Why aren’t the fireable incompetents being fired?

David Brooks is criticizing Donald Trump in the New York Times. The world is being led by a child, he says. We’re supposed to give a damn what David Fucking Brooks is saying, because finally he’s becoming aware of a problem.

By Trump’s own account, he knows more about aircraft carrier technology than the Navy. According to his interview with The Economist, he invented the phrase “priming the pump” (even though it was famous by 1933). Trump is not only trying to deceive others. His falsehoods are attempts to build a world in which he can feel good for an instant and comfortably deceive himself.

He is thus the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence. Trump thought he’d be celebrated for firing James Comey. He thought his press coverage would grow wildly positive once he won the nomination. He is perpetually surprised because reality does not comport with his fantasies.

Jesus. David Brooks. David Brooks pointing out the Dunning-Kruger effect. David Brooks, an enduring picture postcard of the effect.

Driftglass is as appalled as I am, and puts it well.

What Mr. Brooks is describing — a toxic fantasy world built on “falsehoods” which permit the inhabitants to “comfortably deceive” themselves, but which is also perpetually under threat of collapse “because reality does not comport with [their] fantasies” — not only perfectly describes Mr. Brooks’ Republican Party as it has existed for most of my adult life, but also perfectly describes the reams of Whig Fan Fiction bullshit that The New York Times has paid Mr. Brooks a princely sum to extrude over the past 13 years.

Whig Fan Fiction in which the Republican Party as it has existed for most of my adult life — the Party of Trump and Palin and Bannon and Rove and Lee Atwater and Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter and Ralph Reed and Roger Ailes and Newt Gingrich … and … and … — simply does not exist at all.

And so we have once again arrived at exactly the same place we were back in 2006-07. Back when the comfortable, toxic deceit of BushWorld — in which these very same pundits and this very same Republican base lived together under one roof, happily chugging Cheney-brand Kool Aid and slandering people like you and me — began to collapse under the weight of relentless Reality. And just as happened back then, we now see exactly the same, frantic ideological plea bargaining from the same paid professional Conservative/Both Siderist Beltway creatures. That the problem is somehow just Trump (David Brooks.) Or it’s because Trump is not really a Republican (Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC every fucking day.) Or it’s The Extremes on Both Sides (all the usual suspects).

This is the problem. We believe that the entire Trump administration ought to be sealed up in a box and buried in a landfill somewhere because they are incompetent and evil, but at the same time we respect the rule of law and see the Constitution as a good reason to hold back and work through responsible institutions to restore reason to government. And what if we ignored the US Constitution and did what was right? We already know the answer.

The New York Times, as one example of our media, is not bound by our constitution to respect the will of the people and the law. They have on their masthead a large number of people who were criminally irresponsible in cheerleading our way into a bloody futile war. You would think that after that debacle, the management would have looked at their staff and said, “My god, you’re a gang of fucking incompetents who got everything wrong, and wrecked the reputation of our newspaper. You’re fired! Let’s hire instead more of the people who got it right.”

That did not happen, obviously.

Those same people, David Fucking Brooks among them, are still there, and were happily churning out “tut-tuts” and “Hillary’s emails” and “both parties are the same” throughout the last election, and have helped sink us into yet another disastrous mire of bad policy that will kill people. Poor people, mostly, not the kind who’d subscribe to the NY Times, so I guess it’s OK. The pundits’ jobs are not at risk at all, ever. Those cretins can be wrong over and over, and never pay a price.

It’s the rest of us who pay.

It’s not just the NY Times. CNN is criminally incompetent, too — Wolf Blitzer is a caricature of a television presenter. MSNBC, the so-called “liberal” news channel, just hired George Goddamn Will, whose greatest claim to fame is that he can describe horrors with the same bland lack of affect he uses when picking his bow tie in the morning. These are people who, if their performance was judged on merit, would be laughed off the air and out of print — who might, at best, be reduced to writing for World Net Daily, Breitbart, or Weekly World News, but would most definitely not be on the payroll of the ‘prestigious’ news media. But there they are.

