MSM miss the point on Trump’s FISA slam – perfectly illustrating our big discourse problem
It would probably be possible to illustrate our discourse problem more perfectly than this. But this little episode does well enough. It frames beautifully the distinction between political conventions – on which the MSM and political establishment are stuck, and want the rest of us to be – and political principles, which are what have an impact on the lives of the people.
This is why Trump has resonated with so many voters, and why he frightens so many in the political establishment. (He frightens some in the larger social establishment as well.)
Here’s what happened, as ably outlined at several dozen mainstream media outlets. We’ll pick The Hill for this one. But as you can see, the story was carried all over the infosphere.
Parsing this episode is a reading comprehension exercise in two parts, both of them simple.
First, the MSM articles want the reader to focus on the point that Trump’s complaint about the misuse of FISA seems to contradict his policy push in the vote on Capitol Hill. Chaos! Incoherence! A White House in meltdown!
This is an emphasis on political conventions, which include things like: (a) advancing your legislative priorities requires integrated messaging; (b) good messaging is a matter of reiterating themes and buzzphrases without any potentially puzzling variations; and (c) all messaging is ultimately controlled by the MSM, which either lets your message through, or rewrites it for you. So essentially, you have to write your messaging script to fit a standard expected (and in someways enforced) by the MSM.
The Republicans have gone in fear of (c) for years. The Democrats have relied on it as a friendly condition.