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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

Did CNN cut the Trump town hall short — by 20 minutes?

I didn't know how long the show was supposed to be, but when it ran over the hour, I figured it would go 90 minutes, and then it ended at 10 minutes after the hour? Was that the plan?

I see Newsweek has a piece this morning titled "CNN Cutting Donald Trump Town Hall Short by 20 Minutes Raises Questions." It begins:
Questions have been raised as to why CNN appeared to cut a town hall broadcast with Donald Trump on Wednesday evening short by as much as 20 minutes....
If you go deep enough into that article, you'll see:
A CNN spokesperson told Newsweek it had gone on record "days ago" that the town hall would last "roughly an hour" with "a little room to bleed over." 

I believe that, because, seen live, the ending didn't look abrupt, Trump didn't act surprised or outraged, and the moderator, Kaitlan Collins, didn't seem to be acting ungracious or punitive. She had been prodding him about his lies/"lies" throughout, and to give up before the planned end time would seem as though her pushback had been inadequate, which is not something CNN would want to concede. Of course, Trump bulled ever onward. That was predicted and prepared for. Nothing went wrong, and it would have been wrong to pull the plug early. 

Eh. I shouldn't reward Newsweek with a link, but you know, if you're actually concerned with Trump's lies/"lies," then you shouldn't serve up such a glaring fake-news headline.

The article relies on a tweet from a news agency I've never heard of:

Dylan Byers, a senior correspondent at Puck News, tweeted on Wednesday night that the town hall was scheduled as a 90-minute broadcast, "though the network expected the actual event to go as long as 75 minutes." 

He went on to say that it ended less than 70 minutes in. "In other words, they could have gone longer if they wanted—which is usually what executives do with big ratings draws," Byers added. 

Archived listings show that the town hall was scheduled to last 75 minutes....

5 minutes is not 20 minutes, and a 5 minute cushion in the listings seems to have more to do with space for commercials before the next show begins. 

That the "Day of Hate" did not happen is a news story that must be reported.

It's not nothing, because of the warnings. When I google "Day of Hate," I see no news of the actual day, when, apparently, nothing happened, but the warnings about it:

That the  
I want to see not merely the news of what, if anything, happened but also the investigation of how these warnings came into being. Did the authorities get conned by some internet trolls? Are the Russians afoot? Does our own government seek to control us with racial paranoia?

ADDED: I blogged about the warnings, yesterday, in a post that highlighted a joke tweeted by Ben Shapiro, but I said something in the comments that I want to front-page now:
I saw the warnings yesterday and wondered if it was real. I'm optimistic enough to be skeptical, but it could be real.
Here's what one government official sent us through a neighborhood email list: 
"I want to make you aware of something, not to alarm you, but to keep you vigilant. Tomorrow, Saturday February 25, has been dubbed a “National Day of Hate” by anti-Semitic white supremacist groups. Online chatter, monitored by federal agencies, has described calls for supporters of anti-Semitic white supremacist groups to “shock the masses with banner drops, stickers, fliers, and graffiti” and take photos of videos and participants engaging in these activities to spread on social media. I want to stress that, at this time, authorities are not aware of any specific activities planned in Wisconsin to support this horrible agenda, but if you see anything worrisome, please do NOT confront individuals distributing propaganda, conducting banner drops, or spraying/stenciling graffiti. Please call 911 and report what you see. The Madison Police Department is aware of this initiative, and is ready and able to respond accordingly. And, if you can, try to do something with your day that is meaningful and loving. That will be the best defense of all." 
Online chatter, monitored by federal agencies... 
Exactly what is being talked about, I wondered. Also, I found it creepy to be told by a government official to "try to do something with your day that is meaningful and loving." Try to mind your own business, government. I'll decide whether to use my freedom to pursue love and meaning. If I want to think about things I hate or fritter my time away on nonsense, that's my prerogative.

Satire? How is that satire? Stop puffing. It's simply wrong. If some people found it funny it's not because the art of satire was at play.

I'm reading a Reuters fact-check on what looked like a screenshot of a CNN report that Trump had died. It was a fake headline, and should have just been called false.

