Reactions to the New Landscape
November 10, 2016
Not a fan of Joe Scarborough, and he might well be asked why he did not make a point of offering as much free time to Bernie Sanders, and yes, Hillary, as he did to Donald Trump.
But he has a reasonable take above.
“We probably did put on too many of his campaign rallies,” Jeff Zucker, CNN’s president, conceded during a talk at Harvard last month, a rare admission from a media mogul that saturated television coverage of Mr. Trump, while profitable, may have yielded unexpected repercussions.
The Republican strategist Rick Wilson recently tweeted a Times graphicshowing that Trump had received an estimated $1.9 billion worth of free media coverage — nearly nine times what Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio each received and two and a half times what Clinton received — with the words: “Never forget. There was no movement. The media handed him this on a plate.”
Wilson’s not wrong. A Shorenstein Center survey of eight major print and broadcast outlets (including The Times) found that between June and December 2015, Trump received more than a third of all the coverage devoted to Republican presidential candidates — more than Bush and Rubio combined. If this reflects Trump’s status as, in the Shorenstein report’s words, “arguably the first bona fide media-created presidential nominee,” it also reflects a self-interest that media executives have at times not even bothered to conceal. “The money’s rolling in, and this is fun,” Les Moonves, chairman of CBS, said in February. “It’s a terrible thing to say. But bring it on, Donald. Keep going.” Perhaps no single person enabled, and benefited from, Trump’s political ascent more than the president of CNN, Jeff Zucker, who as head of NBC Entertainment greenlit “The Apprentice” and in his current role is reportedly anticipating $100 million in extra profits thanks to CNN’s wall-to-wall Trump coverage.
But then how do you explain Bernie Sanders? The Vermont senator won 22 states in the Democratic primary with less media coverage than either Bush or Rubio and more negative coverage than Trump. This year, the failings of the country’s elites, political and otherwise, unleashed in both parties forces that were beyond those elites’ control — but in only one party did they take the form of a political revolt that sanctions white nationalism, embraces conspiracism and openly considers armed resistance and extrajudicial imprisonment of its enemies.
The election also affects how we should talk about climate change. In the US, and in many other countries, opposing steps to cut carbon pollution has become a litmus test for conservative politicians. So, in this sense, conservatives now own climate change. I can just imagine the slogans, “Climate change, brought to you by your neighborhood conservatives.”
George W Bush was the worst president ever on climate change. Back then, with the reality of climate change not as widely known, it is conceivable to give voters a pass. But not now. Anyone who voted for Trump shares the responsibility for what is now inevitable.
It’s really too bad because many conservatives certainly don’t want to destroy the Earth’s climate. Furthermore, there are some conservatives who do take climate change seriously. However, when a central belief to conservatism results in decades of inaction, it makes it impossible to avoid staring facts in the face.
Conservatives own climate change.
Conservatives own the consequences of climate change.
They own the increased droughts, more severe storms, sea level rise, and floods.
They own the heat waves, the loss of habitat and the shifting climate zones.
They own the climate refugees, the resulting political strive, and climate conflicts.
They own it all.
A display hanging above a coffee shop in Tuscaloosa caught several people off guard, with many calling it racially insensitive.
A woman who wants to remain anonymous sent a tip about what appeared to be a figure hanging by a rope above the O’Henry’s Coffee shop in Tuscaloosa. She isn’t the only person who expressed concern.
“It looks like a man hanging, a black African-American man hanging,” Tuscaloosa residen tJames Crawford said.
He’s referencing a picture that was taken by a woman who saw something hanging from a balcony of a building on University Boulevard and Lurleen Wallace Boulevard. The coffee shop is directly below the balcony.
Isaac Chotiner in Slate:
Trump’s embrace of babbling nonsense on the subject of climate change, for example, is a direct outgrowth of the party’s long-standing disdain for intellectualism and for science. It is horrifically new for a modern major party nominee to express racism so openly, but virtually the entire GOP has been engaged in a dedicated effort to keep black people from voting for decades now. And when you spend years telling your voters that the media peddles nothing but lies and that the president is illegitimate, you are eventually going to be saddled with someone who simply raises the stakes: The media isn’t just dishonest; it’s part of a worldwide conspiracy. The president isn’t just illegitimate; he’s a Kenyan usurper.
