Proposed solution for Trump propaganda: "truth sandwich" reporting

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I wonder what the results of that style of reporting are for folks who are predisposed to believe what Trump is saying vs. folks who are not.

I also wonder if there is anyone in this country who could have their mind changed about Trump one way or the other at this point–if everything he’s said and done hasn’t formed your opinion of him by now, what will a few more data points matter?


Is the media now concerned about truth?


Corporate media: I’m sorry, but the only thing on the menu is a shit-sandwich. No substitutions, please.






I wonder if NPR has been reading this advice.

I’ve heard several stories (or maybe just the same story multiple times) that goes like this:

  • Illegal immigrant children are being separated from their families at the boarder.
  • Trump says they have to do this because of a law requiring it.
  • There is no such law.

Pretty much those exact words. They very directly say “Trump says there is a law.” and “There is no such law.” as two distinct statements. They do not say anything like “Trump falsely states” or that it’s a lie. Just those 2 factual statements.


I don’t agree with Lakoff 100%, but I am 100% certain the world would be a better place if people of good will would just pay attention to the science he’s published, maybe read a few of his papers. I really can’t understand why Democrats react so negatively to him.


I can’t listen to their parade of false equivalences in the news anymore.


the problem is the “news” is just supposed to assemble facts so they just like to run video of people saying or doing things themselves rather than paraphrase (though they almost always like to cut stuff out of context as anyone who has been interviewed will learn to their great surprise when they see the footage later)

so it would be better if the “news” just said “today President Trump incorrectly/falsely/mistakenly said blah blah blah”

but then they would be using that phrase so often not just during a week but the same newscast in the same few minutes that they would be accused of bias

Lawrence O’donnell frequently does the “truth sandwich” style when he runs a clip of Trump saying something but unfortunately he is a bit too full of himself to tolerate for more than a few minutes at a time, beaming at how clever he thinks he is (he’s not). I’ve seen Chris Hayes do “truth sandwich” also. But neither of them of course are “news” people they are opinion entertainers.

I don’t think there is anyone left who doesn’t know Trump is almost always lying, it’s just that too many want to believe or just “enjoy” the lies.

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If NPR followed Lakoff’s advice (which, as @mmascari notes, they seem to do), that would be sufficient. But they also, as you note, sometimes do the whole ‘now, there’s blame to go around on both sides’ thing in what comes across as a strained attempt at being Fair and Balanced™.

The damned thing, as many of us here at BB will often note, is that the Dems often are to blame for being either complicit in or passive towards the systems in place allowing for our current trajectory towards authoritarianism.


The larger issue, especially come election time, is that EVERY story is about Trump. How about the media take a fast from reporting on Trump - say, every Wednesday? Then, Trump is only allowed 86% of the available news bandwidth. It’s a denial-of-service attack on the news. TDOS. Trump has made the MSM his bitch, and they continue to consent.


There are millions of people who honestly, actually, truly believe that Trump is telling the truth and organizations like CNN and The New York Times are 100 percent fabricating everything critical of Trump.

Glenn Greenwald is extremely problematic these days, but back during the GW Bush years, he had a word for this: stenography. The word was intended to be pejorative. One vision of the press is that they do as you suggest, which is merely repeat what others say. But that conflicts with another vision of the press, which is to act as an informal check on the other branches of government. Doing only the former allows lies to dominate, as the press are turned into nothing more than a PR wire because they simply repeat, uncritically, what people in power say. I find it hard to believe this must be the say “the news” works, as it would completely obviate the idea of the press as “the fourth estate.”


Off topic: that wax replica.

They absolutely nailed his squinty scowl-face. (For me, its, uh, unimpeachable.) Admittedly, there’s entirely too little tanning dye to create his signature orange raccoon-face, but even here, give credit to the sculptors for this idealization.

However, they then completely dropped the ball with the hair. That’s the easiest part! They made it completely grey, which Trump’s yellow/orange/white follicle melange is clearly not. And the well-known texture and contours of his luxurious, clinging-to-youth combover are completely different.

Usually its the opposite. There’s some uncanny valley that indescribably tells you that This is wax: run! Here, however, I dont see the uncanny valley, with the given exception that Trump’s entire being is that of an uncanny sociopath.


How would that work, though, as a practical matter? He’s the most powerful person in the world (it makes my stomach churn just to acknowledge that) and is doing things that are shaping the course our country and world.


There’s also the group that says “at least Trump has enough respect for us to lie to us, none of the other politicians will even do that, they won’t address our issues even dishonestly, and speak of us contemptuously if they mention us at all.” I have relatives in that group - although, thankfully, less of them than I used to.


Trump has really found a loophole for his pathological narcissism: anything the President of the United States does or says is necessarily newsworthy. Therefore the media are forced to pay attention to him.


I commented on that WaPo story with the grumping that WaPo itself would not follow the advice. And indeed, there’s no discussion of that, no reaction from other WaPo writers to the article, which has already vanished from the main page, and is way down in the “STYLE” section it appeared in. (Yes, Style, not Opinion). It does remain the most-read in that section at the moment, so people are seeing it, and it got 2300 comments.

But the WaPo will not do this for the reasons in my comment: they are making money this way, and will make less the more truth they tell.

Matt Taibbi has noted that trust in journalism is down, while viewership is up. How to explain? Obviously, people are tuning in for entertainment, not facts. It’s just “TMZ” about politicians now. And gobs of cash are being hauled in to the news channels and news sites.

They will not get off that gravy train just to do their nominal job of purveying facts; their real job is to make money for their corporations.


I stopped listening as well, after listening for hours a day for more than 30 years.

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I think you are mostly right, but I also think there is a group of people who know Trump is a liar and a buffoon, but they conditionally support him because of abortion, and/or the economy, and/or he’s not as bad as Hillary. I think many of these people could vote Dem if the Dems run a good candidate (in both 2018 and 2020). Look at the special elections won by the Dems since 2016. Some of them were in Red districts, because Dem candidate was good.