Ethics Update On The “Shithole” Scandal: More Dunces, Hacks, Hypocrites And Liars

When we last left the ‘Shithole’ scandal, now being cited routinely up and down the news media as proof positive that the President is a racist, we knew the following:

1 Unnamed sources “briefed on” or “familiar with” the President’s meeting with select lawmakers regarding an immigration deal told the Washington Post and others that President Trump “grew frustrated with lawmakers” when he learned that part of the proposed deal protected immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries, and said,

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

2. Despite the fact that these “sources” had no direct knowledge of what was said in the meeting they did not attend, the New York Times characterized them as having “direct knowledge,” which was impossible. The news media also represented these accounts based on briefings as fact, with headlines such as the Times’ “Trump Alarms Lawmakers With Disparaging Words for Haiti and Africa.”

3. In a series of tweets, the President denied the characterization of what he had said.

4. Senator Dick Durbin, while not expressly quoting the President, told reporters that Trump had said things “in the course of his comments which were hate-filed, vile and racist,” and added, “I use those word advisedly. I understand how powerful they are. But I cannot believe in the history of the White House in that Oval Office that any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”

5. Nonetheless, the news media, in its subsequent coverage in cable news shows and on the web, treated the claim that Trump had said what the second-hand, anonymous sources had claimed, and used this as a departure point for a general discussion of how racist and vulgar the President was. CNN commentators used the term “shithole” over a hundred times.

6. Websites and blogs with commentators capable of fairness and objectivity, like Ethics AlarmsAlthouse, and Powerline, were forced to accept arguendo (I’m sorry, but I love using that word) the anti-Trump narrative’s assumptions in order to point out that calling countries that are, in fact, “shitholes” is not a racist statement about the people in those countries. This, of course, is how Big Lie propaganda works. You have to accept the lie in order to debunk it.

To sum up, then: The news media reported as fact what were in truth  disputed comments in a private meeting, and the representation of these as truth solidified during the day and evening, and through yesterday.  Now we get headlines like this one, in Entertainment Weekly: “Anderson Cooper chokes up while discussing Trump’s ‘sh–hole’ comment”

Updated Comments and observations:

  • This is how false narratives and fake news prevails. It is a fact that nobody knows what was said at the meeting.  Oh—I can'[t let the increasingly unprofessional and ridiculous Anderson Cooper‘s performance escape comment. From EW:

“Anderson Cooper held back tears on CNN Thursday while addressing President Donald Trump’s “sh–hole countries” comment about Haiti and some nations in Africa. “Let me be clear tonight,” the CNN host of Anderson Cooper 360 said, “the people of Haiti have been through more — they’ve been through more, they’ve withstood more, they fought back against more injustice than our president ever has.”

What a hack! This is the antithesis of journalism but pure emotionalism and virtue-signalling. It doesn’t enlighten his audience; it misdirects them. How many problems Haiti has had and still has, many of which are its own doing, is irrelevant to the state of the country and the culture, and the kind of reasoning I’d expect from a junior high-schooler in the Peace Club. THIS is CNN.

  • Also on CNN, Jake Tapper reported some questions regarding whether the President did use the term in the context reported. Never mind: CNN’s Chris Cuomo brought out a white board and wrote “SHITHOLE” on primetime television, saying,

“We just have to be very clear about what’s going on in the White House, because the president is just showing you who he is. This is who he is, okay? We sum it up in a word, okay? There it is..This is the gift that he decided to give the American people. It’s a bad word, my kids are watching right now. I don’t want to teach my kids and your kids a bad word, our president decided to make that choice.”

It is unbelievable, even for CNN, that Chris Cuomo is still an anchor of a news program and called a journalist. Again, assuming that Trump said what was reported, he said it behind closed doors, under the foolish assumption that he was working with honorable professionals who could be trusted to keep a deliberately private meeting private, as agreed by all participants. Trump didn’t say “shithole” for the American people. Cuomo did! His colleagues did! He misinforms his audience about what allegedly occurs, and as he does it, broadcasts the “bad word” to the any children deranged enough to be watching CNN.

  • On its website, CNN pronounced the President as lying in his denials because the President’s statements are infamously unreliable. This is poor logic and incompetent journalism. One cannot assume that a report is fact because the individual denying it has no credibility. Being a mainstream news organization and thus incapable of being fair and balanced, CNN did not mention that Senator Durbin also has a long-standing credibility problem. For example, in October of 2013, Durbin posted on  Facebook that a House Republican leader had treated President Barack Obama disrespectfully, by saying to Obama during a negotiation session, “I cannot even stand to look at you.’”

The White House spokesman at the time, Jay Carney, unequivocally stated that Durbin’s account was untrue, stating at his daily briefing with the press:

“I looked into this and spoke with somebody who was in that meeting, and it did not happen…My understanding is that, again, from a participant in the meeting, that that didn’t happen.”

