Unholy Duo?

The Associated Press has just published a poll showing that while 71% of Democrats believe the next election will be counted fairly, only 22% of Republicans believe it will be.

Cynic that I am, I personally believe part of the Republican view represented is that no election in which they do not prevail is fair, regardless of what an accurate count reflects.

But the majority of Republicans believe what they do primarily as a result of two factors, the lying persistence of Donald Trump and the combination of cowardice and profit seeking at any cost on the part of the media.

Trump is totally devoid of ethics and also understands clearly that most people want to hear what they believe, regardless of any facts that conflict with those beliefs, and the more often they hear what they wish to believe, the more that false belief is reinforced.

This is true of both Republicans and Democrats, but the Democrats lack a messianic prophet, while the Republicans have Donald Trump continually playing on their fears and trumpeting the falsehoods so many Republicans want to hear.

In their pursuit of profit, the media repeat and replay all of Trump’s falsehoods, rather than essentially cutting him off and saying, “At the rally, Trump repeated his proven falsehoods.” By giving coverage to those falsehoods, even while pointing out their falsity, the media keeps Trump’s campaign and presence in the forefront on the media news shows and on the front pages of the various tabloids.

The media also does this with crime and mass shootings, but since the shooters are always different, the effect of repetition doesn’t keep an individual in the media spotlight, but creates an underlying feeling of doom, which, in turn, indirectly supports Trump and his falsehoods.

Perhaps not the “perfect storm” of negativity, but definitely an unholy alliance.

14 thoughts on “Unholy Duo?”

  1. KevinJ says:

    I like the way you used the word “unholy” in that last sentence, after “messianic” a few paragraphs before.

    How any religious person can tolerate Trump… (I know, I know, the falsehoods prevail there too.)

    1. BIll says:

      Religious people can like Boy Orange because he makes them feel good about themselves. People of faith not so much.
      The good news is that CNN’s leader recently left and he was promoting a more balanced perspective meaning more MAGA coverage to attempt to bring that crowd to CNN.

  2. Phineas says:

    I think suppressing the speech of a political opponent is probably more dangerous to our democracy than questioning the accuracy of the vote counts. But, given the way characters in your books solve their political problems, I’m not surprised it appeals to you.

    1. We punish fraud, and we restrict untrue claims by business. Why shouldn’t we do the same for politicians?

      1. Phineas says:

        “Why shouldn’t we do the same for politicians?”

        First, because the potential for abuse and conflict of interest is too great. Second, because so much of what politicians say are opinions and interpretations of facts. Is an incorrect interpretation the same as a lie? If I think the evidence suggests election interference aimed at preventing a second term for Trump and you think it doesn’t, one of us is clearly wrong but are either of us lying? Maybe you could argue yes, but I think the answer to that question depends on the sincerity of the one who is wrong. And if you despise my political opinions then doesn’t that compromise your ability to fairly judge my sincerity? Certainly his political opponents have a conflict of interest when it comes to fairly judging any given statement by Trump.

        1. A misleading or incorrect interpretation is effectively a lie, but I wasn’t talking about those. I was talking about proven, repeated lies — such as winning an election you didn’t. The rule of law would still hold, in that prosecution would require proof.

          1. KevinJ says:

            LEM is right. Because if there’s one thing that’s been proven time and again, it’s that power and corruption go hand in hand.

            A free press can keep an informed electorate aware of government corruption, and the electorate can in theory take action.

            But what do you do about a corrupt press? The potential for abuse is, currently, even higher, because they can hide behind the First Amendment.

            The framers back when did a good job with checks and balances, but a check on the power of the press is one they missed out on.

    2. Postagoras says:

      Hmm, Phineas, so let’s say a news organization simply says “Donald Trump gave a speech and repeated many lies that he’s told before.” Which is what he does.

      To you, that is “suppressing political speech”? Wow.

      1. Phineas says:

        I meant refusing to give speeches by Trump the same coverage they would give any top tier presidential candidate who is also a former president on the basis that they think he lies too much. That seemed to be the intent of the original post.

        The implication is that the electorate can’t be trusted to see though the lies of a politician or come to the correct conclusion, so they should be presented with a carefully curated set of facts verified by the liberal media. No doubt any resulting liberal electoral victories would just be unintended happy coincidences. (That’s sarcasm in case you can’t tell.)

        Actually, don’t you think that underlying idea that the electorate can’t be trusted is more subtle but just as undermining in the confidence of our elections as the idea that the vote counts can’t be trusted?

        1. Postagoras says:

          Sorry, no. It not that “they think he lies too much.” This is not a feeling, or a matter of opinion, it is reporting a fact. “Donald Trump repeated a bunch of old lies again today.”

          What Mr. Modesitt is saying is that there’s no obligation to report the lies. But, you believe that the news media have that obligation.

  3. Tom says:

    “ … an unholy alliance … “ but the media does have the option of drawing our attention, by pointing out potential corrective behaviors/options, for what affects the majority of citizens rather than pandering to the ‘minorities’ and ‘celebrities’. If a celebrity can generate a lot of money and opportunities to voice their, usually unfounded, opinions; then surely the media can also get financial support from millionaires and billionaires.

    There are many research papers on positive and negative media news.

    Such as:



    and even Wikipedia has some interesting Tables and graphs:


    Note the Table: Popularity and Trust of Different News Sources by U.S. Teens Ages 13–18 in 2020

  4. Mayhem says:

    One major issue – the media in the US has been highly partisan for almost its entire existence. Indeed the whole concept of trustworthy news reporting is mostly the result of rise tinted memories – when you drill down you’ll find that even in times of genuinely great reporting, there were also large swathes of reporting that outright lied or invented stories about minorities or ethnic groups or geopolitical rivals. But unless you were connected to such, you’d never know.

    With the rise of the multimedia conglomerates and the collapse in local news and reporting, there is a larger global issue of a greatly reduced range of views and opinions being expressed alike in international territories. The Murdoch press for example puts out a fairly consistent style and message in all countries in which they hold sway, only stratified by which market it aims at – financial, traditional or red top.
    It’s particularly bad in New Zealand, where national opinion on issues is largely driven by two couples, who between them work for talkback, both main print media, the main news and the main magazine. It’s not even a matter of liberal/conservatives bias, it’s getting past the shrill shrieks of manufactured stories to the actual important news that was conveniently buried.

    1. Tom says:

      It seems to me that the news media has changed drastically in NZ, specifically over the last 20 years or so. Opening the NZ Herald is like opening a US newspaper. Getting political news one has to go to Stuff NZ. This is so “bad” that it has even permeated into South Island newspapers as far as the Southland Times and Otago Daily times. Similar apparent mindlessness is true for media from Brisbane to Adelaide and Sydney to Perth. No more staid traditional niches of culture.

      I should not complain because I tend to accept this as an obvious result of increasing world population forcing an increasing cultural similarity; but it is not the kind of ‘balanced’ human culture I would like, so, of course I complain!

  5. Tom says:


    “ … The end of reading and of written words means the vanishing of these connections, and the emergence of a different brain, maybe speedier and multitasking, but destined to remain on the surface since deeper thought and understanding require words and time. It is impossible to write a poem, a novel, or a scientific paper using pictures, selfies, emoticons, or simple sentences! … So, the more complex the speech-style, the more evident the lack of interest. … The issue is not the medium (and in this respect the potential offered by the new digital world is undisputed) but rather the content. …“

    Perhaps this is the reason for the media contributing to the Deadly Duo? There is no other way to reach the “readers”, “audience”, or “public”. Maybe even, the problem lays not the mindless celebrity megaphones, but we are 21rst Century social media humans!

    The solutions described are for teachers: but then the media do, in part, have that responsibility as well as informing the populace with up to the minute “news”.

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