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comments taken from a transcript of the show's panel during the second half of the broadcast, untouched, unchanged, and word for word. They are offered up to give an idea of the tone being projected by much of mainstream media. You might note that at times these somewhat bias pundits would not lower themselves to even utter the name Donald Trump because of the bile taste it might leave in their mouth.
Because of the problem of adding examples the mainstream media bias and how they focus on "Washington thought" promotion thinking if they say it it will be true. It is easy to see why so people have heightened concerns about what lies before us when these shows are so full of fear-mongering and poisonous rhetoric. These commentators seem oblivious or to discount the fact many Americans did vote for Trump and he did indeed win by the poorly crafted rules set for such contest. It would seem many people are unimpressed with the media and their pundits, someone is out of step with current views. Below are a slew of their comments followed by my closing statement, if it gets a bit long please leap to the end at any point.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: is there undergirding the larger, more immediate story, which is how did Donald Trump become president of the United States and what does it mean for not only the way America understands itself but the way the world understands America. I mean, I would just add one more point, which is that the rest of the world is watching with bated breath. Because we-- we are at a hinge moment in history. Since 1945, we have played a certain role in the world. And it’s not entirely clear that after January 20th we’re going to play that same role.
(Please note how the show's moderator subtly elevates the substance of his observation) JOHN DICKERSON: They should make you an editor. Michele, what’s your--
MICHELE NORRIS: In this country, we’ve always assumed that technology was a good thing. We embraced it. We assumed that it was propelling us forward and that it would perhaps even though it was displacing jobs, that it would make for a better society, a better flow of information. I think we’re going to start to really question that now-- on-- on a lot of levels because of what it’s done to democracy, because certainly what it’s done to the level of American discourse. And as journalists, you know, we have to learn how to operate in a world where there is no longer a common set of facts. People get their news in such a way that it usually affirms or confirms everything that they already believe. We have someone who is about to occupy the Oval Office who is dismissing many of the publications that we work or have worked for and is trying to bypass us and go directly to people. So as we try to explain this surreal universe, we find ourselves in-- in almost a room of funhouse mirrors trying to figure out how to describe what’s going on.
JOHN DICKERSON: David?
DAVID FRUM: A neo-fascist party may win the presidency of France this year. Democratic institutions in the countries liberated in 1989 are falling apart in Hungary, and Poland, and other places -- Croatia, elsewhere. The European Union is cracking apart. And the United States has a new president-to-be who has made it clear he’s not going to be bound by traditional rules against corruption, traditional rules against foreign influence, traditional rules in just about any way, traditional rules against the president having his own private bodyguard paid for by himself rather than by the state. We are living through a crisis of democracy not-- unlike anything seen since the second World War.
I have the experience again and again, and many of you may have it, too, of being in a coffee shop or something. Someone I know a little bit will come up to me, and say hello, and then say, “Tell me that everything is going to be okay.” And what I realize is, I can’t give you the assurance you want. I am not sure that everything is going to be okay. But here’s what I do know. The only way that things will be okay is if we all understand how not okay they are. If we are sufficiently inflamed, we may be able to put the fire out.
JOHN DICKERSON: Michael?
MICHAEL GERSON: Well, I think there’s a pretty much even chance that we’re going to have a constitutional crisis or have a completely incompetent presidency that doesn’t know how to exercise power, which is, I think, another possibility in this circumstance. He has a White House-- Donald Trump has a White House with almost no skill at governing. He has a chief of staff that’s never been in government, which is absolutely extraordinary. He’s elevated people, generals and--a corporate heads, that have no experience in this extraordinarily complex business of how you put together an administration, run a bureaucracy, produce ideas. So there’s-- I think there’s a deep concern about the possibility of overreach. But I think we should be also concerned about the possibility of an entirely ineffective government that doesn’t value governing experience, that doesn’t value, you know, what government should do and what it can do under the right circumstances.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: (Please note this is the same panelist that started the conversation by point out reason for grave concern) That side of the table is very depressing. (LAUGHTER) I mean, don’t you have any hope at all that America is somehow resilient, that the institutions will overcome whatever temporary challenges-- sorry. I just - I just - I’m struck by --
DAVID FRUM: But you need to take the measure of the-- the threat to democratic institutions in this country and around the world. And I-- I don’t think we do people a service by saying, “You know, there have been bad things in the American past before.” There have been. This is our bad thing, and it’s about as bad a thing as has happened in any of our lifetimes.
MICHAEL GERSON: It-- it also concerns me -- we do have this entirely new set of economic and social circumstances. That the normal reaction would be to propose the politics of the future. How do we adjust? How do we compare-- prepare people for the new economy, give them the skills and social capital they need to succeed in an entirely different world? And you look at the message of “Make America Great Again.” And that is a backward-looking message. That is kind of a return to social patterns and economic, you know, approaches of the past. We can’t undo globalization. That’s not possible.
MICHELE NORRIS: Well, and they’re not in some ways addressing reality, you know, also. I mean, in the phrase “Make America Great Again,” there is one word that if you are a person of color that you sort of stumble over. And it’s the word “again.” Because you’re talking about going back to a time that was not very comfortable for people of color. They did not have opportunities. They were relegated to the back of the line. And this is a country that, you know, to be honest, was built on the promise of white prosperity above everything else.
MICHAEL GERSON: And that’s true of gay people. It’s true of women who want leadership roles in this society. It’s a - It’s a fairly-- large, you know, group of people who are not - don’t like nostalgia in that sense.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me take a pause there. We’ll be back with more from our panel.
JOHN DICKERSON: And we’re back with our panel. David, I want to ask you -- Barack Obama has been saying to Democrats who are nervous about Donald Trump, “The office constrains the man.” He says the White House will keep Donald Trump from doing all of the things he promised he would do in the campaign. Do you buy that theory of the presidency?