Based on that, Durbin has a prior record of lying about what was said in private congressional meetings with Presidents to impugn Republicans.

  • To be fair, Carney lied all the time in his job, and had no credibility with me. Durbin has always been a hyper-partisan weasel, and nobody denies that Trump just says stuff as the mood strikes hin whether it has any basis in fact or not. That’s the point, however: there is still no ethical basis to conclude that the “shithole’ account is accurate. Those who treat is as fact want to believe it’s fact.

That’s bias.

  • Yesterday, two Republican Senators who were at the White House meeting, Georgia’s David Perdue and Arkansas’ Tom Cotton, told Laura Ingraham they do not recall Trump making the remark, which was allegedly made to everyone. Does that matter? Does it not matter because they were appearing on Fox? Ingraham brought on former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), now a Fox talking head, to argue that Durbin’s account should be viewed with great skepticism.

“It’s the only thing they have,” said Chaffetz. “Look, there were six members of Congress in that room. There was only one Democrat. And only the Democrat is saying that this happened. And I think it’s highly suspect when Dick Durbin, who has a history of doing this — I mean, he’s used this card on Republicans before and was absolutely wrong.”

A. Chaffetz wasn’t there either, and HE believes what he wants to believe. B. What applies to Trump applies to Durbin. The fact that he has no credibility doesn’t prove that he’s not accurate this time.

  • Somebody please explain to left-wing, Media Matters-spawned website NewsHounds (Motto: “We watch Fox so you won’t have to”) why this statement shows they are incompetent to be any kind of watchdog on anything.
“In fact, there are plenty of reasons to believe Durbin’s account. For one thing, he was not alone in saying what happened. The Washington Post, which broke the story, reported “several people briefed on the meeting” confirmed Trump’s remarks about immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries. The New York Times wrote about Trump’s remarks, “according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation.”
Morons. Unknown “sources” who were not at the meeting do not have sufficient status or credibility to confirm or discredit anything. (I read Newshounds so you won’t have to.)
Conclusion: The news media does not know, and cannot verify, that Trump said what their “sources” reported, but have gradually represented this as fact anyway. Unethical, partisan, incompetent journalism.
  • One more note on Durbin, which will eventually segue into a larger post. Durbin, in full weasel mode, said this, you will recall:

“But I cannot believe in the history of the White House in that Oval Office that any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”

Thus the Illinois Senator snuck in a “resistance” staple and talking point, and no, I don’t believe for a second that this was accidental. I bet that there are reminders in print to all Democrats to flog this theme at every opportunity. You see, Trump is different. He isn’t like a normal President. He doesn’t deserve, therefore, to be treated like a normal President. This justifies the anti-democratic effort by the Democratic Party to undermine him and his office as long as he is in it. The new book by the two Harvard Professors I mentioned in item #1 here  was designed as a partisan weapon to further this narrative. The theme of “How Democracies Die” is that President Trump, unique among Presidents, is defying crucial “norms.”

I will elaborate of the dishonesty of that thesis in a later post; this one is too long already.

The contention that Trump is uniquely vulgar or politically incorrect in private meetings, however, is nonsense, and Durbin knows his history well enough to realize it.  The Nixon tapes alone disprove Durbin’s statement, and spectacularly so. Mark Tapscott did a neat retrospective of Presidential vulgarity, profanity and worse,  and interestingly concludes that Bill Clinton was the most modern vulgar President.

What a surprise.

8 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Race

8 responses to “Ethics Update On The “Shithole” Scandal: More Dunces, Hacks, Hypocrites And Liars

  1. Glenn Logan

    So what you’re saying is that the Trump-shithole kerfuffle is fake news. If you aren’t saying it, I am. Even if it were objectively true, it is essentially identical to the Dan Rather “fake but accurate” nonsense, because no one at the meeting, even Dick Durbin, will say it. Durbin did not say Trump used the word “shithole,” and even if he did, nobody but a credulous Democrat sympathizer could believe him given his history.

    It seems that we have reached the point where it is okay to report anything pejorative to the president, regardless of the source (or even lack thereof). The progressive-sympathizing media has essentially morphed into the National Enquirer, and can it be long before it is earnestly reported that Trump has been kidnapped and buggered by aliens, or that some third or fourth party heard from someone close to Trump’s third cousin’s brother-in-law’s sister that Trump thinks God wants him to purge all “people of color” from America? I would frankly not be surprised to see either one asserted as fact at this point.

    CNN has dropped all pretense of being a news network. It is now officially the Democratic News Network and indistinguishable in tone and even content from Media Matters. At no point in its history has Fox News reached the level of trustworthiness and partisan bias that CNN has now achieved, and even worse, it is willing to ignore the rule of more than one source if the report is too juicy not to report.

