The liberal and conservative media are locked in an eternal race to the bottom. As the Emily Bazalons and Rush Limbaughs of the world fight to carry off the trophy for Most Off-putting or Worst Informed, don’t look to me to make the call. All I can say is that they’re all terrible.
Conservative shows are like a never-ending Stone Cold Steve Austin speech. They focus on special interests, Obama, Hillary, and Trump. Liberal podcasts are more amusing, even though they focus exclusively on Donald Trump. Like master chefs who only know how to make macaroni & cheese, they serve up Trump a hundred different ways.
Nate Silver interpreted the polls with astonishing accuracy in 2012, and has been considered a data wizard ever since. He and three co-hosts discuss politics on the 538 podcast.
I was listening to his podcast a few months ago when I first heard a scripted segment, that has since become a media staple. The question is “Who are Trump’s supporters?”
The profile the media created never varies:
- Ignorant (defined as not having a college degree)
- Blue collar/Working class
The hosts commiserate with each other about how it makes sense that working class people might vote for Trump, what with being racist and really threatened by how everyone else is smarter than them. The 538 podcast was an early pioneer of the idea that there is no such thing as a non-racist or minority member of the working class.
Nate really seems to believe there is no legitimate reason to have a difference of opinion, which means Trump voters have to be demonized as bigots, though there is no data to support that conclusion. The only real data available is from exit polls, and it tells us that voters who chose Trump did so because of concerns about the economy, wage stagnation, free trade, and uncontrolled immigration.
Yet the co-hosts are unanimous in their belief that Trump voters are motivated by hatred and fear of people who look different from them.
Is racism motivating voters to choose one white candidate over another white candidate? Or do they refer to the desire to curtail immigration, which would mean there are a lot of self-hating Americans out there? (If you’re wondering how racially diverse the co-hosts are, let’s just say there’s no more racial diversity than there is diversity of thought)
It would have been interesting to hear the co-hosts views on the sizable groups of minorities who are voting for Trump, as well as the motives of Clinton voters, but those points are not part of the narrative.
This critical drumbeat is fair game when attacking politicians. They chose a public life. They have a platform to create their own narrative, and when the media whips people into a frenzy, politicians have armed security to protect them.
The media’s efforts to marginalize certain private citizens is really an attempt to curtail Trump’s support. The problem is that it turns those individuals into targets for ridicule and violence. Chances are, a private citizen has no security team, or platform to exonerate himself.
Donald Trump can take care of himself. Private citizens are defenseless.
Repetitive propaganda works (see 1930s Germany) and the media has created an environment that threatens Trump supporters’ physical safety.
A Clinton supporter can go to a rally and exercise the Constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly without concern for his well-being. Trump supporters know exercising the same rights puts them in physical danger.
People do things in crowds they would never do if they were alone. They are violent and easily led.
A mob is a crowd with a negative purpose. Mobs swarm Trump events, blocking roads and doorways to prevent people from attending events, intimidating attendees, smashing car windows, throwing rocks, and physically assaulting others.
The mob claims that their vandalism and physical assaults are happening to show their opposition to Trump’s intolerance and hatefulness.
But Trump hasn’t been made to feel frightened. Trump isn’t going to have to file an insurance claim for damage to his car and figure out how to get to work while it’s in the shop. And Trump isn’t going to the hospital with injuries to his skull. No, Trump is never the victim of the mob, but ordinary people are attacked simply for holding views contrary to that of the mob.
The mob is responsible for their actions, but the media’s strategy of profiling a section of the populace has incited violence against them. Their profiling puts non-Trump supporters at risk.
They must bear the responsibility for that.
As long as I’m enumerating the sins of the media, let’s hop across the pond briefly. The American media is strangely passionate about the Brexit. The British just don’t know how to run their country, they discovered.
The media hailed President Obama’s lecture to the British on what is good for England, and his warning that leaving the EU would put Britain “at the back of the queue” to negotiate any trade agreements with the U.S. The British deeply resented it. The leaders of the Leave campaign publicly credit Obama’s speech for helping put their numbers over the top, and wondered if he secretly sympathized with them.
I don’t know enough about the details of Brexit to debate but on any relevant question, the media always preaches the gospel of globalization. Britain just rejected globalization. I hope our friends in the UK don’t feel too badly about the venom the America media is directing their way. Remember Hemingway’s line in A Moveable Feast: “If these bastards like it, what’s wrong with it?”
Disclaimer: Feel free to attribute my ignorance to my defective blue-collar upbringing