DAVID FRUM: So we’re going to have an agenda from Congress that is pretty unpopular in all of the country that is able to passed into law only because this unpopular president is there by accident to sign it. So they are dependent on him. They know if he falls, they’re doomed. And he meanwhile has a highly individualistic agenda I believe that is focused mostly on self-enrichment and also self-protection against investigation of the extent of foreign involvement in his election.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I-- I will attach myself to David’s negativity in this case. The presidency is a very powerful office. And what we’ve seen in the run-up to inauguration is that the man has the power just through his use of Twitter to destabilize among other things the most important bilateral relationship between two countries in-- in the world, the China-US relationship. So his ability to create chaos is--is-- is really quite remarkable. And-- and-- and-- one could say, yes, when you’re really frightened, when-- when the intelligence people come in and say, “You can’t do that, or this war is going to break out,” well, then-- well then a lot of presidents get constrained. But this is a guy so far that won’t take intelligence briefings. So that’s--
MICHAEL GERSON: And the problem is not just chaotic management theory. It’s actually a weird cycle by which people stay on message for seven days. And then all of a sudden, 3:00 in the morning, he reads InfoWars, and, you know, sends off a tweet, and goes off. And then everyone has to go to the family and say, “Can you get him back on the wagon?” And then there’s another crisis like-- process like this. The presidency can’t work that way. You can tank markets. You can invite incursions. You can do a variety of things. And the manner in which he both manages and his lack of control -- impulse control when it comes to his own message, I don’t know how that works in the presidency. It’s going to be fascinating.
DAVID FRUM: Let me give you an example of something we should all be very frightened of. And this may be the single most dangerous thing for world peace that happens. It’s very bad when a president, as Barack Obama did, draws a red line and the red line isn’t actually there. That’s humiliating. That leads people to misunderstand. What is much more dangerous is if the president says the red line isn’t there and it really is. Trump is everyday signaling-- signaling that red lines aren’t there, that NATO doesn’t matter.
DAVID FRUM: There’s an American armored brigade taking up a position in Poland. There are NATO -- nuclear-capable NATO armies in Estonia-- and-- and there’s a nuclear-- there are nuclear-capable NATO powers that are in Estonia, and there are NATO armies in Latvia and Lithuania. There’s a big buildup happening in Bulgaria. You give the Russians the idea that the United States is not serious--
MICHAEL GERSON: Well, in kind of the Venn diagrams, there’s a -- there’s a middle in which they both agree, which is undoing executive orders, and, you know, maybe tax reform, or, you know, certainly environmental policy, or other areas. So those things will get done. I mean, he has control. And the Congress will support him in--in those things. But, I-- you know, on-- on items where they do not share that agenda, you know, I don’t know. The president has a tremendous ability to set the priorities, the national priorities. And the problem here is, you know, I think that he is signaling an agenda, tax cuts, massive infrastructure, defense increases, balanced budget, that are completely inconsistent. There’s no budget you could put together that actually includes all the priorities that he’s talked about. They don’t know how to put together a budget. That’s going to be a fascinating initial test of whether he actually has a realistic budget and--
DAVID FRUM: And he has the least competent OMB director in the history of the office.
MICHAEL GERSON: Right. So it’ll be interesting whether he can lead on that or where they are just overwhelmed by the reality of governing in a way that may empower the Congressional wing of the party.
MICHELE NORRIS: Donald Trump made a lot of promises that are going to be very difficult to deliver. And the people that he pumped up at all these-- these rallies during his campaign and now, you know, as he’s just completing his victory tour, people have great expectations. And, you know, when you ask people to pick up their pitchforks and march behind you, if you can’t deliver, those pitchforks wind up being aimed at you in the end.
DAVID FRUM: There are a lot of things Donald Trump doesn’t know. But he does know how to dominate, bully, and provoke. And one of his goals, I think, in 2017 will be to drive people on the left to do self-destructive things that will damage them and empower him.
MICHAEL GERSON: If that works, we will have no center-right party and no center-left party in America. It will be the institutionalization of the extreme polarization --
JOHN DICKERSON: Last word --
MICHELLE NORRIS: I think, you know, when we’re talking about protests, you have to remember that people have a right to protest. And sometimes defending American institutions is actually challenging them.
DAVID FRUM: What I mean by defending American institutions is that the president shouldn’t have his own private band of bodyguards. He should use the Secret Service. What I mean by defend is the president shouldn’t extract bribes. What I mean by defending American institutions is the president should tell the truth. He should release his tax returns. Basic norms of how a democracy with a strong executive and weak checks on corruption, which is unfortunately something that has always been true in the United States. How it polices itself. Those are the things. I don’t mean-- I’m not telling anyone to be quiet. I’m telling people to understand the nature of the threat they face. And it’s-- it’s-- it’s not because you’re going to have conservative appointees to the Supreme Court. That is not-- if I were a liberal and a Democrat, which I’m not, I-- I would hope I would have the discipline to say, “You know what? The Republicans, they won the election. They get to have their Supreme Court appointees.” They don’t get to have, however, their private presidential bodyguards. That’s not okay.
JOHN DICKERSON: All right. We’re going to have to end it there. Thanks to all of you for joining us.
Nine out of ten times Dickerson or whatever moderator throws out this line they will add the phrase, "we will be right back" then after a long series of commercials they come back for ten seconds to say, "we hope to see you next week." It is difficult not to notice the stark contrast between how Trump is being treated by the press and how they heap praise upon Obama as he takes a "victory tour" lauding his accomplishments as president. I find it difficult to think any of these people will soon change their minds and begin to praise Trump if they have overstated the negatives he brings to the table. I predict in an effort to prove they are right they will continue stirring the pot of political divide and this will increase harmful polarization.