Trumpistas and the Fox News bubble

I have a new commenter named Nikita, who is just as confused about Trump as many of my other commenters. Look how he starts out:

Anyone impartial can see that Trump has been treated unfairly.

The argument about inciting violence at January 6th is not logical. His speech on that day did not call for violence, and the people at the protest were unarmed.

The rest is just as bad.

Almost every pro-Trump comment I’ve received over the past 7 years is similar to this one. The Trumpistas live in a Fox News bubble where they are shielded from the real world, from any news that would make their hero look bad.

Treated unfairly? Any normal person that did what Trump did would already be in prison. Don’t believe me? Try lying to Federal officers about a huge hoard of top secret documents that you possess when they ask for them back, and see what happens.

Of course the attack on the Capitol was violent—at least one person died and many others were injured. We have film of people forcing their way into the building with battering rams. I know that Tucker Carlson denied this, but the rioters did carry guns, as well as knives and other weapons. But on the fringes of the right wing internet, it was just a walk in the park. Those images you saw on TV? Don’t believe your lying eyes.

There was a thorough investigation of the riot, and the results showed that Trump clearly supported the violent attack. For several hours, he refused to call in law enforcement when asked to do so. Told of death threats, he responded that people like Pence were getting what they deserved.

Trumpistas don’t know any of this because they live in an epistemic bubble, merely receiving happy talk from Fox, or loony conspiracy theories from the more extreme right wing portion of the internet. “It was staged by antifa!”

When you come on here with your nonsense you are not helping your cause, you are just making me think that you are more stupid than you actually are. In real life you are probably not a stupid person, maybe quite intelligent, but your epistemic bubble has made you stupid about politics. I’m probably also stupid about politics, but that’s no excuse for your actions.



33 Responses to “Trumpistas and the Fox News bubble”

  1. Gravatar of Anon Anon
    15. November 2023 at 10:43

    Your rebuttal didn’t address the meat of Nikita’s claim, which is that Trump’s speech did not call for violence. For him to be guilt of “incitement to insurrection,” that aspect is vital. You cannot convict people because their supporters convicted crimes. They have to actually take an illegal action (like calling for violence) themselves.

    I don’t support Trump, btw. It’s possible to oppose someone without believing being an empty vessel for every claim that comes down the pipeline from CNN.

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2023 at 11:08

    Anon, This is just silly. The court case is not the issue. Trump’s likely to be elected next year after supporting a violent attempt to overthrow the government. What he dog whistled in his speech is immaterial to the bigger issues at stake.

    Trump uses violent rhetoric all the time. His supporters aren’t stupid–they get it.

    But yeah, in narrow legal terms the document case and the Georgia case are far stronger. So he only clearly committed two felonies. Why should I care?

  3. Gravatar of Ilverin Ilverin
    15. November 2023 at 14:38

    Scott, you have a formatting error in this post.
    The post should go 1) your introductory text 2) the quote 3) your concluding text. However, both 2 and 3 are presented as part of the same block quote.

  4. Gravatar of Brian Mccarthy Brian Mccarthy
    15. November 2023 at 17:24

    You think a crowd using sticks, some bear spray, maybe a few hunting knives and (I believe) three hand guns found in the entire crowd really believed they were engaging in an “attempt to overthrow the government” – the one with the world’s most powerful army and nuclear weapons?

    And we’re the ones that have been propagandized into an “epistemic bubble?”

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    15. November 2023 at 20:28

    Thanks Ilverin, The newest version of WordPress is just unbelievably bad. I thought the tech industry was supposed to be progressing over time.

    Brian, That’s right, they weren’t trying to overturn the election, just having a nice walk in the park.

    Were they stupid to think they’d succeed? Of course. That’s why many of them will spend years in jail. Our jails are full of stupid people. Heck, the president at the time was stupid—he claimed he was going to overturn the election. He lost fair and square, to another stupid person.

    We’re a stupid country.

  6. Gravatar of Sara Sara
    16. November 2023 at 13:10

    So from these three posts we can gather:

    1. If you are blonde and disagree with Sumner, then you are a “Blonde Bimbo”

    2. If you are blonde and agree with Sumner, then you are a “strong woman” (cheney)

    3. If you draw a different conclusion in regards to January 6th, then, according to Sumner, it must logically follow that you are living in an “epistemic bubble” (knowledge bubble). In other words, you are not listening to CNN and MSNBC, the NYT, the Washington Post, and other arguments promulgated by the opposing party. You are, for all intents and purposes, listening to what he wants to label “Misinformation.”

