Month: March 2020

Background Briefing: March 31, 2020


Propaganda is Working For Trump, Helped by Coverage From the Mainstream Press

We begin with an analysis of why Trump is going up in the polls in spite of his disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic which goes beyond arrogant disregard and incompetence because the president actively worsened the crisis by consistently taking the exact opposite of decisions which should have been taken to recognize the threat and prepare for what is needed to protect the public and the medical professionals on the front line of battling the contagion. Joining us is Jason Stanley, a Professor of Philosophy at Yale University and author of How Propaganda Works whose latest book is How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them. With authoritarian leaders like Kaczynski in Poland and Netanyahu in Israel and fascist autocrats like Orban in Hungary and Bolsonaro in Brazil taking advantage of the pandemic to increase their authority, we will examine how Trump not only has Fox News as his faithful propaganda arm but is also managing to get the mainstream press to cover his rallies dressed up as press briefings which is helping to boost his TV ratings and poll numbers. And even though mountains of evidence indicate Trump will have the blood of at least 200,000 Americans on his hands in the best case scenario if everything goes right from now on, there is no indication that those in his base can see the fraud and folly of Trump’s pathetic pretend leadership. Indeed even as the pandemic spreads to the Red States where unhealthy conditions of obesity, diabetes and hypertension are more prevalent and thus make mortality rates higher when COVID-19 strikes, it is unlikely that support for Trump will wane. This is because Fox and the right wing echo chamber have conditioned Trump’s base to equate facts with “fake news” from hated liberals. So in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the cult doubles down with obedience to the dear leader rather than be told by the “liberal elite” that they’ve been conned.


As Trump Wrecks the Home Front, Pompeo Wreaks Havoc Abroad

Then, as disastrous as the wreckage we are witnessing on the home front is, Trump’s administration is also wreaking havoc abroad with our foreign policy in the hands of a sycophantic Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whose groveling to our great leader is only surpassed by our robotically obedient Vice President.  In a recent editorial in The Washington Post, “Pompeo’s pandemic performance ensures his place among the worst secretaries of state ever”, a week of Pompeo’s embarrassing and abject failures abroad were laid out and we discuss the need for China and the U.S. to work together with Michael Fuchs, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and was a special advisor to the secretary of state for strategic dialogues. He joins us to discuss his article at The Guardian “The US-China coronavirus blame game is undermining diplomacy.”

The Author of “Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy”

Then finally we go to Singapore to speak with the veteran diplomat and former president of the UN Security Council Kishore Mahbubani, who is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute and is the author of the new book out today, Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy. We will separate the myths from the facts about how China sees the United States at a time when relations between the rising and waning superpowers are worsening.