Who is Nina Jankowicz!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Inquiring minds wanted to know:
Who the heck is Nina Jankowicz?

Inquiring minds were asking today. They were reacting to her op-ed column in the New York Times, in which she pondered the success of Russia's "information war."

At one point, Jankowicz wondered why so many people believed the disinformation and "fake news" which emerged from Russian sources last year. We thought this part of her discussion had a remarkably clueless feel:
JANKOWICZ (9/25/17): What no one seems to care to discuss is the people who are targets of Russian disinformation, why its narratives find fertile ground among them and what can be done to change that.

According to the Pew Research Center, only 20 percent of Americans trust their government. The same low percentage has “a lot” of trust in the national news media. It’s impossible to say definitively what causes this mistrust, but its growth has coincided with the rise of both the adrenaline-driven internet news cycle and the dying of local journalism over the past two decades. Without news that connects people to their town councils or county fair, or stories that analyze how federal policies affect local businesses, people are left with news about big banks in New York and dirty politics in Washington.

Readers compare this coverage with their dwindling bank balances and crumbling infrastructure and feel disconnected and disenfranchised, and latch onto something—anything—that speaks to them. That might be President Trump’s tweets. Or dubious “news” from an extreme right- or left-wing site might ring true. Or they might turn to Russian disinformation, which exploits this trust gap.
We agree with Jankowicz on one basic point. It's impossible to say, with perfect precision, why Americans may not trust their traditional, mainstream news sources.

That said, Jankowicz's attempt to explain this situation is utterly sophomoric. Why do many Americans tend to mistrust traditional media? Jankowicz cited exactly two reasons:
1) The rise of the "adrenaline-fueled" Internet news cycle.
2) The dying of local journalism over the past two decades. Not enough reports about county fairs!
She offered those explanations, and nothing else. Where does the Times find these people?

In this case, the Times offered a partial answer, saying that Kankowicz is "a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute.

We'll offer more info below. First, let's consider two other obvious sources of mistrust in traditional media.

Duh! Over the past five decades, starting perhaps with President Nixon, conservatives and Republicans have waged a relentless war against the alleged "liberal bias" of major mainstream news orgs.

Whatever you think of their claims and complaints, this GOP-sponsored crusade has played an obvious, outsized role in breeding mistrust of traditional media. Who in the world doesn't know this?

That said, there's a second possible reason for mistrust in the media. Is it possible that people mistrust traditional media because these news orgs have done a lousy job on an array of topics?

Hint: Actually no, that isn't possible, not in a Times op-ed column!

Here's the survey in which "only 20 percent of Americans" say they have "a lot of" trust in national media. In that same survey, an additional 52 percent said they had "some" trust in national media.

(Twenty-two percent said they had "not too much" trust. Six percent said "none at all.")

We would have said we had "some" or "not too much" trust in the media too. Why wouldn't we say we have "a lot of" trust?

Duh! Because of the lousy job the press corps does on an array of topics! Also, because of guest columns in major papers like the one Jankowicz wrote!

In this morning's column, Jankowicz never mentions the propaganda war conducted by conservatives over the past fifty years. She never brooks the possibility that people don't trust traditional media because the traditional media do a poor job.

Instead, she takes out the flag and tells us this:
JANKOWICZ (continuing directly): All is not lost. Disinformation can be defeated without the establishment of a shiny new initiative cased in the language of Cold War 2.0. Instead of “rapid information operations,” the United States should work to systematically rebuild analytical skills across the American population and invest in the media to ensure that it is driven by truth, not clicks.

The fight starts in people’s minds, and the molding of them. In K-12 curriculums, states should encourage a widespread refocusing on critical reading and analysis skills for the digital age. Introductory seminars at universities should include a crash course in sourcing and emotional manipulation in the media. Similar courses could be created as professional development for adults, beginning with state employees. Large corporations could be offered government incentives to participate, too.

Training like this has a proven track record. In Ukraine, IREX, a nongovernmental organization, trained 15,000 people in critical thinking, source evaluation and emotional manipulation. As a result, IREX measured a 29 percent increase in participants who double check the news they consume.
Jankowicz seems to assume that "critical reading skills" will tend to make people trust traditional media more. It doesn't seem to occur to her that critical reading skills might make citizens trust orgs like the New York Times less.

(Why do we trust Rachel Maddow much less than other liberals? Because, over the past nine years, we've routinely "double-checked" her work! The results are rarely good.)

