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Trash talk and tweeting: Video showcases shifting principles, depending on who’s in power

What is hypocrisy? Is one allowed to change one’s mind without necessarily committing hypocrisy?

Ralph Waldo Emerson famously wrote that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” which means that those of large minds must be able to contradict what they formerly believed, presumably because their views have evolved to a higher plane.

If a Republican, let’s say a Fox News personality, now overlooks behavior by President Donald Trump that he formerly condemned (and let’s stipulate that in many cases they condemned it when it was much smaller) when it was committed by President Barack Obama, is that hypocrisy?

I don’t know the exact boundary between a principled change of one’s views on, let’s say, how often a president should play golf, or what is the appropriate boundary between respecting Congress versus taking executive action. I’m sure my own views and judgments are not always consistent when applied across presidents with whom I mostly agree versus disagree. But I do worry about such things, and hope I have some principles that are not rearranged depending on which party is in power. I am even foolish enough to worry that blatant hypocrisy based on which party is in power would undermine my credibility.

Is the same true of Fox news analysts and personalities?

Below is a hilarious video, titled “What If Fox News Covered Trump the Way It Covered Obama?” which, in case you don’t click through, shows Fox hosts and frequent guest-experts slamming Obama for things like engaging in trash talk and name-calling that diminishes the dignity of his office while being thin-skinned himself, going to Florida too often to play golf, pandering to crowds, ruling by executive action rather than deferring to Congress, criticizing his predecessor, relying too heavily on a teleprompter when speaking, increasing the national debt (after campaigning on a promise to rein it in), pandering to foreign dictators, acting like a dictator himself, treating those who disagree with him as enemies, never admitting when he’s wrong, dividing the country in order to get his voters to turn out for his re-election, acting like a “schoolyard bully” instead of like the leader of the Free World, and of lowering the dignity of his office by tweeting.

Tweeting? Tweeting! How can a president demean his office by communicating by tweet?

Here’s the video:

(By the way, if are so inclined, the full Emerson quote about foolish consistency, can be read here.)

Comments (29)

  1. Submitted by Barry Tungseth on 04/08/2020 - 10:38 am.

    What a great video. It sure relates more to Trump than to Obama, that`s for sure!

  2. Submitted by Mike Chrun on 04/08/2020 - 11:20 am.

    Well, the comments should once again be entertaining: especially ones trying to pivot back to Obama, Hillary, and what other sins other Democrats are committing. Hopefully, we’ll have one or two commenting on TDS and why are we so mean to the great leader.

    This country seems broken and while there’s blame all around, the hypocrites at Fox certainly must be put near the top as to where to lay the bulk of it. We have day after day of pettiness, petulance, and downright lying and it doesn’t matter one bit to the cultists. Trump in a couple of days does and says more things that cause outrage or outright ridicule than Obama did in a couple of years.

    The latest by the great leader is that, of course, he knew how serious the virus was; but he’s a cheerleader. He obviously didn’t want people to be down. So he wasn’t downplaying anything; he’s such a caring and concerned individual that he didn’t want us to be frightened. That’s also why agencies were gutted; why states are still short of reliable tests; why we still have doctors and nurses pleading for supplies; and why more people are going to die that shouldn’t have.

    And, of course, he’s right when he says, “This will end.” We can only hope that will be true in November.

  3. Submitted by Misty Martin on 04/08/2020 - 11:33 am.


    All I can say is “Wow!”

  4. Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/08/2020 - 11:33 am.

    They count on their viewers’ bigotry, greed and ignorance, certainly. But short memories are a must. Hypocrisy is one of those hobgoblins of little minds one accepts when the Leader is chosen by God to do His bidding.

  5. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 04/08/2020 - 11:41 am.

    You just can’t trust the “media” now days!

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/08/2020 - 12:02 pm.

    It will be interesting to see how the almost limitless factual material about Trump hypocrisies intersects with 1 billion dollars of Mike Bloomberg commitment to end the Trump presidency in November.

  7. Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/08/2020 - 12:35 pm.

    Well, it’s nice to have a laugh at the expense of the horrendous Fox propagandists, but the reality is that the fascist techniques laid bare here have resulted in the irreversible poisoning of tens of millions of (mostly white) brains, the destruction of millions of families who have lost loved ones to the brainwashing of the Fox Spite-work, and the complete breakdown of the democracy, which can no longer right or reform itself.