The GOP’s pre-Trump Trumpism allowed a dangerous demagogue to take command of the party, and now the country. Republicans may not have willed Trump, but they established the conditions for a man like him, in all his grotesque incompetence and know-nothingness, to be born. And Trump didn’t merely overwhelm the party; he was first appeased, then welcomed by opportunists and the weak-willed. He was ultimately supported by the vast majority of Republican politicians.
The Klu Klux Klan white supremacist group is openly canvassing for new members in Birmingham, Alabama, where flyers were scattered in driveways on the morning after the election, the local NBC affiliate reported. “Get off the fence, whitey, and join the only group that has ever stood for the white man,” they read. “Black radicals have reverted back to savages and more Muslims arrive daily.”
The local leader of the group confirmed they were real to AL.com and added, “We must hold Trump’s promises close, and continue on to make damn sure he follows through.”
People are also sharing individual instances of harassment from people they thought were friends and allies. One Afghan immigrant from Nashville, Tennessee, said her former neighbor, and mother’s best friend for 10 years, sent her a message telling her to “go back to where she came from.”
This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States.
And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown up.
Trump has been crystal clear about his environmental plans. Much of the media never wanted to bring it up, never wanted to ask about it in debates, never wanted to turn their addled attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email servers to discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for climate change. But the warning signs were there:
- Trump called global warming a Chinese hoax. He couldn’t have been blunter about this. He also tapped Myron Ebell, an avowed climate denier, to head his EPA transition team.
- Trump has said, straight up, he wants to scrap all the major regulations that President Obama painstakingly put in place to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions, including the Clean Power Plan. With Republicans now controlling Congress, this is perfectly doable. Just pass a bill preventing the EPA from regulating CO2. Done.
- Trump has even hinted he wants to get rid of the EPA entirely. “What they do is a disgrace,” he has said. Again, if Congress follows, he’d have the power to get rid of other regulations on mercury pollution, on ozone, on coal ash, and more.
- Trump has said he wants to repeal all federal spending on clean energy, including R&D for wind, solar, nuclear power, and electric vehicles.
- Trump has said he wants to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal. There’s nothing stopping him there, either. (Technically, the US can’t officially withdraw for four years, but for all practical purposes, the Trump administration could ignore it.)
Okay, now for the deep breath.
Even under Trump, there will still be reason for hope. Political change unfolds in unexpected ways, and not everything on Earth revolves around the machinations of the US federal government. So here are a few reasons to think the fight against climate change is not yet lost:
- States like California and New York are still pursuing their own ambitious climate policies, and it’s possible those efforts could be so successful that other states decide to follow suit.
- Likewise, wind power, solar power, and electric cars will keep getting cheaper — it’s possible they’ll acquire a self-sustaining momentum, even without support from the US government. Or maybe some other new low-carbon technologies will emerge to shake up climate politics. (Small modular reactors, anyone?)
- Climate activists will continue to push for action at local levels — much as they did during the George W. Bush years, when the Sierra Club began blocking a major planned expansion of coal power. It’s possible that opposition to Trump will galvanize a new generation of climate activists who find creative ways to address global warming.
- Other countries still have their own reasons for tackling climate change, even China and India (which, note, is choking on deadly levels of air pollution in Delhi right now). It’s possible that Trump’s recalcitrance on climate change could motivate the rest of the world to redouble their efforts at curtailing emissions without us.
- Heck, it’s even possible that Trump and the GOP could have a change of heart and decide that global warming is a real issue that needs to be taken seriously. It’s possible that Republicans could balk at repealing all these pollution regulations, realizing that they’re actually quite popular. Stranger things have happened.
So lots of stuff is possible. Climate change will continue to be a defining issue for generations, long after Donald Trump is gone — and there’s never reason to give up. But the landscape has undeniably shifted. The prospect of staying below 2°C looks increasingly bleak. Right now Trump has given every indication that he wants to gamble with the future of the only planet around that’s known to support life. And it’s a wildly irresponsible bet.
Arguably the strangest aspect of this election was how it made you feel as if everything was changing under your feet—and that nothing was changing at all. That was certainly true of the press: Every time you thought the press had turned a corner, it soon reverted to form. The GOP has become an extremist party without much of the media identifying it as such, and now it’s installed a volatile novice with disdain for our democracy in the White House. If we in the media return to pretending that we are not in the midst of a domestic and international crisis, we will be complicit in it.