SEND IN THE BABOONS

Talk about backasswards, how revolutionary that Donald Trump became a serious candidate before becoming a serious person. Or trying to become one, like a 69-year-old on a bicycle for the first time.

Now that the 2016 primary election burlesque appears to have turned a sharp corner and veered toward possible resolution—cross your fingers—here is some of the debris.

After slogging through a transcript of the new, improved and Oval Office-ready Trumpet’s foreign policy speech, I’m now pretty sure why he wears his rock of hair in a sprayed-to-the hilt colossal comb-over.

To hide the lobotomy scar.

Yet it was striking how two mainstream papers I regularly read, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, gave sober coverage to the speech as if Trumpet had inadvertently uttered something worth recalling.

NYT: Trump “gave a foreign policy speech Wednesday in Washington, shifting his focus to topics…”

Oh, please. This reminds me, once again, of hilarious radio satirists Bob and Ray providing meticulous, in-depth, step-by-step analysis of how to make a bologna sandwich. In Trumpet’s case, baloney.

The title of another Bob and Ray flight of fancy perfectly fits this election season’s exotic GOP universe.

Galaxy of the Baboons

It also epitomizes do-anything-to-get-noticed Yahoo News, which ran the following provocative banner over a story on April 20:

“Cruz rejects Canadian citizenship”

Accompanying this was a Ted Cruz photo with a cutline that read: “The 2016 presidential prospect’s origins have been under scrutiny lately.”

Lately?

Hmmm. A little tardy in the campaign for that; Trumpet hadn’t questioned the Canadian-born Cruz’s birth qualifications for months.

Worse than tardy, it was a musty antique. The story, from Politico, originally ran Aug. 20, 2013. That made it nearly three years old, the kind of footnote that doesn’t concern Yahoo News in its self-serving pursuit of clicks.

Just as honesty is often a casualty—flicked away like lint from a lapel—in candidates’ quest for votes.  And that goes for both major parties.

All right, I get it; emails, shmemails. But puleeeeeze, Madam Secretary, if you’re so Holy Hillary with your pockets turned out and nothing hidden, so pristine and sparkly, do the right and honorable thing, even if it means walking the plank. Give a nod to good old Bernie and share transcripts of your big-bucks speeches to Wall Streeters. Don’t flim flam and obfuscate like an octopus fleeing from peril behind a cloud of ink.

Carly Fiorina picSpeaking of that, this week’s GOP headliners also gave us Flim and Flam in the persons of Cruz and his new best pal Carley Fiorina. There he was anointing Fiorina as his running mate on a fantasy GOP ticket he is likely to head only if the election is held on Pluto.

This is the same Fiorina who said of him earlier, when she, too, was seeking the top job: “Ted is just like any other politician; he says whatever he needs to say to get elected.”

Exactly. Yet she’s now salivating all over the guy. When a TV reporter asked Fiorina to reconcile her conflicting public statements about Cruz, she replied (and I’m paraphrasing): candidates say things in the heat of battle, and it’s no big deal.

The obvious follow-up: Then, Ms. Fiorina, you were disingenuous or lying when, with notable passion and ferocity, you earlier aimed those negatives at Cruz? If so, why should we believe you now?

But it wasn’t asked.

Cruz kidsAs if summoned from central casting, Cruz’s two young daughters again spent time on the stump with him and his wife. The girls are not only humanizing for a candidate whose humanity is largely elusive, they’re a pair of adorable cuties whose presence raises an issue that applies to candidates of both major parties. You know, the multitudes who shade the truth and sometimes flat-out lie to gain advantage in the pornography of politics.

Let’s assume the Bible-thumping Cruzes are virtuous parents who try mightily to instill in their girls such high-minded values as the Golden Rule and so on and so on, including DO NOT LIE!  If that is the case, how does Cruz justify suspending those noble values in service of personal ambition?

Do as I say, girls, not as I do?

I believe that’s called hypocrisy.

Attaching an exclamation mark to the week, a freshly exalted Fiorina pandered her way into the hearts of Cruz supporters by singing a song to his daughters. The bizarre scene illustrated why “Saturday Night Live” parodies of the candidates often fail. They’re redundant because the candidates themselves are parodies.

Send in the baboons. Don’t bother, they’re already here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YAHOO’S YUTZES

Like many of you, I’ve been tethered to the battle for delegates en route to Tuesday’s pivotal New York primary—and repulsed.

