Thursday, June 1, 2017

Covfefe: case study in projection

The big news today is Covfefe-gate. Last night Trump's tweet included the non-word "covfefe", and apparently that's big news to people. Especially to people who specialize in big news, like CNN, who have made the incident a major headline.

I love the first related headline underneath: President Trump's tweet typo goes viral. We really have memed ourselves into the future. Before I go on, just take a moment to appreciate what a wonderful moment in time we're living in.

The gist of the article is that Trump's typo is proof that he is a renegade president with no discipline, no self-control, and who summarily rejects all good advice he might be given.The piece was penned by a CNN Editor-at-large (whatever that means) in the Politics section (why does CNN even distinguish at this point?) and was labeled as Analysis. Here's what passes for political analysis from a CNN editor. Let's start with the very first sentence.
To be clear: This is, on its face, dumb.
Wow, look at him analyze! I smell Pulitzer. (That's not even a joke, given that they just gave a Pulitzer over the Russia conspiracy theory. How do you reward journalism with no evidence?) The rest of the opening paragraph:
Trump seemed to be trying to type "coverage" and misspelled it. As he often does. Then he fell asleep and didn't correct the mistake until he got up in the morning. We've all been there! (OK, not all of us. But me.) 
Okay, so it's not really that dumb. Typos are perfectly natural, we all do it, but the president should have better communication processes in place to catch these kinds of gaffes before they happen. Fair enough. The next paragraph:
While spending time trying, as Trump suggested, to figure out what "covfefe" means is a waste, it's far more worthwhile to take a big step back and look at the situation that leads to the President of the United States tweeting, poorly, at 12:06 a.m. about the bad press he gets.
This is where the irony really sets in. He's talking about how the big problem here is how Trump's tweets evoke bad press. Mr Cillizza, you are the bad press. You are CNN, the pre-eminent 24-hour news source. You are writing political analysis that begins with Trump is a dumb face, lol. Your organization gives Trump "bad press" for eating ice cream, and a whole host of other inane minutiae. CNN is like the abusive husband who provides sober & impartial analysis: she really shouldn't talk back like she does. It only gets her hit.

The thing is that "Convfefe" tells you all you need to know about the media. It is just as likely that Trump wrote the typo on purpose as their conclusion that a man with an Ivy League graduate degree in economics misspelled a word with such a large Hamming error that we aren't quite sure what word he was going for. If the media is correct then yes perhaps Trump is a rogue Tweeting President, but he always was. That's half the reason he was elected. If they are wrong then it merely reinforces the notion that Trump has great strategic control of the media. In either case it shows the media has gone hysterical in their Trump coverage, where a random typo is the major news of the day. I'll leave you with this wonderful gem of irony, thanks to CNN.

CNN's Cheif Political Analyst on Trump's typo

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