Red Herrings, Misdirection, and the Destructive Art of Spin

All Americans Are Muslims

Don’t kid yourself. When you see Donald Trump and his flacks attacking the media and its accuracy, they are not always protecting his ego. These attacks intend to destroy the credibility of the media, and distract the American public from focusing on the critical issues that threaten our Democracy. The Trump Administration is serving a daily dose of red herrings, misdirection tactics, and spin to the American Public.

Red Herring

Worse, some members of the media are incapable of seeing through it. They take the media war bate like a cupcake waved in front of a child.

Consider how much time the media wasted this week on whether or not to call Donald Trump a liar. Instead of name calling, they should seek the smoking guns that prove Trump is intentionally lying. Regardless of the fine points of proving someone a liar by ethical media terms, Trump’s false words are not the issue. The real issue is the systematic destruction of the American democracy.

Meanwhile, Trump’s spinmasters have taken several actions to directly threaten the United States well-being:

  • Trump single-handedly destroyed U.S. Mexico relations in a matter of 36 hours.
  • He banned more than a hundred million Muslims from entering the United States saying “We don’t want them here,” on International Holocaust Rememberance Day. Think about that.
  • Trump promised an investigation into systematic voter fraud, an intentional move to suppress minority voting eligibility.
  • Replaced the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director of National Intelligence on the National Security Council with Alt-right leader Stephen Bannon.
  • The Trump leadership team directly assaulted women’s rights, starting with abortion.
  • We as citizens and members of the media need to focus on the core actions being taken by Donald Trump to destroy the democratic institutions that make the United States of America.

    A Company of Spinners

    King Trump

    Mr. Trump is a malevolent and perhaps disturbed PR genius with zero ethics. His counterparts Stephen Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Sean Spicer are even worse, taking the art of deception to new lows unseen since the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. This is what happens when you let power-hungry PR people run the country. Retaining power through spin matters more than right actions.

    Let’s be clear. Trump won on an electoral plurality, not a general vote majority. He knows that maintaining the plurality is crucial while he attempts to suppress the majority. That is how he will eventually achieve a stranglehold on national power.

    Misdirection

    Keeping the media on its heals with misdirection and fake drama helps achieve that objective. The misdirection bates the media into attacks so the Trump team can tell their sycophant following the media are liars.

    Journalists are getting played like a violin when they fight with Trump and his three spinning lieutenants about lying. The media drama furthers the Trump cause.

    Then the narrative becomes about the much maligned Trump attacked by a liberal media corps who don’t want him to make America great again. Pathetic, right? But it’s working with the plurality, and therein lies the long-term danger.

    Puncture the Spin

    Proud Muslim and American Military Family

    Jay Rosen had it right in his suddenly frighteningly titled blog pressthink about sending the interns to the white House briefing room. The Trump story is somewhere else.

    The Trump PR machine will continue to spew alternative facts and attack the media as part of its attempts to deceive the American public and implement its malicious agenda. The media should not cooperate, nor should they treat such blatant attempts to deliver spin as news.

    Spin

    Instead, journalists need to focus on the Trump story from outside sources. Trump team tweets and PR announcements are just spin. Prove Trump wrong through sources, documents, and investigative stories.

    The best two political stories I read this week came from investigative reporters. The first was the Washington Post accounting of the acting director of the National Park Service Michael Reynolds about a phone call with Mr. Trump in which the president pressured him to falsify visual evidence about the inauguration crowd size.

    The second story focused on the Republican retreat in Philadelphia this week. Again, the Washington Post obtained private information — this time in form of a tape — about GOP’s concerns on how to repeal Obamacare. The story revealed that the Trump Administration does not have a plan to assist in that effort.

    These types of stories successfully counter the Trump Administration’s spin and puts the President on his heels. Further, when the Trump Administration throws the media “shade”, journalists should simply ignore it. They are empowered by the First Amendment. It is the Trump Administration that has no or should have no credibility.

    A Time to Fight

    We Are Happy You Are Here

    In my opinion, every person with an Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and/or Twitter account that cares about the United States democracy needs to become actively engaged in the political conversation. We contribute to the overall media story. This is a time to fight. Our country’s principles and way of life are endangered.

    Get active. Here are things I am doing to serve our country and combat Trump’s brand of fascism:

  • Volunteering with ACLU Virginia as a strategic advisor.
  • Taking protest photos when I can, time permitting.
  • Turning down pro-Trump related projects, such as photographing an inaugural ball (truth).
  • Participating in pro-Democracy projects like the UnPresidented book effort on Kickstarter (support us, please).
  • And yes, contacting my Congressional representatives by phone, Twitter, and mail.
  • If Trump succeeds in turning our country into an autocratic state, then we have no one to blame but ourselves. Get active.

    Originally published on the Huffington Post.

    Fight Suicide with IMAlive 24-7

    One of my clients, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center is hosting the first annual IMAlive 24-7 Giving Challenge to fundraise on National Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). People across America are trying to raise $50,000 to fund the IMALive.org crisis chat service. Any donation received during National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-14) will count towards the IMAlive 24-7 giving event.

    Suicide can be a moment of terror. In their desperation many potential victims can be talked off the proverbial ledge by an IMAlive volunteer.

    IMAlive volunteers like one young lady Molly have saved thousands of lives by simply helping them through the moment. The above video tells you about Molly’s experience, and how saving people’s lives changed her.

    Currently, the IMAlive chat service and hotline is available to people most hours of the day, but to become truly effective we need to become available every hour of every day. If successful, our IMAlive 24-7 Giving Challenge will make the chat service available every hour of every day through August, 2014!

    You can donate, or fundraise. Several bloggers have already signed up to participate, including Frank Warren and the PostSecret Community; a team led by Bob LeDrew and Ann Marie ven den Hurk in memory of Jacob Weiskopf (Team Jacob); and Team Trey, and a group consisting of Olivier Blanchard, Margie Clayman and me who are fundraising in memory of our friend Trey Pennington. Join the effort by contacting Gloria Bell (gloriakbell @ gmail . com) or me (geoffliving @ geofflivingston . com).

    Teams that participate can win an 11 inch MacBook Air by raising the most dollars (Frank Warren and I are disqualified from winning due to helping KBHC with this effort). In addition, one MacBook Air will be won by a randomly selected donor after the giving day. Finally, it is expected that their will be several matches offered by the Kristin Brooks Hope Center during the giving day.

    In addition, donors will win awards for individual contributions of certain levels. Included are:

    • $25 Deck of Suicide Prevention Playing Cards
    • $50 KBHC Gift Pack (Deck of cards, UV Sunglasses, Stress Ball, Frisbee Flyer, Blue October Tee Shirt)
    • $100 Frank Warren Signed Galley Page, free eBook of Geoff Livingston’s novel Exodus
    • $500 Autographed Journey T-Shirt
    • $1000 Complete autographed Frank Warren book set

    Individual teams may provide their own awards to donors.

    Please join us, have fun, and save some lives. What do you think of suicide prevention or this fundraiser?

    Photograph: IMALive’s Elena and Reese Butler accepting a GIve to the Max Day check with me and Frank Warren