31 Comments

Another excellent article Mr. Boehlert. This one inspired me to join your community. When Clinton made that "deplorables" speech I was overtaken with pride. She nailed the phenomena of the alt right as portrayed in Breitbart News and as modeled by Steve Bannon, at the time Trump's Chief Executive Officer of his campaign. Interestingly the connection between "deplorables" and "alt right" has been lost since the entire Trump base seems to have taken on the qualities. When Clinton identified them they were only an influential splinter extreme.

Another aspect of this is that Trump's base and Republicans in general (where does one stop and the other start?) have taken to ridiculing the word. Clinton meant it in a specific description, not a general one. The base weakened the accusation by saying Clinton meant them all.

Thank you for your wonderful writing and analysis. I really enjoy reading your newsletter.

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author

oh thanks, i appreciate it. and welcome! Clinton certainly spoke the truth with deplorables, although politicians sometimes pay a price for telling the truth — especially a woman since Trump's comments were never put under a microscope like hers were

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Well, yes, but she also could have called them treasonous bigots and misogynists who were supported a bigoted traitor and rapist. Either statement would have been equally correct, and the media would have, um, deplored them equally. Because, as it turns out, the true deplorables are in the political media.

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Boom. They shrugged off chicanery in 2000 and 2016. They'll be feeding it again in 2020. I don't trust them at all.

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In the age of irony, here's my issue which I think you've addressed. HRC spoke her truth and is crucified; Trump speaks his truth (Mexicans are "rapists") and he's glorified as straightforward. The misogyny cannot be ignored; dbtheonly is right in his Trump observation, democrats need to learn to not apologize for speaking the truth because by doing so, we enable the RW media's attacks.

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author

that’s what made the press’ deplorable pile-on so absurd....she was running VS someone who spouted 20 such “gaffes” a day

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Let's face it, Hillary was right about everything. She said this guy was Putin's puppet. He's Putin's puppet. She called only half of his supporters "deplorables". More than half, and at this point ALL of them, are deplorables. As Mr. Boehlert said, it was a throw away line. But then she, like all women type people, isn't allowed an off-the-cuff remark even if it is/was true. She was held to an impossible standard by news rooms full of (mostly) white, cisgender men who make decisions on what gets printed and who gets to report it. It's a glaring example of why we need more diversity - so this type of thing is pushed back on. Of course media being mostly corporate and profit-driven doesn't help. Remember the days when the news was a loss leader? Okay, you may not be an old like I am. Ha! But I remember. It was still narrated through the same white, cis-gender male contingent so I'm not sure we've made much progress regardless. We should still have a fairness doctrine. Some people say that doesn't matter anymore. I think it very clearly does because we depend on the fourth estate to get things right. To make sure that happens, we need representation in all facets of news gathering, editorializing. assignments and overall leadership.

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I know a couple that got a note from their doctor so they don't have to wear a mask. There is no medical reason for it. It's just because they are "entitled" people who believe Trump and see themselves as victims. These are folks that have more money than most of us will ever have, such an inconvenience to wear a mask. Then of course there are the deplorables. And how were the deplorables created? Years of stripping our school curriculum from gaining knowledge that would keep the masses from being critical thinkers. Civics is not taught. These people have no idea how the three branches of government work, how a bill is created and passed, what it means to participate in a democracy. They believe the moon landing was fake and that aliens built the pyramids. Comedian George Carlin was so ahead of the curve when in one of his final HBO specials declared and I'm paraphrasing - "the owners of this country do not want an informed electorate, that is not in their best interest. They want an ignorant public who will vote against their own best interest" Well what's the harm in that. As the Covid-19 is showing, everything!

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founding

There have even been incidents of people spitting on others who complain about them not wearing masks.

As for Hillary’s “deplorable” comment, many in media kept implying that she called all of Trump’s voters that.

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author

that’s correct, much if the deplorables coverage eliminates the context/nuance of her comments

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founding

The coverage of her coal “gaffe” was even worse as this article in Vox makes clear. Reporters knowingly took that statement completely out of context of her statement of concern for coal communities. They ignored her substantive $30 billion plan to revive coals communities in favor of portraying her as not caring about or having anything to offer working class people. I particularly like how the author explains how this ridiculous mainstream media gaffe obsession gets seeded by right wing media then taken up by a scandal-obsessed mainstream media.