    The only thing I can imagine is that CNN is so convinced that Trump must be removed that it is willing to indulge the “any means necessary” shibboleth, secure in the apparent knowledge that the tribal culture that has developed in American politics will assure their profitability, and the tragedy of that is that they may be right.

  2. Kyjo

    I suppose I shouldn’t be, but I am shocked by Chris Cuomo’s diatribe. How much lower can they go? I’m afraid of the answer to that question.

  3. “But I cannot believe in the history of the White House in that Oval Office that any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president speak yesterday.”

    Howse about we step outside the Oval Office?

    LBJ: “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for 200 years.”

    RFK: “I didn’t lie awake at night worrying about the plight of the Negro.”

    A case might be made that those quotes show quantifiably more condescendingly bigoted racism than the unconfirmed “shithole” comment.

    But then Chris would set everyone straight by slobbering “Stack. The. Deck.” or somesuch.

  4. Junkmailfolder

    You pulled your punches in this takedown:

    “reported “several people briefed on the meeting” confirmed Trump’s remarks”

    Who cares how many people who weren’t actually at the meeting corroborate the remark? In other words, the more people the Democrat (for the sake of argument, the D is the leak, and he’s making it up) tells about this meeting, the more credibility the claim has?

  5. Yesterday, two Republican Senators who were at the White House meeting, Georgia’s David Perdue and Arkansas’ Tom Cotton, told Laura Ingraham they do not recall Trump making the remark, which was allegedly made to everyone. Does that matter? Does it not matter because they were appearing on Fox? Ingraham brought on former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), now a Fox talking head, to argue that Durbin’s account should be viewed with great skepticism.

    The way it has turned out, the whole Earth has been informed what Trump said. All through Latin America for example this inflaming bit of news was circulated. Here, people have far less critical capacities because of general lack of education. So, what the Democrat Party and their media allies (and likely their intelligence allies and behind-the-scenes deep state operatives) have put into motion as ‘truth’ gets circulated uncritically, as if a fact. And no one will come back later to correct it.

    In Latin America, if anyone is interested, the majority of people I speak to react to Trump emotionally and viscerally. They hate and fear him. So many people in Latin America have gone to the US for a time to work, and perhaps have a relative there now working (and sending back funds). Anything that threatens their access to this economy is felt to be a threat to their well-being and is hated. Therefor, when these sorts of ‘memes’ are created (and this is a phenomenal one!) it really does work to accentuate hatred of the man Trump.

    Will it matter if it then becomes known that he did not say what they said he said? No. Because this is not reason nor reasoning but emotional logic and emotional manipulation. And it really does work.

    I have suggested that reporters and other ‘intellectuals’ of the intellectual class are ideological operatives. To examine this premise and to consider what it means in our particular present would, I think, reveal a great deal. What ‘ideology’ do they represent? What is their ideological base? It is a question I am uncertain how to answer. Are they defending ‘Americanism’? That is, ‘the tenets of the American civil religion’? Or should they be seen as ‘Marxist operatives’ with a more socialistic/communistic orientation? Or do they serve ‘the business class’, the corporate class? The collusion between the corporate class and the governing class?

    In any case I think it is fair and accurate to say that they are scared, very scared, about a rising current within America right now. Otherwise, why would they be reacting so? But what is it exactly that they fear? This is an important question to ask and to answer.

    My researches into America and Americanism point me toward the understanding that it is the business class that worked to infiltrate government, undermine certain aspects of functional democracy, and manipulate the majority of people and importantly to defeat popular democrative movements. I have written of this before. This happened during the Spanish-American War and during the Philippine War (the invasion and occupation of the Philippines).

    This set the stage for the invasions and occupations the US has since then routinely engaged in, and allowed the US, under false pretenses (that is, through lying and manipulation) to bring the US into both the First and the Second World War. Through all this, it is the press as agent of the ruling business class that served its powerful master.

    And the PR industry, along beside the intelligence operatives and state functionaries, have been working since that time to secure the ‘consent’ of the population even when the objectives of the ruling and industry-controlling elites made policy choices completely in opposition to their interests and well-being.

    Once one understands this very basic fact, one will be in a better position to understand what is going on in America right now. If one refuses to understand these basic, self-evident facts, one is deliberately putting forth obfuscating and diverting interpretations.

    Now come the attempts to make ‘truthful statements’ about the present. The function of truthful statements is to help in the process of getting mental clarity about ‘what is going on and why’. And what would be those ‘truthful statements”?

    1) The Media is front for both industry and intelligence. Intelligence employs media and media cooperates with intelligence.

    2) The present ‘system’ is working to accentuate social conflicts, to exacerbate them, and to exploit emotionalism and sentimentalism, in fact stirring up and contributing to social hysteria. Why do they do this?