The screeching vitriol, the screaming distortions, the self-centric bloviating, the relentless indecency, the fantastical illusions, the outrageous deceptions, the defamatory hocus-pocus, the cold-hearted treachery, the shameless bamboozling, the scandalous duplicity and, my God, the flat-out lies.

But enough about the media.

yahoo-yhoo-stock-logo-1851

In the crosshairs here: Yahoo.

Britain’s Daily Mail is said to be interested in buying financially challenged Yahoo. And why not? The two tabloids are highly compatible in tone: the Daily Mail is famously sensationalist, and Yahoo’s mostly low-brow home page is to news and ethics what Trumpet and Lyin’ Ted are to truth:

Any similarity is purely coincidental.

Yahoo maintains a boutique reporting staff along with $10 million-a-year Katie Couric, hired for star power and her potential to score high-profile interviews. Yahoo is an overwhelmingly aggregate operation, though. It poaches news and fluff from other sources for display on a homepage dotted, notes The Los Angeles Times, with “must-click crime stories, scintillating celebrity gossip and self-help items.”

And oh, yes, rampant fabrication and other crapola.

Dandruff Kills Family of Five

20 Ways to Pick Your Nose

All right, the above is hyperbole. But only slight hyperbole.

Yahoo is not just list-laden, it reeks of lists. Just today—and this is on the level—I came across 7 Actors That Are Actually Really Short. Which I was about to click on when I encountered The 13 Highest Paid Football Managers in the World. Information I’d been dying to know, but then my eye caught 8 Nail Clippers to Keep Your Nails in Tip Top Shape. Which I was about to explore until diverted by 3 Myths about Grief That Need to be Busted. Heart thumping, I would have clicked immediately had I not sighted Seattle’s Essential Brunch Restaurants.

I wonder if they offer highchairs for really short actors.

Well, you get the idea.

Nor does Yahoo take a back seat to any tabloid when it comes to outright deceit.

It reported recently that Trader Joe’s would close all its stores and discontinue its brand products in 2017.  A Trader Joe’s regular, I let out a yelp. Though posted March 31, the 600-word faux story turned out to be an April Fools’ joke.

How was anyone to know? Every day is April Fools’ at Yahoo.

On Friday, it ran this headline advertising a story about Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant signing fellow players’ sneakers as part of his marathon retirement ritual:

Kobe Bryant Threw Away Nick Young’s Sneakers in the trash instead of signing…

It looked like a snub, a cruel affront.  How could you, Kobe? When I clicked on the headline I learned that Bryant did, indeed, trash Young’s shoes—but then gave him a new pair that he subsequently signed.

Yahoo has a voracious appetite for the hateful. Flash back to Jan. 11 when it dangled this election-season carrot in front of readers:

Police Find Candidate’s Wife on the Side of the Road

Who wouldn’t bite on a headline this provocative? I sure did, and when clicking on it I learned it was accurate. The story, from BuzzFeed News, referred to Cruz’s, wife, Heidi, during a bout with depression, being found “sitting with her head in her hands” on a grassy area by an expressway in Austin, Tex.

In 2005.

oh.

Yahoo also swirls together news, commentary and ads into a single cocktail that blurs lines. This was typical:

Clinton’s email excuses are falling apart

The headline topped an unlabeled commentary by Washington Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen slid between news stories.

As was this one above an unlabeled Washington Post commentary: Hillary Clinton, blind to her own greed, makes another blunder

Yahoo is also notorious for its dishonest use of photos out of context.

Watch Hillary Clinton Completely Fall Apart Onstage shouted a headline that put a negative spin on a photo of her (eyes closed, face anguished) that appeared with a report from federalist.com saying she fumbled an answer to a question from Anderson Cooper during a CNN town hall telecast.

Perhaps she did. But the photo was unrelated to the question.

Elevating malicious to an art form, Yahoo used a photo of Clinton appearing disinterested, even bored under a headline referring to a campaign event: Hillary to Black Woman’s Question: Why don’t you go run for something?

One problem: the photo was from her earlier appearance before the GOP-led House committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic and CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya.

Not that Yahoo is partisan.

In a victory speech after winning the Nevada caucuses, Trumpet called out the various demographic groups that pushed him over the top. Yahoo chose to highlight only the one that made him look bad.

Trump’s cry: “I love the poorly educated.”

I suspect Yahoo does, too. I’m making out a list of 10 credible sources for news. Yahoo is not on it.