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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Politics of the hat

by digby

Adele Stan talks about Melania's hat --- and some other news:

News outlets were no doubt grateful for something elegant and surprising to adorn their front pages or lead their broadcasts. Because under Trump, the news is ugly pretty much all of the time. And much of that ugliness is the kind of thing done to prime a population to accede to a coming crackdown.

For instance, it’s been a very busy month for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureau at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Raids across the country altered the make-up of big-city neighborhoods and small rural towns. In Tennessee, ICE raided a meatpacking plant, rounding up 97 undocumented immigrants. The following day, 530 children were absent from school in Hamblen County, which has a large Latinix community, according to The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer.

Trump supporters are cheering, of course. They don’t see how the apparatus now strengthened for the round-up of workers can be set upon any category of people, including themselves. Their Great White Father wound never do such things to them, they believe. But those brown people who are changing American culture, well, you know, they deserve it.

And Melania wore a white hat.

Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions, Trump’s beleaguered attorney general, is well along the path to revoking any shred of civil rights afforded Americans while engaging with law enforcement. From the start, Sessions sent a message when he said he would loosen Justice Department oversight of police departments known as violators of the rights of citizens, especially black and brown citizens.

Americans inside law enforcement and out heard the message. In Sacramento, Stephon Clark was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard earlier this month by police officers who suspected him of breaking a car window. Two black men were arrested in Philadelphia for refusing to buy something while waiting there for a friend. On April 22, Chikesia Clemons,a black woman was thrown to the floor of a Waffle House in Alabama for disputing the restaurant’s demand that she pay for a plastic spoon. That same day, a black man, James Shaw Jr., heroically wrested an assault rifle from a white man who had already killed four people of color in a Waffle House in Tennessee. The white man had ties to the far-right “sovereign citizen” movement.

The president has yet to mention the incident, or to hail Shaw as a hero. Might upset the base, you see.

How ‘bout that white hat on Melania?

The intimation of the media by the Trump administration—and the co-option of Trump and key large right-wing outlets—barely cause a ripple anymore. Yet this story is not simply about mean tweets.

In early April, we learned that the Department of Homeland security is building a database of journalists. From Bloomberg Government:

DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents.

According to the request for proposals, Bloomberg reports, “Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers.” The ideological bent of each publication will be identified, and the public activities of top influencers monitored.


Our media landscape is changing in ways that smack of authoritarianism and corruption. But don’t look too closely. Did you get a load of that hat on Melania?

There's more. There's much, much more. Stan is seeing the forest, not the trees, something which far too few of our journalistic brethren are seeing or are willing to admit if they do. Read on.

Update: This woman is...horrible. She cannot just say "we support a free press." And that's because she and her authoritarian boss don't. They consider the press to be "the enemey of the people". They've said it out loud.

She'll go down as the worst press secretary in history and that includes Ari Fleischer:

But hey ... that hat.