Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Right Wing Media's Civil War

In the past the right wing media from Fox News to blogs like Red State have provided a monolithic noise machine attacking Democrats and progressive policies while basically brainwashing its listeners.  It one of the reasons that much of the Republican Party base is so ill informed on so many issues even as the base reacts to the propaganda like Pavlov's dog.  Now, Donald Trump has thrown a wrench in the smooth running operation as some on the right find it impossible to support a serial liar and con-artist who is utterly unprepared and unfit to occupy the White House.  True, most of the right wing media continue to spin lies, but the cracks in the facade are growing as a piece in Salon examines.  Long term, this could be a very good thing for America.  Here are some column highlights:
What good is having a right-wing echo chamber if it’s not cranked up and blaring out a disciplined message during the presidential campaign? The conservative movement continues to grapple with that propaganda question in the wake of Donald Trump clinching the nomination, which has created deep fissures within the right-wing media and its historically united front.
For decades, conservatives have taken pride in their media bubble that not only keeps Republican fans selectively informed about breaking news, but also bashes away at all political foes. In full-fledged campaign mode, the right-wing media can effectively serve as a battering ram that Republicans use to attack their enemies or fend off in-coming volleys.
But Trump has scrambled that long-held equation. Embracing positions that often fall outside the orthodoxy of modern-day conservatism, while simultaneously rolling out non-stop insults, Trump has presented conservative pundits with a monumental headache: How do you defend a creation like Trump? Or as one National Review Trump headline lamented last month, “What’s a Conservative to Do?” 
That riddle is especially tricky when Trump puts would-be allies in the uncomfortable position of having to defend the truly indefensible, like the widening scandal surrounding Trump University, the presumptive nominee’s former real estate seminar business. Over the years the dubious venture has been the subject of several ongoing fraud investigations and lawsuits, including one by the state of New York on behalf of 5,000 alleged victims.
 The strange part? Some key conservative voices agree with the Democrat’s legal assessment. That’s why back in February, a National Review writer denounced the Trump seminars as “a massive scam.” And last month,The Weekly Standard warned that Trump U. represented a “political time bomb” that could doom the candidate’s November chances: “Democrats will see to that.” 
 [W]atching the conservative media this campaign season: It’s been completely knocked off its game. Known for its regimented messaging and willingness to almost robotically defend any Republican front-runner and nominee, Trump is finding only a smattering of defenders when it comes to damning allegations about his scam seminars.
And when Trump recently escalated the Trump U. story by attacking Judge Gonzalo Curiel and insisted he couldn’t be impartial because of his “Mexican heritage,” the presumptive nominee found himself even further isolated within the conservative movement.
 As The Atlantic noted after reviewing previously secret training materials for Trump U., “the playbook focuses on the seminars’ real purpose: to browbeat attendees into purchasing expensive Trump University course packages.” According to an affidavit from former student Richard Hewson, he and his wife “concluded that we had paid over $20,000 for nothing, based on our belief in Donald Trump and the promises made at the free seminar and three-day workshop.” . . . . The con appeared to touch every aspect of the real estate selling events. 
Even Trump’s fiercest media defender,, has taken a timid approach to the Trump U. fraud story, with the site refusing to offer up a full-throated defense of the alleged scam.
The ferocious conservative echo chamber isn’t built for nuance and it’s not designed for internal debate. But by sparking so much general dissention and by putting conservatives in the position of having to defend something as noxious as Trump U., the nominee is helping to mute the right-wing media voice this campaign season.

No comments: