Life Is a Crap Shoot in the Game of Tribes, and the Media is The Bookie

The "news" media is tribalism's bookie. The house cut is always collected off the top.

On one side, we have Donald Trump, whose personality has helped media ratings across the board among his friends and his enemies. On the other side, we have self-identified liberal progressives, most of whom are Europhiles, who believe our across the pond neighbors and continental allies have found some kind of tolerant utopia.

As Jonah Goldberg observed, both sides have their "useful idiots," sculpting elephants out of solid marble by ignoring those facts they deem "not an elephant." Tribal stories and narratives are like bets placed at the craps table. The dice of chance are rolled, and whatever number comes up, both sides try to make their point, crap out, or collect the winnings. But the "news" media is tribalism's bookie, and the house's cut is always collected off the top.

Let's examine some inconvenient facts that one side ignores, depending on where the bet is placed:

  1. The Palestinians incited, encouraged (and sometimes forced) to cover for terrorists who wish to infiltrate Israel are victims of Hamas. Hamas does not control the West Bank, and there are no riots there. Of the 60 killed at the Gaza-Israel border, 50 were admitted by Hamas to be terrorists. The Israeli Army is better than the U.S. at avoiding collateral damage to innocents.
  1. Donald Trump did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Congress did that in 1995. What Trump did, and commendably, is recognize the will of Congress in the matter and not speak out of both sides of his mouth on it. As much as we'd love to think this is out of Trump's unbridled passion for Israel and commitment to reason, it's more likely he was influenced by his daughter and son-in-law, the Kushners, who are observant Jews.
  1. The latest school shooting was tragically accomplished by a boy who wore long black trenchcoats, even in 100 degree Texas heat. He was described by his peers as a "sweet" boy, who played high school football. He spared people he liked. Obviously, he had problems and these were ignored, or chalked up to "his identity." Not all identities are private, positive, and socially acceptable.

(By the way, the "Iron Cross" is not a "Nazi symbol." It was used by Prussia as early as the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, and as late as 1956. It's still used today, as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the German Army.)

  1. The Texas shooter reportedly used a sawed off shotgun and .38 revolver to kill 10 people. All weapons are deadly. None are "more efficient" at killing people (see the Boulder, Colorado idiocy where they are targeting--and profiling--people who own guns more than the guns themselves). Some people shouldn't have guns at all, and it doesn't matter how "scary" the gun looks. They're all deadly weapons. You can miss with a machine gun just as easily as you can kill 3 people with one shotgun blast.
  1. Anyone who takes a strong position for or against Trump, who is not identified with their own "tribe" is accused of treason, but celebrities who do so are helped greatly by the media.
  1. There have not been hundreds of school shootings in the U.S.--the statistics are lies and include things like B.B. guns, suicides on school property (while school was not in session), and other incidental firearms events that had no real target or bearing on the discussion. But the statistics are useful to the media, depending on the story being framed.
  1. The media exposure of killers is a factor in motivating future killers to commit their crimes. This is SCIENCE speaking. The American Psychological Association noted a study by Jennifer B. Johnston, PhD, of Western New Mexico University.

“We suggest that the media cry to cling to ‘the public’s right to know’ covers up a greedier agenda to keep eyeballs glued to screens, since they know that frightening homicides are their No. 1 ratings and advertising boosters,” she said.

Though she (sadly) takes the position that white "victimhood" at loss of social justice power is a motivator (which, hey, it may be, but so it the inability to attract women), she recognizes the greater correlation.

“Unfortunately, we find that a cross-cutting trait among many profiles of mass shooters is desire for fame,” she said. This quest for fame among mass shooters skyrocketed since the mid-1990s “in correspondence to the emergence of widespread 24-hour news coverage on cable news programs, and the rise of the internet during the same period.” [bold mine]

  1. The media feeds the machine, by making killers and victims famous, telling victims' stories in heart-rending detail. Survivors are given outsized platforms as if somehow surviving a mass killing anoints one to go forth and speak on behalf of all of one class of people. This is the biggest lie of all. If this was true, then every war veteran should be listened to for every policy of government, ever.

