In his first press conference since becoming President Elect, Donald Trump sent a strong message to the mainstream media; he is not going to be bullied or pushed around.
On November 8, Trump was able to capture the long held Democrat states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, often referred to as part of the ‘blue wall’. Indeed, Trump’s success could not have been achieved without large numbers of traditional Democratic party voters, much like the Brexit vote, which would’ve failed if not for traditional Labour party constituents in England’s north east.
Clearly, the narrative being pushed by the likes of CNN, that the Trump and Brexit results are merely manifestations of racism, just isn’t resonating with its traditional audience anymore.
Past Republicans have so often been lured into the trap of playing the progressive media’s PC word game, allowing the press to dictate what’s ‘appropriate’ for a politician to say. In doing so, Republicans have alienated their support in vain attempts to appease the overwhelmingly left leaning media. They have been caught out for shamelessly placating adwindling and largely imaginary mainstream media audience, which is unlikely to ever vote for them anyway
This is not just a game that the President elect refuses to play. In reality, it’s a game he has sought to change.
Last week, Buzzfeed published a largely unverified ‘dossier’ of puerile slander against the next President, complete with admitted mistakes and falsehoods. CNN was one of the first media outlets to cover the story that others have reportedly sat on for weeks due to the salacious nature of the material. When the veteran White House correspondent for CNN; Jim Acosta, berated Mr Trump to listen to his questions, he did so in a manner that suggests the mainstream press still does not recognise just how poorly they are received by the general public and large sections of Trump’s core support.
So, why doesn’t Donald Trump care what CNN reports? Why isn’t he intimidated by them? The answer is clear; They need him more than he needs them.
Just as the printing press changed the nature of information distribution in the mid 15th century, so too has the Internet changed it in our time. This change, namely in the guise of social media, represents a real and existential threat to the mainstream players still acting as though they have a monopoly on narrative.
As Hillary Clinton spent large chunks of her 1 billion plus campaign war chest on the mainstream media advertising that fewer and fewer are watching, Donald Trump embraced the personal contact afforded by Twitter and Facebook, unlike any political figure before. This allowed him to speak directly with the voters, unfiltered, and as a result his words were less easily manipulated by the partisan press openly supporting his opponent.
With this, it’s easy to see why the new mode of attack from the DNC and media alike, is to begin labelling the competing narrative as ‘fake news’. After all, when something works in totalitarian, communist China, why it certainly would have to work here.
With social media being a large part of the Trump campaign, it’s little wonder why Mark Zuckerburg met with communist party propagandists, little wonder that China is now telling American lawmakers; ‘we told you so’, and little wonder why the first ‘fake news’ offensive is being rolled out by Facebook in Germany. The fact Angela Merkel is facing sliding approval ratings in the run up to Germanys federal election is pure coincidence, I’m sure.
Denunciations of Trump’s twitter account and independent press may be viewed as a little rich coming from CNN. Whether it be Wolf Blitzer colluding with the DNC about framing interview questions, or Donna Brazile directly sending debate questions to Clinton in advance, these kinds of ethical misdemeanours cost credibility, especially if the angle being pursued is to question the credibility of others, by labelling them “fake”. According to popular CNN host Jake Tapper, the only solution for viewers questioning CNN’s standard is to stick with them or break the law, as having a copy of WikiLeaks’ documents yourself is ‘illegal’. Of course, Mr Tapper assures us it’s …’different’, for the self proclaimed ‘real’ news
There is also a great deal of irony in the Democrats war on ‘fake news’, considering under Obama more inconvenient truth tellers have been prosecuted than under all previous Presidents combined. Not to mention the repeal of longstanding restrictions regarding the use of domestic propaganda on the American citizens in 2013.
Add to this the most recent ploy of claiming practically everything to be a product of Russian hacking or misinformation. A claim now made without any credibility, which essentially diminishes real concerns about Russian espionage held by those in other parts of the world such as Eastern Europe.
All of these factors leave Trump in a commanding position during the infancy of his term at least, where he is already enjoying improved opinion polls and a number of successes in the employment sector. Without credibility, each mainstream media attack on character grounds merely emboldens Trump supporters and turns more viewers away. Regardless of the inherent truth value of any particular attack, Trump has succeeded in breaking the monopoly of information held by the mainstream media by severing its trust with the electorate.
Those who argue in favour of a truly free press, whether they like Donald Trump or not, will at least be happy the aura long held by the real ‘fake news’ has dimmed, and the monopolistic stranglehold on popular political discourse they’ve enjoyed for so long, has finally been relinquished.