Lyin’ Ted vs Lyin’ Donald

Since the Iowa Caucus Donald Trump has been calling Ted Cruz a liar. Trump’s supporters often point to that night and the actions of the Cruz campaign as indicative of some fatal flaw in the presidential campaign of Ted Cruz. Trump, himself, almost always refers to Cruz as “lyin’ Ted” on twitter. Has Cruz lied since then? Maybe. Has he misconstrued his opponent’s positions on an issue? Likely. But that’s not the focus of the “Lyin’ Ted” moniker. It always goes back to the Iowa Caucus.

I said back then, and will say again, that I think Cruz didn’t handle this situation correctly. But his campaign wasn’t the only people that night to make a mistake.

If you remember, for some idiotic reason, Ben Carson’s campaign sent out a weird message right before the Iowa caucuses began. They said that Carson wouldn’t be going directly to the next battleground, but would return home. I have no idea who green lit this message, at this time. It was not something that had to be sent right then. And the timing set things in motion.

Iowa caucuses are weird. People make speeches and try to convince others to support their candidates before the votes are taken. Right before the speeches began, the Carson news was reported on several outlets. I saw it on twitter. My immediate thought was, “He must be dropping out.” It made no sense for this information to come out then unless he was leaving the race. It was just a weird statement to send to media.

16 minutes before the caucus started CNN broadcast that Carson was not going to New Hampshire or South Carolina, but instead heading home to Florida. One reporter, Dana Bash, said on air, “If you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida,”

Someone in the Cruz campaign had the bright idea to send out a message to the people about to speak in each caucus site, telling them that it looked like Carson was out. Their interpretation was the same as mine when I heard he was going home. I wouldn’t have sent the message without double checking the report. They obviously didn’t check it. A quick decision that turned out to be a mistake.

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That’s a copy of the message sent to the caucus speakers. CNN was reporting that very thing. It made sense. Carson was not expected to do well. The polls had him at 9%. (He actually got a little over 9.3%). Frankly, he should have been dropping out. That’s probably why CNN was talking about him going home on air.

Carson’s campaign quickly put out another statement saying that he was just going home to get a change of clothes. Again, weird. But OK, Carson needed some time. That’s his business, I guess. But it was too late to stop the Cruz campaign speakers.

As soon as it became known that Cruz’s campaign has sent this email Carson and Trump cried foul. Ted Cruz personally apologized for the incident. Carson used it to further his campaign. Remember, Carson actually got more of the vote than was expected, even though this information had been sent. Trump, upset about losing to Cruz, threw a #Trumpertantrum on twitter and has continued to call Cruz a liar because of it.

I feel that the Cruz campaign made a big mistake in sending that message out. I felt like Cruz should have fired someone over it. I can see how it happened, and why it was sent. Someone was over eager to score votes from what they thought was a defunct campaign. This wasn’t something they made up out of thin air. This wasn’t just a blatant lie. Remove the odd statement from Carson, take away the CNN reporting, and this never happens.

But it did happen. And Trump supporters love to remind Cruz supporters of it, and accuse Cruz of being a liar. Lying’ Ted.

OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Ted Cruz is a dirty rotten liar, and this horrible liar is disqualified from being president because of this lie. If one lie disqualifies a candidate, how can anyone support Donald Trump?

I was reading a story the other day about how Trump lies so casually and continually that reporters don’t have time to check them all before they have to meet their deadlines. There are just so many times Trump is less than truthful. For instance, Earlier this month Donald Trump cancelled a rally in Chicago because he said the police recommended he should. The CPD spokesman says they never said that.

Or take this from just a couple of days ago. Trump was campaigning in Arizona, a Southern border state. Fox news reported this:
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Forget the Cruz birther junk in the beginning. The last sentence. Trump knows that Cruz was never for amnesty. At most you could make a case that he once was for legalization, but not amnesty. Even Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter, says that Cruz proposed the legalization amendment to the Gang of 8 bill so it would end up not being passed. Trump knows Cruz does not support amnesty. So that was a blatant, calculated lie.

