Trump’s Authoritarian Blindness Comes Home to Roost

  
Via:  john-russell  •  4 weeks ago  •  20 comments

Trump’s Authoritarian Blindness Comes Home to Roost
as outlets like Fox gained large audiences and became the sole, automatically trusted news source for millions of voters, they created their own bubble. Trump’s diatribes about “fake news” and the “deep state” have turned that bubble into an impenetrable bunker. The result is that pro-Trump Republicans now suffer from their own Taranto effect, leaving them blissfully unaware how much the rest of the country doesn’t like their man.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


....What is “authoritarian blindness”? It’s a term for the well-documented tendency of an authoritarian state to be unaware of what is happening in the world around it and unable to respond appropriately. The paradox of authoritarian regimes is that the more efficient and all-pervasive the surveillance state, the   less   it knows about what is going on. The regime becomes blinded because people are afraid to tell the truth.

A   fascinating article   by Zeynep Tufekci described how this phenomenon was a factor in the Chinese government’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Because an authoritarian system is designed to suppress information, rather than absorb it, the doctors on the front lines who initially warned about the disease were ignored and sometimes punished: “If people are too afraid to talk, and if punishing people for ‘rumors’ becomes the norm, a doctor punished for spreading news of a disease in one province becomes just another day, rather than an indication of impending crisis.”

Tufekci provides a great analogy:


An Orwellian surveillance-based system would be overwhelming and repressive, as it is now in China, but it would also be similar to losing sensation in parts of one’s body due to nerve injuries. Without the pain to warn the brain, the hand stays on the hot stove, unaware of the damage to the flesh until it’s too late.

You can begin to see how this might apply to the Trump administration. No, we do not live under an authoritarian system, and there is no well-developed surveillance state or regime of censorship in America. But

Donald Trump  has  developed and promoted two key concepts that produce much the same effect as authoritarian blindness: “fake news” and the “deep state.”

The point of the “fake news” concept is to describe information from any media not obsequiously friendly to the president as some kind of conspiracy intended to hurt him. Veteran reporter Lesley Stahl says Trump  told her  he uses the term “to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

The point of the “deep state” concept is to describe information coming to the president from within the federal bureaucracy as a partisan conspiracy to overthrow him by means of a “coup.” ( That’s the president’s word , not mine.) Thus, some of Trump’s prominent supporters dismissed a warning from a CDC official by spinning a conspiracy theory  connecting her  to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The practical effect of these two concepts is that they create a voluntarily accepted, self-induced authoritarian blindness, in which the administration and its circle of sycophants will accept no information from outside their bubble.


You can already see this blindness manifesting itself in the administration’s muddled messages about COVID-19. As recently as Monday morning, Trump was still offering what one observer   called   the “‘mayor from   Jaws   routine,” exulting that COVID-19 is   not that big a deal   because so far it’s smaller than the regular flu—as if this were the end of the outbreak and not the beginning.

Trump also   dismissed concerns   about the virus as a product of the “Fake News Media” trying to “inflame” the situation. This ties in to a view   peddled by his supporters   in the conservative media that COVID-19 is just “the common cold” and that “the forces arrayed against Donald Trump are doing everything they can to weaponize this to harm the economy, to harm the stock market in hopes of harming President Trump.” This last bit is from amateur epidemiologist Rush Limbaugh.

That is how Trump has been treating the outbreak, too: as more of a danger to the stock market and to his re-election than a danger to human lives. This is why his initial reaction was to send Larry Kudlow out to   tell people to buy the dip   in the stock market. (This also turned out not to be good investment advice.)

Then there is the way Trump   spews misinformation   about the virus and the government’s response, while repeating in a self-satisfied tone his underlings’ real or imagined flattery. “Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.”

His glib confidence that he understands complicated systems completely is the clearest sign that he hasn’t got a clue—and that everyone around him is too busy shoring up his fragile ego to tell him the truth.

Note particularly the closed information loop created by the president’s symbiosis with friendly news sources such as Fox News Channel, from which Trump regularly draws information on crucial issues. The president won’t believe COVID-19 is a crisis until he sees it described that way on   Fox & Friends   or by Sean Hannity—and they won’t describe it that way if they think it will contradict the line coming from the White House.


COVID-19 is not quite a crisis yet. It is a situation that   could   grow into a full-blown crisis if the virus continues to spread—which it almost certainly will. Even more likely is the probability that local and federal officials will rally and undertake heroic measures to slow the spread of the virus regardless of what is going on in the White House.