Jankowicz goes on to say that the federal government "should also work to level the information playing field, increasing its investment in public broadcasters." Again, we're not entirely sure what that means. But as presently constituted, NPR and PBS are frequently part of the problem, trust in the media-wise.

Plainly, it would be a very good thing if fewer people fell for crazy disinformation campaigns from covert Russian sources. But over the course of the past several decades, crazy disinformation campaigns have often proceeded from within the very mainstream press which Jankowicz seems to think we should be trusting more.

Starting with that ridiculous account of the public's loss of trust, this column struck us as the type of transparent propaganda which makes some people lose faith in orgs like the New York Times. "Who the heck is this Jankowicz?" one of the analysts cried.

Here we go again! She's six years out of Bryn Mawr (class of 2011). (After that, she spent two years getting a master's degree.) In our view, that makes her a very young "Kennan Fellow"—and a slightly starry-eyed Kennan Fellow to boot.

Despite her tender years, Jankowicz seems well-versed in the type of true-believing twaddle news orgs like the Times may want to present to the world. In fairness, the youngster may be completely sincere. That may be part of the problem.

Our elite institutions are full of bright young kids who seem eager to prop up establishment guilds. They may be completely sincere, but they're also quite young, and exploitable.

Why don't people trust the press? Kennan Fellow, please! We'll guess it isn't the lack of reporting about those county fairs!

WHERE THE DEPLORABLES ARE: Survey says!

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

Part 5—By tribal law, survey says Only One Thing:
Why do people answer survey questions the way they do?

More specifically, why did people answer that one survey question in that "deplorable" manner? We refer to the question shown below, a question from last year's General Social Survey:
Question from the General Social Survey:
"On the average African-Americans have worse jobs, income, and housing than white people. Do you think these differences are because most African-Americans just don't have the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty?"
According to Hillary Clinton, responses to that survey question establish her claim that half of Donald J. Trump's supporters were "deplorable," perhaps "irredeemable."

In her new book, What Happened, Clinton describes her claim as "well-documentated reality." According to Clinton, the documentation is found in these responss:
Responses by non-black Republicans:
Yes: 53.1 percent
No: 43.1 percent
Don't know: 3.7 percent

Responses by Republicans overall:
Yes: 53.3 percent
No: 42.8 percent
Don't know: 3.9 percent
Were half of Donald J. Trump's supporters "deplorable," perhaps "irredeemable?" Mother Courage has said, in a published book, that yes, they actually were, she was right about that all along!

It's "well-documented reality," she has said, based on those responses. Over Here in our liberal tents, we have been made very glad.

In our view, there's a minor problem with that attempt at documentation. It stems from the large numbers of other respondents who answered that survey question in the exact same way.

Below, you see the way African-American respondents answered that question last year. After that, we offer a fuller set of percentages, showing how many members of various groups gave the deplorable answer:
Responses by African-Americans:
Yes: 46.3 percent
No: 51.3 percent
Don't know: 2.4 percent

Percentages giving the deplorable answer:
Republicans: 53.3 percent
Hispanics: 46.9 percent
Blacks: 46.3 percent
Whites: 39.8 percent
Democrats: 34.4 percent
We liberals can all feel good on one score! Among the specified groups, the highest percentage of Republicans gave the "deplorable" answer.

That said, blacks and Hispanics weren't far behind Clinton's "deplorable" group—and more than a third of Democrats gave the wrong answer too!

These numbers may start to suggest a problem with Clinton's sweeping denunciation of the very bad people Over There. They leave us asking that question again:

Why do people answer survey questions the way they do?

Let's get specific—why did so any black respondents answer that survey question that way? To state the obvious, we can't give you an answer to that. But it leads us to this next question:

Why didn't Hillary Clinton mention these numbers in her book? We'll give you the two most obvious possible answers:
1) She never reviewed the full data set.
2) She's happier when she calls The Others names.
In Answer 2, we encounter a capsule history of the trillion wars the human race has waged in the years since we crawled from the swamp. Answer 1 reflects the way our contemporary discourse tends to work.

Why did so many black respondents give the "wrong" answer to that survey question? Beyond the suggestions we've already trailed, we won't bother trying to answer.

We'll only say that "creative" questions of this type—"inkblot, Rorschach-style survey questions—may tend to generate much more heat than light. Over Here in our liberal tents, our more excitable tribal players have spent the past decade cherry-picking responses to survey questions in the way that was executed here:

We damn The Others for their responses. As we do, we lack the honesty to tell the world that our infallible, flawless selves strongy tended to answer the question the same darn way.

