The Hate Machine Essays: Cherry-Picking for an Affluent Liberal Class.

“The summer began on May 25, when the police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in Minneapolis, Minnesota, suffocating his pleas for life. Largely peaceful demonstrations followed, and Trump tweeted: ‘These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.’ He added, ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts.’” – Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic

As we inch closer to November, the vitriolic nature of political rhetoric is heating up. We, as the public audience of this charade, will continue to be blasted by half-truths, rhetorical sleight-of-hand, and most importantly the age old employment of cheery picking information to create a false narrative bought and sold by lobbyists on each side of the aisle and their mainstream media cohorts. In other words, the battle for the collective mind is at full force and is getting louder with each passing day.

On September 9, The Atlantic ran a story from the nation’s leading “anti-racist” scholar (the same man who made the phrase a household word) Ibram X. Kendi, which characterized the resistance to this summer’s civil unrest as the “violent defense of white male supremacy.” In particular, he points to several specific responses by President Trump of these instances, and then uses them to paint a broad view that any crime committed by white males is subject to a “presumption of innocence…for wealthy cisgender heterosexual white men like Trump.” In his article, he lays out an argument that turns into an anti-Trump election commercial. Complete with evasion of facts and mischaracterizations of events that we saw unfold in edited and redacted forms on MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and yes, even my beloved Atlantic. Like most Americans who were caught in the onslaught of minimal coverage that shaped narratives in the form of “look children, the old orange man is a racist” narratives, Kendi attacks the current administration in covert usage of simple phrases, misleading quotes, misdirected outrage, and politics 101 catch phrases.

In the opening paragraph, he begins his narrative with the above (italicized for emphasis and dramatic effect) quote. Note the line, “largely peaceful demonstrations,” then note the “and Trump tweeted:”. It is important to realize a few things about this early and deliberate example:  1) that in the second paragraph of the article, he has already told you the reader that this is going to be about Trump and his blatant racism. 2) You should be pissed as hell that Trump showed his blatant racism (even though left-leaning media bashes this shit into our brains every friggin’ day), he is already putting misguided information into the article to complete the aforementioned tasks. The truth: Trump was not tweeting about the demonstrations. He was tweeting about the riots that accompanied the demonstrations.

What Kendi does not do is mention the “nearly $82 million in damage sustained during the civil unrest that followed George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police,” the move by Minneapolis to “no longer require property owners to prepay the second half of their property taxes in order to start removing rubble from sites damaged in the May riots,” the fact that “[i]n the first few days after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, rioters tore through dense stretches of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other metro communities in retaliation, causing millions in property damage to more than 1,500 locations,”  and the glaring fact that “[h]eaping violent contempt on an 8 p.m. curfew declaration and on widespread pleas for forbearance and peace, rioters rampaged across Minneapolis for a fourth night Friday [May 29, 2020] and into early Saturday [May 30, 2020], creating unprecedented havoc as they set towering fires, looted and vandalized businesses and shot at police officers, all in response to the death of an unarmed black man under a white police officer’s knee on Monday.”

But when you’re creating and sustaining an orange boogieman, you can’t talk about those things. He wouldn’t be as racist as you’d need him to be.

Kendi then focuses on Officer Derek Chauvin and Youngster Kyle Rittenhouse as the pieces that “bookended the summer of Trumpism.” This tactic also draws the reader away from the intent of those original tweets in response to the riots and instead implies that the real violent provocateurs of the summer were uncontrolled white CIS gendered heterosexual monsters who would of course vote for Trump because they too would simply “grab them by the pussy.”

Kendi also mischaracterizes and leaves out specific information in his relation of the Kyle Rittenhouse story. From his telling, “Kyle Rittenhouse borrowed an AR-15-style assault rifle from a friend and allegedly fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony M. Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. These three people had been demonstrating in Kenosha, Wisconsin, against the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier.” What Kendi does not mention is that these three victims were NOT demonstrators or protestors. These three men were part of a group of activists that were intent on setting fire to local businesses in Kenosha. They were not there to peacefully protest the systemic violence against minorities or to demonstrate against the shooting of an unarmed black man. They were there to riot and destroy property.

Oh, and they were WHITE.

Kendi ties all of this to revolt against an America that does not belong to him.

The three long, hot months from May 25 to August 25 compressed 413 years of American history into a cellphone video in which anyone could easily see the history for what it has always been: the violent “self-defense” of white male supremacy. Colonialism, capitalism, slavery and slave trading, Indian removal, manifest destiny, colonization, the Ku Klux Klan, Chinese exclusion, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, eugenics, massive resistance, ‘law and order,’ Islamophobia, family separation—all were done in the name of defending life or civilization or freedom.

This is done by design. In order for the argument to work, he must bring in historical precedence to show that Rittenhouse, Chauvin, and Trump are all a part of a long line of white men who wake up everyday with the clear intent of killing black people. That white men themselves are the ultimate enemy, and only Joe Biden can save us from them (even though he is a CIS gendered white heterosexual male).

But this rhetorical play to disillusion the American public about what the real story is can also be found in another article in the Atlantic cloaked cleverly in a review of the HBO film Coastal Elites. In this article, Hannah Giorgis criticizes the film as depicting an unreal critique of liberal elites that has become old and passé:

Their provincialism is the real ill plaguing the country, Coastal Elites argues—never mind the ravages of COVID-19, the steady violence of a racist criminal-justice system, or the worsening threat to voting access. The film, which airs tonight, instead fixates on the problem of ambient divisiveness and offers naive takeaways. If the headstrong liberals of California and the Northeast corridor would simply listen to the everyman of the heartland, Coastal Elites posits, perhaps we’d all be a little less hysterical.

In other words, if Hannah Giorgis would simply ask why Tucker Carlson is #1 in cable news, she might see that this critique is still relevant – and it will most likely get Trump re-elected since the “coastal elites” still don’t understand that the middle American is still pissed, hungry, and not buying their bullshit.

She also, like Kendi, drudges up the same rhetoric that liberal news outlets have been hammering for the last four years. Yeah, we know Trump is narcissistic, yeah we know that the liberals are terrified that Trump won’t leave if he loses, yeah we know he’s a racist, yeah we know he’s orange, blah, blah, blah.  

Hidden in both of these articles is a real fear that the movement that defined the summer is losing steam – because it is. BLM “protestors” are being infiltrated by antifa extremists (just like Occupy was) and the once peaceful movement that promised real systemic observations and change is now being seen by the heartland as a metropolitan anarchist force that threatens to not take away their freedom, but their security and belief systems. The middle American is not buying this narrative that the liberal media is writing. Again, that can be seen in the sheer number of people who are tuning into Tucker Carlson every night verses Rachel Maddow or Anderson Cooper.

So the rhetoric is heating up. And will continue to heat up. The narratives are going to get further away from the truth, the anxiety that will be reported will increase, and no one will be listening to the real voices screaming for help because, lets face it, this isn’t about how racist Trump may or may not be. This is about power. And it looks like, once again, the liberals are realizing that they overplayed their hand too quickly.

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.