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Bernie TV

This Week in the Narrative 65

Nigel Clarke

Is there anything more deeply funny than CNN frantically imploring viewers to, just this once, consider the depth of an issue?

This week, the infamous Nunes Memo was released, allegedly showing corruption at the FBI and Department of Justice — not entirely unbelievable premises — to the detriment of President Trump.

Fox News blared: “Clear Evidence of Russia Collusion … by the Clinton Campaign and DNC” as they broadcast a declaration that the memo was the “most consequential political scandal  — no question — in American history.”

Predictably, the memo was, in reality, a smorgasbord of inference and redaction, an attempt to muddy the waters and subvert legitimate criticism of the President (not to mention legitimate criticism of the FBI and Department of Justice).

All the while, like a toupee-wearing George Costanza complaining about dating a bald woman, the whine of CNN pleading depth and context be considered. Don’t listen to Fox News. Look at the details!

Was it not just last week that CNN was beating the drums of the ‘Wall v. Dreamers’ negotiation? If not for the work of immigrant groups on the ground, or, rather, the rooftops from which they were shouting, the details of the millions of people affected by Trump’s so-called “framework” may not have entered the mainstream media’s grand aggregation of information.

Was it not only a few months ago that CNN was touting rousing economic success — as evidenced by 3% GDP growth — and debating how much, or how little, credit to give the President? The sole statistic referenced to indicate this success — GDP — is inherently without depth, in that it does not consider things like cost of living, inflation, education or healthcare, inequality, and so on.

And oh, about that economic success. Rumblings got louder this week of an impending stock market collapse, perhaps worse than the last one. The only reason I bring it up is that those who do not share in the successes of GDP will absolutely ‘share’ in the failures of the stock market, recession, depression.  

Further though, from media to government, was it not only a few weeks ago, upon reports that some companies had celebrated Trump’s tax cuts by giving workers bonuses of up to $1000, that Nancy Pelosi called the bonuses “crumbs?”

The underlying idea of Pelosi’s comment is strong. Really the only trump card (pun intended) she would need would be this graph:

It shows quite clearly the evisceration of the middle class over nearly forty years of Presidents and governments who said their changes to taxes and regulations were designed to help the middle class.

So yes, if you give someone $1000 and then take $1 a day every day for forty years then I suppose the $1000 does amount to “crumbs.”

The problem is that if Pelosi introduced this type of depth, she would implicitly condemn herself, having been part of the government for over thirty of those forty years. Thus, her comments were inflammatory rather than explanatory. One can imagine what many Americans thought when a wealthy, powerful person from the most expensive city on the continent told them $1000 was “crumbs.”

There seems to be, in mainstream media, in Congress, in the White House, an epidemic of individuals and entities who scream ‘fake news’ about anything they disagree with, while contributing to the problem whenever it is opportune.

But that brings me to the point. I, like many, have been following the growing series of videos on what is being called ‘Bernie TV’ — the Facebook platform of Bernie Sanders. These videos have accumulated tens of millions of views, leading some to speculate that Bernie is experimenting with infrastructure in anticipation of a presidential run in 2020.

It is unclear whether or not the Bern will be felt in two years time, but what is certain is that should Bernie Sanders run for President, he will not rely on traditional methods and platforms to disseminate his message.

No one, not even Trump, experienced the nuanced version of ‘fake news’ prevalent within mainstream media more overtly in 2015/16 than Bernie Sanders. Yet, whereas Trump goes around screaming ‘fake news’ at everything that moves, dragging the entire proceedings towards the carnival in which he is most comfortable — as sort of Mark Twain “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience” kind of thing — Bernie attempts to create a solution to the problem.

Really, this is a perfectly illustrative example of the difference between the two men: Donald Trump, inflammatory, often appearing to be actively working towards the worst case scenario, and Bernie Sanders, curmudgeonly yet loveable, ever vigilant, always trying to come up with a way to do things better.

Gah, let that be the race in 2020.


Quote of the Week:

Written by Nigel Clarke

Writer and notorious vagabond. From the frozen north. Follow Nigel on Twitter @Nig_Clarke.

Nigel Clarke is a Writer for Progressive Army.

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