The great Matt Taibbi
offers a superbly-written piece on the public's newfound willingness to accept, and even reward, hyper-mendacity from our political candidates. The following paragraphs demonstrate why so many people believe Taibbi to be one of the great stylists of our time:
This is a horrible thing to have to say about one's own country, but this story makes it official. America is now too dumb for TV news.
It's our fault. We in the media have spent decades turning the news into a consumer business that's basically indistinguishable from selling cheeseburgers or video games. You want bigger margins, you just cram the product full of more fat and sugar and violence and wait for your obese, over-stimulated customer to come waddling forth.
The old Edward R. Murrow, eat-your-broccoli version of the news was banished long ago. Once such whiny purists were driven from editorial posts and the ad people over the last four or five decades got invited in, things changed. Then it was nothing but murders, bombs, and panda births, delivered to thickening couch potatoes in ever briefer blasts of forty, thirty, twenty seconds.
What we call right-wing and liberal media in this country are really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism. The ideal CNN story is a baby down a well, while the ideal Fox story is probably a baby thrown down a well by a Muslim terrorist or an ACORN activist. Both companies offer the same service, it's just that the Fox version is a little kinkier.
When you make the news into this kind of consumer business, pretty soon audiences lose the ability to distinguish between what they think they're doing, informing themselves, and what they're actually doing, shopping.
Better than Mencken, that. And I speak as a lifelong Mencken fan.
Taibbi focuses on The Donald's great gaffe about dancing Muslims on 9/11. Here, alas, the great writer goes all limpy and wimpy.
When Trump started to take heat, he at first did something one journalist I know calls "panic-Googling." Panic-Googling is saying or writing something dumb, then frantically rushing to the Internet to see if you can luck out into evidence for what you've already blabbed in public.
Trump thought he lucked out, digging up a September 18, 2001, Washington Post article by reporters Serge Kovaleski and Frederick Kunkle. The old clip claimed a few people had been detained after allegedly being spotted celebrating in "tailgate-style" parties on rooftops in northern New Jersey.
Seizing upon this factoid, Trump tweeted, "I want an apology! Many people have tweeted that I am right!"
At no point does Taibbi make the point that I did a few posts down
: The Washington Post piece from 2001 does not mention Muslims at all. That old WP story contains a somewhat garbled reference to the "dancing Israelis" who were seen videotaping the strikes on the Twin Towers. Both
If there were any news broadcasts offering evidence of cheering Muslims
in New Jersey, we would all know about it. The video would be as famous as those break-the-internet photos of Kim Kardashian's butt.
No such video clip ever existed.
However, there were plenty of broadcasts and mainstream news stories which mentioned those celebratory Israelis. Those guys were real. They were apprehended and interrogated for months. We even know their names: Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari.
No serious student of the incident denies that those five young men were Mossad "helpers" (not actual agents), as was their employer, Dominik Suter. The five even appeared on Israeli television and admitted that their job was to document the strike on the World Trade Center.
The "dancing Muslims" are a delusion. The "dancing Israelis" are a fact. So why doesn't Taibbi tell you about this almost-forgotten fact (which Trump, in his blundering way, has re-inserted into the national debate)?
In 2008, Taibbi wrote a terrific book called The Great Derangement
, which detailed his adventures with religious nuts and conspiracy buffs, with a particular focus on the 9/11 "Truthers." As longtime readers of this humble blog know, the so-called Truthers have always made my skin crawl -- and they seem to have had the same effect on Taibbi.
Here are a couple of excerpts from his book:
I was struck particularly by a meeting of 9/11 Truthers in Austin, Texas, in which a “discussion” of what to do about the conspiracy in Washington devolved into a speech-making session. A group of twenty-five to thirty Truthers filed into a little church on the outskirts of town and, led by a breezy, est-counselorish moderator who enforced tolerance for the viewpoints of all, each participant got up and offered his or her own individual angry theory about the nature of the conspiracy. Some blamed the royals, others the bankers, others the Trilateral Commission, all blamed decades of Bush family iniquity, and one woman even talked about a conspiracy to hide the discovery of alien technologies at Area 51; everyone made his or her speech, and then the meeting was over with nothing accomplished except a decision to have another meeting.