(We have especially tended to do this with survey questions on the so-called "social issues," where black and Hispanic respondents will often tend to give the same answers for which we damn Those Southern White Crackers as hopelessly backward and stupid. This can make it look like we aren't especially honest. More often, we're just too lazy, too dumb and too unskilled to have examined the full data sets. In fairness, these data sets are often withheld or disappeared by our fiery liberal "thought leaders.")

Why did so many people, in so many groups, answer that survey question that way? Why did so many blacks and Hispanics give the "deplorable" answer?

We don't know how to answer those questions. That said, we humans have a lot of images and ideas clanging around inside our heads. Having said that, we'll also say this:

Once you head down the road of telling us who is deplorable, you may have a very long hike trying to find your way back.

Ever since the dawn of time, members of tribal groups have been declaring The Others deplorable. In recent years, this has become a near-obsession Over Here, among our less than impressive, but self-impressed, liberal tribe.

We especially like to spot the racists! As has always been the norm, we tend to find them under every bed, just so long as we look Over There.

This need to denounce The Others is an age-old moral and intellectual sickness. We thought William Saletan may have had a minor case of this particular flu in this recent piece at Slate.

Saletan is perfectly smart. That said, his opening passage wasn't (headlines included):
SALETAN (8/29/17) What Trump Supporters Really Believe/
The president’s racist base, by the numbers


Since the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Trump has been curiously deferential to racists...

Why is Trump so solicitous of bigots? Conventional wisdom on the left says that it’s because he’s a bigot himself, and also because bigots are an important part of his base. But is that second part true? How many of Trump’s supporters are racists?

We may never know the full answer,
since many people don’t disclose their prejudices in surveys. But some do. And among Trump fans, that number turns out to be significant. Overt racists aren’t a decisive share of the electorate, but they’re a substantial part of the president’s coalition. And this gives them far more power than they would otherwise enjoy.
Saletan started with an earnest question and answer. "How many of Trump’s supporters are racists?" he asked.

"We may never know the full answer," he replied.

In our view, that was a saddening call-and-response. Of course we'll never know the full answer to that tribally thrilling question! Compare the question Saletan asks to a second possible question:
A tale of two possible questions:
How many of Trump’s supporters are racists?
How many of Trump’s supporters weigh more than 200 pounds?
In theory, that second question could be easily answered. In theory, we could produce an answer to which we'd all agree.

Saletan's question is different! We all agree on how you determine that someone weighs 200 pounds. We don't agree on how you determine if someone is a racist. There's no established way to form such a judgment—and when Saletan sifted through data from five recent surveys, we'd have to say that he seemed to end up doing some picking and choosing.

Saletan offered a perfectly viable hypothesis. Despite the suggestions lodged in those headlines, he ended up saying that the large majority of Trump supporters can't be shown to be "overt racists." But he said there were enough such people in Trump's base to explain Trump's solicitous behavior toward their kind.

That's a perfectly plausible thesis. We'll only say that Saletan seemed to do some picking-and-choosing when he displayed the survey results which let us know how many "overt racists" can be found Over There.

We'll cite one example, then quit. Here's one passage from Saletan, in which we're shown how many members of Trump's base are in fact "overt racists:"
SALETAN: In the Morning Consult poll, 3 percent of conservatives, 5 percent of whites, and 6 percent of Republicans admit to a favorable impression of neo-Nazis. Among people who strongly approve of Trump’s performance, the number goes up to 12 percent. Remember: These are the people who are willing to tell a pollster that they sympathize with Nazis. The poll doesn’t show how many others are concealing such views.
Among people who strongly approve of Trump's performance in office, 12 percent admitted to a favorable impression of neo-Nazis. Assuming that people understand the term "neo-Nazi," that does sound like a lot.

Please note, though: that's the number of neo-Nazi lovers among people who strongly approve of Trump's performance. Among the roughly equal number of people who somewhat approve of Trump's performance, the number of neo-Nazi lovers drops to five percent.

Overall, the number seems to be roughly 8.5 percent among people who approve to Trump's performance in office. And that still sounds like a lot!

That still sounds like a lot! That said, here are the numbers in that same survey for other groups of respondents:
Percentages who admitted to a favorable impression of neo-Nazis:
People who approve of Trump's performance: 8.5 percent

Liberals: 11 percent
Hispanics: 11 percent
Roman Catholics: 11 percent

Clinton voters: 8 percent
Trump voters 7 percent

Obama 2012 voters: 7 percent
Romney 2012 voters: 6 percent

Republicans: 6 percent
Democrats: 7 percent
We don't know why those people answered that question that way, but that's the way they answered. With that in mind, we can tell you that Saletan's data strike us as somewhat selective. Similar patterns obtain all through the five surveys from which he culled his data.

