Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Asianization Of Donald trump

The Media Is Still Not Our Friend......

I came across an interesting article on the fact-checking site, Snopes, that examined various claims made in the media about Donald Trump's actions/behaviour since he began his run for Presidential office. Despite stating numerous disclaimers of its author's opposition to Trump (Snopes does have a someone leftist lean), the piece is nevertheless mostly exemplary as a model for unbiased reporting. What's interesting is that the article describes biased and hostile media reports and portrayals of President Trump that are based caricatures. Caricature are often used to establish and propagate stereotypes.

The article says this....
This article is intended as a neutral, reliable analysis of the lies, false allegations and misleading claims made about and against Donald Trump since his inauguration in January 2017. We’ve attempted to strip away the hyperbole, name-calling and generalizations, and examine the patterns and trends at work: what characterizes these lies and exaggerations, the effect they have, what might explain them. 
We pay particular attention to selected examples — claims that have gained prominence among the mainstream opposition to Trump, revealing much about the methods, priorities, and tone of that opposition, and illustrating how this movement both cultivates and plays off a number of caricatures of the 45th President and at times falls prey to a handful of identifiable and repeated errors of thought.
The highlighted part of the second paragraph, above, is noteworthy: the hostile media plays off and cultivates caricatures of Trump to publish untruths or half-truths that cast a negative light on his presidency, morality, and character.

The piece goes on to outline the caricatures utilized by the mainstream media to shape, foster, and propagate negative attitudes towards Trump.....
Broadly speaking, most of the falsehoods levelled against Trump fall into one or more of four categories, each of them drawing from and feeding into four public personas inhabited by the President.  They are: 
  • Donald Trump: International Embarrassment
  • Trump the Tyrant
  • Donald Trump: Bully baby
  • Trump the Buffoon. 
Some of these claims are downright fake, entirely fabricated by unreliable or dubious web sites and presented as satire, or otherwise blatantly false. But the rest — some of which have gained significant traction and credibility from otherwise serious people and organizations — provide a fascinating insight into the tactics and preoccupations of the broad anti-Trump movement known as “the Resistance,” whether they were created by critics of the President or merely shared by them.
....there's something eerily familiar about about all of this. With each bullet point above, we could substitute the word "Asians" for the word "Trump" and the article would be unintentionally providing an uncannily accurate description of how Asians (particularly Asian men) are portrayed in the media.

It is routine to see Asian men portrayed as misogynistic tyrants who bully helpless Asian women (as popularized by the Joy Luck Club) and whose masculinities are lampooned as buffoonery. From internationally embarrassing Chinese ghost cities to mockery of Chinese and Japanese tourists, and from supposedly poor quality products to Asia's sometimes imitative engagement with western culture, Asia and its people are generally portrayed as an embarrassing imitation of western sophistication and rational comportment.

All of these Asian portrayals play off caricatures cultivated or propagated across the spectrum of America's media from comedy, light entertainment, movies, literature, and television, to current events programming and news reporting. The media has even ridiculed Trump about the size of his penis. They really hate this guy almost as much as they seem to hate Asian guys!

The key difference here is that Trump's race is not the motivating factor in how the media portrays him. The media is responding to Trump as an individual whose actions and words have rubbed many people the wrong way. Consequently, reporting on Trump is often emotional (i.e. irrational), hostile, suspicious, often paranoid, and uncompromisingly one-sided in its misrepresentations of him. Yet, this is precisely the way the media - including, and, perhaps, particularly, the liberal media - misrepresents Asia and Asian men.

This phenomenon further cements my belief that liberals and the liberal media are unreliable allies, fickle and dishonest, but most problematic of all, politically biased such that it cannot be trusted to report objective news about Asians, nor can entertainment media be trusted to divest itself from propagating racist stereotypes of them. My conclusion here is that Asian commentary at this time - if it is to be taken seriously - needs to highlight the implicit dishonesty of the liberal media regardless of whether it is talking about Trump or Asian men. At least we know where we stand with Trump, the media on the other hand, claims to be "liberal" on one side of its mouth whilst giving platforms and credence to those who spout casual anti-Asian racism on the other.

This uncomfortable truth is a huge slap in the face for those in Asian-American reactivism who suggest that our concerns about media representation and portrayals are somehow overblown. The fact that the media has successfully - so far - managed to galvanize widespread opposition, overlook and "re-frame" leftist violence, and successfully propagate admitted lies to disrupt the world's most powerful politician, shows just how significant the issue of media representation is for Asian-Americans. Obviously, some of our self-righteous friends in Asian progressive fantasy land can't imagine just how significant a role the media can play in the democratic process. More on that in an upcoming post.

We have to remember that an unbiased media is hugely significant for any democratic society. If it makes things up and becomes politicized and biased, the effect of this misinformation is that democracy becomes dysfunctional. When media reporting and representation strategies are based on caricaturing and stereotyping of Trump that is designed to foster abuse and hostility towards him rather than honestly inform people of his statements and actions, that takes away our ability to make informed decisions about our democracy.

If media reporting and representation strategies - that are based on caricaturing and stereotyping -  targets an ethnic minority with few means or opportunities of responding, that becomes a repression. Sadly, Asian men are the prime targets for liberal media racism - of course, Asian re-activism has no thoughts on that.

The article continues...
Generally speaking, we discovered that they are characterized and driven by four types of errors of thought: 
  • Alarmism
  • A lack of historical context or awareness
  • Cherry-picking of evidence (especially visual evidence)
  • A failure to adhere to Occam’s Razor — the common-sense understanding that the simplest explanation for an event or behavior is the most likely. 
Infused throughout almost all these claims, behind their successful dissemination, is confirmation bias: the fuel that drives the spread of all propaganda and false or misleading claims among otherwise sensible and skeptical people. Confirmation bias is the tendency to look for, find, remember and share information that confirms the beliefs we already have, and the tendency to dismiss, ignore and forget information that contradicts those beliefs. It is one of the keys to why clever people, on all sides of every disagreement, sometimes believe stupid things that aren’t true.
And there you have it - an accurate description of the nature of media representation of Asian men. I don't support Trump, but in all consciousness, I cannot give my acquiescence to media strategies that are casually turned on Asian men. The enemy of my enemy, is definitely not my friend in this case.


  1. the media is nobody's friend. one would have to be a sick, psychopathological and deluded zombie to think it had his interests at heart.

  2. Ben,

    I guess you decided to decline my invitation to the private chatroom for asian identity politics?