The Hate Machine Essays: Internal Plagiarism as Narrative Control

So the Great and Powerful Orange made an appearance with Chris Wallace this weekend and gave the national media machine its weekly dose of talking points that will serve Hayes, Maddow, Reid, Cooper, Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham, and Lemon hours of material until at least Wednesday. He was able to cover everything in a spray tanned lacquer of idiocy and 70+ year-old ramblings that sounded more like the “get off my lawn” rhetorical patterns of Bernie than the wisdom of a President. Of course, I clicked on one of the articles in the New York Times to see what this wonderfully drawn caricature of Grandpa run amuck had to say and a sentence caught my eye briefly. I moved on and finished the article to find at the bottom in suggested reading another article that pointed directly to one part of the main article, so I clicked it. In it, I found a line that sounded a lot like the sentence I had seen in the previous article. I hit the back button and found I was right – the exact same line had been used. Word for word. Out of pure curiosity, I copied it and set Google to work to find a third article from the Times using the exact same sentence, word for word. Three different authors, three different days, three different articles. Same line. Word for word.

In ShortFiles #5 on our YouTube channel, I dug through an episode of Anderson Cooper 360 and deconstructed the rhetoric that he employed that night. One of the most glaring tools that he employed was the constant repeated phrase “photo op” to re-enforce the negative spin on the actions of President Trump that evening. I predicted that the phrase would be seen the next morning in all the elite media outlets, and of course, it was there in article after article. I point this out because the New York Times articles I noted above are employing a similar tactic to spin a recently contentious fact that Trump eluded to at least twice in the national media: more white people are killed by police every year than black people. To enforce the new doctrine of racial equality through a postmodern lens of structured power that has systemically destroyed the lives of minorities only, the statistics are handled in a way to focus on the per ca-pita notion that blacks are targeted more often than whites even though the over all numbers show a death rate of whites to blacks as significantly higher.

Let me first point out that I have no problem with the argument that per ca-pita numbers show a much needed reform of police in terms of how they approach minorities – specifically blacks. It is well documented and is becoming a well-deserved and overdue call to action against policies within our institutions that limit the advancement of people of color.

What I want to focus on, however, is not whether the statistics are viable or valuable, but instead on how the response to Trump’s claim has been galvanized by the media to rhetorically create a moral guide to how we approach this problem, and how it creates a specific dividing line by clarifying through blatant spin which side is the “good” side.

So let’s dive in:

July 14, 2020 – “Asked About Black Americans Killed by Police, Trump Says, ‘So Are White People’” Jeremy W. Peters

“Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates.”

July 14, 2020 – “The White House Called a News Conference. Trump Turned It Into a Meandering Monologue.” Peter Baker

“Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates when accounting for population differences.”

July 20, 2020 – “Trump Leans Into False Virus Claims in Combative Fox News Interview” Katie Rogers

“Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates.”

*Note that the first and third examples leave out what can be assumed as part of the the original sentence “…when accounting for population differences.”

What this shows is a concerted effort by the Times editors to make sure that the message stays intact and that any one who hears about this from Trump (or anyone else who brings this to light) is pointed in the right direction so the current narrative of systemic white supremacy wokeness is preserved for the national audience. What this repeated sentence represents is spin, or what Gerald Graff called “metacommentary” where the author uses logos to point the audience in a specific direction by explaining how the audience is supposed to read the text. This then establishes a firewall of sorts against the real fact that the argument has flaws. Not that it isn’t valid, but that it is flawed and demands a broader discussion. But, as repeatedly demonstrated through history, if the author allows a broader discussion on a weak argument the result is a loss of power in controlling the narrative, and thus, losing power in the establishment.

Control the narrative = control the world.

Well, ok, so the Times used a classic rhetorical strategy to attempt to assert control over a message being received by the general public. So what? The Washington Post and The Guardian got in on this too among several others.

From the Washington Post:

June 8, 2020 – “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people.” Mark Berman, John Sullivan, Julie Tate and Jennifer Jenkins

“Nearly half of all people fatally shot by police are white. Most of these shootings draw little or no attention beyond a news story…Since The Post began tracking the shootings, black people have been shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates — both in terms of overall shootings and the shootings of unarmed Americans. The number of black and unarmed people fatally shot by police has declined since 2015, but whether armed or not, black people are still shot and killed at a disproportionately higher rate than white people.”

