Karl Becker Put the Litigating to Rest - for a Moment
What a difference 72 hours makes. From a merely really-tough couple of weeks, to an 11 year old video (or really the audio on the video of a parked bus) that was devastating. To the fleeing of fellow GOP Congressmen and women. To a surprisingly strong debate performance. Given the nihilistic/joyful (choose your pick) expectations that preceded Sunday’s nasty debate in St. Louis. To frickin’ Geraldo Riviera hinting that he (wasn’t he a Trump supporter?) had worse evidence of Trump’s lewdness.
And there will be more.
Because Hillary kind of sucks as a candidate. And she needs some support. Even her close supporters admitted their disappointment over the fact that she didn't leave Trump face down on the canvas, where so many in the media believe he belongs. But Trump won the debate. And was able to put together more than a few good moments - leaving aside his rambling digressions on his taxes and on the Post Office in DC, which was completely unnecessary.
Trump has to learn through the maze of his ego, but he does learn, and he showed some lethal agility: the Abe Lincoln comment, which was very funny; and the you'd be in jail comment, which was scary brutal but got a big cheer. Because it drove to the heart of Hillary's untrustworthiness like a poisoned dagger. So the consensus - for the next 24 to 48 hours at least - is that he staunched the flow of fleeing Republicans. Pence is standing by his man, and Pence's wife is presumably standing by her man. If not her man's man.
This - leaving aside Hillary's bring-us-all-together spiel - is a truly divided campaign. And a deeply divided America. And the media is in the middle of those fault lines, but hardly as an observer. The moderators practically took over the debate with Trump when they felt Hillary was fading a little or taking the high road. It was Anderson Cooper who immediately litigated the issues raised by the NBC video, after an initial softball question from an audience member. Cooper gladly opened the gates of hell to make sure Trump would be sufficiently punished for his behavior. Or his talk. Which was talk and which was behavior? That will be litigated, by the media, as soon as the next video/audio/data on Trump is released. The oppo tactics will not be sheathed after this campaign. You use them once. They will be used again. And again.
And that means that the viewing audience - who bear some resemblance to voters - seem to be dividing along one of those nasty fault lines.
If you hate the media, you love Trump. If you love/like the media, you hate Trump. And vice versa. Unfortunately, that fault line doesn't quite lie cleanly in Hillary's favor. Millennials by and large hate Trump, but have not shown - as of yet - much willingness to vote for Hillary. So litigating how the media litigates the issues with Trump is the latest hot spot in America's and the West's endless cultural wars. Cultural wars so intense that a group like ISIS can fall on one side or the other of those wars - rather than earn a near-unanimous condemnation. We litigate whose fault ISIS is, rather than say: they are our enemy. They are evil. We will unite. We will prevail.
Thank God for the final question. Asked by Karl Becker. Not by Anderson Cooper. Not by Martha Raddatz. Not by Lester Holt. Not even by soft-spoken Elaine Quijano. In spite of the rhetoric, did the candidates have anything positive or good to say about the other candidate? A well-constructed perfect question at just the right time. It gained immediate wild applause from the audience. At least Cooper didn't yell at them to shut up.
Karl Becker put the litigating to rest - if only for a brief moment - and made America think of something bigger than hating the other side. God bless him for that.Posted by Keeley at October 11, 2016 5:29 PM