

    Hi Keren, do you speak Hebrew?

    [Keren, in Hebrew:] Yes.

    Cool. I was just speaking to John Huddy, one of your reporters in Israel.

    Uh-huh.

    My name is Nir Gontarz and I write for Haaretz.

    Uh-huh.

    In short, he told me he needs authorization from the Fox head office in Israel, from you, in order to talk to me.

    I get it. First of all, I’ll ask our bureau chief. To the best of my knowledge, authorization from New York is needed, but let me deal with it. What are we talking about? Questions about what …?

    President Donald Trump described the major media outlets in the United States of America as “the enemy of the American people.”

    Right.

    Text Examples from Donald Trump:
    “The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred.”

    “The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

    He mentioned CNN, NBC, ABC, the New York Times and …

    But not Fox. Right.

    Exactly. Not you. It interests me to know why almost everyone is an enemy of the American people, but not you.

    You want to know what Huddy thinks about that, I understand. That’s what you want to hear from him.

    Yes, from him or from anyone else here in the Israel branch.

    No, no. It’s hard for me to believe, but let me consult with Eli Fastman, our bureau chief.

    So maybe I’ll talk to Eli?

    Let me check it out first. You want to leave me a number?

    052-5558285. The impression at the moment is that you didn’t make the list of enemies of the people only because you support him, and not because of any other aspect of your journalistic work. Those who are for him are patriots, those who criticize him are enemies of the people in his eyes.

    Far be it from me to speak for Trump and his views. Let me check with Eli.

    Good. Thanks.

    [Fifteen minutes later]

    Hello.

    Nir?

    Yes.

    Ahalan. Good afternoon. My name is Eli Fastman. I’m the boss at Fox here in Israel.

    Hello, boss.

    First of all, let me tell you that I really like your Friday column.

    Nice. You’re guesting in it as we speak.

    No. I’m not yet guesting in it.

    Yes you are.

    In any event, I understood that you started to talk to one of our reporters, and he … The truth is that we’re not allowed … without New York’s authorization.

    The authorizations from New York can take quite a few days, if they’re granted at all. I don’t know if he explained that to you calmly, or said it unpleasantly, but that’s the situation.

    He was actually polite. I told him I’m always amazed at journalists who accept a ban on being interviewed from their superiors.

    I agree with you one-hundred percent. One-hundred percent. I agree with you.

    But that’s the procedure at Fox. It really is uncalled for, but it’s like that in every media body, as far as I know.

    No way. Not in Haaretz. Someone’s going to tell me not to talk?

    Well, it’s different with the Americans.

    Anyway, what interests me is the feeling at Fox News after President Trump claimed that many of your colleagues in America are enemies of the people – and why you remained off that list.

    And also: Why isn’t Fox up in arms and telling the president: “You can’t talk like that about journalists”?

    I think that at least some of the Fox reporters and presenters in the United States of America were up in arms and did say those things in interviews. Both with the White House chief of staff and with others.

    Okay.

    I think also [in an interview] with the secretary of defense. Our correspondent in Iraq, or a Pentagon correspondent who accompanied the secretary of defense in Iraq, asked him if he thinks that the press really is the enemy of the people. She’s the only one who asked, and he told her absolutely not.

    Okay.

    I personally would not be opposed to Trump including us in that category of enemies of the people, but he didn’t do it.

    Insulting, huh?

    Yes. It hurts. It’s very insulting. Because it says that we are a type of collaborator.

    Right.

    No media body wants to be a collaborator of the government. But he made us the exception. Yes.

    Fine. So thanks for talking to me.

    That’s how it is. If you want, call New York. Maybe they’ll talk to you.

    Yeah, right.

    I know … It’s hard for me to believe. They’ll probably slam the phone down.

    Yes. Good, thanks. Bye.

    Listen, there’s YouTube, Facebook, you can see many … reporters who were up in arms and …

    Listen, when we talk about the relations between Israel and the United States of America, it’s said proudly that they’re based on shared values. I think that’s never been as true as in the past month.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is attacking the media and marking us as the enemies of the people, and so is Trump. They both attack minorities. Terrific shared values.

    Those are the shared values. The negative ones. It’s true. It’s true.

    Good. Thanks.

    Okay, Nir. Bye.

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Three Reasons to Reject Trump’s Criticism of Intelligence Leaks

    The self-proclaimed WikiLeaks lover is poorly positioned to complain about the release of information that disadvantages his administration.

    David Frum | The Atlantic

    It’s a rare event when President Trump tweets approvingly of a journalist, but yesterday Eli Lake of Bloomberg View gained that unusual honour.

