August 10, 2017: Apocalypse Now? | Google Inquisition | Kayleigh McEnany Propaganda Watch
Happy Thursday. We would like to say that we’ve been enjoying our August in peace, but it is hard to relax with beach reading and BBQs when the president of the United States is threatening “fire and fury.” Around our dinner tables, there was debate over the inspiration for Trump’s word choice. One son insisted that Trump must have seen the latest installment of “Game of Thrones,” where dragons literally set the opposing armies afire. Another son insisted the reference must be to “The Lord of the Rings.” The parents feel the children may be crediting Trump with more literary knowledge than he actually has, however.
1. North Korea: All the President’s Threats
The Right’s reaction to Trump’s amped up threats to North Korea split along familiar lines. His reliable alt-right boosters went to lengths to find others besides the president to blame for what suddenly felt like an extremely precarious nuclear standoff. Guilty party number one was Barack Obama, who stands accused of knowing North Korea was arming and not doing anything about it. The Gateway Pundit ran this headline “Worst President Ever: Obama Knew North Korea Was a Threat, Didn’t Have the Spine to Deal With It.”
On Fox News, Laura Ingraham pointed a finger at China. Her interview is summarized here by Fox Insider:
Ingraham “pointed out that China voted with the U.S. at the UN last week to slap North Korea with more sanctions. Unfortunately, she said, those sanctions don't affect China's critical shipments of oil to North Korea, and they don't punish the Chinese banks that still do business there. ‘China has made billions propping up two of the most dangerous regimes in the world: North Korea and Iran,’ Ingraham argued.”
Meanwhile, according to The Daily Caller, the Trump faithful appear to be rallying to the justice of his cause:
“A well-known evangelical pastor and spiritual mentor for President Donald Trump asserted Tuesday that God won’t mind if the president wipes North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un off the face of the earth.
Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, who has close ties to the president, believes Trump has the moral authority to destroy Kim Jong-un.
‘When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,”’Jeffress explained in a statement to CBN News. Jeffress personally tweeted out the story from CBN News.”
The Fox anchor and Trump pal Sean Hannity was doing his part to support the president’s strident tone. North Korea’s miniaturization of a nuclear warhead "will now become a defining issue for the Trump administration," Hannity said on a recent broadcast. "Evil in our time must be recognized for what it is. You cannot appease, you cannot capitulate to evil radicals and rogue dictatorships."
Understandably, the “globalist” wing of the party was deeply alarmed that the president was needlessly provoking Kim Jong-un through Twitter. However, many were at pains to make a distinction between Trump being an intemperate leader and Trump being the cause of our tensions with North Korea. For that, argues this RedState commentator, we have only Pyongyang to blame:
Normally I agree that Trump and his Tweets and his mouth are nothing but trouble, and in this case, he could have said something diplomatic and calming for the sake of, say, American democrats or other foreign powers or people who live in proximity to North Korea to feel better and safer and more secure about. He could have avoided the perception of a grand conflict. Sure. But that is not the same thing as saying he’s the cause of the fears people are now experiencing about a nuclear threat to the world. North Korea did that. They’ve been doing that. And make no mistake, that is precisely the message from the mainstream press. This is his doing, somehow.
2. The Mountain View Inquisition
So, about the Google Firing … As expected, the Right had plenty to say about the dismissal of a Google employee, James Damore, who questioned the effectiveness of the company’s diversity programs and attributed the dearth of women in technology and leadership roles at the company to “personality differences” between the sexes.
The outraged National Review published a whopping five articles on the topic. The first from the editors, headlined “The Mountain View Inquisition,” accusedthe media of launching a smear campaign against Damore and accused Google of playing “big brother.”:
The campaign to lie about what Damore wrote, and to smear him as a bigot or a crank, already is well under way. His memo, which was labeled an “anti-diversity manifesto” in the press, is in fact something of the opposite: Throughout the document, Damore not only praises diversity in the abstract but also notes approvingly the ways in which Google tries to foster that diversity…
Companies are free to forgo providing forums for the discussion of politics, policy, and issues relevant to their operations. They are even free to prohibit political discussion per se during work hours. But that is not what Google is up to here. Google is attempting, in its Orwellian way, to redefine “diversity” as “homogeneity,” to redefine the respect for genuine human differences as the demand for absolute conformity, to redefine openness as closure and tolerance as prohibition. Its bias problems are not limited to its personnel practices: Conservative outlets and publications are routinely excluded or marginalized by services such as YouTube and Google News, just as conservative voices frequently are silenced on Twitter and Facebook…
National Review wasn’t isolated in its reaction. John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz of Commentary was also outraged:
Remember when its motto was "Don't be evil"? It's evil. Totalitarian evil.