If one so called lie, which had zero impact on the caucus results, disqualifies Cruz, how do so many lies not also disqualify Trump?

2 Serious Questions for Trump Voters

I don’t want to try to argue you into my way of thinking I seriously just want to know the answer to these two questions:

  1. Is there ANYTHING that Donald Trump could say or do that would make you not vote for him?
  2. Is there ANY revelation about his past that would cause you to not vote for him?

That’s it. I’m trying to better understand what motivates people who support him.

Watching the reactions to last night’s debate, and other events… just reading Trump’s twitter feed the past couple of months… and the reactions of those who support him if you criticize him… I fear that the answer to both of those questions is no.

I don’t think there is any reasoned-out rationale behind your support of Trump. I think it’s just an emotional response, frustrations brought to light. He resonates with you. His rhetoric is what you have been waiting for. And nothing he says or does, or has done, or has said will ever make you change your vote.

If that is true, then it doesn’t matter what he stands for, what he actually does, because he just makes you feel like you want to vote for him.

If the answer to those two questions is no, heaven help us.

 

Media Dogpiles Carson Because of Politico Post Saying He Lied, Clinton’s Benghazi Lies Still Not a Big Deal.

I’ve said it before. Journalism is dead.

This morning Politico posted an article with a headline that said Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson “fabricated” a story about West Point. If you follow the link, that’s not what the headline says now. In fact the Daily Caller has it’s own story about how much Politico has backed off of their original story. The first line of the original post was, “Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted … that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated” and it has been deleted, headline changed.

If you read the Politico story all the way through you can see that their initial inflammatory headline was way overblown. In fact, this is making a mountain out of a molehill. Carson may have the exact dates wrong, but he did meet Westmoreland and discuss West Point. Carson, like me and many others, apparently didn’t know that everyone gets a full scholarship at West Point. I didn’t know that, I would have expected an editor of the book to catch that detail.

Regardless, in a media driven by views and ratings more than truth, news organizations were off to the races. CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, Newsweek, Fortune, USA Today and just about anyone else you can name all ran some form of the story. Carson’s campaign started crying foul, and the conservative news blogs started writing rebuttals. Fox is now running a headline that says the report by Politico has been called into question.

Now, I’m not sure Carson is our best candidate. He doesn’t seem to be the good at handling a media that wants to rip him and his candidacy apart. He’s said some strange stuff. (If reports are to be believed… he may not have tried to hit his mother with a hammer, or stabbed someone, or been robbed at gunpoint, and doesn’t know what the Pyramids are.) But this is just bad journalism. OK, Politico thought it had a story and blew it out of proportion. I could almost excuse that as over eager reporting on something they thought would be a huge story. (They should officially retract their initial claims instead of silently altering the story) But for every other major news organization to pile on without doing their own checking of the story? Come on.

This is just the latest in recent stories about Carson’s past life and statements. What did he do that made it open season on his past? He started leading the Republican polls and he criticized the media.

If the media were doing this to all of the candidates, Democrat as well as Republican, it would be easier to take. But no, this is the state of journalism in America:

In Benghazi hearing we see definitive proof that Hillary Clinton knew what she told the American people about the embassy attack was a lie.

Media: “Meh, why are the Republicans harassing her about this?”

Ben Carson leads some polls and said he was offered a scholarship to West Point, when in fact no one is ever offered a “scholarship” there because it’s free to attend if you can get in.

Media: “Carson’s a liar! Liar, liar, pants of fire!”

The double standard makes my head hurt.

Journalism is Dead, So Who Moderates GOP Presidential Debates?

Journalism used to be informing the public about what it needed to know. If you’ve ever seen the first couple of episodes of HBO’s “Newsroom” then you’ve seen a drama about the clash between modern “journalism” and real journalism. Now, that show went on to depict a heavy bias in it’s story line, but the conflict they portrayed in those first episodes was pretty accurate.

