Some time ago I did a post about how we could expect the mainstream news media to continue to depict the 2016 presidential election as a "horse race" in order to (i) maintain a level of excitement, d (ii) maximize revenues through subscriptions or page views, and (iii) avoid a time consuming and perhaps tedious job of evaluating the contrasting proposals of candidates. In short, much of the mainstream media is lazy.
While many things could happen, the polls overwhelmingly show Donald Trump in the toilet, yet we continue to hear breathless reports about Trump's possible come back or media harping on the latest Clinton "e-mail scandal" as if they want to sabotage Clinton to keep the race closer. And god forbid that the networks call things as they are: if you are supporting a bigot, it's pretty likely that you are a bigot as well regardless of whether you try to hide behind the smoke screens of religious belief or "fiscal responsibility." The latter of course is farcical since the deficit always balloons when the GOP controls the White House. A piece in Salon gets down to the reality of things. Here are excerpts:
Donald Trump’s ascendance to power over the Republican Party was made possible by how he outmaneuvered the American corporate news media. As I explained in an, Donald Trump, with his background in reality TV and professional wrestling, created a spectacle that rewarded him with in free media coverage. Trump’s sophisticated meta game also allowed him to exploit a risk-averse news-media establishment that operates according to a clear and predictable set of rules and conventions governing “the boundaries of the approved public discourse.”These rules and conventions consist of maintaining the appearance of “objectivity” and “fairness,” perpetuating a “both sides do it” framework when discussing Republicans and Democrats, and an obsessive need to present “all sides of an issue.” Clear statements of fact and truth are treated as mere opinions though as , “if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read ‘Views Differ on Shape of Planet.’”
The American corporate news media also prefers to feature generalists who understand these rules as opposed to real experts who will not obey said script. Ultimately, in covering political campaigns and elections, the American corporate news media is more interested in reporting about the “horse race” — because it is an easy story to communicate — than in critically evaluating the specific policy proposals and qualifications of a given candidate.
When confronted by the Donald Trump phenomenon, the American corporate news media was flummoxed by his disregard for facts, inconsistency and willingness to rapidly change his positions on a given issue, overt racism and bigotry of his followers and movement, fascism-fueled hostility and contempt for journalists, and utter disregard for the rules of normal politics.
On Monday’s edition of “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” New York Times columnist and author Charles Blow refused to comply with Donald Trump’s political con job and an American corporate news media that has acted irresponsibly in aiding and abetting his presidential campaign. In an exchange with Donald Trump’s minion Bruce Levell, Charles Blow did not allow Trump’s clear pattern, habit and strategy of racism and bigotry to be obfuscated or repackaged.
LEVELL: I know someone who doesn’t tell the truth on national TV when I see it, sir.
BLOW: Right. And I know this. A bigot is a bigot. You’re supporting a bigot. That makes you part of the bigotry. And you are part of the problem that black America faces. That what black people don’t need is not somebody to solve our problems like we are some sort of algebraic equation. What black people need is dismantling . . .
LEVELL: . . . you can’t sit on national TV and call someone a racist, sir.
BLOW: I called him a bigot and I called you a supporter of that bigotry, and therefore part of that bigotry. And you are part of what the problem with African-Americans.
LEMON: Let him get in. Let him get in. Go ahead, Bruce.
BLOW: Yes, I said that to you.
Charles Blow conducted a master class in how best to derail Donald Trump’s news-media con job. Blow was direct, unapologetic, did not concede any territory of agreement or compromise and clearly communicated how Trump’s behavior and policies are racist and that by implication his supporters are as well.
Charles Blow also used the racial optics of his segment on CNN to great effect. Donald Trump, like other Republicans, deploys black conservatives as human mascots to deliver some of his most toxic, offensive and racist policies. . . . Because Don Lemon, Bruce Levell and Charles Blow are all black men, Levell was not allowed an easy out or pivot.
On Monday’s edition of “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon,” Charles Blow established a new rule for how journalists and other commentators should interact with Donald Trump’s agents and rabble. Blow is one of the few prominent voices who have consistently refused to legitimize or excuse-make for Donald Trump’s political campaign of bigotry, racism, nativism and lies. The question now becomes, Will other members of the Fourth Estate follow Charles Blow’s lead and the new rule that he has tried to establish or will they continue to be supplicants for Donald Trump?