July 15, 2020 – “Asked about police brutality against black Americans, Trump says ‘more white people’ are being killed” Felicia Sonmez

“In absolute numbers, more white people than black people are killed by police in the country. According to a Washington Post analysis last month, 45 percent of those shot and killed by police since 2015 were white, while 23 percent were black. But white people comprise 60 percent of the U.S. population, while black people make up only 13 percent. Thus, black people are fatally shot by police at a higher rate than white people”

From The Guardian:

July 14, 2020 – “Trump twists stats on police brutality: ‘more white people’ are killed” Joanna Walters

“More white people are killed by police annually in the US, but Black Americans are killed at a far higher rate…The Guardian’s investigative project The Counted in 2015-2016 that set out to record all people in the US killed by police showed that Black people in America were more than twice as likely to be killed by the police than white people.

And in 2016 Black men ages 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers, and they were killed at four times the rate of young white men.

A similar 2016 analysis by the Washington Post also found that African Americans are 2.5 times as likely to be shot and killed by police offers as white Americans.

Another study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2018 found that African Americans are 3.5 times as likely to be killed by police compared to white people.”

*In the last article from The Guardian, there is an editor’s note at the bottom that states, “This article was amended on 16 July 2020 to clarify that while more white Americans are killed by police each year, Black Americans are killed at a far higher rate.” Unfortunately, I was too late to find and capture the original version to compare what they had added against what they originally reported.

What these articles show is that the Times was not the only one pushing this spin of the statistics. The media establishment as a larger concerted effort was on the rush to clarify quickly how the statistics needed to be digested. What we see is the liberal message of systemic white supremacy being challenged, not by a fringe loving President who cannot be taken seriously, but by actual numbers that reflect, again, a weakness in the argument. In order for the media to contain the argument as one of racial divide and problematic cultural design, they have to get in front of the message as quickly as possible and turn the audience away from the actual problem by flashing a shiny object to distract.

The articles above also show the concerted effort and establishment of the narrative over a period of time. Note that the Washington Post first addressed this issue on June 8 during the early stages of the movement surrounding George Floyd. This is where the media can lay the ground work for their counter claims IF the counter claims are needed.

Then, on July 14 and July 15, the bulk of the counter claims came, all presenting the same message (in the case of the Times, word for word) after Trump held both a press conference and interview with CBS. On the 20th, reinforcement of the established counter claim is presented in reaction to Trump’s third public mention of the statistics. The narrative, by that point, had been established and the media could simply cruise on as their counter claim was now well documented for them to repeatedly cite. All they’re really doing is citing the same lines (in the case of the Times, word for word) that have been distributed across liberal leaning media outlets to invoke a fake ethos (credibility) that actually exists in a tightly kept echo chamber. It’s the exact same problem that Christians run into when they try to establish that their arguments are just even though they are using one source…and that source (The Bible) internally cites itself in an endless circle of self justification that leaves no chance for actual debate. The media machine has created a vacuum of articles that say the exact same thing that they are able to reference over and over as credible diverse voices that are coming from pre-manufactured points of view. Any attempt to counter this is, as with the Bible, answered with more of the vacuum, keeping the argument tightly sealed against opposition.

I wanted to finish this little exercise by again noting that these are not the ONLY outlets that did this, they just happened to be the top of the Google search when I went curiously looking for the statement, “Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates.” In terms of hits, Google presented 48,000,000+ results in the general search, and 137,000+ results in the news search. Even though a Google search is lacking in terms of scientific validity, I think the overall impression of how the content of the sentence itself is spread so widely over the internet shows that these examples represent a much larger effort to control narrative by a small fringe group on the left using classic rhetorical methods. The result, as noted above, is a blatant fleecing of the American public of genuine discourse and any attempt of true resolution to a very real problem.

This is no conspiracy theory, this is real. And it is happening under our very noses.

In My Life


I was hell bent on getting that dog to stay in that box. I had spent all morning on trying to create a home for him so he could sleep in my room. He was having none of it hence why I’m holding him in the picture. As soon as my mother snapped the photo, he jumped out and ran away. What you don’t see in the picture is not only my mother with her Instamatic camera taking the picture, but my dad standing beside her as she did. After words, I would get dressed and play with something else. My dad would make his way outside to mow the lawn. A few hours later, my father and I both took naps – he in the living room on the couch and I in my bed. He never woke up.

It was July 19, 1980.

