They’re at it again

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If you believe the headlines over the past few days, things have suddenly gone to hell in a handbasket. Donald Trump is now way ahead in the polls, his criminal trials are being pushed back indefinitely, and we’re all straight up doomed. But the thing is, nothing has actually changed. At all.

Judge Tanya Chutkan made a seemingly sarcastic remark about having to cancel her August vacation, and now the media is spinning this into Trump’s criminal trial being delayed until August. But is there any basis for this? None whatsoever. The U.S. Court of Appeals will rule against Trump any day now. From there, the Supreme Court will take perhaps two weeks to formally decide that it doesn’t want anything to do with the case. Then the decks will be fully cleared for the trial to start. Yet the media wants us to believe that February plus two weeks somehow equals August. It’s amazing how many of the media’s fictional doomsday narratives can be defeated simply by looking at a calendar.

Then there’s the other big doomsday narrative of the week. Late last year a few polls had Donald Trump ahead of Joe Biden in 2024. Just as many polls had Biden ahead of Trump. But the media would only hype the polls that had Trump ahead, because that made for a scarier, and thus more ratings-friendly storyline.

But then in January, one new poll after another showed Biden ahead of Trump. It’s still way too early to be taking polls seriously. But if the media thought it was a big deal two months ago that some polls had Trump ahead, you’d think it would have also been newsworthy when the polls shifted in Biden’s favor last month. Nope.

Now one new poll from NBC News has Trump six points ahead of Biden, and – shocker – suddenly the media thinks the polls are important again. Well, the media thinks this one poll is important. Nevermind all the other polls that continue to surface with Biden ahead. As I like to say, the polls have their problems, but the real problem is that the media actively misleads you about what the polls are even saying to begin with. It never fails. You can look up the latest polls yourself, and you’ll see that they almost never correlate to what the media claims the polls are saying.

In any case, here we are with Donald Trump’s criminal trial with Judge Chutkan still set to begin soon. And here we are with the polls, for whatever they’re worth, trending in Biden’s favor. Yet the headlines from the major media outlets, and the breathless hysteria from the Twitter pundits who are trying to get booked or quoted by the major media outlets, would have you believe that Trump’s trial is suddenly doomed and he’s suddenly favored to win the election. And it’s all based on… literally nothing.

Your job is to not fall for this stuff. If you start seeing doomsday headlines about Trump’s trials supposedly being delayed, look for the context upon which these claims are based, and see for yourself whether there’s any reason to believe Trump’s trials will actually be delayed. And if the media starts hyping one new poll, look up the rest of the polls that have been released that week and see what’s really going on.

As always, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the major political media outlets exist to drive ratings and page views and thus revenue and profits. They don’t exist for any of the reasons that you think the media should exist. If you’re going to listen to the media, you have to run it through the filter of why they hype the things that they hype. You have to look critically at where it’s all coming from, and whether it’s based on anything real, or whether they’re trying to generate hype and eyeballs on a slow news day.

Remember, you’re not being “vigilant” by latching onto every negative or doomsday headline that you hear. You’re just being played. When you allow misleading or fictional doomsday headlines to swallow up your attention, it can cause you to overlook the things that we actually should be worried about, such as the very close special election to replace George Santos next week.

In addition, when you succumb to the media’s ratings-driven doomsday hysteria, it can leave you so dispirited and demotivated that you end up failing to go out and put in the kind of activism and/or messaging that’s required to help your side win. Sitting around fretting over the media’s nonsense isn’t activism. It’s an excuse not to do anything. Let’s move past that kind of idle nervousness, and instead focus on doing things to help our side win.

Personal note from Bill Palmer: if each of you reading this can kick in $10 or $25, it'll help keep Palmer Report firing on all cylinders at this crucial time in our nation's history: Contribute now
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