Trump Will Survive, Will the National Media?
In 1962, a California gubernatorial election loser bitterly admonished a clearly-hostile press, “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.”
Media’s respite ended when Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968, then re-elected in a 49-state landslide. Years after his death, Nixon remains a favorite target of media hatred.
Former-President Donald Trump is as or even more-thoroughly despised by corporate media, but his 2020 loss, while celebrated in newsrooms nationwide, is now a cause for worry in the ones (i.e., most of them) that changed their business models to “all Trump, all the time.”
Now, twice-acquitted in partisan, dumpster-fire impeachment trials, Mr. Trump’s absence presents a dilemma.
A recent New York Times article conceded that news media audiences were declining pre-Trump. In response, nearly every media format chose partisan advocacy over reporting, created/exploited Trump-centric political polarization, and invented scandals, among them the Russia collusion hoax.
The Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, cable and network news – virtually every national outlet – did it.
Media’s constant, breathless coverage of “leaks” from “anonymous sources” and “people familiar with (any ‘highly-placed administration official’s’) thinking” fed the fantasies of Trump haters.
Corporate media’s anti-Trump strategy to attract and hold likeminded readers/viewers worked for more than four years, during which much of the stuff they peddled was more garbage than news. Nonetheless, they prospered, so media, generally, remained unconcerned about getting almost everything wrong.
Consumers noticed, though, so, after the American people, the biggest 2020 election losers may be national media.
A wealthy man, Donald Trump will be fine. But, now that Mr. Trump is a private citizen, what’s next for the partisan press?
One doubts media can successfully fill their Trump void with puff pieces about the empty vessel they worked to elect, by defending his/his family’s shady dealings in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, or by selling soft features on the Silicon Valley co-conspirators and unaccomplished Clinton/Obama-era retreads he took on as cabinet officers/advisors.
Partisan press cannot credit the “new” guy for the Trump administration’s successes they endeavored to hide, because Americans know when their taxes were cut, more people got new, better, including manufacturing jobs, when wages increased, welfare rolls declined, when fuel supplies soared and prices dropped. Americans know President Trump helped broker “impossible” Middle East peace deals, and repatriated troops from prolonged, unproductive overseas wars, while starting none.
Those are all reasons why, in 2020, large numbers of working class and minority Americans whose lives and standards of living improved during Mr. Trump’s years of peace and prosperity voted Republican for the first time.
Clearly, Democrats’ media foot soldiers cannot embarrass themselves by covering things they spent years suppressing, and because America has already had dozens of early reality checks on the practical effects of his radical policy portfolio, media’s sell-by date for glowing pieces on how well their guy is doing has already expired.
Now, in fact, because much real news has been/will be unfavorable or embarrassing to the relic they helped elect, media will feature mostly dull, misleading and/or false distractions. Genuine news won’t be reported objectively – or at all.
Columnist Conrad Black wrote, post-election: “Donald Trump seems to have lost…but his policies have been ratified, his party gained in…Congress and throughout the country, he raised the Republican vote by 10 million, none of the dire predictions for his administration or expectations of a landslide defeat by Trump-haters occurred, and Trump commands, by far, the largest personal following of any American politician, exceeding Barack Obama by tens of millions of votes and the Clintons by scores of millions.”
Author Michael Crichton critiqued media: “In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus…untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.”
Media have spent years confirming Crichton’s aphorism, the last four on steroids, during which they made Americans con-wise, and depressed public trust in media to nearly the same dismal level as “Members Of Congress.”
In other words, brick-witted national media mobbed-up to destroy the man who saved them.
The partisan press may be incapable of honest reporting, so, proven untrustworthy, without Donald Trump to kick around national media outlets will resume their pre-Trump decline.
Some will fail.