    It apparently never occurred to Sumner, however, that one can read many different sources of news, listen to many different arguments, and yet draw the conclusion that the Jan. 6th protestors were NOT “domestic terrorists”.

    Ashley Babbitt, the person killed, and the person you refer to, was an unarmed ex U.S. military soldier. She weighed about 55 kilos, was five foot three inches tall, and was unarmed.

    Now, in the officers defense, she was trespassing; she was yelling and screaming, and the officer who shot her may have feared for his life, but to call an ex army solider, a decorated Afghan veteran who presumably loves her country, a “domestic terrorist” seems to be a misuse of language.

    The words “please march peacefully” and “make sure its peaceful” cannot be understood as “inciting violence”.

    Did some of those protestors cause property damage? Yes. Did they get out of hand? Yes.

    But every protest has a handful of radicals, including some nutty leftists who believe Kavanuagh ought to be lynched for allowing states to determine their abortion laws; or more recently, leftists who hold placards showing jewish people being dumped into trash bins.

    One also has to place the shoe on the other foot. When BLM burns down libraries, sets fires to police vehicles, and assaults journalists, is that also “domestic terrorism”? When ANTIFA beats jewish protestors at parks, while dressed in black, and screaming anarchism and oppressor is that domestic terrorism?

    Or is it, as CNN said, “mostly peaceful?”

    You are not logically consistent.

  7. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    16. November 2023 at 14:24

    The so-called “violent attack” didn’t last for hours.

    1. Some of the protestors were invited into the building by security. Video cameras show that. They were actually given tours of the building (a few of them).
    2. Nancy Pelosi was offered additional security in the days before the protest. She declined.
    3. The protest lasted for hours, but once the protest got out of hand, towards the end of the protest, the police were called.
    4. The police shot Babbit, who was an unarmed person. She was the only person shot that day.
    5. Most of the so-called violent protestors were running around the building unarmed.

    The words you attribute to Trump is hearsay, and there is no agreed upon story. The people who were in the whitehouse that day, say very different things about what happened.

    In other words, you cannot derive any conclusion with absolute certainty. But clearly, it wasn’t intended to be violent. If that was the intent, everyone would have been carrying assault weapons with thousands of rounds of ammunition.

    I agree with Nikita.

  8. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    16. November 2023 at 15:20

    It’s always hard to tell who he genuinely holds some crazy opinions and who’s just trolling.

    One funny thing about Trump, or just about any figure in the spotlight of different partisans is that they are both treated worse and better than they deserve. At the same time.

  9. Gravatar of Edward Edward
    16. November 2023 at 16:20

    Scott, you don’t know the meaning of evidence.

    You heard something on a panel, hand-picked by Nancy Pelosi, and you think the statements of that panel are unequivocally true?

    No politics involved there?

    How about all those witnesses that corroborate Trumps story, and who rebutt the claims made by Pelosi’s witnesses?

    Was Trump allowed to call witnesses on the one-sided, highly partisan, hand-picked Pelosi panel? Did his witnesses receive the same media coverage as Pelosi’s witnesses?

    It seems your anti-trump bias wants to believe that Trump is guilty.

  10. Gravatar of Craken Craken
    16. November 2023 at 21:50

    Scott Sumner accuses Fox watchers of tunnel vision. He accuses Trump voters in 2024 of being uniformly non-thinkers. He notes that America is descending into banana republic status, but makes no mention of how this process unfolded. Is it possible that a thinker would vote for almost anyone who stands against the Establishment which has led America to its present diminished state? Perhaps a thinker would even believe that the Establishment is incapable of self-correction and must be aggressively threatened or replaced by a new political movement. Or does Sumner really believe that Trump is the magical cause of this decline, that it only commenced with the grand escalator ride of 2015?

    Anyone who believes that America is a “democracy” may be too unsophisticated to consider these strange hypotheses. America is actually ruled by a defective and malignant oligarchy, oligarchy being by far the most common political form (see: Iron Law of Oligarchy). Sumner doesn’t attend to the insights of those who understand how power is actually distributed in America. Just a few days ago, on the superb Dwarkesh Patel podcast, the victorious Dominic Cummings explained (again) just how little democratic power exists in current day Britain. The titles and procedures are different in America, but the permanent power structure is very similar. And a great deal of that power resides outside of the formal political system.