Our sainted mother often presented us with a stifling bromide when we were growing up. "Ask a silly question, you get a silly answer," she'd Delphically proclaim.

Our academicians tend to clog their surveys with a wide array of questions. Their questions may or may not be silly. But the selective way we use their data to attack The Others may seem deplorable, and utterly brainless, at times.

Saletan offered a perfectly sensible thesis. At the same time, it seemed to us that he was possibly cherry-picking the data he offered in support of that thesis—and yes, the question with which he began was perhaps a bit silly.

As for Clinton, she's adamantly refusing to say that her offhand remark last fall was unwise and unhelpful, full stop.
We fiery liberals have often said that Donald J. Trump can't admit when he's wrong. In the case of that remark by Clinton, he may have found a partner for doubles on our failing society's increasingly crowded courts.

Viebeck gets it (almost) right!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

Maddow keeps pouring it on:
We thought about reviewing the Maddow Shows of the past two nights, in which a certain cable news star extended the culture of embellishment which has long since swamped her program.

There's a bag of squirrels inside this particular cable star's head, and the squirrels inside that bag just won't let her go. That said, reports about Maddow's constant embellishments can take a long time to formulate on an otherwise promising Saturday.

Let's look at Elise Viebeck's news report instead.

Viebeck's report appeared in Thursday morning's Washington Post. She addressed a nagging question, a question cable pundits have spent the past week avoiding:

Why do Republicans have to pass the Cassidy-Graham "health reform" bill by next Friday or not pass it at all? What sort of magic occurs on that particular date?

We thought Viebeck did a good job addressing this widely-glossed question. Near the start of her report, she formulated the question as shown below:
VIEBECK (9/21/17): [Republican leaders] face the challenge of persuading 50 people in the Senate to support [the bill] before the end of the month, which would set the stage for Vice President Pence to cast the tiebreaking vote.

There are many questions surrounding this process. But the timing is perhaps the chief source of confusion among congressional observers. Why is it necessary to pass the health-care bill by Oct. 1? Why do Republicans say they have to act in the next 11 days?
What kind of carriage turns into a pumpkin on October 1? By what type of necromancy does it take fifty votes to pass the bill now, but sixty votes to pass the bill after that magical date?

We've seen this question glossed on cable about a million times. (Explanations are boring, and hard! Speculation is fun!) We thought Viebeck, in her news report, (almost) got it right.

What happens on October 1? How does a need for fifty votes turn into a need for sixty?

You're asking a very good question. Among other things, Viebecks blames the folderol on "arcane Senate procedure," on the Senate's "mind-bending rules," on a ruling by the parliamentarian and on "conventional Senate wisdom."

Here's the releveant text from Viebeck's report, which left us with a few unanswered questions:
VIEBECK: The answer lies in a combination of Republican legislative strategy, arcane Senate procedure and ordinary partisan divisions.

[...]

McConnell and other Republicans can thank themselves for the deadline, which arose from their effort to pass health-care legislation without Democratic votes.

This is where the arcane Senate procedure comes in.

The Sept. 30 deadline exists because of a process known as budget reconciliation, which allows some fiscal measures to pass without the usual 60 votes. Republicans set this process in motion at the beginning of the year, when they passed a budget bill that included instructions for two committees to begin work on health-care legislation with the goal of saving federal revenue. By giving the health-care effort a fiscal goal, GOP leaders qualified that legislation to be passed by a simple majority.

But those instructions expire at the end of the fiscal year that’s covered under the budget bill. Senators could always write new instructions into their next budget, but they were planning to use that opportunity to direct a different legislative priority—tax cuts. Conventional Senate wisdom dictates that the chamber may consider only one legislative priority at a time under reconciliation.

Republicans would prefer to face no deadline at all. But these hopes were dashed on Sept. 1, when the Senate parliamentarian, who helps interpret the chamber’s mind-bending rules, said the GOP’s “reconciliation instructions” would end Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year. That is what McConnell mean when he said the opportunity will “expire” at the end of the month.
We're not going to summarize that. You'll have to do so yourself.

