Will JuniorGate Break Open Trump Echo Chamber?

“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support Mr. Trump…”

“If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer…”

Is this the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Or does the camel continue to have a spine made of steel—able to sustain not just straws but bricks and anvils? The real question is, will this episode of (at least) attempted collusion bust open the Trump echo chamber in which 30-something percent of Americans live?

Trying to unravel the psychology of the Trump “base” is something that’s well above the capability of this journalism and political science major. Then again, it might be beyond Freud himself.

A philosophical term called “epistemic closure” has recently been used to describe the people who support Trump and will do so no matter how many facts, revelations and actions of Trump and company are presented to them. It’s the Trump echo chamber.

Trump’s offhanded, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters” remark is in fact, true. “The person shot probably deserved it.” “He didn’t really shoot him. It’s a lie perpetrated by the FAKE NEWS media.” “A few less people on Fifth Avenue will help make America great again!” Every one of these is a possibility in the Trump echo chamber.

 

The latest drama in the Trump – Russia collusion story is an in-your-face, he-doesn’t-even-deny-it gem. Donald Trump Jr. is offered a meeting with a Russian government official who will give him dirt of Hillary Clinton. Junior is told that it’s part of the Russian government’s effort to support dear ol’ dad. Junior not only accepts, he brings in the two top advisers on the campaign.

It turns out the meeting was (allegedly) a bust. But one does not have to be effective at collusion in order to be guilty of conspiracy to commit it. And we’re not even sure it was a bust. It was not long after this infamous meeting that WikiLeaks started disclosing hacked emails of Clinton’s top campaign people.

If nothing else, Junior brings the stupid to the party. He’s an idiot. He’s a dumb ass. I am all for the theory of getting out in front of bad news but Junior released the actual text of the incriminating emails. If people didn’t think there was a “smoking gun” before, they know there’s one now. Except for those in the echo chamber.

Epistemic closure for Trump’s base wouldn’t be possible without certain media outlets regurgitating “hoax” and “witch hunt” when Trump spits it out, thereby reinforcing the outer walls of the echo chamber. Junior decided his best bet for a TV spot on his attempted collusion was with the reprehensible Sean Hannity. Hannity, who has no training or experience as a journalist, basked in his “scoop,” mocking the people who were watching who would otherwise not be caught dead watching a glorified construction worker (most of whom are honest and hardworking, something Hannity sorely lacks).

Perhaps even those in Trump’s echo-chamber base can at least admit there is evidence to support an investigation into Russian interference into our democracy. Even the new FBI nominee testified Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is not a witch-hunt and that James Comey is not a nut job. Baby steps.

Sadly, the problem isn’t so much that Trump lies. It’s not his last resort, it’s his M.O. The problem comes when journalists present facts that debunk Trump’s lies and those facts are routinely dismissed.

Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Donald J. Trump, Jr.

 

An NPR report Wednesday featured a Trump voter who would lose his health care under any Republican version of the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. He prefaced his comments by saying “I don’t want to bad mouth the president, but…” He then raised the issue he would lose his health insurance.

More educated, more reasonable people who voted for Trump seem to be in the echo chamber because to admit it was a mistake would be admitting to some sort of personal failure. I have people in my universe who voted for Trump. They’re smart and educated (either through traditional education or personal experience). Their response to the constant lies, misdeeds and underhandedness by Trump and his people range from silence to repeating the Trump charges of “witch hunt” and “FAKE NEWS.”

To quote a famous tweeter, “Sad!”

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