Sources are reporting that Donald Trump has challenged fellow septuagenarian Joe Biden to a pissing contest. Trump who claims to have the peeing range of an 8 year old is reported to have requested the pissing contest as an alternative to this years presidential debates. Sources report Trump saying, "I talked about dongs in the Republican debates of 2016, lets ratchet things up a notch this time by whipping them out on live television."
That's not breaking news you say?
It's as factual as much of what you'll find if you happen to be a denizen of the right-wing media ecosystem or if you listen to Donald Trump talk for a few minutes.
If you have some attention to spare please watch the video below.
You won't be able to save the victims enthralled by the right-wing media ecosystem but at least you'll have a better idea of how and why the United States got to where we are currently. Hopefully you can come up with some ideas for how you as an individual might save our democratic liberal society from a group of people that are being manipulated to the point where they inhabit a world that you, and and anyone else who inhabits the world of reality, would find very unfamiliar.
Anyone who wants to get a better view of how the United States slipped into our current dystopian state and what we might do to start correcting our path should be interested in this video and, if you have time, read the associated book Network Propaganda - Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics.
If you are short on cash you don't have to buy the book since the authors have made a PDF copy available by clicking on the "open access" link at the top right corner of the book's page at Oxford University Press.
The book isn't typical media criticism but rather data analysis of millions of stories, tweets and Facebook shares using MIT's Media Cloud Software. If you are curious you can sign up for an account and start doing your own research.
Sadly the book confirms that it would be as foolish to believe in the upcoming Biden/Trump pissing in the wind contest as it is to believe that "facts" and "journalism" and "reality" are going to sway people looking solely for information that is entertaining, self-affirming and non-threatening to their preconceived (and constantly reaffirmed) fantasies.
On the plus side you can stop beating your head against the wall wondering how so many people can be so ignorant. They aren't to blame, they have been trained very well over many years by the finest propaganda money can buy.
You can also stop fretting over all the negative but truthful coverage of the GOP and Trump in mainstream journalism and why that awfulness doesn't sink in with the current supporters of the GOP and Trump - because they aren't reading, watching or listening to any of that stuff.
If you have a good mental core and can view emotional things dispassionately it might be better to listen to right wing hate radio, read Breitbart, RT, Daily Caller, Daily Pundit or the Washington Examiner and watch Fox and Friends in the morning and Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson at night - like the President and most other GOP politicians and their supporters do - to get a better idea of what that frightening world is like.
Trump took over a media machine that the Republican party spent decades constructing and now this out of control giant robotic beast is roaming the country wreaking havoc on us puny humans.
It seems unlikely but if you think an intervention - with some victim of the right-wing media ecosystem, who you know well and can talk with, would help - by all means try to help them.
It's more likely that these beliefs are so ingrained and deeply personal that unless a person looks for reality of their own accord...no one else is going to convince them, or debate them, or shame them, into changing these deeply held personal beliefs.
If over 100,000 excess deaths due to the Covid-19 pandemic don't convince Fox News watching and Facebook sharing, Uncle John or Aunt Sally that the GOP and our president are unfit - your debating, Facebooking, and twittering skills aren't going to help. I came up with 100,000 as a conservative figure. The US has about 4% of the world's population and 20% of the world's Covid-19 deaths. In other words we have five times as many fatalities as would be expected...which means with our current 200,000 plus deaths that Trump and his GOP enablers are responsible for 160,000 excess deaths in our country.
It's not all that surprising that this video was posted in March and only had 27 views when I watched it this September since it isn't being promoted by "influencers."
It's not that hard to push content to the top of the Google search. I used to do that with this blog years ago when I still accepted advertisers.
Finally I'll leave you with this quote from the book that sums things up pretty well from my perspective -
"We think that fundamentally, anyone who insists on claiming that we cannot draw conclusions about which side is biased, and which side gravitates more closely to the truth, must explain how the media sources most trusted by consistently conservative survey respondents—Fox News, Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck—are the equivalent of the sites that occupy the same positions among consistently liberal respondents: NPR, PBS, the BBC, and the New York Times."