LA Observed Notes: Week 1 in Trump's America

trumps-on-6-minutes-cbs.jpgDonald and Melania Trump interviewed in their penthouse by Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes."

Our semi-regular column of media and politics notes, with other news and observations. From multiple sources and the LA Observed inbox.

At the top: some observations

 Donald Trump won the election — thanks to an edge of just about 100,000 votes in four key states. He squeaked in. The vote results and exit polls reveal some deep pessimism, contradictory choices and meaningful shifts in the electorate. Embracing the whole Trump package isn't one of them. Hillary Clinton will end up with about two million more votes than Trump, and when you count third-party votes it's stark: more Americans voted against Trump than for him. Votes are still being counted, but Clinton could end with a bigger edge in the popular vote than winners John Kennedy in 1960 and Richard Nixon in 1968, or 2000 loser Al Gore.

 Here is Trump's first TV interview as president-elect, with Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes." He came across as more prepared and modest than he often did during the campaign, cooled some of his rhetoric and discussed his post-election conversations with President Obama and both Clintons.

 Trump claimed to Stahl that he didn't know about the racist and anti-Semitic threats and attacks that have begun to happen since his election, and expressed dismay. He looked into the camera and told his supporters to stop it. Then he named Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News as senior White House adviser, equal to his chief of staff. Bannon has been accused of anti-Semitism and ugly white nationalist views. He is "hostile to core American values," the Anti-Defamation League said. CNN's Republican pundit Ana Navarro tweeted "A white supremacist Neanderthal in WH w/President's ear is DISGUSTING & TERRIFYING!" Republican strategist John Weaver: "The racist, fascist extreme right is represented footsteps from the Oval Office. Be very vigilant America."

 My view: The protests in Los Angeles and other cities are less about Hillary Clinton losing and more about the very real fears millions of Americans have about Trump and his friends. He chose to form the base of his support around fear of minorities and immigrants — it got his whole thing started — and while it's too glib to say that fear mongering explains his win, it is a real segment of the multi-faceted Trump coalition. This minority of the larger Trump base is the deplorables that Clinton meant -- arguably the most cancerous and immoral dark corner of American culture -- and bringing the racists and anti-Semites out of the shadows is the main reason that Trump begins his term as a pariah to so many Americans. Making Bannon his consigliere just confirms the fears. Trump does not begin with a blank slate, and for me, all of the bullying, slurs and insults that are starting to happen are on his ledger. It's on Trump to make it right, as David Lehrer writes with a broken heart in the Jewish Journal:

Whether Trump is himself a bigot and a misogynist is irrelevant. That’s an issue between him, his conscience and his God. What is absolutely relevant is the demonstrable way in which he espoused, tolerated and almost welcomed bigotry into the mainstream of his campaign....

His dependence on a conspiracy nut like Steve Bannon to run his campaign betrays the notions that underpin his dog whistles to bigots... Hopefully, Trump’s aides (at least the saner ones) will induce him to seek to bridge the chasms that he has fostered.

 Also: The politics media did not do a great job this election, and it's not just the polls. They covered Trump and Clinton OK, but did not grasp and sufficiently explain what was happening out in the country. They also never came up with an effective answer to Trump — perhaps the most brazen serial dissembler ever in national politics? — accusing the profession and individual reporters of dishonesty. It's a wake up call for journalism to re-bond with the heartland and the angry — by telling their stories better and more truthfully than Trump ever could or would want to. I have covered politics off and on for 40 years and I'll take the journalist's good intentions and quest for the truth over the politician's spin 99 percent of the time. From any party. It's an age-old divide: We want the real story and they want the positive story. Trump is worst than most on this point.

 Michael Moore, of all people, called the Trump phenomenon well before the election and tried to warn liberals: "You are living in a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president." Five Reasons Trump Will Win

Some more writing on the subject:
 The U.S. Media Is Completely Unprepared to Cover a Trump Presidency. The Atlantic
 Polls got Clinton right; they got Trump wrong. Vox
 Our First Amendment test is here. We can’t afford to flunk it. Margaret Sullivan/Washington Post
 "The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic...a sickening event in the history of the United States." David Remnick/New Yorker
 Expect more Russia-linked hacks now that Trump will be president. Wired

Looking ahead

Organizers are calling for student walkouts Monday morning at all the LAUSD high schools in the Boyle Heights and East LA area.