That picture can almost be seen as a metaphor for what happened later that day. Frozen for a moment was control, intentioned order that presented a picture of success. A moment later, the façade crumbles leaving an empty box and a confused child.

I’ve struggled with this day for forty years. What memories I have are few and sketchy. I was three. The two brief pictures I still see with my mind’s eye are the ambulance in our drive way from our neighbor’s sliding glass door, and the figure of my mother at the top of their stairs to their basement hours later when she came to take me home.

“Where’s Daddy?”

“Daddy is at the hospital.”

“When’s he coming home?”

“He’s not coming home.”

No child under five can really comprehend what that means, and it would take a strength that I can’t even fathom for my mom to attempt to explain to me, a three year old, what that really meant when she sat me down later that evening on our porch. My response was that of a child that young, “we’ll have to get another daddy.” It wasn’t that I was callous or was able to just get rid of my father, it’s just simple math for a kid. Something is missing so replace it. That simple.

Time, however, explains everything more clearly. In the last forty years each day has brought clarification to what happened. The sudden and complete destruction of my mom’s and my own world. We’ve been rebuilding ever since; that work will never be complete.

Human beings don’t truly understand the complete devastation death can provide until it hits quickly and suddenly. Empathy comes from experience most of the time, but the crush of sudden loss is a firsthand experience, and the doubt of the future comes full force to the present in ways that even poetry cannot fully explain. Four decades have taught me that.

Years after he passed, I found in his old writings a letter he had written called, “My Shadow.” In it, my father wrote to me attempting to pass wisdom, love, and experience through scribbles of pencil lead. Every so often I dig it out and read it. It’s the only conversation I still have with him where he is addressing me directly and I count myself lucky that I have it.

“Your small figure racing across the yard stirs every fond emotion I can feel. I feel a certain desperation in my desire to blanket you with protection against a world that is filled with uncertainty…It is, perhaps, a sad admission, but my personal hope for the future lies not in my own past contributions to the world but in you and my contributions to your heart and mind. Your abilities to handle a life, predestined to be more complicated and demanding than mine, depends, to a large extent, on how you have been prepared for it…Your tomorrow has arrived. The many yesterdays that have preceded today can only become meaningful if you exercise your abilities as you envision them to be…[B]e proud of not only of where you are going but also of where you have been.”

I have tried so often, failed a few times, succeeded a few others, to follow his creed to me. At this point in my life, I don’t really care if he would or would not be proud of who I have grown to be. My concern is if I can do what he had wanted to do for me. As a father myself, I judge not against him but myself using his simple template he left me in the letter. That is how he continues to live on.

Forty years ago, my dad took a nap. The consequences of that nap have been crushing, enlightening, expiring, and confusing. But it also made me who I am. That nap was the seminal moment of my life, and to ignore or forget it would be folly. To learn from it, from the moments afterwards, from the years of fear, sadness, and longing, is the key to survival and becoming the father he tried to be for me.

Forty years ago, my dad took a nap. He never woke up.

But I did.

Gotham 2.0

It was announced recently that a show based in the universe of the upcoming Matt Reeves’ helmed Batman film will be coming to HBO max. This news excited me at first, as I have believed for a while now that the best possible adaptation of Batman would be an episodic detective show. Much to my disappointment, I later learned that this new show is to focus on Jim Gordon and the GCPD.

I don’t think that focusing on the GCPD is a bad idea, quite the opposite. My problem is the fact that we saw this same thing not long ago in the form of “Gotham.” I quite enjoyed Gotham, especially the first few seasons, although I understand why a lot of Batman fans did not like it. No matter the quality of Gotham, I think that making a similar show this soon is a bit ridiculous. The final episode of Gotham aired on April 25, 2019. That was just over a year ago, and they are already planning a similar show.

I think it is about time that we get a proper live action Batman television series. Batman has not been the focus of a non animated series since the 60’s series starring Adam West. Birds of Prey, Gotham, Pennyworth, and Batwoman all focus on some member of Batman’s supporting cast. They gave Superman a romantic comedy in the 90s in they form of “Lois and Clark”, They gave Superboy a show in the 90s. Hell, they gave a minor character from Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” a show in the form of Lucifer. I don’t think a Batman show about Batman is too much to ask of Warner Brothers.

I complain about this news, yet anyone who knows me, knows that I will watch it anyway, as I have an obsession with consuming all things Batman. I’m unhappy about who the show is focusing on, but I will still tune in every week, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.