We’re All Part of Trump’s Show – by Brett Stephens – NYT

“If you want to understand the ways in which Donald Trump’s presidency is systematically corrupting the American mind, I have a book recommendation for you. It’s about Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The book is Peter Pomerantsev’s “Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible.” It was published in 2014, and it brilliantly tells the story of the (Soviet-born) British author’s sojourn as a producer for Russian TV. As the title suggests, at its heart it’s the tale of the substitution of reality with “reality,” of factual truth with interpretive possibility.

That’s also the central task of Donald Trump’s presidency.”

“This is why there’s a Colosseum in Rome, and why public spectacle, theater, cinema, TV and now the internet have always been handmaids of dictators. In Russia, it’s all about casting the president as a bare-chested action hero, pumping out anti-Western conspiracy theories and serving up remakes of Western sitcoms and reality shows.

“The new Kremlin,” Pomerantsev notes, “won’t make the same mistake the old Soviet Union did: It will never let TV become dull.” Authoritarian dominion requires effective methods of mass distraction.

Trump isn’t a dictator, and his influence over media that isn’t Fox or Breitbart is negligible. But Trump does control his Twitter feed, with its 43.6 million followers. And he exerts a deeper level of control simply through his ability to bait hostile media at will with his every seemingly nutty utterance.The benefits, for Trump, are threefold: a political opposition that is exhausting itself — and much of the public — with its perpetual state of moral apoplexy; a political base that thrills to his readiness to scandalize the bien pensant; and an effective means of distraction from his electoral, legislative and foreign policy failures.

In other words, the president is conducting a kind of meta-politics, the purpose of which is to erase ordinary standards of political judgment. The question is not “How am I doin’?” as the late New York City mayor Ed Koch used to ask. It is, gladiator-like, “Are you not entertained?” Even those of us most aghast at this administration must confess we are.”

es. I just wrote this morning, that Trump is diverting attention from his tax cut bait and switch, moving wealth from the middle class to the to 5%, with his ludicrous tweets and untruths.

Here is another comment in that vain.

chambolle

Bainbridge Island 8 hours ago

Indeed. And this week, while we are being kept thoroughly diverted and amused by the clown show that is all things Trump, the Roy Moore horror show and other cheap entertainment, the GOP will pull off a magic trick: stealing about $1.5 trillion in federal tax revenues and handing them over to the nation’s wealthiest individuals and entities – courtesy of the sick, the elderly, students and others who will be bled and have nothing to say in the matter.

Oh, by the way, does anyone remember that $1.5 trillion federal infrastructure restoration and improvement program touted by both parties during the 2016 campaigns? Shucks, I guess we can no longer afford that, either. Unless your name is Ponzi, you can’t spend the same $1.5 trillion twice.

1 thought on “We’re All Part of Trump’s Show – by Brett Stephens – NYT

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