But we don’t really know yet, and I’m not going to play armchair epidemiologist. While some of the reactions in the public sphere have bordered on panic, many people and institutions are making rational responses to uncertainty.

Regardless of the outcome of this outbreak, we have already seen the basic weakness of Trump’s administration: its slowness and reluctance to respond to any information outside its bubble. If it’s not this crisis, it will be some other crisis: the economy, our   disastrous capitulation   to the Taliban, or just some ordinary back-and-forth during the campaign. Trump won’t know he’s losing independent voters until they are already lost, because the only people he listens to are those who tell him he’s doing great and that all the voters think he’s a very stable genius.


There’s a bitter irony here in the role the conservative press now plays. For years, conservatives warned that the leftward bias of the mainstream media actually hurt Democrats, because the press was telling them what they wanted to hear and this blinded them to unpleasant realities. This was even codified as the   Taranto Principle : “the press’s failure to hold left-wingers accountable for bad behavior merely encourages the left’s bad behavior to the point that its candidates are repellent to ordinary Americans.”

That was back when conservatives were still struggling to create their own alternative media in an attempt to break the left-wing information bubble. But as outlets like Fox gained large audiences and became the sole, automatically trusted news source for millions of voters, they created their own bubble. Trump’s diatribes about “fake news” and the “deep state” have turned that bubble into an impenetrable bunker.

The result is that pro-Trump Republicans now suffer from their own Taranto effect, leaving them blissfully unaware how much the rest of the country doesn’t like their man.


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    4 weeks ago
Donald Trump   has   developed and promoted two key concepts that produce much the same effect as authoritarian blindness: “fake news” and the “deep state.”

The point of the “fake news” concept is to describe information from any media not obsequiously friendly to the president as some kind of conspiracy intended to hurt him. Veteran reporter Lesley Stahl says Trump   told her   he uses the term “to discredit you all and demean you all so that when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.”

The point of the “deep state” concept is to describe information coming to the president from within the federal bureaucracy as a partisan conspiracy to overthrow him by means of a “coup.” (  That’s the president’s word  , not mine.) Thus, some of Trump’s prominent supporters dismissed a warning from a CDC official by spinning a conspiracy theory   connecting her   to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The practical effect of these two concepts is that they create a voluntarily accepted, self-induced authoritarian blindness, in which the administration and its circle of sycophants will accept no information from outside their bubble.
 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 weeks ago

Article is dead on in my humble opinion

 
 
 
Ozzwald
1.1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  igknorantzrulz @1.1    4 weeks ago

Article is dead on in my humble opinion

Agreed.  The truly strange part however is that Trump has labelled every news agency, at one time or another, as "fake news", including FoxNews.  Yet his cultists never notice that.  He as also indicated "deep state" connections, even with his own people.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.1.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Ozzwald @1.1.1    4 weeks ago

thus he has his go to with any and all that might doubt his infinite, all knowing, of

nothingness about everything. 

 
 
 
WallyW
1.2  WallyW  replied to  JohnRussell @1    4 weeks ago

Running this gibberish through the universal translator = Biden will lose by a landslide.

The American people appear to want a take charge president

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.2.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  WallyW @1.2    4 weeks ago

The American people appear to want a take charge president

yea, but the GOP Senate are gutless wussies

 
 
 
Veronica
1.2.2  Veronica  replied to  WallyW @1.2    4 weeks ago
The American people appear to want a take charge president

And what exactly has Trump taken charge of?  

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.2.3  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Veronica @1.2.2    4 weeks ago

Americas' Charge Card,

if you're counting the extra Trillion on that deficit he was gonna erase right after Mexico paid for that wall one can cut through or climb over for under a $100, as his new health plan covers more and is 'better' than the  Obamacare he is still trying to undo as he lies to his constituents about him working to keep pre existing coverages 

covered,

like a wagon, a 4 year old little boy would pull his temper tantrum in if he can't have his pep rallies to stroke his fragile insecure ego as he screams let go my eggo, as he's been known to grab them right off womens genes, especially if under 23 and having to oui'   as he speaks in tongues to the French fries he grabs with tongs, assaulting them with his Whoppers about the truth he never told

 
 
 
JohnRussell
1.2.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  igknorantzrulz @1.2.1    4 weeks ago

Trump and his minions are going to catch hell on election day. 