Once again, the frauds who ought to be superannuated ragpickers are rewarded with another sinecure.

The Republic is doomed, because if we can’t get rid of those losers, how are we going to get rid of parasites now roosting in the secure shelter of the Constitution?


  1. robro says

    Speaking of inane commentators and political pundits questioning TweeterDumb…Per The Daily Caller (Tucker Carlson’s vanity press), “Ann Coulter Is Worried The ‘Trump-Haters Were Right'” (here if you want to give them the click). She says she agrees with Frank Bruni’s op-ed in the NYT about Dumpster, saying: “Where is the great negotiation? Where is the bull in the china shop we wanted? That budget the Republicans pushed through was like a practical joke… Did we win anything? And this is the great negotiator?”

    Poor Ann. She shills for shills, and she’s still not happy.

    Of course, there’s a side of me that realizes that if she’s still on the Mercer payroll perhaps this is all part of the Great Game they are playing…keep the rubes guessing.

  2. weylguy says

    I am reminded of that classic Twilight Zone episode (“It’s a Good Life”) in which an evil, petulant 6-year-old boy viciously exercises complete control over the world, and not one adult has the courage to take a sledge hammer to his head. At least that evil, petulant little boy didn’t have his hands on the nuclear arsenal.

  3. laurentweppe says

    Well, in It’s a Good Life, Baby Lennier is a quasi omnipotent telepathic demi-god. You can’t take a sledge hammer to his head because he’ll read your mind and send you to the cornfield. You can’t conspire with someone else to distract him while you take the sledge hammer because he’ll read your accomplice’s thoughts and send you both to the Cornfield.

  4. robro says

    laurentweppe — You just have to be very Zen. Empty your head of everything, then be one with the hammer.

  5. anchor says

    @6 – that reminds me of the film with George Sanders trying to keep those hideous alien kids from reading his mind that would reveal he’s planted the schoolhouse with a bomb in a bag to knock them all off.

  6. leerudolph says

    Eight, sir; seven, sir;
    Six, sir; five, sir;
    Four, sir; three, sir;
    Two, sir; one!
    Tenser, said the Tensor.
    Tenser, said the Tensor.
    Tension, apprehension,
    And dissension have begun.

  7. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    If global warming speeds up the way the Rethugs want, a better refrain would be:

    “Oh, it’s no feat to beat the heat.
    All reet! All reet!
    So jeet your seat
    Be fleet be fleet
    Cool and discreet

  8. handsomemrtoad says

    RE: “The Dunning-Kruger effect”

    If someone says bad things about Freddie, says that the razor-blades in his fingers are dull, is the speaker … [drum roll, please]… is the speaker DUNNING KRUGER???

  9. brucegee1962 says

    I’ve mostly seen Brooks on the News Hour, where he’s at his most fuzzy and liberal. Honestly, from the impression of Brooks I’ve gotten there, he was practically an Obama fangirl; you get the general impression that the last time he actually voted for a Republican presidential candidate was maybe back in 2000, and the only reason he still calls himself a conservative is because that’s his brand, and he wouldn’t get all those nice bookings if he officially switched parties. Of course, I’m sure he’s more venal in other circumstances.

  10. says

    @#14, brucegee1962:

    Obama got into office on a wave of anger against the banks and Wall Street and deliberately refused to take any action to curtail them, bailed out mortgage-holders rather than mortgagees (either one would have kept banks afloat but the latter would have kept individuals afloat as well), distracted everyone from his right-wing economics by pushing through a health insurance bill based on one created by the Heritage Foundation and originally tried by Mitt Romney, kept Bush’s wars running and started a few more just for grins, championed spy programs which have turned out (as anyone with a brain could foresee) to have terrible consequences (Google “WannaCry”, and that’s merely the latest bit), signed into law an extension of the terrible USA PATRIOT Act and then a cynically renamed second extension (the “USA Freedom Act”), constantly tried to appease the Republicans instead of defying them — even when the Republicans were a minority in Congress — and took the opportunity to staff the Democratic half of the Congressional “Supercommittee” with known pro-austerity figures. Like Clinton before him, he was an excellent Republican president, far better than any of the ones who actually ran with that party’s initial after their names. The only issues on which Obama took a left-ish stance were ones did not involve money or foreign policy. So why would Brooks’ approval of Obama be at all incompatible with Brooks being a conservative?