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/15/16306158/hillary-clinton-hall-of-mirrors

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Ah Mr. Boehlert,

The eternal conflict between “can say” and “should say”.

I doubt anyone ever denied the truth of the “deplorables” statement. But was it a wise thing to say? Given the needle Trump threaded to win; is it possible that this was indeed a tipping point?

And the point is valid today.

VP Biden, the RW Media will twist anything you say to your detriment. Their attack ads will misconstrue anything you say. Heck, they’ll invent things you haven’t even said to attack you.

So, please be careful, think how each and every word can be repurposed by Fox “News”. Don’t joke.

In the words of Red Leader, “Stay on target.”

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author

fair point, was "deplorables" a mistake politically? Hillary apologized the next day so i think it's fair to say that it was. my point, and maybe i should have emphasized it more in column, was the amount of coverage the slip received; the amount of very loud harrumphing from the press while she was running against someone he made 20 "slips" a day on the campaign trail

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Sep 11, 2020Liked by Eric Boehlert

Personally, I believe that her apology should have been followed by something like "but prove me wrong. I sincerely hope that you can prove my main point wrong, but I doubt that will happen." It would have been followed by a lot of distractions and "we don't have to prove anything" comments - already clear from the egregious Benghazi and email coverage - but it is something that should have been said.

Was it, BTW? Did she make that follow up comment? It's doubtful it would have been reported, so I really don't know for sure.

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Oh no, Mr. Boehlert, you did fine in the article. I suggest the error comes in assuming there’s some control once RW Media sinks its teeth into something.

Fox was with it 24/7. Obviously. Anything to keep the news off Trump.

MSM might wish to ignore it; but the protesters with “I’m not deplorable” signs make it hard to do.

Yes, Hillary apologized. I’m with Trump here. Never apologize. With your friends you don’t need to and your enemies will never believe you.

I suggest you may underestimate the impact that the “liberal media” attacks have had over 50+ years. “Bothsidesism” is just a continuing reaction.

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"Deplorables" was a smart way of saying the truth, but it was a political mistake. "Defund the Police" was a dumb way of saying the truth, and it was, of course, a political mistake.

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Quite.

Republicans seem to have a great advantage in creating slogans.

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Media cater to Republicans.

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It;s almost like that video on Youtube about never talking to the police. Whatever you say, no matter how benign or exculpatory, can get you indicted.

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Trump’s base: clueless white suburban ninnies, monster truck driving assholes-and-proud-of-it, low-info blowhards, knuckle-dragging bullies, science-denying dummies, Evangelical Christian hypocrites, those who are vulnerable to BS conspiracy theories, earth-raping corporate shills, greedy one-percent swamp creatures, shut-ins, racists, misogynists and homophobes, dumb people for whom Trump is their idea of a smart person, Stockholm syndrome victims, totally gullible suckers, folks who have no idea how our government works, those who would prefer a civil war over a united America, entitled, deplorable douchebags, fanatics and fools …

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FWIW, the NY Times and the Washington Post are calling out right wing media for making things worse. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/29/1964773/-NY-Times-Washington-Post-Call-Out-Right-Wing-Media-for-Spreading-Covid-19-Virus-with-Disinformation

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Clever piece, but no, it is never a good idea to dehumanize your opponents, no matter how subhuman their ideas and conduct may be. A gaffe by Clinton that reinforced the stereotype of liberals as aloof and condescending. Let's move forward.

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The point of the article was that the media blew it completely out of proportion, while at the same time not holding Trump to the same standard. Yes, politically it wasn't great, but it didn't deserve the number of news cycles it got. They also basically wrote, whenever Trump said anything outrageous, and, frankly much more horrible than anything HRC said, that it was just Trump being Trump. In other words, he got a pass for saying things that were a lot worse than what she said.

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Points well taken all.

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Thanks!

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In a perfect world not demonizing the Trump deplorables would be the thing to do. We don't live in that world when trumpets risk other people's lives by not wearing masks.

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Parsons of Missouri.

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author

yep, fixed on website version—thanks!

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My best wishes for your daughter’s full recovery.

Stay safe yourself too.

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I'm so sorry you have to deal with this situation. Your daughter will be fine. The people in charge will be changing regimes in January. And we will finally be rid of the destructive influence of this terrible time politically. Breathe. You will be ok.

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Wishing healing for all of you. Stay safe and take care of yourself as well.

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