    What Fox did was willfully and baselessly slander at every turn an objectively law-abiding, virtually scandal-free administration brought into office by majority vote, while hypocritically defending (in all aspects) an objectively far worse (under Fox’s own self-proclaimed “principles”!) minority faction admin led by the most un-virtuous, undeserving fraud to ever hold the office: essentially an Anti-President (just as Fox is Anti-News.)

    What Fox does is not comedy, it’s a crime against democracy. Its continuing popularity with wide swathes of the American public (despite all that is revealed of Fox’s “methods”) simply proves that the social rot and degeneration has gone too far to repair. The main beams of the ship of state are terminally termite infested.

  8. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/08/2020 - 02:28 pm.

    Commenters on the right side of the aisle here like to excuse their resurrection of old talking points against President Obama and Senator Clinton by saying they’re calling out “hypocrisy.” They don’t recall hearing howls of outrage from the left for Obama’s transgressions (That tan suit!), so it is somehow illegitimate to criticize President Trump’s corruption and disregard of the Constitution.

    It will be interesting to see how they respond to this article (if, indeed, they respond beyond posting an unclear one-liner).

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 04/09/2020 - 08:05 am.

      Our conservative friends at EB Ink are not going to respond to this post because they are not stupid. They know that there is literally nothing for them to argue, nothing for them to say. The video indicts their movement.

      “Hypocrisy” was always just a word to them, without real meaning. A hollow, spittle-flecked charge to be leveled against the left, nothing more.

      It’s clear to every non-comatose person what Fox is pulling, and it’s clear it’s intellectually indefensible. So intelligent, literate elements of the conservative movement simply turn their heads and look away, letting Fox manufacture its poison for the low-info rubes without comment. Silence manifests approval.

      The ends justify the means. That’s been the motto of this movement since Day One.

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/09/2020 - 08:51 am.

      Of course there will be no response.

      It is like asking a crack addict to respond thoughtfully to the dangers of smoking crack while they still have a small mountain of crack rocks in front of them.

      Yes, I know it’s bad

      Yes, I know it’s destroying my future

      Yes, I know it might even kill me

      But; Ohhhhh, it feels so goooood….

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/09/2020 - 09:45 am.

      The hypocrisy is on both sides. The problem is many won’t admit it. The media is completely biased.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/09/2020 - 10:54 am.

        Towards fact vs. fiction.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2020 - 11:30 am.

        “The hypocrisy is on both sides.”

        If that’s a bad thing (and I’m never sure if the nihilistic “both sides do it” trope would allow for such a thing), it should be stopped. Let’s see an individual from the right-hand side step up and call out this type of hypocrisy.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/09/2020 - 01:31 pm.

          You never called it out when Clinton and Obama were in office. Trump has made plenty of bad decisions but then so did Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan and so on.

          If you won’t hold your own party responsible then join have no business complaining about the other party.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2020 - 02:04 pm.

            “You never called it out when Clinton and Obama were in office.”

            How do you know?

            “If you won’t hold your own party responsible then join have no business complaining about the other party.”

            I trust you will remember this adage. When you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/09/2020 - 03:55 pm.

            Everyone make the occasional bad decision.
            Trump makes the occasional good one–
            ‘even a stopped clock is right twice a day’.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 04/09/2020 - 12:34 pm.

        Eric starts out his post by asking “what is hypocrisy?” Am I wrong to believe we can all agree that changing one’s mind about something is not hypocrisy?
        I’ll propose that hypocrisy is limited to standards of behavior or, if you will, ethics or morals or “values.” One of the constant complaints from the right about “liberals” and “liberalism” is that their are “moral relativists” and don’t believe in “objective values” or enduring truths about ethics, morals or values. I don’t think that’s true though that may be true of some or even many liberals or others on the left. But one thing this video clip featured about shows us is that at least for the standard bearer media outlet of the Republican Party, this idea of moral relativism certainly prevails on the Right. Any wart, sin or fault which becomes a glaring defect of those perceived to be “liberal” is harshly denounced as evil and sign of the impending moral collapse of Western civilization, while the very same wart, sin or fault is celebrated or at best, completely ignored. I agree with Mr. Holbrook’s assessment that the “both sides do it” trope is nihilistic but I would extend nihilism to the entire Right wing set of values, which as far as I can discern adheres to no “objective values” or enduring Truths, ethics, morals or values. Other than perhaps winning every election and holding on to power at any cost.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 04/09/2020 - 01:37 pm.

          Hypocrisy is when the person in question fails to call out Obama for something yet rants and raves when Trump does the same thing. No one ever said a word about Obama having kids in cages (a policy dating back to at least Bush43) yet they went bananas over Trump doing it and even showed pictures from prior to 2016! THAT is blatant hypocrisy. And we see it daily from the MSM because they are completely biased (mostly to the left).

