Monday, November 28, 2016

Trump has already defeated the news media. And it’s unclear what we can do about it.; Washington Post, 11/28/16

Paul Waldman, Washington Post; Trump has already defeated the news media. And it’s unclear what we can do about it. :
"The entire sequence of events enables Trump to create a meta-message, which is that there’s no such thing as truth and no such thing as genuine authority. Think about it: the president-elect is claiming that an election that he won was beset by fraud, because he heard it from a lunatic radio host who thinks that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged using child actors and the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government. At the same time, the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief is turning away the intelligence briefers who are prepared to deliver him daily updates on the world’s hotspots and potential dangers to the United States — what one might call the actual conspiracies we have to be worried about.
Trump has revealed that the entire journalistic system is based on the assumption that political actors will stay within certain parameters of truth and sanity. Some are more dishonest than others, but there’s a limit. “The President said this today” coverage can be problematic, but much of the time it’s perfectly reasonable, since he’s the most important person in the political world and his words and beliefs have a profound effect on what happens not just here but around the globe.
Trump realizes that when you step outside those limits, you can manipulate the media at will because their normal ways of doing things are inadequate to the task. You can take any idea, no matter how preposterous, and make half the country believe it. And when journalists push back, it’ll only make your supporters more firm in their loyalty.
This is part of a broader assault Trump is mounting on almost every institution of public life in America — the government, the media, the education system, even democracy itself. He’s been doing it from the beginning, not only spreading lies in a volume that had never been seen before, but continually arguing that established authority couldn’t be trusted."

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