But somehow Reuters credited it as "satire."

Satire? How is that satire? Stop puffing. It's simply wrong. If some people found it funny it's not because the art of satire was at play. 

How is that satire? The only levity comes from the reader's internal state of wanting to see Trump dead.

IN THE COMMENTS: Readering says: "'Cause of death autoerotic asphyxiation.' So satire. Also pathetic."

That text is in tiny print under the photo. I wrote this post without noticing that. If the Reuters fact-check had even mentioned that, I would have written a different post, but it does not. So I still reject the Reuters analysis, but I agree with Readering that it does count as satire — and that it's pathetic. Low skill, low effort, overall lowliness.

"Litter boxes in schools" is a Wikipedia article — with an active discussion of whether it should be retitled "Litter boxes in schools hoax."

It begins:


I used a screenshot because I wanted you to experience the absurdity of the picture of an actual cat litter box. Surely, if there were a litter box for a human being it would need to be proportional, and I think a third grader is about 6 times as large as a cat. I don't know the urine output of a child versus a cat, but, seriously, you're going to need a bigger box. But if it is a hoax — and Wikipedia assures me it is a hoax — then there is no box and that's the whole point.

I was going to make a joke using the phrase "Schrödinger's cat box," but the Wikipedia entry "Schrödinger's cat" was a real rat hole.

"While that statistic felt true — and transgender women of color are more likely to be murdered than their cisgender female peers, experts say — it’s false."

"Experts worry that this statistic gives trans people, especially Black trans people, an expiration date on their lives and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. 'What you are doing is creating huge levels of fear, which causes high levels of stress, which will actually cause people to die younger,' said Laurel Westbrook, a professor of sociology and the author of 'Unlivable Lives: Violence and Identity in Transgender Activism...."
From "For years, Black trans women have been told their life expectancy is 35 years. That’s false. While there’s no evidence to support the statistic, experts do worry that it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy for Black trans women" (The 19th).

One researcher believes he's traced the false statistic to a 2015 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on violence against LGBTQ+ people in Latin America, which relayed what was only an anecdotal assertion and didn't even purport to be about the United States.

"An epidemic of Spanish-language right-wing disinformation that spiked around the 2020 election on social media platforms, and in some big-city AM radio stations, is revving up again..."

"... ahead of the fall midterms. Two years ago, before the 2020 presidential election, Spanish-language videos and news stories smeared Joe Biden as a communist. After the election, disinformation campaigns accused Black Lives Matter of spurring the Jan. 6 insurrection and bolstered the lie that Biden stole the election.... Conspiracy theories, easily debunked false narratives and outrageous lies spread quickly and take hold among Spanish-language users... [because] social media sites, including Facebook, do little fact-checking on foreign-language pages... [F]ake news videos often spread via large group chats among families and friends on WhatsApp, which is hugely popular among Latinos and is encrypted.... 'If your father sends you a video, you will trust your father. This is what makes us extraordinarily susceptible. We have very strong family ties.'... [W]e Latinos need to do our part. Don’t be shy about asking Abuela where she got that information she mentioned on WhatsApp...."

"[O]n Oct. 4, 1969, everything changed... 20-year old Diane Linkletter jumped to her death from the window of her Los Angeles apartment after allegedly trying acid."

"Her grieving father, TV and radio host Art Linkletter, told the press, 'She was murdered by the people who manufacture and sell LSD.' The newspapers ran wild with Linkletter’s take: 'LSD KILLED DIANE.' Later, when news of her clean toxicology report made the rounds, Linkletter blamed the jump on an '“acid flashback.' President Richard Nixon — in the midst of launching his War on Drugs — invited Linkletter to the White House. Nixon knew that a story like this could galvanize the anti-drug movement more than any fact or figure could.... It was the perfect moment for a book like 'Go Ask Alice.'... The fact that the author was anonymous only heightened the buzz. 'Alice' could be anyone, even your daughter. The media ran with it — everyone from The New York Times to the Library Journal presented the book as a verified teenager’s diary. A million copies sold nearly overnight. Avon Books published the paperback and two years later, in 1973, ABC aired a TV adaptation of the book. That, too, was a supersonic hit, with nearly a third of all US households viewing it...."