That said, we were left with two questions. First:

If reconciliation instructions expire at the end of the fiscal year, why did the Senate parliamentarian have to rule on this matter back on September 1? More significantly:

To what extent can "conventional Senate wisdom" actually "dictate" anything? If there's no explicit, unchangeable rule limiting reconciliation procedures to one topic per fiscal year, why won't McConnell simply brush conventional wisdom aside in the upcoming fiscal year? Why won't he simply say that health reform and tax reform will run on reconciliation?

We were left with that nagging question after reading Viebeck's report. On about a million occasions, we'd been left with incomprehension after watching our cable news stars. (Information is hard!)

Meanwhile, there was Maddow the last two nights, submitting to the many imperatives which seem to emerge from that bag of squirrels.

No one escapes from cable unharmed. Maddow has been transformed into an agent of squirrelly, ongoing distortions, entertainments and cons. We'll plan to give details next week.

Who is Elise Viebeck: She's eight years out of Claremont McKenna. As such, she's a ray of light within an often worrisome group—those youngish high-end reporters.

WHERE THE DEPLORABLES ARE: The Man From Hope!

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

Interlude—The journey away from bountiful:
Long ago and far away, the first Candidate Clinton won the White House. Two times!

He did so when it had started to seem like Democrats would never get there again. In a letter in today's New York Times, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason recalls the documentary she shot as part of that first campaign.

The film appeared in 1992. It was called The Man From Hope.

In fairness, that first Candidate Clinton didn't have to run against Vladimir Putin. He didn't have to run against James B. Comey (Comey the God), who hadn't achieved godlike status yet and hadn't even served his term chasing around in search of the Whitewater pseudo-scandal.

He didn't have to run against Maureen Dowd, who didn't yet have a column. He didn't have to run against years of her previous broken-souled columns.

Alas! Along with everything else, the second Clinton had to run against twenty-four years of demonization and pseudo-scandal. She had to run in the face of the code of silence, according to which the career liberal world had never raised its voice, or really said boo, about all that demonization.

(Dearest darlings, use your heads! Careers had hung in the balance!)

All this being said, the first Candidate Clinton had to run against a pretty fair dose of The Major Dumb too. Much of its came from within the mainstream press, especially at the start of his primary campaign.

This included the invention, by the New York Times, of the Whitewater pseudo-scandal, the pseudo-scandal which gave its name to an entire era. It included a lot of silly stuff from a lot of silly people. (He said he didn't inhale!)

In the end, that first candidate prevailed. It's worth recalling some of the ways he managed to do so.

For starters, that film was called The Man From Hope, not Here Come Da Judge. As far as we know, he never offered an estimate of the number of fellow citizens who were deplorable, perhaps irredeemable, and thus on their way to Hell.

He adopted a more hopeful, welcoming tone, especially toward the tens of millions of people whose votes he hoped to attain:

He said we don't have a single person to waste. He said he wanted to work on behalf of people "who work hard and play by the rules."

His official campaign book bore this title: Putting People First. When those early attacks occurred in New Hampshire, he told Granite State voters that he would stand by them, in the face of the economic downturn, "until the last dog dies."

Years later, after two terms in the White House, he discussed his home state's white Pentecostals in his memoir, My Life. He discussed this particular home-state group long before quoting us on page 934, the climax of the book.

Long ago and far away,
we recommended that earlier portion of the first Clinton's book. As we said at the time, we think that portion of his book helps explain how the first Clinton managed to get to the White House.

It also helps us ponder the journey the liberal world has taken since then. It has been a natavistic journey—a trip away from bountiful.

Why was this ex-president talking about his home state's Pentecostals? His rumination started with his honeymoon trip to Haiti, where he and his wife observed voodoo ceremonies.

Why in the world did he bother with that? We'll let that first Clinton explain:
CLINTON (page 237): I describe my brief foray into the world of voodoo because I’ve always been fascinated by the way different cultures try to make sense of life, nature, and the virtually universal belief that there is a nonphysical spirit force at work in the world that existed before humanity and will be here when we all are gone. Haitians’ understanding of how God is manifested in our lives is very different from that of most Christians, Jews, or Muslims, but their documented experiences certainly prove the old adage that the Lord works in mysterious ways.
He said he was discussing that experience because he's always been fascinated by People Who Aren't Just Like Him!