But none of that even matters nearly as much as what 9/11 Truth says about the mental state of the population. The whole narrative of the movement is so completely and utterly retarded, it boggles the mind. It’s like something cooked up by a bunch of teenagers raised on texting, TV, and Sports Illustrated who just saw V for Vendetta for the first time and decided to write a Penguin History of the World on the strength of it. A genius on the order of a Mozart or a Shakespeare would be hard-pressed to dream up the awesome comedy that is the alleged plot from the point of view of the plotters.
At this point, I'll add something that would probably alienate Taibbi if ever he were to read these words (which is doubtful). If you immerse yourself in the literature of intelligence operations -- and I'm talking about real books about real spooks, not kook books written by conspiracy cranks -- one tactic becomes very clear: The best way to hide the truth is within the proverbial "bodyguard of lies."
It ain't easy to find a Hershey's Kiss in a pile of horse manure. As Margaret Thatcher's friend and aide Lord Alistair McAlpine once said (in a book about business strategies inspired by Machiavelli):
First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations against both the company and its management become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.
I agree with just about everything Taibbi says about the so-called Truthers in his book. Those naive ninnies functioned according to the McAlpine plan. They provided the buckets of horseshit that hid the Hershey's Kiss.
In my view, the Hershey's Kiss at the center of 9/11 comes down to the tableau of those five giggling Israelis who mounted a camera on that New Jersey rooftop before the first jet struck. Did Bush know? No. But those five kids: They
knew. They admitted on television that they knew.
You can see a video on YouTube in which one of them more-or-less blurts out the truth.
I am not here constructing a wild, massive theory, and I am not arguing beyond the demonstrable facts. Don't accuse me of promoting a narrative: I don't have
a narrative, and I do not claim to know the answers. What I have are a number of news stories, interviews and documents about six guys from Israel. Unlike Taibbi, and unlike every "respectable" writer now enjoying mainstream visibility, I refuse to ignore the existence of those news stories, interviews and documents.
Sivan Kurzberg, Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner, Omer Marmari and Dominik Suter: Somehow, they knew
I cannot begin to tell you how much I despise the 9/11 AntiTruthers and their ludicrous blatherings about controlled demolitions and holographic jets and space lasers and Building Fucking Seven and God-knows-what-else. The only thing that those clowns ever accomplished was to bring discredit to anyone trying to pursue a potentially important line of investigation. Thanks to the bizarre antics of AntiTruthers (a.k.a. The McAlpine Brigade), great writers like Matt Taibbi are now afraid even to mention the names of those six guys from Israel.
Mark my words: In every important investigation, the McAlpine Tactic will come into play. Every. Single. Time
. And you can bet the mortgage money that dolts like Alex Jones will buy into the bullshit. Every. Single. Time
. AJ ought to re-name his radio show the McAlpine Hour.
* * *
NOW HEAR THIS!
As always: I will never allow assholes to use this blog to blather on about "controlled demolition" and similar nonsense. In my opinion, those myths were deliberately created to deflect attention from the tale of Suter and his lads.
Alas, I know full well that if the "controlled demolition" nutcases get a foot in the door, they will barge in and wreck the joint. One must never argue with such people, not even for a moment. They are like Holocaust revisionists and those dolts who think we never went to the moon: Utterly unworthy of debate.
Therefore, the only person allowed to discuss 9/11 on this blog is yours truly. You may not discuss the issue here from any perspective. An unfair rule? Perhaps, but experience is a harsh teacher, and I learned my lesson nearly a decade ago. The "controlled demolition" bozos must not be allowed even the slightest opening.
It's a big internet, folks, and there are other sites. Dig or split.