DR prøver at forstå

I stumbled over this DR interview with Steen Mørup-Olsen and actually heard it all the way through.

Mørup-Olsen is a 67-year-old Dane who’s been living in America for several decades, currently in Atlanta, Georgia. He moved to and has remained in America because he believed it gave him opportunities he wouldn’t have had in Denmark. He considers himself a beneficiary of the American dream.

The program follows the typical “Gorillas in the Mist” approach that establishment media so often take when dealing with people who don’t share their leftist politics: they maintain a safe distance and an air of superiority as they attempt to interpret the creature’s strange and shocking habits for the folks back home.

Knud Brix can barely contain his astonishment at Mørup-Olsen’s support for Donald Trump and spends most of the interview asking Steen whether maybe this or that could stop him from casting a ballot for Trump. Or how about this? Or even this, surely this would be a bridge too far? Doesn’t this bother him? And that?

When I say that Brix spends “most of the interview” on such questions, however, it’s important to keep in mind that the “interview” portions of the 26-minute program are considerably less than half its running time. Most of the program consists of Brix pushing the usual establishment talking-points on Trump, often with ominous background music.

When Brix does make the editorial mistake of actually asking his guest why he supports Donald Trump, and gets an actual answer, the cagey interviewer quickly rebounds by attempting to rebut it.

For example, at around the 8:30 mark, Mørup-Olsen praises the president’s economic achievements, and notes that before the pandemic American unemployment was at its lowest level ever.

Brix can’t refute that, of course, since it’s a simple statement of fact, so he points out that unemployment “had already been falling for a long time” when Trump took office. That’s true. And under Trump it continued to fall. So what’s your point, Knud?

Around halfway through the program Brix seems shocked that Mørup-Olsen supports Trump’s commitment to tightening America’s porous borders. One exchange is particularly interesting, at around 12:50:

Brix: Du synes det er godt, at mange mexikanere er rejst hjem, folk der har migreret til USA, men det har du jo også selv.

Mørup-Olsen: Ja, men jeg er her legalt.

Brix: Og det er der du synes forskellen er?

Mørup-Olsen: Helt afgjort. Man skal have nogle grænser.

(If my transcription contains errors, that’s on me.)

This exchange is important because it’s a distillation of the entire American conversation about immigration.

I have yet to encounter an American conservative of any flavor who is opposed to immigration. That we’re a “nation of immigrants” is tautological. But any time a conservative or Donald Trump talks about the need to control illegal immigration, they’re attacked for opposing immigration itself.

It’s beyond irritating. You can be pro-shopping without being pro-shoplifting. And you can be anti-shoplifting without being anti-shopping.

As Knud Brix might ask, “Is it the legality of shopping that makes it different from shoplifting?”

I admire Mørup-Olsen’s restraint. His answer is concise and polite. Mine would have been less so.

It isn’t just how badly Brix has got the issue muddled that’s exasperating. It’s his moral arrogance, his smug and self-righteous tone: “So, my intellectually inferior and morally backward friend, you think that’s the difference between you and an illegal immigrant, eh? That you’re here legally?”

It would be fun to answer his question with a question: what’s the difference you perceive, Knud? Your employer demands I pay them hundreds of kroner per year for the privilege of services like your reporting. What if I stopped paying that damn licens but kept listening to you? How would that make me different from the listeners paying their fee?

In the textual “Om den udsendelse” accompanying the audio, DR promotes the program by saying, “Hvem er Trumps vælgere? Klichéen er en skydegal bonderøv fra bibelbæltet. Men virkeligheden er dog langt fra så simpel. I dagens Genstart forsøger vi at forstå Trumps vælgere.”

I listened to the whole damn thing and still have a hard time seeing where Brix made any effort to understand Mørup-Olsen, or to help listeners understand Trump supporters more generally.

The interview closes with a moment or two of Brix pushing Mørup-Olsen to give just one hypothetical that might cause him to reconsider his support for Trump. Anything. Come on. Please? Again to his credit, Mørup-Olsen says that of course there could be something, and anything can happen, but he can’t think of a particular and specific thing that would cause him to stop supporting Trump. Brix then asks his subject to answer whether, hand over heart, he believes America is great again.

“Not yet,” Mørup-Olsen answers (in Danish), “but it’s going in the right direction.”

And that’s it.

Anyone who is still skeptical of the idea of establishment media being wholly in the tank for the left should ask themselves whether they can imagine a similar interview of an Obama supporter on the eve of his 2012 re-election.

“Is there nothing that could make you change your mind about Obama? Nothing at all? Not one little thing? Hand over your heart, do you still believe that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor?”

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As an aside, there was one old audio segment in the program I hadn’t heard before that made me laugh out loud. In trotting out a series of clips of women claiming various affronts by Donald Trump, they include Miss USA 2006 pageant participant Samantha Holvey’s details of being (and I quote) “inappropriately inspected” by Donald Trump:

These dreams [of being a beauty queen] never included a man coming into the backstage hair and makeup area while I sat naked under a robe, as he walked around, looking at us, like we were his property.

It’s hard to get worked up over a beauty pageant’s outrage that a man “looked at me like I was a piece of meat.” She seems to have anticipated that skepticism, and to have tried to up the outrage by pointing out that she was naked under her robe.

Imagine how much more horrified she would have been if she’d realized that he was naked under his clothes.