    And as for firing incompetents: this article made me laugh, for reasons which I have been told I will be banned if I mention again explicitly, so I won’t. But the Republicans aren’t the only party in town where being wrong over and over and over again gets you kicked upstairs until you’re too well-established to get rid of.

  11. chigau (違う) says

    “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001”

  12. rietpluim says

    The world is not being led by a child. Last time I checked Trump was the president of the USA, and the USA only.

  13. KG says

    David Fucking Brooks

    What were his parents thinking? No wonder he turned out so badly!

  14. chrislawson says


    1. Please don’t play Both-Siderism. It’s really only acceptable when both sides are about as bad as each other, and we are currently witnessing the most corrupt and incompetent administration since Harding’s…and on track to overtake that low, low standard.

    2. The topic of Obama’s failings are frequently raised here. Acting like nobody is aware of this is bizarre.

    3. Your argument that Obama was quite the conservative President has some merit — but your idea that Brooks and his ilk would support him because of this is in flagrant disregard of the 10-year and counting conservative assault on Obama’s legitimacy as a president and his policies. Brooks himself routinely attacked Obama during his presidency. So we know that Brooks’ conservatism was incompatible with him approving of Obama. For years on end. The only thing that has changed is that Brooks made a tiny little concession that he missed Obama, specifically his personal integrity and behaviour — but he still made a point of how he disagreed with Obama’s policies and wanted to see a change for the more conservative in the next administration. So don’t feed us this bullshit about how David Brooks approves of Obama’s conservatism.

  15. says

    I haven’t read a ton of George Will political but I do know he left the Republican party last election and had been strongly anti-Trumo. Oh and the most famous thing about him is his Cub fandom and how he blames/thanks it for him being conservative.

    I have read most of his baseball work. I think it’s wonderful. I’m sure Professor Myers is right but I wanted to give my two cents.

  16. Dunc says

    You would think that after that debacle, the management would have looked at their staff and said, “My god, you’re a gang of fucking incompetents who got everything wrong, and wrecked the reputation of our newspaper. You’re fired! Let’s hire instead more of the people who got it right.”

    Lol. Only if you haven’t read Manufacturing Consent, and / or drastically misunderstand the nature and purpose of the media in an ostensibly free and democratic society.

    Of course they’re wrong about everything. Not only are they wrong about everything, they’re wrong about everything in entirely predictable ways, and that’s exactly why they got their jobs in the first place. The very last things the corporate / political / military / industrial complex needs are journalists propagandists who are right about things. Being right about this stuff gets you fired. (If you somehow managed to make it through the multiple layers of filtering which serve to ensure that people with any of the habits of thought which might someday lead to being right are rigorously excluded from these positions in the first place).

  17. cartomancer says

    What is that black and grey circle thing with the three projections and the wire on the table supposed to be?

  18. chrislawson says

    cartomancer@22: it looks like a conference call microphone to me — a common piece of equipment in meeting rooms/board rooms.

  19. says

    You can always trust The Vicar to come along when Republican idiocy is at its highest to come along and whine that we need to be criticizing the Democrats more. I didn’t much care for Clinton at all, and I’ve been fed up with the Democrats for sucking up to Wall Street, but we wouldn’t be in the shithole we’re in now if she’d been elected, and that’s what matters now.

  20. vole says

    “It’s a Good Life” was a classic short story by Jerome Bixby. Sad, though not surprising, that people remember only the TV adaptation.

  21. chrislawson says

    vole: to be fair, that Twilight Zone adaptation of the short story absolutely nailed it.

  22. cherbear says

    Vole: I read that story and the impression I got from it was not only was the child a psychic demi-god, but that there was something extremely unnatural about his appearance. *shrug* its been years since I read it so I could be wrong.