An observation on premature escalation

Right now, I'd imagine that the editors of the major Western news outlets - with the exception of Fox News - are bemoaning how they forgot a key part of their classical education, notably the Aesop fable of the boy who cried "Wolf!" and in particular the advice:

"Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong!"

The first year of Donald Trump's tenure as President of the United States has been punctuated with the media throwing itself into fits of hysteria at any of Trump's actions which offended their sensibilities:

  • "he's blocking Muslims from entering the USA! RACIST!"
  • "his VP refuses to be alone with a woman who's not his wife. SEXIST!"[1]
  • "the Russians got him elected. TRAITOR!"
  • "he has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. ISLAMOPHOBE!"
And so on. This was the natural continuation of the 8 year campaign against the Republican opposition, which reached its zenith with the attacks on 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Anyone remember binders full of women? Declarations that Romney as president would be the end of the world? Bill Maher does.

I have to admit, I had (and still have) considerable reservations about Donald Trump as a person. I'd be the first to admit that Donald Trump's tweets have been far from edifying on many occasions. But then, I never particularly believed that Barack Obama was all sweetness and light either - you don't navigate from Chicago community organizer to President of the USA without being willing to do some pretty distasteful things, and ally yourself with some pretty dubious people, and has been notable in failing to observe the convention that ex-Presidents don't comment on the deeds of the current President. Bill Clinton has some hugely admirable personal characteristics - read the late Barbara Olson's Hell To Pay for details - but seems to be significantly challenged vis-a-vis keeping his wang in his pants. G. W. Bush has a far from perfect personal history, although seems to have had a genuine spiritual conversion before becoming President.

What redeems Donald Trump, in my view, is the way he has played the media like a fiddle in the past 12 months. They have been consistently so eager to believe their own narrative, they've failed to sanity-check themselves, and now they seem to be left with a Russia-collusion investigation that's going to fizzle to nothing, a raving Hillary Clinton who's alienating more and more of her party with her insistence that nothing was her fault, and today's Raftergate where a reporter was so keen to believe that Donald Trump's audience in Pensacola was tiny that they didn't do a basic check to confirm.

If Roy Moore gets elected in Alabama's Senatorial special election on Tuesday, it's mostly going to be down to the fact that the central-USA population has decided that they don't believe a word that the media says. Moore seems to be a fairly distasteful candidate, but if you were a voter of average information level in Alabama then a natural tendency would be to assume that all the anti-Moore broadcasts were blatant lies, and if the media really doesn't want him to be elected then he's clearly the right man for the job.

[1] Yeah, Pence is looking pretty smart right now I'd say...