There used to be a newspaper columnist I enjoyed reading who would sometimes use “Nobody Asked Me, But…” as the title of his column. I thought maybe it was Earl Wilson, a gossip columnist who had a big following in his day. Not so. It was the equally popular Jimmy Cannon, who mostly wrote about sports:
On frequent occasions, when Cannon had no particular sports news to report, he would still manage to fill his daily column space by starting off with the phrase “Nobody asked me, but…” and then filling the rest of the column with his random opinions on any and every subject outside of the sports world. This gambit has been eagerly seized upon by newspaper columnists ever since, not only on the sports page but in every other section. Columnists who “borrow” this device will typically lead off with some lip-service tribute to its originator, such as “In the words of the immortal Jimmy Cannon: Nobody asked me, but…” and then they’re off. [Wikipedia]
Ok, I’m off…
Causation is a popular topic for philosophers because the idea of a “cause” gets stranger the more you think about it. For example, what causes an apple to fall from a tree? You might say the stem broke. Or you might say the apple got too heavy. Or that the earth’s gravity eventually made the apple fall. Maybe the cause was everything that led up to that moment, in other words, the entire prehistory of the universe.
It’s much harder to identify a single cause of a big event like a Presidential election. But many of us still want to know why the Electoral College went the way it did, as if there was a single cause and a simple explanation for what happened. I’ve tended to focus on the Clinton email story as the deciding factor because the media gave the story such exorbitant attention and the FBI’s involvement was so perverse. I can’t stop thinking that if only the story had received the minimal attention it deserved or if only the FBI had acted properly, the election would have ended differently.
Another factor that’s been bothering me a lot, however, is the media’s overall coverage of the campaign. This wound was reopened yesterday when I read a disturbing article about the Sinclair Broadcast Group. They’re the largest chain of TV stations in America. Sinclair’s 173 TV stations gave remarkably positive coverage to T___p and negative coverage to Clinton.
We all know that Fox worked as a propaganda outlet for T___p. But consider how CNN showed all those unfiltered T___p rallies from beginning to end and how they recruited T___p mouthpieces to “balance” their talk shows. And let’s not forget NBC’s contributions to the T___p campaign. Remember Matt Lauer’s ridiculous interviews of the two candidates and Jimmy Fallon trying to make T___p look like a human being? T___p has been on NBC for years with his “reality” shows and has had a long business relationship with Jeff Zucker, the non-journalist who runs CNN.
It’s enough to make you think we just witnessed a coup carried out by the media and the FBI.
On the other hand (there’s always another hand), the single most bizarre aspect of the 2016 Presidential election lies elsewhere. Putting aside the media’s failures, the FBI’s contribution, the Russians feeding Wikileaks, voter suppression, poor turnout in some quarters, Clinton’s minuses, the desire for “change”, the disappearance of manufacturing jobs in the Midwest, white resentment, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, latent authoritarianism and the movements of the planets and we’re still left with one incredible fact:
Sixty-two million adult Americans, including majorities in most states, were willing to vote for a monster.
To me, that says it all.
You may have noticed by now that I haven’t followed in the footsteps of the immortal Jimmy Cannon by filling this post with opinions on a random set of topics. That’s what I intended but failed to do. I trust the title I ended up with is reasonably descriptive.
PS – I forgot to mention the damn National Enquirer. They used their presence on every grocery checkout line in America to promote the Orange Menace and highlight fake Clinton scandals. They were another cog in the propaganda machine that contributed to a 77,000 vote margin in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, après quoi, le déluge.