Shortcuts & Delusions: Alternative Fact-Checking
This is Satire:
The Shortcuts & Delusions home office is happy to introduce Ajit Matharu! The column has been doing remarkably well lately, and ad revenue is up, up, up! The boys in Accounting crunched some numbers and discovered we can afford the costs that come with an unpaid internship. So, please, everyone welcome Ajit (seen in the file photo below)!
Ajit’s primary duty will be to act as my ombudsman and alternative fact-checker. Similar to the show Redeye, Ajit will act as the Andy Levy, a.k.a. Fat Jeremy Renner, to my Greg Gutfeld. Or Tom Shilue? I don’t know, I stopped DVRing that show when they let Jim Norton sit in the “leg chair.”
Ajit survived a rigorous screening process. Below is a transcript of the interview I conducted with Ajit via text message:
Dillon: So, what do you think of Stephen Bannon?
Ajit: Who’s that?
Dillon: That guy always hanging around President Trump. You know, that guy whose face looks like a plate of uncooked bacon?
Ajit: Oh! I thought that was Michael Moore!
Dillon: You thought that was Michael Moore? LOL, why would MM be paling around with Trump?
Ajit: I thought Moore was just looking for a change of pace or something.
Dillon: That makes sense, actually. Don’t you think his face looks like a plate of uncooked bacon? Or like a loaded baked potato?
Ajit: Or like a spiral ham. His face has so many broken capillaries, it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Dillon: Welcome aboard! You’ll fit right in.
Stephen Bannon is President Trump’s Rasputin, his Svengali, so in order to help us understand President Trump’s motivations and policies, it is important to understand good ol’ Bacon Face Bannon, Trump’s former campaign CEO, chief strategist, and recent appointee to the National Security Council.
Bannon was born in Norfolk, VA, to Doris and Martin Bannon. His parents were pro-Kennedy, pro-union Democrats, and his father was a lineman for the county, and he drove the main road. Bannon holds a Master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, was a Surface Warfare officer aboard the destroyer USS Paul F. Foster (a commission he was busted down from after firing upon three North Vietnamese torpedo boats), and later a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. After he left the Navy, Bannon worked alongside Patrick Bateman in the Mergers & Acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs, then started his own investment firm where he was involved in several high profile deals, one of which earned him a financial stake in Seinfeld. From 1993 to 1995, Bannon was acting director of the Biosphere 2 project. This sequel to the popular Pauly Shore movie was Bannon’s first foray into the film industry, and produced 18 films in the 1990s alone. Starting in the mid-2000s, Bannon shifted his focus from narrative films to documentaries. It was during this time he met Andrew Breitbart, and the two co-founded Breitbart News, which Bannon assumed control over following Breitbart’s passing. Bannon was known to be a very savvy behind the scenes operative, reportedly responsible for Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ fashion style aesthetics. Bannon was also known as something of a practical joker, and incessantly teased Breitbart Managing Editor Ben Shapiro by trying to pin a Star of David to Shapiro’s clothing, as well as goose step through the Breitbart halls and offices, yelling “Juden raus! Juden raus!” When Shapiro, known for his complete lack of sense of humor, resigned from Breitbart, Bannon called him a “whiny brat.” Bannon, a staunch conservative, is thrice divorced.
If we’re going to live in this post-modern era where words have only connotations and no denotations, where deconstruction enjoys primacy over objective reality, and that the highest ideal one can aspire to is to maintain and protect a narrative agenda, then we may as well all grab a shovel and start pitching our fair share of horseshit.
For eight long years we had to put up with the post-modernist narratives put forth by the Obama Administration, his supporters, and water-carrying media sycophants. Donald Trump fancied himself the non-politically correct candidate, who told it like it is (although it was no secret Trump bigly made things up about himself; to say he engaged in self-aggrandizement would be the understatement of the century). However, to borrow a tired cliche used by unimaginative people everywhere, Trump & Co. doubled down; rather than twist facts to suit an agenda, they just make facts up out of whole cloth. Self-mythology by public figures, whether by entertainers like Kurt Cobain or politicians like Obama and Trump, is nothing new. What is new, however, is self-mythologizing while attacking the media, a media that must be complicit for the mythologizing to be effective.
President Trump and his aides-de-camp Bannon, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Counselor Kellyanne Conway have brought this on themselves. Here are quotes from Bannon from a New York Times article that show why I SMH at this concept of him being a really savvy and smooth operator:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while…I want you to quote this…The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States…The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong…[Trump’s election is] a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there…The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign…The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work…You’re the opposition party…Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party…The paper of record for our beloved republic, The New York Times, should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated…They got it 100 percent wrong.”
The Gray Lady put a loaded revolver in Bannon’s hand, and he promptly pressed it against his head and squeezed the trigger; he wrote their hit piece for them! I highly doubt he’s capable of engaging in Doubleplus Reverse Trolling. These are statements we of the Commentariat would describe as, “retarded.” Not because he’s not entitled to his opinion or he doesn’t have some legitimate gripes about some media outlets going out of their way to paint Trump et al., as Hitleresque for any conceivable reason, but because it’s the rhetorical equivalent of pouring gasoline on a fire.
It’s one thing to complain the press isn’t treating you fairly. It’s another thing to tell the biggest paper in the country that the press is the enemy and that they will be treated as such, because it is tacitly authorizing the press to destroy you. The vast majority of reporters are agenda-driven. In fact, I don’t trust the ones that aren’t, because it’s human nature to include some subjectivity into what is allegedly supposed to be an objective report. And that subjectivity is by design. A news story is supposed to answer the following questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. The last two rely on analysis, opinion and context, which means objectivity is thrown out the window. It is a complete fallacy that reporters and news stories are supposed to be objective, and it is both risible, and by now, absurd, for conservatives to complain about liberal media bias. It’s existed for centuries. It’s irresponsible and immature of conservatives and libertarians to expect media outlets to treat them “fairly.” Media objectivity doesn’t, and can’t, exist. Get used to it. And informing major media outlets they are now the “enemy” is tantamount to saying “treat us with as much hostility as you can muster.” Why would the MSM even pretend to report any facts that don’t work against Trump & Co.’s agenda?
This Politico story is a good example of what I mean. The headline is “White House Ices Out CNN” which indicates the Trump Administration has revoked CNN’s White House press credentials so their reporters can’t attend daily briefings, or that White House officials will not grant interviews to CNN reporters/personalities. But towards the bottom of the story, a paragraph reads, “Administration officials are still answering questions from CNN reporters. But administration officials including White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and senior counselor Kellyanne Conway haven’t appeared on the network’s programming in recent weeks.” But since a large portion of people only scan headlines, they would never know the actual facts, they’d only get a sliver of information via a carefully worded headline intended to make a liberal media outlet a victim of Trump, Bannon et al.
The press are circling the wagons, and I can’t blame them.
And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.
Photo: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images