Unequivalent Equivalency

Their coverage and criticism of her must be equal to their coverage and criticism of him. That is the rule applied by the press in this and in every presidential campaign. The press must pursue and scrutinize coverage of the candidates, their speeches, gaffes and events with equal persistence.


Okay, fair enough. Therefore, when Clinton said “basket of deplorables” in describing half of his supporters, Trump suggested that “her Secret Service agents disarm” — an insinuation leaving her open to assassination. This is assassination innuendo #2. Or is it #3? (I’ve lost count.)

Now how are these two statements by the candidates equal again? This campaign has proven one thing. The new ‘normal’ isn’t normal. It’s monstrous. From the newspapers to the news shows, the underwritten story of the 2016 Presidential campaign is the complete and utter disintegration of political journalism. As the Dallas Morning News says: It shows.

This failure encompasses the ‘equivalence’ in covering the two candidates: reporting on Clinton’s health and not about Donald’s refusal to release his tax returns; the Clinton email server story versus Trump’s ties to the Russian oligarchs and Qaddafi at the time of the Lockerbie crash; all his ties to business interests with countries that place him in conflict of interest with US national security and a President’s solemn oath swearing adherence to the Constitution. It is true “all enemies foreign and domestic” has always been a moving target in our foreign policy. Yet are these two candidates the same? As many qualms as people have about Mrs. Clinton, and some rightfully so, the two are not the same.

It’s a journalist’s job to weigh the facts and give them an equal hearing. Yet, Trump’s propensity to move mercurially from one outrageous tweet, to slip of the tongue, to walk-back of a statement (Obama was not born in the US) — and then to lie about it all — does pose a challenge to reporters used to covering ‘normal candidates’. But that is the pattern of distraction that Trump’s candidacy excels at: Trump’s supporters lap it up.

I wonder if the physical gag reflex of reporters covering Trump has been suppressed through pharmaceuticals. To be fair to reporters, I would imagine it’s one thing to focus on a small stream of untruths and extrapolate from there. They’ve done that with both Clintons since the beginning. When the untruths come at you as Trump’s have, with the force and velocity of a fire hose at full blast, it’s hard to know where to start, or even catch them all.


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Breitbart.com is a noted right-wing conspiracy website, dedicated to targeting the “democrat media complex” — which means, attacking the press in general.

Unless the National Enquirer decided to go Politico, if there was anything more slimy than that morass of innuendo — and not just against Clinton, but against Planned Parenthood, LGBTs and liberals and progressives in general — you can find it on Breitbart. Since Steve Bannon, news executive chairman of Breitbart.com took over as a chief advisor, they moved the style tentacle of Breitbart to conjoin with the Trump campaign.

As a species-to-species coitus, it was a close-to-perfect fit. Mr. Trump’s tweets seem to now have a regular pattern of distraction, rather than being a disastrous gaffe. They are using them to veer away from the rumblings of sharp criticism against him by the press, focusing on yet another shiny object to grasp the attention of the press: deplorables; baskets; pneumonia; Parkinson’s.

Voila! Disaster averted. Trump supporters duly aroused with glee, Democrats aghast. Outrage effect achieved. No one focuses on the details or nuances. Or on the issues. Or the weight of the arguments against either candidate. We know ten shallow things of equal weight when we need to boil down to deeper essentials: character, depth, history and subject knowledge. Therefore they are attempting to use Clinton’s strengths against her. It’s ‘swift boating’ just like they did to John Kerry in 2004. But this, my friends, is swift boating on both steroids and methamphetamines.

And it’s this new uber-swiftboating that has many of us alarmed. I am certain Mrs. Clinton will continue to be well-protected by armed Secret Service people while on the campaign trail. I am certain Mr. Trump will continue to run his mouth while speaking on the stump. It’s Trump’s supporters that concern me, who are given an even louder message that it’s okay to be openly a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and to punch old women who disagree with them. Let’s see, we’ve thrown out tolerance and decency in the space of three months. What’s left?