 
 
 
It Is ME
1.2.5  It Is ME  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.4    4 weeks ago
Trump and his minions are going to catch hell on election day. 

We were supposed to "Catch Hell" during Hillarie's run too ! jrSmiley_103_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
1.2.6  igknorantzrulz  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.4    4 weeks ago

they deserve every bit of it

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
2  Colour Me Free    4 weeks ago
....What is “authoritarian blindness”? It’s a term for the well-documented tendency of an authoritarian state to be unaware of what is happening in the world around it and unable to respond appropriately. The paradox of authoritarian regimes is that the more efficient and all-pervasive the surveillance state, the   less   it knows about what is going on. The regime becomes blinded because people are afraid to tell the truth.

Really?  Sooo the 'authoritarian leader' of the United States has been 'blinded' .. while the media runs around 'somewhat' irresponsibly creating fear - reports in the media might lead one to think 'The Virus' is an automatic death sentence ….. where is the 'regime' fear and what exactly is this truth not being told … oooo never mind, the truth not being told is that MOST get 'The Virus' without missing a beat in their daily lives - thus causing the spread

Time to find a happy medium .. it is not the morality rate that is the concern with 'The Virus' it is the spread rate.  Numbers of cases and death [mainly] among the elderly with underlaying health issues are decreasing in countries like South Korea and China …… Italy is having its moment … in the US things are still pretty much at ground zero regarding the number of cases .. the numbers are on the rise

Was the US response 'prompt' … no, not  at all - I do not think it has been as bad as the 'sky is falling' crowd thinks though.. Americans need to banned together on this one .. be smart, be safe and wash your hands .. take responsibility for our own actions 'WE' knew 'The Virus' was coming - the government could not stop it, even if there were 30 million test kits on the shelf and ready to go..   I have a compromised immune system .. Seattle WA is roughly 10 hours from me … I did not need the government to tell me to be alert and do not put myself at risk by attending large gatherings … fortunately Montana has more horses and cows than people - the threat is minimal -  yet I will still not be going shopping at the mall [good thing shopping is not my thing ..]

P.s... had the government proposed a travel ban in the beginning the screams at the sky would have been overwhelming … but now, not enough was done to prevent the spread (?)  Get real!

Take care everyone .. Peace

 
 
 
loki12
2.1  loki12  replied to  Colour Me Free @2    4 weeks ago

We do have to keep the southern border open, they would be hypocrites to deny the poor asylum seekers safety, a few 1000 dead is worth it, as long as they are old white people.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
2.1.1  Colour Me Free  replied to  loki12 @2.1    4 weeks ago

HA! Good point loki … rumor has it another caravan is headed this way - will those screeeeeching now about the handling of 'The Virus' be at the border with thermometers taking temps?

Or will 'authoritarian blindness' control awareness as well? 

 
 
 
loki12
2.1.2  loki12  replied to  Colour Me Free @2.1.1    4 weeks ago

We have to check which way the wind is blowing, and then do whatever will make trump look worse.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
2.1.3  Colour Me Free  replied to  loki12 @2.1.2    4 weeks ago

Wish I could disagree .. but I do believe you are correct!  I do not know how many times I can say what a puke I think Trump is … but all the worlds problems are not his fault no matter how hard an individual wishes it to be so!

 
 
 
loki12
2.1.4  loki12  replied to  Colour Me Free @2.1.3    4 weeks ago

What’s funny is trump is unfit because he doesn’t act presidential, Biden uses stronger language than trump and the same people make excuses, do these idiots think running for President is harder than actually being president? While running for re-election? And people wonder why they get laughed at. SMH

 
 
 
WallyW
2.2  WallyW  replied to  Colour Me Free @2    4 weeks ago

The Trump haters want open borders, yet feign faux outrage about travel bans.

And now the Dems have got started on a bill on overturning Trump's travel bans.

 
 
 
Colour Me Free
2.2.1  Colour Me Free  replied to  WallyW @2.2    4 weeks ago
And now the Dems have got started on a bill on overturning Trump's travel bans.

I have not read anything about that as of yet …. but the travel bans are necessary .. one cannot cry about response to a pandemic and fight against precautions taken in response ………. ugghhh

 
 
 
loki12
3  loki12    4 weeks ago

Biden reads his plan from his handlers and then takes 0 questions because he lacks the intelligence to think on his feet. Fucking Coward!

 
 
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