Friday, December 9, 2016

Emperor of the Year

Since the election, my Facebook feed has been very quiet.  Granted I don’t have that many friends, but most of them share my progressive politics; and they were very VERY active on Facebook prior to November 9.  Since then…a whole lot of quiet.  Not even a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Just…shocked silence.

Some of this has to do with the widely circulated perception that social media was the devil in this election.  That the wildfire spread of “fake news” on forums like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram assigned and sealed the fate of the Clinton campaign.  That’s right, Mainstream Media.  Blame it on the Fake News.

Trust me…I get the whole poisonous Fake News scenario.  I read this article on NPR about a guy--a registered Democrat, no less--who got into the “fake news” business in order to shame the gullible right.  He eventually learned that his strategy had totally backfired, but by then, he was making $10k a month selling advertising on his fake news pages.  Suddenly his political motivation didn’t matter quite as much as maintaining a lifestyle to which he had rapidly grown accustomed.  And he blithely passes the blame for the damage his fake news has done to the “consumers” thereof.  “The consumers of content have to be better at identifying this stuff. We have a whole nation of media-illiterate people.”  Once again, it’s all about the money.  This should scare the shit out of us.  And it does.       

But the American “Mainstream Media” is just as culpable for the rise and dominance of Donald Trump as false propaganda spread by soulless, greedy internet trolls.  The New York Times estimates that Trump received $2 billion worth of free press during the 2016 election cycle. All he had to do was run all over the country stirring up violence, discord and controversy; the ratings-craving mainstream media followed him around like the dutiful lapdogs Trump knew them to be. 

(Source:  New York Times)

The MSM insists it was reporting Trump's non-stop antics because they were “news.”  But, in fact, they were providing Trump with precisely the tool he needed to win this election:  His face all over every bit of video and print media, 24/7/365.  No candidate could ever buy that much air time.  And Trump had it handed to him on a silver platter.

Late in the campaign, the Mainstream Media seemed to assimilate the fact that they had been monumentally complicit in Trump’s meteoric rise in popularity.  They didn’t stop reporting about him, though…they simply decided that if they began showing him for the demagogue that he is, they would have done their duty and cleansed their souls of any responsibility for Trump’s unprecedented ascendancy.  Not only was their epiphany too little too late, but at that point, it didn’t matter whether the press Trump received was negative or positive.  Maybe it never did matter.  The Trump faithful were free to pick and choose what they believed about their candidate…and his smirking face continued to be plastered all over the news.

And just to prove that the Mainstream Media still has not learned its lesson, we have this little gem that broke earlier this week:   

Time stands by this unpalatable cherry on the top of the enabling clusterfuck that was the MSM's coverage of Election 2016, stating that  "Person of the Year" honors go to any figure, negative or positive, who has had the most impact on the world during a given calendar year.  It points to its covers of Hitler, Stalin and the Ayatollah to prove its editorial purity.  I suppose that puts Trump in the appropriate company, but it completely misses the point. 

Really, Time?  Don't you think that conferring this honor upon Cheeto Jesus is like handing a free kilo of heroin--along with a tourniquet, a bunsen burner, a spoon and a gross of brand new hypodermics--to an addict?  Should a media junkie who has proven a master manipulator of the press be handed yet another several million dollars of free media exposure because he is "news?"  When are you going to GET that you are being played?  Dangerously played?

What about the first woman in history nominated for president of the United States by a major party?  Isn't that news worthy enough for you, Time Magazine?    In truth,  the choice boils down to M.O.N.E.Y.  Trump's smug, ugly mug will sell WAY more soap than Hillary's exhausted, long-suffering one.  

Still...I prefer THIS cover for Time:


1 comment:

  1. Media coverage of Trump over the past year is certainly worthy of a ton of criticism, but now he's won the election and will be president, so he will, and should, get lots of coverage now. The Time cover is really not a surprise given the terms of their recognition, and the fact that Trump just pulled off an incredible political coup. He has overturned all expectations and conventions in getting to this point, which, in fairness, earned a lot of that free media. What's remarkable to me, still, is how many people, having seen this guy so often and so much, voted for the guy anyway. I'd have thought that ten minutes of Trump would have been sufficient to disqualify the man.