People believe what they want to believe. Too good to check! I wanted to see how embarrassing the NYT coverage of this ridiculous book was. Here, from 1973: "Diary of a Schoolgirl En Route to Death." It's a review of the ABC TV movie. 
Based on the “real diary” of a 15‐year‐old drug pusher, “Go Ask Alice” was adapted by Ellen Violett from the book of the same title....

The scare quotes suggest that the NYT was onto to the fakery but... 

Permission to publish the diary, with names, dates and places changed for protection, was given by the parents after their daughter was found dead of a drug overdose....

... I guess not! 

The title is, of course, taken from the drug culture anthem composed by Grace Slick and successfully recorded by the Jefferson Airplane. The song had Alice in Drugland popping pills to encounter her rabbits 10 feet tail....

What drug is the editor on? Quite aside from the need for an apostrophe in "rabbits," there's nothing in the Jefferson Airplane song about a rabbit's tail and the only thing that's 10 feet tall is Alice herself. 

The total effect of the film is as unusual as its structure. Several crucial and disturbing points are conveyed about the youthful drug culture, and perhaps they are all the more disturbing in the slick context of the film's treatment....

Slick! Don't use "slick" as an adjective right after you've been talking about Grace Slick. 

The book's blunt street language was rigorously deleted and, except for a couple of vague and indirect allusions, references to various forms of sexual promiscuity were cut....

"Various forms"... I know from the NY Post: "'Another day, another blow job,' reads one entry." Ha ha ha. Straight from the mouth of "a suburban housewife." Makes perfect sense. 

[T]he film is considerably less complex than the book. The author of the book careens wildly from one enthusiasm to another. The period away from home is a confusing swirl of contradictions, barely touched in the film....

Apparently, you can write a chaotic mess of a book and get credit for complexity when the point of comparison is a cheesy TV movie. 

The parents are reduced to convenient soap‐opera cues. And a couple of the others provide “star turns.” Andy Griffith is on hand briefly as the sensitive‐tough priest....

A star turn by Andy Griffith as a priest?! Now, it sounds as trippy as men on a chessboard getting up and telling you where to go and the White Knight talking backwards. 

So let's read this 2021 article in The Guardian, "Grace Slick and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane: how we made White Rabbit." Grace Slick addresses the decades-old question whether this was supposed to be a pro-drug (as the NYT assumed) or an anti-drug song. She says:

All fairytales that are read to little girls feature a Prince Charming who comes and saves them. But Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland did not. Alice was on her own, and she was in a very strange place, but she kept on going and she followed her curiosity – that’s the White Rabbit. 
A lot of women could have taken a message from that story about how you can push your own agenda. The 1960s resembled Wonderland for me. Like Alice, I met all kinds of strange characters, but I was comfortable with it.... 
In the 60s, the drugs were not ones like heroin and alcohol that you take to blot out a terrible life, but psychedelics: marijuana, LSD and shroomies. Psychedelic drugs showed you that there are alternative realities. You open up to things that are unusual and different, and, in realising that there are alternative ways of looking at things, you become more accepting of things around you. 
The line in the song “feed your head” is both about reading and psychedelics. I was talking about feeding your head by paying attention: read some books, pay attention....

 Jack Casady — the bass guitarist — said:

It’s difficult to explain how innocent the beginning of discovering drugs was before people got so dependent on them, or their life changed, or they made really poor life decisions. The song explores the simplest form: the idea of taking psychedelic drugs to open you up and make you more receptive. 
Everybody took some psychedelics but we rarely played on them, not like the Grateful Dead guys did. When I did it got a little too weird for me – my bass would turn into a tree log and grow vines and I’d say, “I gotta move on here.”...

That the "Day of Hate" did not happen is a news story that must be reported.Satire? How is that satire? Stop puffing. It's simply wrong. If some people found it funny it's not because the art of satire was at play."Litter boxes in schools" is a Wikipedia article — with an active discussion of whether it should be retitled "Litter boxes in schools hoax."

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