The Talking Dog

January 25, 2017, Pavlov's media lapdogs

We must remember that it was only the media that first gave us Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee in the first place(how often can you report "superdelegates" in the count as real delegates...apparently as often as it takes). And then, it locked in our current predicament when it gave us Donald Trump as the Republican nominee (letting him be on all the talk shows without even showing up while the other candidates had to pay for ads... and don't forget his gratuitous Saturday Night Live appearance as guest host, a privilege no other candidate of either party was afforded.) And not to be outdone, said media breathlessly reported a series of meaningless internal campaign emails which showed up on Wikileaks (as a result of either an internal leak or an external hack) as if they were the most important news story ever, thereby, despite his unbelievable offensiveness (describing how he committed rape, insulting service members, including fallen heroes and Gold Star families, Mexicans, Muslims, women, the disabled, and the list goes on)... the media ended up allowing an avowed television huckster and charlatan, utterly unfit for the presidency by experience or temperament, to assume that office over a former secretary of state and senator (and First Lady) who certainly had "issues," but among them was not being outright unfit, whether for reasons of experience or temperament (and quite possibly being mentally unstable).

And now that the media has gifted us with Mr. Trump as President, it is doing its damndest to maximize his "effectiveness" (if by effectiveness, we mean how quickly he can dismantle any function of government designed to check powerful moneyed interests of any kind in order to preserve the health and safety of the population at large) by doing exactly what it did in the campaign. And that, of course, is salivating every time Mr. Trump rings a bell. Currently, the bell tone is Mr. Trump's twin insistence that more people attended his inauguration than attended Barack Obama's and that he only lost the popular vote as a result of between three and five million illegal immigrants casting votes for Mrs. Clinton. Because both of these contentions are not merely easily disproved, but are facially absurd, the eager doggies of the press have locked on to both of them, and just won't let go. And yes, it's certainly interesting that the President has devoted the first few days of his administration to disseminating lies that his Bond villain gal Friday helpfully calls "alternative facts," at no point do any of the doggies drop the bone (you see, like me, these doggies can also talk) and ask, "Hey wait a minute... you're doing this for a reason... and why might that be?"

My good friend and nom de russe Donald J. Putin, has recently discovered twitter for the only possible use that makes any sense, i.e., hit and run parody. Comrade Donald J.P. tries to point out stories each day that the media is soft-pedaling while Rome burns (we seem to have both Nero and Caligula in the Emperor's spot at the same time), as it plays with itself and follows the most obvious Trump lies with reckless abandon. Meanwhile, as Mr. Trump, his party and their minions, steal from, and undermine what's left of, this republic right from under us, obvious stories and their implications are simply left on the table by media ineptitude.

The thing is, this is actually the perfect time to learn some shockingly well-kept secrets that shouldn't be secrets, i.e., just what the hell it is that our government actually does, and what will happen to us when, thanks to Mr. Trump, his party and their minions, government no longer does those things. Obviously, Mr. Trump's first order of business is ordering government employees not to talk to the public who pays for their employment-- a measure that his good friend Vladimir Putin (or perhaps, Kim Jong Un, for whom he has expressed admiration) would give their own personal approval. That said, we might expect some government employees for whom this does not sit well to engage in leaks, and even if not, we can certainly explore the question of what these government agencies are actually supposed to do, in the face of direct orders not to do it, and have the public debate over the function of government that we seem to have been denied for decades.

The irony is that it is Mr. Trump himself who showed us that we do not need media gatekeepers to have these discussions. While rising to command the ultimate in top-down hierarchies, the United States government, Mr. Trump ostensibly used "new media" tactics, primarily Twitter and his own personal appearances. Interestingly, this was the same way-- via a social media suggestion gone viral-- that got millions of women (and quite a few men) to take to the streets just one day after Trump's inauguration.

While I'm not suggesting that it will be successful in bringing down Mr. Trump's government, or even in keeping it particularly accountable, I will say that it could "change the story." Maybe it will take a year, or two, or four, or even eight. But the story has to change: let's see what happens when dedicated, hard-working highly skilled government-employed experts, whose job it is to make sure that we and our children aren't poisoned or defrauded or abused or that we can safely get from point A to B or whatever else their function is... suddenly can't do their jobs out of a well-established and extraordinarily profitable ideology. Blame that on the Democrats; I'm betting that a better story-- the actual story-- that a few fat cats who, ideologically, just want their fellow human beings to suffer for no reason other than that they enjoy it and they enjoy being higher on a hierarchymight just emerge as a narrative.

Will Hillary's emails still be so important in such an environment? The overall story has to change. Otherwise, Einstein's definition of insanity-- doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results-- will continue to be the order of the day. If it's up to Pavlov's media lapdogs, we're screwed. A few intrepid members of the media will certainly move beyond the bullshit... but this is mostly up to us.


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