The press is just waking up to the cudgel hitting them. As Kierna Mayo adroitly expresses in her comment on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, the press is taking the insanity of this campaign and “framing it as if it’s the norm.”

You may feel that this norm has been the case since modern-day 20th and 21st century election campaigns began. But a terrible line in the sand has been breached, and can only get worse, throwing us headfirst into a backwards trajectory that none of us want or need to see ever again. There’s no equal to that.

This entry was posted in Columnist, Fe-911 on by .

About Fe Bongolan

Planet Waves writer Fe Bongolan lives in Oakland, California. Her column, "Fe-911," has been featured on Planet Waves since 2008. As an actor and dramaturge, Fe is a core member of Cultural Odyssey's "The Medea Project -- Theater for Incarcerated Women," producing work that empowers the voices of all women in trouble, from ex-offenders, women with HIV-AIDS, to young girls and women at risk. A Planet Waves fan from almost the beginning of Eric's astrology career, Fe is a public sector employee who describes herself as a "mystical public servant." When it comes to art, culture and politics, she loves reading between the lines.

5 thoughts on “Unequivalent Equivalency

  1. Barbara Koehler

    It kinda reminds me of the Emperor Who Had No Clothes story Fe. Reporters (as opposed to columnists) are reminded that those who pay their salaries are prone to seeing the political scene from a certain perspective and they (the reporters) would be wise to follow their big bosses lead. With the naked emperor on parade, the onlookers were reminded to see only what the emperor saw (which was a lie) if they knew what was good for them. Only the innocence of a child dared to speak the truth.

    I’ve noticed that transiting Neptune in Pisces – even before considering its square with transiting Saturn – is completing a Yod in Trump’s natal chart. His natal Pallas in Capricorn is quincunx his natal Pluto in Leo. As the transiting Neptune sextiles his Pallas it too is quincunx his natal Pluto. In other words, Trump’s Pallas (the strategist) is being aided by transiting Neptune to “push” Trump’s natal 12th house (behind closed doors) Pluto in Leo to “adjust” in order to find a level playing field.

    Meanwhile Hillary’s natal Neptune in Libra is being aided (sextile) by transiting Saturn (stand your ground) in Sagittarius and transiting Saturn is in her 1st house. This provides the completion of a Yod when combined with Hillary’s natal 6th house Nessus. It’s position as the apex of a Yod (being forced to adjust) is enough to make anyone 6th house-sick!

    Here is the rub. Transiting Neptune sextiles Hillary’s natal Nessus, while at the same time transiting Saturn trines Trump’s natal Pluto. Both those natal planets are at the apex of the temporary yods; and they each support the point of one of those Yods. Hillary’s Nessus in the 6th house, Trump’s Pluto in the 12th house. Twelfth house vs. sixth house. The infamous square between transiting Neptune and Saturn have found their voice(s) in these two candidates.

    While I’m not ready or willing to go into a depth analysis of this, it does seem that Hillary and Donald are expressing (acting out) the energy of the Saturn-Neptune square(s), if not the Saturn-Neptune cycle in its entirety. Hillary’s 6th house natal Nessus reaches the Public as illness (6th house) while Trump’s Pluto in the 12th house reaches the Public as ruthless fear confined (12th house).

    When we consider that transiting Neptune (now and for some time into the future) is transiting the U.S. Sibly chart’s 3rd house of information, while transiting Saturn bobs and weaves on and around the U.S. ascendant, it would have to be the media that has myopia while our sense of identity as a country (Asc.) determinedly pushes back against chaos it sees but dares not to speak of out loud.

    As our awareness of the untruths and inequality grows, so does our contempt of the system’s rigid and damaged structure. Perhaps it isn’t the end of the structure (government, etc.) after all, but merely a new scaffolding to protect the growing edifice not clearly perceived presently. Perhaps Neptune’s dissolution of what is more or less accepted as “news” is providing the bricks and mortar for all kinds of new systems including government, news reporting and goddess willing, elections.

    It is a climax, a dramatic climax we are witnessing with this Neptune-Saturn thing.

