Tuesday, July 21, 2015

McCain's Heroism and Trumping the Media Narrative

Who is Donald Trump?

I mean: really?

A real estate developer who ended up in massive debt ($900 million), then bounced back. Married and divorced, then married again, he would marry his daughter if he wasn't related to her.

Full of weird and pithy comments, Trump knows how to touch the right populist chord, he has donated to Democrats and Republicans of all stripes throughout his political career.

He made a new name and brand for himself with "The Apprentice" reality show.

He repeatedly called out President Obama over his citizenship, enough that the White House actually caved and released the President's Birth certificate.

"You're Hired! You're Fired!"

Now he has fired up the GOP base for Presidential Election 2016. His incendiary remarks have become easy media fodder, of course.

Controversial remarks like:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

The outrage over this comment led critics to create Donald Trump piƱatas.

Even outspoken conservative columnist and activist Ann Coulter admitted that Trump made a mistake, then she did what she is good at: going after worse examples of record and rhetoric on illegal immigration. But more on media pivoting and narrative detonation later.

Just now, Trump declared that illegal aliens get better treatment than military veterans:

“Frankly, illegal immigrants get treated better than many of our vets — it’s a disgrace what’s happening in this country,” he said. “And John McCain has done nothing about it but talk.”

Is this charge true? Apparently so.

Senate Democrats blocked restoration of military pensions from budget cuts, a legal measure would include closing a loophole for benefits to illegal aliens.

Yet this line of discussion brings up the bigger issues.

Why are the media up in arms about Trump's distorted comments about Senator McCain's military service, yet say nothing about the egregious Veterans Administration scandals which have forced our fighting men and women to wait for extended lengths of time, only to suffer worse health problems or die. The resignation of Eric Shinseki was just a start, but government health care for American military veterans still lags behind the care they could receive.

Worse yet, Congressional representatives are bickering over immigration reform, with little discussion over border security, e-verify, or welfare reductions.

Furthermore, what exactly did Trump say? His comments once again:

"He is not a war hero," Trump told pollster Frank Luntz, who was hosting the session.
"He is a war hero," Luntz interjected.
"He is a war hero because he was captured," Trump said, cutting him off. "I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured. OK, you can have -- I believe perhaps he is a war hero."
What defines a hero? The generic Merriam-Webster definition offers the following:
: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired
: the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc.
What great or brave acts did John McCain engage in to make a hero? If one establishes imprisonment in a war camp as heroism, then not really.
In fact, John McCain dismissed his standing as a hero:
Almost every Republican running for president quickly condemned Trump's remarks and praised McCain as a true war hero. But McCain, whose fighter plane was shot down over Vietnam and who was held prisoner for more than five years, said the real heroes were some of his commanding officers.
Let's go one step further. Washington Post syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer (the same commentator who called Trump "a rodeo clown", explored the American theme of heroism in an earlier essay called "Survivorship" (published in essay collection Cutting Edges)
He starts out with:
"The idea of heroism has fallen on hard times lately Its nadir occurred almost exactluy one year, when the Irania hostages (remember them?) were welcomed home as heroes. Their ordeal had all the markings of victimhood: they entered into it through no choice of their own. . "
He later adds: "[T]he hostages, for the most part, seemed genuinely bewildered by the notion that merely pulling through had made them heroes."
Krauthammer then discusses an example of true heroism: a home-body who risked his life plunging waters to save a drowning woman. He went home after a brief respite in the hospital, and refused to play himself in a movie dramatization of the rescue.
So, we have from the dictionary, from Senator John McCain, and conservative Charles Krauthammer that the Vietnam veteran was no hero.
Fine, Donald Trump may be right. Second, larger point: who cares?
Notice that one man's savvy with generating media hype has diverted the Marginalized Media to follow his heavy, heated comments as a Republican contender, who has actually a wide array of liberal-Democratic positions, from abortion to marriage, on illegal immigration (he hired illegal aliens for projects) and support for single-payer universal healthcare.
Why are we talking about this guy? It's not just the Marginalized Media's myopic attention span, (although world media have jumped into this press-hyped mosh pit) but also the demand placed by right-now media-watchers and trolls.

Donald Trump (David Shankbone)
One tweet could not have put it more succinctly:
> @mterry337https://twitter.com/mterry337">@mterry337> @FoxNewsSundayhttps://twitter.com/FoxNewsSunday">@FoxNewsSunday> Because the average American does not enjoy the complex - loves SCANDAL!  Eats it alive.— RojerAils (@RojerAils) July">https://twitter.com/RojerAils/status/622843202727489536">July 19, 2015

Yet even this comment misses the point. The VA scandal is serious and egregious. The Iran Deal, which makes the Munich appeasement look robust and threatening, is also a scandal. The ESPY award to a gender-confused and attention-starved former athlete -- at the expense of a young lady basketball player who competed despite severe brain cancer -- is definitely a scandal, and an entertaining one.

No: Big Media keeps trumpeting about Trump.
So, what else has fomented the Trump Media narrative? The New Media, the Conservative Media, the Counter-Media, etc.
Andrew Breitbart's flagship news site has been covering Donald Trump's verbal antics ever since he jumped into the race. Click this link to see the outrageous number of links, columns, and posts from Breitbart talking about The Donald.
How about the Washington Times? Not nearly as many, but still a lot. Daily Caller has been all over Trump, too.
This post should leave heads scratching and conservative partisans rethinking what they read and how they evaluate it online "The 10 Most Important Reasons Trump Would Make a Great President".
Forget filibustering unpopular legislation in the US Senate (Rand Paul). Forget standing up for strong values and reaching out to core conservative constituencies (Ted Cruz). Forget governing a red state toward stronger economic growth in spite of national downward trends (Rick Perry). Forget breaking the power of Big Labor in Ground Zero of the Progressive Movement (Scott Walker). Sure, Donald Trump would make a great president: who never ran for office, who says and does anything for his next fifteen minutes of fame, who has a diverse array of ideologies, depending on who is listening, and which reporters are writing them down.

What a sad irony to see a flagship conservative news site give up so much time and resources to a partisan whom Andrew Breitbart himself slammed as "not a conservative".
The worst offender in this mess, though? The conservative sites responding to the AP and Reuters reports peddling another transcript of The Donald's latest screeds.
Indeed, it is time to detonate the narrative. That means more than backlash against Marginalized Media reports. It means more than exposing media bias. New Media as True  Media has to tell the stories that no one can or will tell, to create a full picture of the full narrative.

Donald Trump is not the narrative that matters. He may say a number of right things, but because the man is still bigger than the message, why are we still listening to him?

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