    3) The present system (if what I have said before is true) is at its core, and in particular ways that can be described, ‘anti-democratic’ insofar as it is struggling against a popular and rising sentiment. That is, the demographic that elected Trump. They stated this at the beginning unless I am mistaken. The ‘undereducated’, the working class, those who had not gobe to university and had only technical training. That is, the people of this country. Their self-appointed intellectual overlords are dissatisfied with what these people are thinking and feeling. These people therefor, in a new octave, correspond to the wretched and stupid Southern Corncracker, and so, lo and behold! this has all come up again as a significant element in the PR/Intelligence campaign: the toppling of the Southern monuments. Who is the ‘enemy’ here? The White Southerner is evoked, as a sort of Hamlet’s father apparition, so that the entire nation can direct its hatred to the Chosen Enemy.

    And that chosen enemy is ‘whiteness’. Therefor, there is now an ideological war going on against an abstraction that is really anything but abstract. It is quite literally an ideological war against the white population. In any case, even if these statements are too black and white, one can easily see that the battle-lines are being drawn, and the Media/Intelligence along beside a significant sector of the governing and ‘deep state’ class, is fighting tooth and nail, and with all its machinations and social engineering tools, to ???

    What are they trying to achieve? What is their object? That is another difficult question that requires a thorough answer. To answer it requires a meta-political response. And the more clearly meta-politics is understood and referred to, the closer one will get to ‘accurate perception’ and true understanding.

  6. Glen Logan writes: “The only thing I can imagine is that CNN is so convinced that Trump must be removed that it is willing to indulge the “any means necessary” shibboleth, secure in the apparent knowledge that the tribal culture that has developed in American politics will assure their profitability, and the tragedy of that is that they may be right.”

    I suggest that it is here that a meta-political analysis can be helpful. One has to take into consideration a larger movement which has been developing in Europe, in England’s ex-colonies, and perhaps too in other countries (though I have head nothing about this). It is a rising tide of anti-Americanism and takes a stand against what Tomislav Sunic calls ‘the Americanopolis’. It is very very hard for Americans, so universally indoctrinated in American Exceptionalism and American self-righteousness, to grasp this rising sentiment. But it is there. It can be researched and better understood.

    The ‘American System’ is one that has been diffused universally. It is a system that employs the media, in collusion with the governing and intelligence class, in defeating regional opposition to capitalistic liberalism (neo-liberalism) through a group of different means. It is, if you will permit a certain exaggeration, a powerful machine that effectively topples, or at least by-passes, the regional hierarchies of the countries in which it spreads. Again if you or anyone else desired to understand it (how this machine operates) it can be researched. Pierre Krebs and Tomislav Sunic have written a good deal on the topic.

    So, these movements are developing. They are described by your media-systems as ‘ultra-rightwing’ and ‘far right’ and always there is a reference to the fascist shadow. This is quite interesting because it is the Interwar period (1920-1940) where a great deal of popular sentiment against both communism and unfettered capital enterprise was written and circulated (and our present is in a sense an octave of this Interwar period). See for example Alain de Benoit. A very interesting European figure and an exponent of New Right ideas.

    Thse movements are terrifying to the American Power-System, the one constructed in the aftermath of WW2. Because they are popular and democratic. And as I said in the post above your beloved United States had long ago sold out its republican idealism when it opted to destroy one whole section, and then to launch into imperial and neo-imperial projects. The 20th century is is when this took place. These idea I am sharing now, to put it mildly, tend to offend the typical American, and certainly the conservative or cuckservative American. But one has to be a little hard and uncompromising in what one says and the way one says it.

    To begin to express ‘the truth’ about *all of this* in terse sentences is a challenge! In a sense though you have become ‘a people of the lie’. Lies so penetrate your systems, you feed on lies, you sleep and wake in lies, lies are so interwoven with your perceptions, that when you speak —- indeed when you see! —- you cannot help but to lie. Therefor, the first order of business is in getting *you* to begin to tell the truth. And to see the truth requires back-tracking as I call it through specific history.

    But bringing this back to your paragraph: The American System is fighting the fight of its life to keep the American population ‘cuckolded’ within its system of lies. If it were to lose America to an uprising, nationalistic, self-aware white America that became empowered and active politically, and unified at some level ideologically with the rest of the European world, what stands to be lost is tremendous, literally incredible. The whole established Post War World might be challenged. In fact: will be challenged.

    I keep plodding on here. Day by day, week by week, month by month! Because I know that these are largely truthful statements and I know that it is truth and truthful perception that is most needed to see our way through the miasma amd chaos of the present.

    Please feel enormously free to correct me where I am wrong. And if wrong guide me to the correct view and perspective.

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