Jan. 23rd, 2017

kane_magus: (kanethumb1)
We all know Hanlon's razor, right?

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

In many cases, that's a good philosophy to live by. However, when it comes to Donald Trump and his administration (as well as those currently leading Congress who back him), I believe that the inverse can and perhaps should be applied.

"Never dismiss as mere stupidity that which is indeed actively malicious."

For example, take the recent brouhaha over crowd sizes at the inauguration. Yes, it might seem incredibly stupid for Sean Spicer to hold a press conference in which he blatantly, clearly lied. Yes, it might seem absolutely asinine that Kellyanne Conway then doubled down on it with that "alternative facts" bullshit. "Alternative facts," otherwise known by sane people as blatant, clear lies.

But here's the thing. I don't think the above things were just stupid. Don't get me wrong, they are stupid, but I don't think they're only stupid. I think that these people, more than simply being stupid, are being indeed actively malicious. For a long while now, Trump has been very critical of the press (except, of course, for a few outliers that Trump treats, for the most part, as golden children, such as Faux Noise and Bratbarf Noise [after all, fucking Steve Bannon, former head of Bratbarf, is Trump's Chief Strategist now, heaven help us all]). Lately, Trump's go-to ploy when a piece of news comes out that is critical of him is to simply label said piece of news as "fake news" and dismiss it out of hand.[1] Trumpster fires and sockpuppets on social media then repeat Trump's bawling and amplify it by several orders of magnitude.

Yes, they could have ignored the whole inauguration crowd size thing. That, one would think, would have been the smart thing to do. Had they done so, most people would have simply chuckled over it for a day or two, and then it would have been completely forgotten within a week. But now, thanks to the Streisand effect, because they have focused in on this relatively trivial issue, it has been in the forefront of news for days now, and likely will remain so, especially if they continue to harp on it. (EDIT) Which they are. (/EDIT)

The purpose for this is two-fold. For one thing, it serves quite well as yet another petty distraction from all of the terrible shit that Trump has done in just his first few days in office. Diversion from the real issues with infantile bullshit like this is yet another of Trump's unfortunately successful tactics. In other words, they have weaponized the Streisand effect. So there is that.

However, more importantly, this fracas over crowd sizes is, again, yet another small cog in the ongoing machinery employed by the Trump administration, the sole purpose of which is to discredit the press. And, as I've said before and as I'm sure I'll say again, this machinery has been running far too smoothly. Far, far, FAR too many gullible morons take Trump's claims at face value. They treat his words as unvarnished, gospel truth. They believe him when he says that the press is lying, and that the press is only out to "get him." And, of course, they also believe all the other blatant, clear lies that Trump and his administration (and before that his transition team, and before that his campaign, and before that just Trump, the man) have been incessantly telling.

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."
"Never dismiss as mere stupidity that which is indeed actively malicious."

One of these statements applies to the Trump administration. I believe it to be the latter, but I also believe that it ultimately will have to be left up to posterity to determine which was the more applicable of the two. Are Trump and his flunkies and his Trumpster fires merely stupid? Or are they actively malevolent? Or, perhaps, are they some degrees of both of those things? Because, indeed, stupidity and malice are not mutually exclusive states of being, and have never been. Even if it's hampered by stupidity, ham-handed malice is still malice. Anyway, time will tell. But the one thing I can absolutely assure you of is that it is at least one of those two.

[1] - And, no, it obviously doesn't help at all when overzealous reporters jump the gun and report on something that didn't happen, instead of pausing and making sure they had their goddamn ducks in a row first. It doesn't even matter that this "story" was merely a few tweets by one guy, and that the guy has already apologized and retracted his erroneous statements. The damage has already been done, and now Trump has more ammunition for his otherwise ludicrous "fake news" hysterics.

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