Shortly after his honeymoo ended, this same first Clinton was campaigning all over Arkansas for the job of attorney general. He soon attended a black church event in which the Reverend Robert Jenkins was inaugurated as pastor of Morning Star Baptist:
CLINTON (page 249): As Robert got into his sermon, the temperature seemed to rise. All of a sudden an older lady sitting near me stood up, shaking and shouting, seized by the spirit of the Lord. A moment later a man got up in an even louder and more uncontrollable state. When he couldn’t calm down, a couple of the churchmen escorted him to a little room in the back of the church that held the church robes and closed the door. He continued to shout something unintelligible and bang against the walls. I turned around just in time to see him literally tear the door off its hinges, throw it down, and run out into the churchyard screaming. It reminded me of the scene at Max Beauvoir’s in Haiti, except that these people believed they had been moved by Jesus.
Already, our modern lizards are loudly complaining about this man's overt racism. In this deeply atavistic reaction, we modern liberals keep displaying our own prehistoric state. We modern liberals know very few things, but we know them amazingly well.

It's at this point in the first Clinton's book that he turns to the Pentecostals. “Not long afterward, I saw white Christians have similar experiences,” he writes, “when my finance officer...invited me to the annual summer camp meeting of the Pentecostals in Redfield, about thirty miles south of Little Rock.”

Clinton describes a life-long interest that grew from that first experience. “I made that summer camp meeting every summer but one between 1977 and 1992,” he writes. “Every year I witnessed some amazing new manifestations of the Pentecostals’ faith.”

For the record, we have no religious beliefs ourselves. Beyond that, this first Clinton isn't a Pentecostal.

Still and all, he took great interest in what he saw at those annual retreats. Did we mention the fact that this winning candidate was able to express affection and admiration for—was able to be fascinated by—People Who Weren't Just Like Him?

For Clinton, it wasn’t the ecstatic experiences of these white Pentecostals that mattered the most. In the following passage, we'd say this first Clinton reveals the breadth of spirit and curiosity that help explain how he got to the White House.

We'll highlight the main idea:
CLINTON (page 251): Far more important than what I saw the Pentecostals do were the friendships I made among them. I liked and admired them because they lived their faith. They are strictly anti-abortion, but unlike some others, they will make sure that any unwanted baby, regardless of race or disability, has a loving home. They disagreed with me on abortion and gay rights, but they still followed Christ’s admonition to love their neighbors.
They disagreed with that first Candidate Clinton on abortion and gay rights; they didn't vote for him much. But that first Clinton was able to "like and admire" Those People because of the ways he saw them living their faith.

“Besides being true to their faith, the Pentecostals I knew were good citizens,” he writes. “They thought it was a sin not to vote.” After describing a compromise he reached with Pentecostal ministers about the licensing of church-run child-care centers, Clinton concludes the rumination that began with that trip to Haiti:
CLINTON (page 252): Knowing the Pentecostals has enriched and changed my life. Whatever your religious views, or lack of them, seeing people live their faith in a spirit of love toward all people, not just your own, is beautiful to behold. If you ever get a chance to go to a Pentecostal service, don’t miss it.
Say what? This first Clinton was able to say that Those People enriched his life!

They didn't vote for this first Clinton much, but he said they'd enriched his life. He didn't tell us how they answered that GSS survey question.

Bill Clinton was portrayed as The Man From Hope. Whatever his shortcomings may have been, he knew how to see the good in Those People, The Others.

He said we didn't have a single one of Those People to waste. He didn't estimate the number of people who were on their way straight to Hell.

Not many years later, a markedly different attitude has seeped through the liberal world.

The second Candidate Clinton was forced to run against twenty-four years of demonization. Those demonizations had worked quite well, in large part because the Chaits, the Maddows, the Marshalls, the Dionnes had persistently let them stand.

She ran and hid in 2012, when they came after Susan Rice and invented the Benghazi narrative. She ran and hid in 2016, when Comey the God unsheathed his terrible swift sword and hardened the email narrative.

We're speaking here of Cable Star Maddow, not of Candidate Clinton. But along the way, the admiring attitude of that first Clinton had given way to the ugly strain in which our tribe turns to cable every night eager to gulp down the tribal gruel in which we're encouraged to dream—Yay yay yay yay!—that They'll all end up jail.

In which we're told that half of Them are headed for Hell. In which we're told it's been proven!

Bill Clinton was advertised as The Man from Hope. Seven years earlier, Geraldine Page had won an Oscar for taking The Trip to Bountiful.

In the years since 1992, we've been on a journey away from that place. We've been trained in a tribal mandate, in which we're required to loathe.

Tomorrow, we'll return to that damning question, the one on the GSS.

Tomorrow: Black and white together!