    The cycle for the Neptune-Saturn cycle (the 1st of 3 conjunctions they made in 1989) holds several clues to assume such a thing could be happening.
    1) the Saturn-Neptune’s Nessus is conjunct the U.S. Neptune
    2) the Saturn-Neptune’s Pholus is conjunct the U.S. Uranus
    3) transiting Nessus is in the vicinity of the Saturn-Neptune chart’s Venus+North Node at 4+ Pisces
    4) the Saturn-Neptune’s Uranus at 4+ Capricorn sextiles the Saturn-Neptune chart’s Venus_+NN and trines its south node at 4+ Virgo (where the now transiting NN will be in December)
    5) the Saturn-Neptune’s Sun at 12+ Pisces squares the U.S. asc., and is where the transiting south node is (and as well, transiting Neptune off and on)
    6) the Saturn-Neptune Sun in Pisces is being squared by transiting Saturn in Sagittarius
    7) the Saturn-Neptune chart’s Jupiter (truth) in Taurus squares Trump’s ascendant in Leo.
    8) the Saturn-Neptune chart’s Moon in Capricorn squares the U.S. Saturn in Libra (that squares the U.S. Sun) and that Moon is where transiting Pluto is right now.
    9) transiting Pholus at 24+ Sagittarius is where the Saturn-Neptune chart’s Vesta (investment) is.

    People like you Fe, who call out the truth they see – like the little child watching the naked emperor go by – feed the growing awareness of falsehoods and deceit that the MSM reporters dare not acknowledge. This in turn feeds the stockpile of material that will build the new edifices that are already going up in this country but are not yet visible to the average world citizen.
    P.S. transiting Child at 11+ Pisces retrograde is conjunct transiting Neptune at 10+ Pisces retrograde. See?

  2. Bette

    Wasn’t it Ken Carey who mentioned “islands of the new” arising amidst the disintegrating status quo? I’ve held onto that vision for years – & I believe the “new edifices” are indeed going up, be.

    Fe, mainstream news in Canada is a bit less hysterical than some U.S. coverage, but mostly I see our networks trying to present something that might pass as “normal”, in a campaign that is clearly anything but.

    1. Fe Bongolan Post author


      Might as well write to the station or network manager and tell them the Republican Party has played a cruel joke on the world. Or the media has been outplayed. Let them call it as it really is. We can no longer afford to be polite.

  3. Pisces Sun

    Great post Fe and comments thereto Barbara, loved, loved, loved it! So it seems that chaos is our new normal and agree with the “Emperor has no clothes” analogy. As I read its application, I couldn’t help but wonder how a Journalism Professor would teach this topic today? “This is what we don’t do as journalists…” Last night on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Seth did a spoof on news casts covering the recent US bombings, demonstrating just how lame journalism had become by highlighting CNN’s “breaking news,” where a reporting describes a vehicle that went by with what “appears to be lights on” at night. Seriously, she said this. Then the showed flashed to another reporter exclaiming that the dumpster looked overly large for a dumpster. Lots of fluff just to fill air time.
    Our news media used to be referred to as the “Fourth Branch of Government.” This Fourth Branch is facing its own reform.

    Our way of Government suited us for every age until now- the information age. With the ability to communicate instantaneously, should the fact that information took weeks, and maybe even years, to flow, still gird the processes (and maybe even supported the ideals) that are the foundation of our government?

    I can’t help but believe that we are going through something more beautiful than we can imagine (and perhaps I just want to believe this) but the image of the butterfly comes to mind. To become a butterfly the caterpillar digests itself, soup forms in the chrysalis and certain cells form and through metamorphosis a butterfly emerges.

    1. Fe Bongolan Post author

      Most Definitely Pisces Sun!

      Two more African Americans were executed by police yesterday. Its horrific. The lack of weighting the full-blast fire hose of information coming at us has affected the news industry as well.

      When we look to John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Trevor Noah to keep our perspective, the news industry has lost its purpose. We don’t have the head space to parcel out what means more.

      I will believe as you do — its a powerful transformative time. As my friend, choreographer Amara Smith said, “We’re re-birthing. But the labor is through darkness.” Looking forward to the light.

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