Bad Blood Over “Bloodbath”

Upton Sinclair cynically insisted, “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” The same venal ethic applies to deliberate misunderstanding. Or, to use a technical term, lying.

(Sinclair faced his own fabulist accusations over his exaggerated account of the meatpacking industry. So he knows something about trafficking a lie for coin.)

Our professional media class, despite shedding paid positions faster than the brougham business when the Tin Lizzie hit the scene, can’t help itself. Like a dog to its vomit, journalists keep cranking the rage machine, trying desperately to rattle out more clicks.

The latest go-to rage-bait is a classic: an out-of-context Trump quote. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.

During a St. Patrick’s Day eve campaign rally, the former president performed his usual shtick of doom-and-glooming goods importation, crabbing on China-produced cars. (Sinomobiles, anyone?) “We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line and you’re not going to be able to sell those cars—if I get elected. Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole—that’s gonna be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That will be the least of it. But they’re not going to sell those cars.”

Standard fare from Mr. America-First, right? Demonizing imports as an atrophying force on national strength. Slamming China as America’s most competitive economic foe. Excoriating the left’s green-scheming, which combats carbon emissions by tossing a bunch of fried lithium batteries in the ocean.

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. Just bog-standard bluster.

BUT WAIT! thinks a clever editor. What if I slice the line into a snippet, highlight the sanguinary noun, and present it as a deadly threat? Bingo! Impression-revenue spike, here we come! Make sure Google AdSense pulls in Fluoxetine banners for all the deranged libs getting their daily dose of orange outrage.

Trump’s riff on the American auto industry dying a premature death—or is it late? Let’s be honest, the Big Three haven’t produced a decent car since the ‘95 Ford Taurus—was deconstructed into a vague threat of waging crimson war against the United States. “In Ohio campaign rally, Trump says there will be a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses November election,” was a CBS headline. The Guardian echoed the abridged assertion. In a bit of rare self-awareness, the leftie Salon insisted: “Trump’s call for a ‘bloodbath’ was literal—let’s not waste time pretending it was ambiguous.” You read that right, reader? It was LITERALLY LITERAL! Literally!

Lest you think the scandalabra was media-manufactured in toto, the President’s campaign weighed in too, accusing Trump of embracing “political violence.” And because everything is commoditized into a thirty-second auto-play video now, Team Senior Sketchers spun off the cut-quote into an ad, with generous clippings of the pizza-faced incels who marched in Charlottesville seven years ago.

Nobody asked her to, but failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton chimed in with a hypothetical: “‘A bloodbath.’ What would you say if you saw this in another country?” she asked on Twitter. I’d say you should have gone to Wisconsin, Lose-llarry.

I get it: politics ain’t beanbag. Quotes are going to be mangled and misaligned to suit electoral passions. Don’t want your words Boggled, then cut and pasted in formulations that make you look racist, sexist, bigoted, or hateful, or, the worst monster of all, a racist-sexist-homophobe-bigoted-xenophobe-fascist-white-trash MAGAggot? Don’t run for public office. Hatchetman is a lucrative profession for a reason. “Voting is a nasty, dirty business, an act of a fallen people in a fallen world,” said Carl Trueman. We aren’t getting any cleaner, especially when the supercomputers in our hands can blast out propagandized gaffes in mere seconds.

Not to be dimly obvious, but the left isn’t really soiling their unisex undies over Trump’s “dangerous” rhetoric. After all, Republicans always become murderers come election time, whether they’re snatching health care from poor urban kids with leukemia or tossing grandma off a cliff to her watery death, every ballot chase is life or death. Or liberation and chains, as our current thermostat-dropper president once put it. Meanwhile, Democrats are forever inching us closer to national collapse where Antifa vandals storm the National Archives, nick the Constitution and use it as rolling paper for a poly-blunt composed of soy, estrogen, and gluten-free, ethically sourced ganja.

It’s the most important election of your lifetime! Just like every single one before it.

Lucky us Americans, to live with such frequent epoch-shaping contests. You’d think we’d be exhausted from our never-ending train of hustings heart-clenchers.

Ah, well. Just eight more months until November. By then we may get deepfake videos of Trump threatening to nuke Letitia James’s office or Biden offering to airlift Haitian warlord Barbecue and his anthropophagic pals to our shores in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

For now, we have to settle for dramatic readings of Trump’s charges under U.S. criminal code by Liam Neeson and Cruella de Vil. If that is the media’s idea of dégringolade prep, give me misquotes and nut-picking. The latter is more entertaining. Bread and circuses beats doomscrolling and agina.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Taylor Lewis

Taylor Lewis writes from Virginia.

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