Trump, Logic and Media Nonsense (12 Feb 2017)

The other day I made the mistake of watching a little news. CNN was on its anti-Trump-tirade and CBC was doing it's best to bumble along behind.

The first news story was about a statement from Judge Neil Gorsuch who has been widely touted as Trump's second favourite judge. (Trump's most favourite judge doesn't make statements anymore, he's dead.)

Apparently Trump had made some disparaging "tweets" about the bunch of disapproving judges. That was, of course, after the said judges had made a disparaging judgement about one of The Donald's executive orders.

Subsequently, a private conversation was at first reported as Judge Gorsuch saying that he found "Trump's tweets" about the disapproving judges to be "disheartening" and "demoralizing". Later, it became apparent that Gorsuch did not specifically name Trump but spoke more generally about criticism of the judiciary being "disheartening" and "demoralizing".

Team Trump jumped to the attack. With thumbs to their noses, Team Trump argued that the comment by Judge Gorsuch was not aimed Trump at all, at all.

Replying in kind, the folks at CNN (aped by CBC and others) applied the rule of logic that a statement that applies generally also applies specifically... Therefore Judge Gorsuch had, indeed, criticized Trump. Na-ha-haha-ha-ha!

Most CNN/CBC viewers would have walked away with a smug look on their face, confident that their team had counted coup.

Not so fast.

Previously, a Navy SEAL raid had gathered intelligence and killed 14 al-Qaeda. Trump characterized the raid as "highly successful" even though one SEAL had been killed. Then Senator John McCain darted into the fray, saying:

I would not describe any operation that results in the loss of American life as a success"
CNN were ecstatic. The old Republican war-horse was contradicting The Donald.

Did CNN apply the logical of the general to the specific? Nope...

I'll take John McCain at his word. More than one American died in the Vietnam war and that was not a success. And a whole lot more Americans died in WW2 and that was not a success.

The logic is perfect but the result is total bullshit because it is most unusual for a general statement to also be absolutely accurate.

And so we return to judges with sensitive feelings. Would a judge on the American Supreme Court feel "discouraged" if Vladimir Putin criticized him and called him names? Of course not. The judge would probably be more offended if Putin "praised him" and called him "an exemplar of Russian jurisprudence"!