Friday links! Disintegration of media edition

A mob destroys the printing press of the Alton Observer in Missouri, 1837.

A mob destroys the printing press of the Alton Observer in Missouri, 1837.

Back when only a handful of publishers had the capacity to distribute text across state lines, media seemed more civilized. That was surely an illusion. From the mouthpiece papers of robber barons to the Hearst Empire to the patrician boardrooms of the National Broadcast Corporation, the history of American media is almost certainly a history of corruption and malfeasance. But at least a smaller professional class is easier to corral. Now that we have multiple 24-hour news channels and jerks like myself can broadcast our scribblings across the world by wiggling our fingers, ethics is to media as dentistry is to the Old West. Today is Friday, and our media have fragmented into whatever anyone is willing to say. Won’t you plot the signal against the noise with me?

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Trump’s first ad shows us how he perceives himself

The Donald Trump campaign released its first-ever television ad yesterday, and its content suggests that Trump considers features what many of us regarded as bugs. He’s doubled down on two of his most risible ideas: a ban on Muslims entering the United States “until we can figure out what’s going on,” and a wall at the Mexican border. When fact-checkers pointed out that footage of immigrants storming a wall during the “wall at our southern border” part of the ad actually showed Moroccans trying to get into Spain, Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski responded, “No shit it’s not the Mexican border, but that’s what our country is going to look like if we don’t do anything.” So the tradition of decorum continues.

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Meanwhile, in Clown Town

Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the top frown in downtown Clown Town [left]

Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the main frown in downtown Clown Town [left]

Donald Trump may be grabbing up all the headlines and shoving them into his mouth with his fat toddler’s fist, but one great leader does not a fascist movement make. You need armed thugs. What’s more, those armed thugs must be absolutely convinced they’re doing it for god and country. Otherwise their wives get after them. It was in that spirit Jerry Falwell, Jr., merit-based president of Liberty University, told his convocation of Christian college students to apply for concealed weapons permits:

“I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in.”

Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link. Junior Falwell subsequently explained that by “those Muslims” he meant terrorists, and I guess that’s better than the preacher president of America’s largest online university instructing students to shoot Muslims just walking around. Still, I don’t feel like we’re in quite the same register as the Sermon On the Mount.

You know who loves it, though? Fox News radio host and probable automaton Todd Starnes. He stands with Liberty University’s Jerry Falwell, Jr. on guns; the “why” in the headline is a typo. Kombat! Kids! See if you can detect the professional writer trick Starnes uses in this sentence:

President Falwell is facing criticism from Democrats and jihadist sympathizers after he urged students at the nation’s largest Christian university to carry concealed weapons on campus to counter any possible armed attack from jihadists.

Yup—those are the two kinds of people who are criticizing him. You’d have to be a jihadist or at least a Democrat to find something unsavory about a Christian telling people to get guns so they can “end” Muslims. Fact: nowhere in the Bible does it say you can’t kill people. Starnes considers the very idea absurd:

Get a load of the crackpot theory offered up by one left-wing newspaper:

“Some theologians believe that Jesus would call on Christians to put down their weapons in the face of violence.”

I only wish the Washington Post had named the lunatic theologians who believe that Christians should gladly offer themselves to the Islamic radicals as sacrificial lambs.

Lunatic theologians probably cite Matthew 5:39-40: “But I say unto you that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” But you’d have to be shit-bathing crazy to think that means you can’t shoot a guy who breaks into your house. Look for Todd Starnes humping a rifle across Syria this time next year.

Fuck it, Trump figures, how many of them can there be?


Donald J. Trump appeals to the better angels of our nature.

Character in a journalism student’s fantasy Donald Trump made headlines yesterday, because he said the United States should close its borders to Muslims. At press time, he keeps saying it. Finally, someone has the guts to tell it like it is. America has gone without a strong, loud, stupid leader for too long, and it’s also been too long since we made laws about kinds of people. Every time we made a law about a kind of people in this country—Indian removal, Jim Crow, Japanese internment—was a time Trump voters consider better than now. Yes, even Japanese internment. “What I’m doing is no different from FDR,” Trump told Good Morning America, referring to the worst thing FDR ever did. I know we recently said Trump had gone full racist, but now that he’s accused a domestic religious minority of conspiring with foreign enemies to obstruct his plan to make America great again, he has technically gone full Hitler. Unless, of course, he doesn’t really mean it.

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Friday links! Unpopular policies edition

Nice to see Frank and Luanne back together

Nice to see Frank and Luanne back together

Well, that was fast: The Combat! blog team is pleased to announce the return of the comments section, after literally several of you wrote in to say you wanted it back. The people have spoken, and they will continue to speak in a designated protest zone under each post. You can all go back to threatening my brother and making in-jokes about SAT tutoring there, while posts themselves will remain the exclusive province of my ill-considered rantings. Today is Friday, and policy is for the people to respond to but not, you know, make. Won’t you gather torches and pitchforks with me?

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