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‘There must be collective action’

I wondered when one of the White House press corps would buy a clue:

CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta on Monday questioned why he, and the rest of the press corps, bothered showing up.

“I don’t know what world we’re living in right now,” Acosta said on air after White House press secretary Sean Spicer took questions from reporters but didn’t allow video or audio coverage of the exchanges.

“I don’t know why everybody is going along with this,” he added. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It just feels like we’re sort of slowly but surely being dragged into a new normal in this country where the president of the United States is allowed to insulate himself from answering hard questions.”

[…] HuffPost asked Acosta how reporters could push back against the White House’s restrictions.

“We should walk out,” he responded.

“There must be collective action or else the stonewalling will continue,” Acosta added.

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How TV cultivates authoritarianism – and helped elect Trump

Sanders hits Trump nominee who called Islam ‘a deficient theology’

James Shanahan, Indiana University and Michael Morgan, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Many gallons of ink (and megabytes of electronic text) have been devoted to explaining the surprise victory of Donald Trump.

Reasons range from white working-class resentment, to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the Hillary Clinton email investigation, to low turnout. All likely played some role. It would be a mistake to think the election turned on one single factor.

However, a study we conducted during the campaign – just published in the Journal of Communication – suggests an additional factor that should be added into the mix: television.

We’re not talking about cable news or the billions in free media given to Trump or political advertising.

Rather, we’re talking about regular, everyday television – the sitcoms, cop shows, workplace dramas and reality TV series that most heavy viewers consume for at least several hours a day – and the effect this might have on your political leanings.

An authoritarian ethos

Studies from the past 40 years have shown that regular, heavy exposure to television can shape your views on violence, gender, science, health, religion, minorities and more.

Meanwhile, 20 years ago, we conducted studies in the U.S. and Argentina that found that the more you watch television, the more likely you’ll embrace authoritarian tendencies and perspectives. Heavy American and Argentinian television viewers have a greater sense of fear, anxiety and mistrust. They value conformity, see the “other” as a threat and are uncomfortable with diversity.

There’s probably a reason for this. Gender, ethnic and racial stereotypes continue to be prevalent in many shows. Television tends to distill complex issues into simpler forms, while the use of violence as an approach to solving problems is glorified. Many fictional programs, from “Hawaii Five-O” to “The Flash,” feature formulaic violence, with a brave hero who protects people from danger and restores the rightful order of things.

In short, television programs often feature an authoritarian ethos when it comes to how characters are valued and how problems are solved.

Viewing habits and Trump support

Given this, we were intrigued when, during the campaign, we saw studies suggesting that holding authoritarian values was a powerful predictor of support for Trump.

We wondered: If watching television contributes to authoritarianism, and if authoritarianism is a driving force behind support for Trump, then might television viewing – indirectly, by way of cultivating authoritarianism – contribute to support for Trump?

About two months before the party conventions were held, we conducted an online national survey with over 1,000 adults. We asked people about their preferred candidate. (At the time, the candidates in the race were Clinton, Sanders and Trump.)

We then questioned them about their television viewing habits – how they consumed it, and how much time they spent watching.

We also asked a series of questions used by political scientists to measure a person’s authoritarian tendencies – specifically, which qualities are more important for a child to have: independence or respect for their elders; curiosity or good manners; self-reliance or obedience; being considerate or being well-behaved. (In each pair, the second answer is considered to reflect more authoritarian values.)

Confirming our own earlier studies, heavy viewers scored higher on the authoritarian scale. And confirming others’ studies, more authoritarian respondents strongly leaned toward Trump.

More importantly, we also found that authoritarianism “mediated” the effect of watching a lot of television on support for Trump. That is, heavy viewing and authoritarianism, taken together in sequence, had a significant relationship with preference for Trump. This was unaffected by gender, age, education, political ideology, race and news viewing.

We’re not the first to note that entertainment can have political consequences. In a Slate article shortly after the election, writer David Canfield argued that prime-time television is filled with programming that is “xenophobic,” “fearmongering,” “billionaire-boosting” and “science-rejecting.” What we think of “harmless prime-time escapism,” he continued, actually “reinforces the exclusionary agenda put forth by the Trump campaign.” Our data reveal that this was not simply speculation.

None of this means that television played the decisive role in the triumph of Donald Trump. But Trump offered a persona that fit perfectly with the authoritarian mindset nurtured by television.

The ConversationWhat we think of as “mere entertainment” can have a very real effect on American politics.

James Shanahan, Dean of the Media School, Indiana University and Michael Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

A few things got left out of the Daily Caller’s report on Confederate monument rally

Lee Protest.

On May 14, The Daily Caller, a popular conservative website, published a news story about recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Led by prominent white supremacists and anti-Semites, the protesters, some carrying the battle flag of the Confederacy, expressed their anger over the city’s plans to remove a large monument to Robert E. Lee. The article noted… Continue Reading →

‘He looked like a thug’

The Morning Joe crew was angry and concerned about the damage done to the U.S. relationship by Trump during his international trip. The biggest concern was the statement by Angela Merkel that Europe was “on its own.”

Richard Haas said the harm “can’t be exaggerated.”

“You could hear the tectonic plates of history move the other day. This was big. I think it was a combination of just policy difference after policy difference, from Russia to trade to climate, you see fundamental differences.”

He said Trump had “made conditional what for so long was unconditional.”

He noted that Trump’s personal interactions with the other leaders “were not going well, to say the least. That’s not what these people expect of an American president.”

“Look at the handshake. He looked like a thug, looked like a goon,” Scarborough said.

“You look at the handshake. Look at this. What a thug. What an embarrassment — he’s mauling him like an idiot. What an embarrassment to the United States. Optics matter and so do the conversations.”

“If it were followed by positive conversations, you could just say he was awkward. For Merkel to say what she said shows they see no talent, they see nothing behind the eyes they can work with,” Mika Brzezinski said.

Scarborough contrasted Trump’s behavior in Europe with his “deferential” behavior in Saudi Arabia.

“He was just the opposite, he was a bull in this the china shop of an alliance that was first built with the blood of young Americans and people across the west by freeing the continent and then from 1947 forward, we have spent blood, sweat, tears, billions of dollars building an alliance that Donald Trump wants to throw away to make points with Vladimir Putin.”

“What he has done has made uncertain what was sure, what was fundamental, and in the European eye, he has essentially pushed them in a direction that for 70 years we tried to prevent which was Germany and Europe going their own way,” Haas said.

“The whole lesson of the first half of the 20th century is the United States needed to be inextricably linked to the fate of Europe. Russia would find benefit for itself, Germany could be cast adrift and so forth. That’s what we’re setting in motion,” he said.

“We began the show today with John Kennedy. He was a president who read history, wrote history, steeped in history. I think we have a president, because he’s not familiar with history, literally doesn’t understand how he’s playing with.”

That’s because now, the fate of the United States is now tied to a man who barely reads at all.

Chris Wallace slams Fox hosts over Comey firing: ‘I take exception to the idea that this is hysteria’

Chris Wallace on Friday said it was “inconceivable” that Donald Trump was unaware of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lobbying work with a company connected to the Turkish government while serving as an adviser on his campaign. http://ift.

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace warned his Fox & Friends colleagues on Sunday that they had gone overboard with their criticism of the media’s reaction to the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Following Trump’s historic decision to fire his FBI director, Fox News programs have aired segment after segment blasting the so-called “media meltdown”.… Continue Reading →

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