          Read the headlines here…100% left leaning for a site that claims to be nonpartisan. There’s not one single story about a Democrat or left wing group doing anything wrong.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/09/2020 - 02:05 pm.

            Another way of putting it is that hypocrisy is when the person in question fails to call out Trump for something yet ranted and raved, and continues to rant and rave, when Obama did something even remotely comparable.

            (Did Obama brag about sexual assault? I forget.)

          • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 04/09/2020 - 05:49 pm.

            You’ ll have to come up with a better example to illustrate and defend your arbitrary definition of hypocrisy. To use your one example about “locking children up in cages”, no one complained about this while Obama was in office. Certainly the right didn’t. Was it because they really approve of it? Maybe it was because no one knew about it. Either was, no one made any issue about before 2017.

            It didn’t become an issue until after Trump was elected and, amidst great fanfare, announced his draconian and mean-spirited policies about excluding people from Latin American and deporting as many as his INS could find, including a “separation of families policy” that brought this inhumane practice to public consciousness. Trump was harshly and rightly criticized for it. It was only then that some right-wingers discovered for the first time that photos of “kids in cages” were available that were taken during Obama’s term. As if to say, “if it happened during Obama’s term, then it must be OK because you people complaining about it now didn’t complain then.”

            No, if it is wrong and inhumane, then it didn’t become wrong and inhumane on January 21, 2017 when Trump took office. But you can’t claim that it’s “hypocrisy” if people don’t blame Obama now when he hasn’t been President for three years. It’s no defense of Trump’s wrong and humane policy to say, well, Obama did it too and you didn’t complain about it then.

            The problem with your definition of hypocrisy is that it’s a variation on the “everybody does it” fallacy, as in, “if everybody does it (or believes it), then it must be right (or true).” If Obama had publicly announced this policy amidst creating a “separation of families” policy like Trump did, then it would be hypocrisy for anyone to denounce Trump for continuing that policy without also denouncing Obama. But that didn’t happen.

            You can’t have it both ways: Trump can’t claim credit for dreaming up what he claims as “original, brilliant and innovative” policies and programs that are so much better than his predecessor and then blame his predecessor for having the idea first when he’s criticized and blamed for them and he and they are widely reviled and despised. And it’s not “hypocrisy” to call out Trump and his supporters on their refusal to acknowledge what’s right and true. Hypocrisy, as Jesus reminds us, is failing to “practice what you preach”, i.e. criticize others for failing to observe or maintain standards which you fail to observe or maintain yourself.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/10/2020 - 04:09 pm.

            Examples (particularly without attribution) are not definitions.

          • Submitted by Brian Gandt on 04/14/2020 - 04:45 pm.

            To the Obama admin’s discredit, we were caught flat footed by a sudden increase in unrest in various countries south of us. Overwhelmed at the border by minors, they had to go somewhere.

            That’s much different than a system designed to separate kids and put them in cages. It is, as they say, a feature, not a bug.

            By the way, I seem to recall plenty of opposition to the Obama Admin’s improvised response response from those farther left on the political spectrum.



      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/10/2020 - 08:39 am.

        “The media is completely biased”

        I sincerely hope you have the capability to understand the total fallacy of such a statement: The “media” in 2020 is hundreds of thousands of sources. There are over 200 million active web sites today.

        To think that a single statement can describe them all up is ridiculous. At best, we can identify a specific source and categorize them. Here is an example:

        FOX News is completely biased as evidenced by:

        Always happy to add clarity…

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/10/2020 - 11:14 am.

          When conservatives refer to “the media,” they are referring only to those news outlets that do not give unqualified praise to the Republican Party in general, and Donald Trump in particular. The sources they like are excused as providing “balance,” to counteract the (by definition) “liberal media.”

  9. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 04/08/2020 - 08:01 pm.

    What was it my pappy used to say? Oh yeah: THE TRUTH SHE HURTS!

  10. Submitted by Doug Duwenhoegger on 04/08/2020 - 10:11 pm.

    Lets remember that Fox is run by decendents of criminals exiled to the end of the world.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 04/13/2020 - 11:36 am.

    Getting back to the trash-talk as policy idea, I think the recent debacle on USS Theodore Roosevelt with the former SECNAV Modly give us window into a administration full of sycophants trying to satisfy Trump by mimicking his trash talk. Modly spent $250k to go Guam and trash talk Captain Crozier and his crew… this would never have happened under any other POTUS. So yes, we can see that there are those in some places that set tones for others.

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