And Ann Coulter got in on the action, too. She posted this sarcastic comment on Facebook, in reaction to NPR’s tweet that a number of women at Google, who were upset by the memo, skipped work:
"Male engineers, for example, would never skip work because they were upset about a memo." - Things James Damore left out of his memo
3. Kayleigh McEnany: Business as Usual
On Sunday, the pro-Trump pundit, former CNN panelist and new Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany presented a news segment on Trump’s Facebook page that she deemed “the real news.” The jaw-dropping report featured flattering stories about the president that many felt verged on propaganda.
National Review’s Tiana Lowe was quick to blame CNN, rather than Trump:
“The network made her famous as a Trump shill; it’s tough to criticize the president’s team for hiring her to play the same role.”
Meanwhile, The Right Scoop had its own theory. Pointing to the speculation that Trump would launch his own cable TV channel or media platform if he lost November’s election to Hillary Clinton, it wrote ecstatically:
This is what was rumored all through the campaign and now it’s happening. Trump News!
It’ll be interesting to see where they take this in the future, if it just stays this small weekend segment or if it becomes a daily thing with more programming.
What We’re Watching:
Real Clear Politics argued that McEnany’s hiring was just business as usual and “reflects how fully the Republican Party apparatus has now accepted Trump world into its fold, and vice versa.” But Tim Miller, former deputy communications director for the RNC, also added: "More surprising than the RNC “accept[ing] the Trumpification of the party” are “the Republicans that want to pretend that Donald Trump is just the crazy uncle with a Twitter feed, and not the leader of the party and the country."
In an interview yesterday with Breitbart News that aired on SiriusXM, McEnany pushed back on criticism of her segment:
"It's an effort to offer another set of facts that supplement what's being said in the media, which is oftentimes falsehoods. It's an effort to put out there what's going on and give the American people the substance that they want to hear, but you don't hear in the media. It's been lambasted, but what I find interesting is that no one is attacking the factual substance of it. They're just attacking the fact that someone is getting through and telling the American people what's happening in their White House."
4. The Manafort Witch Hunt
Yesterday, multiple sources reported that FBI agents conducted an early morning raid last month on Paul Manafort’s home in Alexandria, Virginia, for tax documents and foreign banking records, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry.
“Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?” Sean Hannity asked on a Wednesday night Fox News segment.
Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit ran with the headline: “WITCH HUNT: FBI Conducted Predawn Raid of Paul Manafort’s Home.” He continued:
From day one, the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel prompted major red flags. Mueller’s relationship with former FBI Director James Comey along with him building a team of pro-Hillary Clinton investigators simply cannot be ignored.
On Twitter, David French @DavidAFrench mused (referring to the new chief of staff, John Kelly):
Kelly can work miracles going forward (one can hope, right?), but the past will still haunt this administration.
Meanwhile, Allahpundit at HotAir was more intrigued by a different story about Manafort that ran in National Enquirer (which the author calls “Trump’s favorite paper”) on Tuesday. (In the past, The New Yorker and New York magazine also reported on National Enquirer’s fervor for Trump.)
The Enquirer story accused Manafort of having an affair with a woman less than half his age. Wrote Allahpundit:
Manafort surely knows how tight Trump and the Enquirer are. He may have fed the paper oppo on GOP competitors himself on Trump’s behalf when he was managing the campaign. The Enquirer running a piece like this about him is a red siren that Trump now views him as an enemy. But … why would Trump want to make an enemy of Manafort at a moment when Manafort’s in legal jeopardy and could tell the feds God knows what about Trump and his family? The only explanation that makes sense is that Trump has reason to believe that Manafort has already betrayed him and now he’s out for revenge...
I wonder if today’s adultery accusation is just the first in a series of Enquirer bombshells to come about Manafort. Trump can’t stop him from telling Mueller anything, but he can try to ruin the guy’s reputation to the point where loyal Trumpers might be persuaded to disregard any incriminating information that comes from Manafort as inherently untrustworthy.
5. Climate Change Hoaxes
The Trump administration is so hostile to the science of global warming that the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture have officially banned employees from using the term “climate change.”
While such revelations cause despair on the Left, they are barely remarked upon in the conservative press. But, this week, The New York Times ran a story about a draft report from 13 government agencies asserting that the U.S. is already feeling the impacts of a warmer climate. The article said the report had been leaked because government officials feared Trump would try to doctor the report or suppress its findings. The Times claimed the report as an exclusive. The Red Media ignored the report but made much of a Times correction that said an earlier version of the draft, while not widely publicized, had already been published, by an internet archive site.
6. What We’re Reading
BuzzFeed had an interesting article explaining how the world of partisan news feeds has exploded post-Trump. Here are just a few juicy details: 187 new partisan websites launched in 2016. While the majority of partisan websites are conservative, at least five publishers run both conservative and liberal websites. Many of the conservative websites are run from outside the United States with the largest concentration in Macedonia.
If you are looking for lighter fare and want to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “The Summer of Love,” check out National Review’s article from 1967 headlined “Who Are the Hippies?”