    In short, Trump (or anyone else) will only matter in the long term if he can alter the nature/identity of the permanent unelected persons and institutions who form the oligarchy, that is, if he can impose a paradigm shift akin to the one America’s only real dictator achieved in the 1930s. Otherwise, Trump will once again, for another term, be a servant and an unwitting actor for the permanent powers, those entities who demonstrate the totalizing reach of their power by evading notice and responsibility at their convenience. And, if he only amounts to that and doesn’t even attempt more, then he will be significant historically only for injecting a deep and salutary shot of cynicism about the American system into the conservative/reactionary discourse–and for being the nation’s most entertaining leader.

    The Left has destroyed enough that conservatism no longer suffices as a strategy to restore the nation. There is no alternative to Trump2024 for any decent, thinking American. However improbable it may be that a second Trump presidency will achieve its full promise, no other available option offers the slightest hope of national recovery. (I didn’t discuss the crucial decency issue, but, for me, among the vast throngs of moral failures of which our rulers are guilty, the unrelenting Democrat obsession with directing transexual propaganda at children is more than enough to differentiate the two sides. They will not let us forget for a moment that “the first Whig was the Devil.”)

  11. Gravatar of Student Student
    17. November 2023 at 07:48

    The best is yet to come. Trump gets convicted, still wins, then pardons himself and not the “tourists” at the capital.

    And come on Scott… lots of tourists kick down barriers, scale walls, smash their way in through windows with political goals such as preventing the certification of election results.

  12. Gravatar of Student Student
    17. November 2023 at 07:52

    And lots of presidents have said their VP was getting what he deserved when tourists were searching the capital for him and erecting gallows on the capital lawn. What’s all the fuss about?

  13. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. November 2023 at 09:37

    Trumpistas, Spreading even more lies doesn’t help your cause. At least not with me. Who are you trying to convince?

    Student, Presidents actually cannot pardon themselves. No one can. But given that Trump picked the Supreme Court, I fully expect him to get away with it.

    Lots of people don’t know what the term “pardon” means.

  14. Gravatar of Student Student
    17. November 2023 at 23:51

    I am not a legal scholar but how sure about that are you? I understand it to be a slightly grey area. But I actually have some (perhaps misplaced) confidence in the Supreme Court. As a group, they don’t strike me as lackeys.

  15. Gravatar of Trina Halppe Trina Halppe
    18. November 2023 at 04:48

    Brian Mccarthy, that Trump was engaged in “attempt to overthrow the government” is not the way to phrase this because on 2021 Jan 6 he was still the president. It would be more accurate to say that he was attempting to stay in power. Obviously he didn’t intend to leave office regardless if Biden had legitimately won. Bill Maher predicted that well in advance. The fact that you mentioned that the U.S. has the most powerful military further reinforces the impression that you’re not paying attention. When a president successfully coopts a democratic process in order to remain in power he does not need to involve the military. He was attempting to get enough election officials and electoral college “appointees” and the vice president and courts if need be, to wrongly acknowledge that Trump had won in 2020. What I’m telling you here is pretty plain so I don’t get why you didn’t get it sooner.

  16. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    18. November 2023 at 10:50

    Extreme laziness on your part. I doubt any of your commenters even watch Fox News. I don’t. There are very high brow areas of the internet that completely disagree with you (which probably includes Elon Musks).

    I don’t love the violence on Jan 6 but it does seem provoked after all the left wing violence that year. And yes Trump never told them to be violent. The right had one riot the left had a thousand. While the left also developed a huge amount of anti-white bigotry that honestly should have made many on the right angry to riot.

  17. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    18. November 2023 at 10:56

    Besides the 2020 election was stolen just not how Trump said it was. Two pillars of Democracy were violated – the press plus people using CIA credentials said the Hunter lap top was a Russian op. Voters depend on getting true information from the media plus credentialed people to make informed decisions.

    Second every institute on Democracy declares that the secret ballot is completely key to a fair election. Mass mail-in ballots violated that principal.

    If we had a real Democratic election in 2020 then Trump wins in a landslide.

