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Selective Attention

Apparently there is some “controversy” involving White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. I say, “apparently,” because I refuse to upset myself by reading about it. She brushed off some reporters’ questions about Hunter Biden profiting from selling some art? That may be all wrong, the story may be different. I just tried to extrapolate from a couple of headlines of the last few days. If one looks up a topic on Bing, one inevitably is given a list of articles which are about 98% from a Far Right perspective. There are an endless number of these, and so this is another one.

I don’t know if these organizations, whoever and whatever runs and funds them, have mastered the algorithms necessary to get their pieces filling up the search engines, or whether the companies which run the search engines deliberately put them in, so that an unwitting person who wants to read about a topic, is sent to some of the most virulent Far Right rhetoric available. Much more likely, the latter. Probably too many of their readers think that these articles are the truth, when they are just Radical Right propaganda.

To find reasonably balanced coverage, one has to go to specific sites, and in many cases, pay for the articles or a subscription. The Right Wing articles are mostly free, they want you to be indoctrinated by them. Since even with my very limited computer and internet knowledge, I am aware of this, it must be blatantly obvious.

So I don’t want to look up this story about the estimable Jen Psaki. I am sure that she has done nothing wrong. I know that the people pushing hard for America to be a fascist country, spend most of their day looking for something to attack the Biden Administration over. Their strategy is very simple. Turn every day into one in which Biden or any of his officials is on the defensive; where the headlines are, “Biden under attack for,” or “Criticisms mount on….,” and it is a winning day for them.

They subscribe to the “death by a thousand cuts” approach. So every day, Biden is “attacked” (by them) for something he did or didn’t do. The goal is to give the unsophisticated voter the sense that Biden’s Administration is a failure; it is incompetent, meandering, confused, ineffective. Thus, vote for Republicans, they will solve it all! They will bring back the good times for you! Low taxes, plenty of stocked grocery store shelves, gas for all, 95 degree days everywhere, and plenty of hurricanes.

Of course I am being facetious, they never bring up the hurricanes or the heat. Like the mordant joke about the person in the jungle, who when hearing that a tiger is running toward their tent, throws away his roommate’s shoes, because “I don’t have to outrun the tiger, all I have to do is outrun you,” they figure that if they can get you to hate Biden and the Democrats enough, they will win by default. That was what the 2016 campaign was all about.

I would never want to be someone who was not informed. But that does not mean that I feel compelled to read every bit of nonsense that the Far Right Totalitarians (calling them “Republicans” seems to confer a seriousness about them that they have long since abandoned) toss out there. I know enough about Psaki, and have heard enough of her press conferences (I used to try to watch them on YouTube each day for a while), to know that she is very bright, very competent, and a very decent person. So the rest is just the Right Wing doing the only thing it knows how to do, since they have no policies at all.

It is somewhat liberating, feeling that I do not want to bother with this daily onslaught of slanders fed to the media to chase after for their daily sustenance. Of course I will still follow important news stories, to be able to comment about them, and their larger import. But I think we need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. (I just found a quote from Adlai Stevenson, one of my parents’ favorite political figures, who said, “An editor is someone who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff”)

There is at least one of these “stories” a day. I use AOL, which I know is antediluvian, and when I log onto the computer, there is always a headline and picture which is invariably anti-Democrat.I try hard to avoid even seeing them, because I tend to think, “Is this what millions of people see each day,?” and it worries me.I assume that this is what is present virtually anywhere one looks on the social media. Even if one only tries to look for intelligent and honest sources, they often refer to the hitpieces, and the made-up scandal of the day, so it is hard to escape them. But I think one should try, because their collective weight can drag one down. And I am confident that almost all, if not all, of it, is just nonsense, like carefully scanning the signs at a Trump rally. Why would one bother, just to be angry and affronted?

I think that our side must try to be on the offensive, and simply ignore this endless barrage of attacks and lies coming from the Right. It takes up too much of our time and energy from putting our stories and goals out there. And if I ever feel like I am missing something, all I have to do is look at Bing’s “Trending” list, which comes up below any search you are doing, and which will list all sorts of topics designed to get you to find all the Right Wing talking points and phony “stories.”

I feel a little guilty trying to avoid this, but I don’t feel guilty about not subscribing to those “news alerts” apps on phones, which probably drive their subscribers crazy with their incessant beeping, and scaring people so that they cannot sleep or have a relaxing moment. I sort of want to see what the Jen Psaki “controversy” is, but I think I shall forbear for now. She can handle it in her inimitable fashion, and the seditionists can obsess about it, we can’t stop them from doing that. There is certainly a part of me which says, “You should at least look up this story, to see what it is exactly about,” but today, at least, I simply refuse to. It is like those beeping alerts demanding that you must read about this or that. Sometimes, we have to shut out the unsirenlike song.

All the illegalities in the Trump Administration, all the grift, and ethics violations, didn’t stop them, so I will not worry about Psaki blowing off a reporter who wants to chase down stories about the President’s son, or whatever else the Right Wing and the media want to fixate on. They can wallow in it. I do think that there should be less of the good people feeling this need to lecture about “optics,” or that we should strive toward the highest moral principles on our side. Yes, we should strive for them–but we’ve got a war for the American democracy to fight; and all of our efforts at purity or perfect form, don’t do us any practical good, anyway. When Trump or Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t like a question, they ignored it, or mocked it, and then wouldn’t call on the questioner any more. Most of the media didn’t seem to mind it at all. We are not the fallback punching bags for them.