(David Hogg is not a prophet. He merely rolled the dice the same as Donald Trump did with terrorism in 2016.)

  1. The Trump campaign would definitely have colluded with the Russians, if the Russians actually wanted to collude against Hillary. Donald Trump, Jr. took a meeting with a Russian lawyer who he believed to be connected with the Kremlin, to get dirt on Hillary. C'mon.
  1. There is no evidence of actual collusion (after a year and $7 million, if there was a "deep state" you'd think they'd have it), and attempted--bungled--collusion is not a crime. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of a coverup and special counsel investigating the president. But Trump brought that circus on himself, because he loves a good circus.
  1. The Department of Justice is committed doing its job, and many of the lifelong staffers there are capable of separating their own political beliefs from their job. (If we can claim a baker can put aside his Christian beliefs to serve a homosexual, but not participate in the wedding, we can also claim that DOJ lawyers have the same level of discipline.) So when FBI agents were sent to interview someone about Pappadopoulos' boasts, they were doing their jobs.
  1. Then again, operation "Crossfire Hurricane" was about as political as it gets. It's nearly certain that Loretta Lynch, Barack Obama, and others were literally licking their lips and interlocking their fingers with supressed "moo ha ha's" in glee over what could come of Trump's Russia links. They overstepped bounds in "unmasking" and possibly encouraging aggressive investigations that, legally, were very questionable.

Was it a "witch hunt?" If you show the FBI 30 pictures of witches, they're going to hunt. The Trump campaign had plenty of witches to show.

  1. The media prospers in this environment. Most of them are genuinely biased against Trump, against Trump voters, and those who hold conservative values. They genuinely don't understand Christianity at its most basic level, and make wild assumptions of the motives of Christians.
  1. On both sides, calls for the government to "silence" voices one side doesn't like are damaging to our society, our government, and the media's credibility. This should stop, but we know it won't

The media has been in the center of this for years. From Trump, Russia, the FBI, to school shootings and gun control, the media, acting as they believe in the public interest, has in fact created an environment against the public interest. Shooters and victims are given fame, promoting more shootings and victims. The Russians are given an enormous lever to move our tribes apart through social media and news coverage. Leaks and leakers are not held accountable, and "fake news" leaks are quoted verbatim without retraction.

The real truth is more mundane. S**t happens. Or from a Biblical perspective: the rain falls on the just and the unjust. (Read Psalm 37.) If we want a more civil society, it's up to us to produce it. And the first move may very well involve a lot less news and a lot more

Comments
No. 1-8
phantonym
phantonym

I actually think the most significant problem were facing today in many areas of our culture is social media. More specifically, the unique power the medium has given those who formerly did not have a "voice" or an opportunity to find like-minded souls and connect. In many instances, that's a good thing! Unfortunately, it's also resulted in those who really shouldn't be heard suddenly having a voice and has very clearly created our new Culture of Outrage that we live in 24/7. All sides of EVERY topic of debate or controversial subject are CONSTANTLY outraged... Lines drawn... No quarter given... Apologies must be issued... Everyone has turned into a gaggle of moralizing busybody mean old ladies/men. Will be fascinating to watch as this continues to evolve since we've only had these institutions for less than a decade and they've already completely transformed the national discourse.

phantonym
phantonym

Definitely more akin to a witch burning at this point since a bunch of witches were already hunted, captured, proven to be witches and are now being burned at the stake... More witches to come? Seems pretty likely.

Big J Boy
Big J Boy

This is a well reasoned analysis and quite thought provoking. Excellent work!

Steve Berman
Steve Berman

Editor

When have I claimed an exclusive hold on clear-eyed reason? But I do think there is more than enough evidence of fanatics on both ends of the spectrum. If you are uncomfortable with those people who can see the distinction between fanatical narratives and objective facts, you might check the signs you’re in a cult.

JaneKMiller
JaneKMiller

Even if it was a witch hunt from the beginning (which it wasn't), they've found, indicted, tried, convicted and jailed actual witches.

Nothing Trump supporters can say will make Manafort unrob those banks he robbed.