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. November 2023 at 10:58

    Sean, You said:

    “There are very high brow areas of the internet that completely disagree with you”

    If this is true, why are all of the comments here from Trumpistas so stupid? Are they watching Fox, or reading your enlightened web sites?

    And please provide a link.

    “which probably includes Elon Musks”

    LOL. Not the best time to mention Musk. Remember when the GOP put out that tweet:

    Kanye. Elon. Trump.

    Yup, that grouping makes sense to me.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    18. November 2023 at 11:00

    Sean, You said:

    “Besides the 2020 election was stolen”

    LOL. Get that from your “high brow” web site?

  20. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    18. November 2023 at 14:04

    The first part I won’t reply to because it’s just an accusation that they are stupid.

    Slatestar adjacent places have a lot of those views. If you look you can probably find them.

  21. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    18. November 2023 at 16:53

    You are a first rate intellectual and your Ngdp stuff was absolutely correct and unfortunately not adopted by the Fed in full. And probably should have been fed chair instead of Powell. But when you jump into culture war things you make points at the lowest level of the average Redditor. No nuance.

    I’m not sure do you do this because your bored and you know you only get comments if you go partisan. I do check your average econ post but usually I just agree.

  22. Gravatar of Trina Halppe Trina Halppe
    18. November 2023 at 21:26

    Sean, you throw in phrases about the Hunter laptop and the press and without elaboration and which doesn’t even try to argue anything so don’t be surprised if I’m not persuaded.

    Sean you said… ” The right had one riot the left had a thousand. ”
    So what? Not knowing if Pence had any courage to defy Trump, probabilistically speaking 2021 Jan 6 seemed a bigger risk to the quality of my life in that I don’t want to live in a country of term-unlimited authoritarians like Xi, Putin and wannabe Trump. Live in Russia or China if you want that. The left’s thousand riots increased commercial property insurance rates that we all pay indirectly and in a 30 T dollar economy I haven’t noticed. To characterize Jan 6 as just a riot is disingenuous (got shame?) .

  23. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    19. November 2023 at 03:39

    1. I very clearly said the press getting voters true (not propaganda) is a key part of Democracy. That didn’t happen in 2020.

    2. The 2020 riots did directly effect my life. They made me less safe and forced me to stay home more often. While the riots also spread false narratives and anti-white racism

  24. Gravatar of Trina Halppe Trina Halppe
    19. November 2023 at 07:36

    Sean you’re a child. You’ll grow up.

  25. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    19. November 2023 at 09:31

    Sean, You said:

    “Slatestar adjacent places”

    Have no idea what that means. Link?

    “And probably should have been fed chair instead of Powell.”

    That’s probably the silliest thing you’ve ever said. I am no more qualified to be Fed chair than Trump is qualified to be president.

  26. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    19. November 2023 at 14:50

    You once said the top 1% don’t read the NYT that’s for the next tranche who read blogs etc.

    Yellen was a terrible public speaker and made a mistake that she could have been easier and filled a little more output gap but overall ok. Powell is a better institutional capacity builder but he went into the job very green on monetary policy and he’s now made two critical mistakes late 2018 over tightening and missing inflation in 2022. 2020 he got fairly right. Would you have made those mistakes or your models were better?

  27. Gravatar of Thomas Moore Thomas Moore
    20. November 2023 at 06:06

    @ Scott

    The biggest issue I

  28. Gravatar of Tom M Tom M
    20. November 2023 at 07:06

    @ Scott

    The biggest issue I have with these types of posts are that you’re clearly just trying to get a reaction from people.

    “Treated unfairly? Any normal person that did what Trump did would already be in prison. Don’t believe me? Try lying to Federal officers about a huge hoard of top secret documents that you possess when they ask for them back, and see what happens.”

    Pretty sure Hillary Clinton did a lot more than lie about a “huge hoard” of top secret documents. Didn’t get prosecuted. The entire Clinton campaign literally coordinated with foreign actors to spread a false information campaign and worked with the Obama administration to investigate their political opposition. Crickets from you.

    The reason people are drawn to Trump, is because the political elite hate him so much, and people clearly see the regular rules don’t / have not applied to the political elite for a long time. So when Trump get’s prosecuted for something, which historically, so many of the political class have done – it makes his supporters view him as “one of them”. Rules for thee but not for me! Also, he is objectively hilarious even if he is a terrible person.