Journalism is dead. Instead, we have reporters and news sources that write to get page views and publish for ad revenue. I’m not naive enough to think that journalism used to not be about making money, but there doesn’t seem to be anything resembling journalistic integrity in the American news anymore. I’m sure there are notable exceptions, but, in general, news article and reports are slanted, left or right. Or toward whatever pet passion the author has.

Plus, many people think that an opinion piece, which might be written about the news, actually is the news. My blog is all opinion. Not news. I might report something, but I almost always cite an opinion about it.

Because we have almost no unbiased news sources to get the news from, we tend to find sources that match our own biases. I don’t go to CNN or CNBC, I go to Blaze or Fox or a conservative news source. We all succumb to something called “confirmation bias” where we search for, and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions. I don’t want to read the bias of a news reporter I don’t agree with, so I tend to read those that are like me. And they tend to report news that affirms my view of things. Journalism, as we once knew it, is dead.

If journalism is dead, who should moderate the GOP Presidential debates?

The current election cycle has brought this issue to the forefront. It started with Fox and continued until this most recent debacle on CNBC. These debates, which should be about informing the public, have become focused on generating ratings and entertainment. And reporters are more interested in delivering a stinging opinion than asking pertinent questions about a candidates policies and politics.

Much has been (angrily- don’t click this link unless you are OK with rough language) written about this last CNBC debate. I will post just a couple of the questions from news reporters to the GOP Presidential candidates to illustrate this:

To Carly Fiorina, regarding reducing the tax code to three pages: “You want to bring 70,000 pages to three? Is that using really small type? Is that using really small type?”

 

To Donald Trump: “Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”

Just two of the actual questions asked by reporters to Presidential candidates in this last debate. The tone of disrespect is just incredible.

So, obviously, Republicans are lviid. They have already pulled from a future NBC debate. And have begun talking about how they want to handle other debates. And the press has gotten it’s hackles up in defense. They claim it’s their job to ask hard questions.

And that’s true, but these were not hard questions, These questions would be more at home on a reality TV show than a debate platform.

So, what do we do?

The American people deserve to have hard, legitimate questions asked of candidates for the highest office in government. The current model isn’t working, and I don’t think we should have the campaigns run the debates either.

How can we hold a Presidential debate that would reflect a wider political bias?

-The Jury System– The major news networks still get to be a part of the debates and the associated ad revenue, but they don’t get to pick all of the moderators. Instead the GOP and the network get to propose 4-6 potential moderators each. And each gets 3 strikes. The network selects one, the GOP can accept or strike for any reason. (And the selection process is off the record.) The GOP selects one, and the network can accept of strike. The process continues until all 4 spots are filled. Both the GOP and network can strike moderators they dislike, but each gets at least one on the panel they like. The moderators select their own questions, and while they all know the questions in advance so they won’t double up, no other moderator can veto someone else’s question.

-The Youtube Debate- Youtube is a major online video platform. If anyone can handle the traffic, they can. The GOP works with Youtube (Or another platform). Major news networks can take a feed. By taking a feed, they are allowed to submit 2 questions that will be asked of each candidate. Americans are allowed to submit questions for the debate, and the GOP and Youtube pick from those questions. Youtube sells advertising, The networks agree to air a portion of Youtube’s ads, and then insert their own ads over the rest to cover their costs. GOP and Youtube split the cost of the venue. GOP and Youtube pick the actual moderators, who agree to ask the questions as submitted. Everyone can watch, either online or on TV. No one network can have influence over all the questions. The GOP doesn’t have say over all the questions.

Either of these models would result in a wider range of biases being represented in the questions. There would probably be some questionable questions, but that would be the exception, not the rule. It’s sad that we even have to worry about how to hold a fair debate, but at least when it comes to politics, journalism is dead.