    Pretty obviously, the president had not actually read the underlying column, which opens with a summary of Trump’s most egregious untruths, to build to the observation: “for a White House that has such a casual and opportunistic relationship with the truth, it’s strange that Flynn’s ‘lie’ to Pence would get him fired.”

    (Trump also missed Lake’s early-off-the-blocks reporting on Russian responsibility for the DNC and DCCC hacks.)

    Yet Lake’s core point has been seized upon by those looking to distract from what Trump himself called “the Russia connection.” Following Donald Trump, the House Oversight Committee’s chairman, Jason Chaffetz, has insisted that it is the leaker, not the leaks, that merits investigation. That line has been adopted by the administration’s favoured talkers in the media, led — naturally — by Sean Hannity.

    These talkers argue that what we are seeing here is a slow-motion coup d’état: lawless leaks by politicized intelligence officers aimed at destroying the elected president of the United States of America.

    Here are three reasons to reject this claim:

    1) When Russian spies hacked Democratic emails, and then posted those emails via WikiLeaks, the Trump campaign and its friends noisily insisted that it didn’t matter how information came into the public domain, but only whether the information told Americans something important about a would-be president.

    “I love WikiLeaks!” said Donald Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania in October. A Republican congressman who had over-enthusiastically tweeted “Thank God for WikiLeaks” explained himself in a more formal statement: While he did not condone illegal activity, he was “thankful the information was out there.”

    And this was the line certainly from Trump supporters on air and online: The real news was the content of the leak, not the fact of the leak.

    Yet in the WikiLeaks instance, the content of the leak was a series of nothing-burgers. Maybe the most exciting revelation was that Donna Brazile had shared with the Clinton campaign one of the questions to be posed to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at a CNN townhall meeting during the Democratic primaries.

    Now, however, we are dealing with information of truly vital national importance: plausible allegations that a U.S. presidential campaign had contact with a hostile foreign power which had hacked the communications of its political opponents.

    If there was any coordination, the resulting scandal would blend Watergate with Alger Hiss. The people who “loved WikiLeaks” seem poorly positioned to complain that potentially vastly greater wrongdoing is being brought to light by the same methods they endorsed for their own advantage.

    2) If the information about the Trump campaign’s apparent collusion with the Russians were not leaked, it would have been smothered and covered up. Congress refused to act. The Department of Justice has shown zero interest. The president’s occasional remarks about the matter carry all the conviction of O.J. Simpson’s vow to search for the real killers.

    What, exactly, were investigators supposed to do with their information if they did not share it with the public? Evidence that close associates of the current president of the United States had contacts with a hostile foreign-intelligence service is not a matter of purely historical interest. It’s not just a law-enforcement matter.

    The whistle blowers are blowing whistles, at immense professional and legal risk to themselves, because the people in charge of protecting the system against foreign spy penetration are themselves implicated in that penetration.

    3) Eli Lake vividly characterized the fate of Michael Flynn as a “political assassination.” It might be more accurate to describe the current struggle as a duel. Well before the latest revelations, Team Trump has unmistakably signaled its intention to purge the intelligence services of people with knowledge of the president’s Russia connection.

    In early January, multiple newspapers reported that the incoming administration planned radical reforms of the intelligence agencies. These reports agreed that the new administration wanted to reduce the role of the Director of National Intelligence, the central coordinator of all intelligence products.

    But instead of reverting to the pre-9/11 situation where the coordinating job was assumed by the CIA, that agency, too, would be downgraded. Its director was initially removed from the Principals Committee of the National Security Council: a bold declaration of reduced status.

    Instead, the coordination would occur at the new and politicized NSC itself, where Steve Bannon would have a permanent seat but not the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That would have placed the White House and the national security adviser, Mike Flynn, more directly in control of the agencies investigating … the White House and Flynn.

    Maybe this was all undertaken for the highest and most disinterested public motives. So, Flynn has now resigned; and the CIA director has been restored to his seat at the table. But you can imagine that an investigator of the White House’s troubling Russia connections might have perceived a purge in the making.

    If information was not brought forth now, such an investigator might reasonably fear, that information would be silenced and secreted forever by people with a deep personal interest in silencing and secreting it.

    What Americans should all be able to agree is that this duel is no way to conduct the national security of the United States of America. What’s needed is an independent investigation of all aspects of the Trump-Russia connection, headed by respected nonpartisan officials, equipped with the power to subpoena all relevant information, including the president’s tax returns. And it’s needed now.

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