    Even in the news now, every MSM news organization, has started making comparisons of Trump to Hitler. Meanwhile, actual Nazis and Nazi sympathizers involved with the Palestinian protests, get a pass typically because they are on the left side of the political spectrum. Members of congress, openly spout blood libel and genocidal propaganda… but Trump said a bad word so he’s a Nazi. And you think “Trumpistas” are the dumb people….

    @Trina / Sean

    I get both your points about the 2020 election. Legacy media + CIA/FBI coordinated with the Biden campaign to lie to the American public – had they not done that, maybe Trump would be president. Mail – in ballots, Trump doesn’t get to cry foul after the fact.

    Scott seems to think that most “Trumpistas” are dumb. I would propose an IQ test for the next election. Score above an 80 or you aren’t competent enough to vote. Which side of the aisle do you think would be screaming to stop this 😀 ?

  29. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    20. November 2023 at 14:36

    The race was decided by 50k votes in the right places. I do think if the story wasn’t debunked and told honestly by the powers that be that Trump wins easily but I guess it’s debatable.

    I think Trump does have a leg to stand on for mail-in voting since he did protest it before the election. One can have an argument on what was better for Democracy in a pandemic on whether getting rid of the secret ballot or allowing people a way to vote in a way they felt safe was more Democratic. I don’t think anyone would have died from voting but the left had scared their people sufficiently.

  30. Gravatar of TGGP TGGP
    21. November 2023 at 12:55

    at least one person died

    Are you referring to the person shot by a cop?

    I say it was a riot rather than an insurrection, but any president who doesn’t order riots on his turf cleared with a “whiff of grapeshot” doesn’t deserve to be president anymore.

  31. Gravatar of MarcC MarcC
    22. November 2023 at 06:40

    I find myself increasingly alarmed at the unwillingness of both political sides to police their own bad actors. It leads to a runaway death spiral where radicals on both sides dig in their heels and defend the indefensible because “look at what those other people are getting away with! We can’t let them win.”

    Why is it so hard to say that both the January 6th rioters and the BLM rioters were effectively domestic terrorists? We can certainly debate which one was worse, but they both engaged in behavior that was deeply damaging and lawless.

    On the question of Trump and incitement, I take the point that Trump’s actions may or may not meet the strict legal definition of incitement, but I firmly agree with Mitch McConnell that Trump was practically and morally responsible for what happened on January 6th. Trump didn’t explicitly tell people to break into the capitol and threaten lawmakers, but that was a logical implication of his rhetoric. Is there any credible case that the riot on January 6th would have happened if Trump hadn’t repeatedly claimed that he won the election, that the results were rigged, that there were hundreds of thousands of illegal votes, etc? All of those claims were false. Period.

    Now, many people have tried to whitewash the claims by saying that the real issue was last-minute changes to state election procedures by courts due to the pandemic, but that’s not the primary narrative that Trump and his allies were pushing. They said the democrats dumped hundreds of thousands of illegal votes to swing the election for Biden in multiple states. Their claims were wildly false and debunked repeatedly by election officials.

    But if people truly believe that the election was stolen, that Trump was the legitimate winner but Democrats were succeeding in forcing their candidate into office despite a legitimate election, some percentage of those people will feel strongly enough to think they need to take matters into their own hands. Trump is morally responsible for lying repeatedly and flagrantly and ginning up the level of outrage that boiled over on January 6th.

  32. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    22. November 2023 at 11:04

    So not going to defend The Donald on this matter. But there are reasons for him having such devoted partisans. As I explore here.

  33. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. November 2023 at 14:24

    Marc, Very good comment. You said:

    “Why is it so hard to say that both the January 6th rioters and the BLM rioters were effectively domestic terrorists? We can certainly debate which one was worse, but they both engaged in behavior that was deeply damaging and lawless.”

    Not hard for me to say! I add this question: Why is it so hard to distinguish between a party that has a lunatic fringe, and a party that is headed by a lunatic fringe?

    Tom said:

    “Scott seems to think that most “Trumpistas” are dumb.”

    I said:

    “In real life you are probably not a stupid person, maybe quite intelligent,”

    You know how I’d define a dumb person? Someone who doesn’t know how to read. Seriously, you may be quite bright in most areas of life, but your political comments are dumb.

    The rest of your comment is utter nonsense–epistemic bubble on steroids.

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