Darn them ‘vituperative’ critics of Lord Dampnut, The 4th Estate is ‘shocked’ at the incivility


The original and the revised version after criticism of their attempt to legitimate a Trumpian framing

By ann summers


Mr. Trump’s coarse discourse increasingly seems to inspire opponents to respond with vituperative words of their own, as Robert De Niro did at the Tony Awards this month…

Returning incivility with incivility has not always worked out well for his opponents…

Mr. Trump’s presidency has driven some of those who oppose him to extremes of their own…

“Let’s not spend time drawing comparisons,” Jonathan Greenblatt, added. “Instead, we should focus all of our energy fighting for a more moral set of policies today.”

Not only is Peter Baker clueless about speech acts or rhetorical force, he wants Trump’s critics to behave, as if backing off will give Maggie Haberman a spine or Michael Schmidt a sense of social justice. Because the NY Times editors would say, isn’t that what Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens are for, even if they are idiots, however obtusely sucking up to Trumpism.

Peter Baker’s dithering about today’s Godwinesque comparisons like Michael Hayden to the possibility of another Holocaust, should remind him of the same reality that the NY Times itself faced during the onset of the actual Holocaust, giving far too much unmerited journalistic respect for Herr Hitler.

Thank Godwin, Baker doesn’t eat in any delis where the DSA might get to him, because we won’t have what he’s having.

The Times, when it ran front-page stories, described refugees seeking shelter, Frenchmen facing confiscation, or civilians dying in German camps, without making clear the refugees, Frenchmen, and civilians were mostly Jews.[3]


It’s hard to believe that Peter Baker can fight for any moral set of policies considering Glenn Thrush still has a job at the Times, but it is New York, and even Michael Cohen still walks free on NY streets where incivility, if Baker hasn’t noticed is the lingua franca. We’re way past contagion, or have you been even paying attention.

As coarse as Robert DeNiro or some Congressional intern might be, their visceral representations directed at Trump via the Tonys or in the halls of Congress makes some of us feel better represented even if they fail to reach their recipient, and perhaps less vituperative.

If you have the time and access to the Showtime channel you should watch The Fourth Estate, if only to remind yourself of the limitations of corporate media, as it follows in documentary form, the editorial processes of NY Times reporters and editors. It really doesn’t seem as torturous to the viewer, all that capitulation to the WH, but perhaps that’s on the floor of the editing room.

Seeing those folks whose editorial positions have been known in text rather than on film gives one a sense of how compromised the public sphere has become by its corporate media institutions. They will guard an idealization of the press in a liberal democracy up to the moment where they will enable democracy’s demise.

It is crystallized in Michael “Clinton email” Schmidt’s getting his 30 minute exclusive interview with Trump because he squatted at his golf course restaurant table, making note of how showing obeisance was his way getting Trump to hold forth.

That’s what some Pulitzers are made of, submissiveness in an editorial operation that seems incapable of handling its own #MeToo shortcomings. After some hand-wringing, The Fourth Estate shows how Glenn Thrush is still there, covering the social safety net, however ironically.

The latest bit of editorial cowardice is kowtowing to WH objections regarding Stephen Miller’s on-the-record comments.

While Miller’s comments were on the record, we realized that the ground rules for the original interview were not clear, and so we made a decision not to run the audio.

WH officials said they were “not at all comfortable” with the audio recording

Perhaps it wasn’t a hill worth dying on, but it sure sounds like how Democracy dies in darkness, much like their MSM capitulation to the continuing lies of 45* and The Fourth Estate reveals how much they can rationalize because they covet their access, despite social media. The “humanized” NY Times is more like a footnote writer for cultural hegemony, and their recent hires of notable reactionaries only shows how rudderless they have become.

In response to this, The Fourth Estate, scene after scene, becomes its own kind of paradox: It attempts to combat the flawed logic of the intentional fallacy … by way of committing the intentional fallacy. It is highlighting the rumpled humanity at the heart of the institution that is vying for continued authority in the minds and hearts of Americans. It is, in that effort, insisting on two things at once: that journalists aren’t so bad, and also that the work they do is demonstrably great. Call these reporters “fake news” if you want, the film whispers, but you will be wrong. Because, see for yourself, as you go behind the scenes within the glass-walled offices and Amtrak trains and Maggie Haberman’s Kia: There’s no lying here. There are mistakes, sometimes, yes, but no lies. Isn’t it clear, instead, how deeply these people, just like you, care about the truth?


The Fourth Estate is a sequel, of sorts, to Page One, the 2011 documentary about, yep, the work and the fortunes of The New York Times. The villain of the earlier film is in its own way shapeless, not a person so much as a creeping catastrophe: the collapse of the business model that had sustained the Timesand other American newspapers—and, with them, the American news system writ large—for so long. Money, and its absence, remains a haunting specter in The Fourth Estate. But it is no longer presented as the biggest threat to the Times. While the earlier hazard came from people who wouldn’t pay for news, the danger now—to the Times, to journalism, to democracy—comes from people who simply won’t believe it. The looming threat comes from people who, every day, commit the intentional fallacy.


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2 Responses to Darn them ‘vituperative’ critics of Lord Dampnut, The 4th Estate is ‘shocked’ at the incivility

  1. wordcloud9 says:

    It is NOT a violation of the Constitution to swear when expressing a grievance with government policy, it’s free speech — it IS a violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to incarcerate people, regardless of whether they are citizens or not, without a hearing —
    This is a “but what about . . .?” false equivalence propaganda tactic.

    In 2012, SIX Corporations controlled 90% of the Media in the U.S. – I haven’t seen any more recent numbers, but I assume it’s even worse now. Only a few tiny outposts of Free Press remain.

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