Media notes

Trump tweeted that the New York Times "is losing thousands of readers" because of its coverage of him. The NYT responded it has actually enjoyed a growth surge... Before that exchange, NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger memoed the staff that the Times would cover a Trump Administration without bias or fear of being bullied... People magazine put Trump on the cover just weeks after one of the magazine's writers detailed being sexually attacked by the future president. Editor Jess Cagle memoed the staff: "I assure you that the cover on the president-elect is in no way a celebration or endorsement of this deeply polarizing figure. And we continue to stand steadfastly by Natasha."... His job done, paid Trump shill Corey Lewandowski resigned from CNN. He's expected to get a job in the administration... Los Angeles Times editors tried to gloat that their outlier tracking poll showing Trump with a lead was vindicated by the results. But it wasn't tracking electoral votes. It was predicting the popular vote, which Trump lost. The LAT's final electoral map prediction? 352 votes for Clinton and a landslide. Maybe they should not crow about this one... NYT Phoenix bureau chief Fernanda Santos says she was told by a coffee shop patron to "speak English" for the time ever in that city. The f-word was also thrown... The New York Observer, owned by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, ended its print edition.

On the LA beat: Bill Plaschke did a nice LAT column on longtime Associated Press sports stringer Joe Resnick, who has colon cancer. Sports scribe Steve Dilbeck and shooter Lori Shepler play key roles... Lisa Dillman, a veteran of more than a decade on the LA Times hockey beat, is leaving for Former LA Times staffer Joyce Croker died at age 62....The Pasadena Star-News has closed its Colorado Boulevard office. Moving to new digs this week.

Politics notes

Northern California campaign strategist Ace Smith tried to advise Hillary Clinton in 2014 that to win she had to go after disaffected white voters. She didn't listen... Antonio Villaraigosa finally confirmed he is running for governor in 2018. In a way, Trump may help him... As of Friday, LA County had counted 2,382,271 votes but get this: there are still 421,000 unprocessed provisional ballots and 598,300 unprocessed vote-by-mail ballots, plus 17,410 with write-ins, damage or other reasons to get further review. So more than a million ballots are still out. The next update is scheduled for Tuesday. Latest count... Noted: Hillary Clinton is currently at 71.5 percent of the county vote. Former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra defeated the surprise winner from two years ago, Patty Lopez. Michael Antonovich lost his bid to become a state Senator after four decades on the county Board of Supervisors. New supervisors Kathryn Barger (59%) and Janice Hahn (56%) will make the board four women and one man. Ex-lawmaker Warren Furutani also won't be going back to Sacamento. On and off-convicted former councilman Richard Alarcon got about 25 percent in his bid for Congress in the Valley. LA County voted 58% to legalize marijuana.

Some politics is local: Hollywood over-building activist Doug Haines filed the papers to challenge Councilman Mitch O’Farrell in the March election... Dakota Smith has shifted her Twitter bio: "LA Times reporter covering Mayor Garcetti and City Hall."... NBC 4 News Conference this weekend: Doug McIntyre talking about the importance of social media in politics.

LAPD shows the way: During Saturday's anti-Trump protest downtown, the LAPD tweeted:

People are talking about...

In her new book, Fox anchor Megyn Kelly tells of intense bullying from Donald Trump and constant contact between Trump Fox News management during the campaign... The most-edited Wikipedia pages over the last 15 years.

Media people doing stuff

Former Los Angeles Magazine and LAT writer Jesse Katz talks about his gig as an editor in the Los Angeles office of the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers. "I have to admit, I was a little intimidated stepping in here,” said Katz. “I come from the scruffier corners of journalism."... Larry Harnisch in the LA Review of Books: "As Philip Marlowe might ask: Why am I looking for Michael Connelly books? Since I retired in December after 27 years at the Los Angeles Times, ending 34 years in daily journalism, I have been catching up on decades of neglected reading. Many of my colleagues in the news business are voracious readers, but after a busy shift on the Times copy desk, the last thing I wanted to do was go home and read more L.A. crime, unless it related to my lengthy book project on the Black Dahlia....And so I began a self-imposed project to read as many mysteries set in Los Angeles as I could find."... Connelly's 19th Harry Bosch novel, "The Wrong Side of Goodbye," is dedicated like this: "For Vin Scully with many thanks." Is this the first mystery set partly within the city of San Fernando Police Department?... Book critic David Kipen suggests a library for your Trump respite... The Firesign Theatre will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Thursday. The comedy group formed at radio station KPFK in 1966. The originals include Peter Bergman, Phil Austin, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor.

Great LA Walk: The 11th iteration of Michael Schneider's daylong group outing will take place Saturday on Pico Boulevard. Starting point is at Grand Hope Park at 9 a.m. The annual walk is "inspired by the book Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles, by Kevin Roderick (with research by J. Eric Lynxwiler.)" Hey, glad we could help.

Map nerd: Jon Christensen, an occasional columnist here at LA Observed, comments in a National Geographic piece on Robert Berlo, a self-made map collector and road trip chronicler whose remarkable life's work resides at Stanford University. From the story: "As an adult, while on trips with his wife and two sons, Berlo would type up index cards listing every town they’d pass along their route...In the evenings after dinner, when other people might turn on the TV and mentally check out, Berlo would turn on classical music, sit at his desk, and work on his maps, often late into the night." He also "created" an entire town on the shore of Mono Lake.

Selected tweets


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