Chris Trotter has finally woken up to the abject failure of the media and to the chattering classes.
DAMN AND BLAST HILLARY CLINTON! Not just because she lost – exposing in the process the appalling political judgement of the Democratic Party. And not just because her failure has saddled the world with President Trump for at least four years. Those sins, on their own, more than merit political damnation. But there is another sin for which I would like to see Clinton blasted. The sin of exposing the vacuity of contemporary journalism and the powerlessness of the mainstream media. Because, to be perfectly honest, Clinton’s failure is my failure too.
Then Trotter embarks on a typical left-wing hypothesis complete with jargon that no one even knows what it means.
The story has its beginnings in the Watergate Scandal. I was just 18 when Nixon was driven from the White House by what everybody said was the investigative journalism of, among others, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and The Washington Post. For one brief shining moment journalists were hailed as heroes and journalism was portrayed as a force so powerful that not even the office of the President of the United States could prevail against it.
Forty years on, however, it is clear that Nixon’s fall owed as much to the deliberate and secretive manipulation of the news media as it did to the efforts of the courageous journalists, Woodward and Bernstein. After all, the latter’s’ key informant, the infamous “Deep Throat”, turned out to be no less a buttress of the American “Deep State” than Mark Felt, the Associate Director of the FBI.
In the movie, All the President’s Men, Deep Throat is portrayed as a reluctant but principled whistleblower from the dark heart of the Washington bureaucracy. A more probable explanation, however, is that Felt represented a Deep State faction determined to drive the mentally unstable Nixon out of the Oval Office. In 2016, it is equally probable that a highly-motivated Deep State faction, this time based in the FBI’s New York Field Office, used the news media to prevent Hillary Clinton from re-entering the White House as President.
No one except political junkies, and even then hard left political junkies even knows or cares what “Deep State” means. It is a construct from their feeble and warped minds, not borne out by any evidence what so ever.
That the news media can be so easily manipulated by forces it only vaguely perceives and understands is a bitter pill to swallow. But it is far from being the most unpalatable of the home truths which Trump’s election served up.
Since Watergate, the journalistic profession has gradually taken upon itself the role of pontificator-in-chief. Rather than allow the facts to speak for themselves, journalists have felt it necessary to explain to their readers, in great detail, what the facts mean and how they should respond to them. Never was this journalistic pontification and “guidance” more in evidence than in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential Election. In the eyes of America’s leading journalists, the Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump, represented nothing less than an existential threat to the core values of America. A vote for Trump was, therefore, a vote against the United States.
He has this bit right. The journalists really want to play the game, be in the game, and they want to be the referee of the game too. That is incompatible with truth.
Did the American people listen? Nope. Nearly half of them were so moved by the journalists’ apocalyptic warnings about the republic that they stayed at home. And in just enough of the “battleground” states, more Americans voted for Trump than against him. The serried ranks of media pontificators notwithstanding, the people made up their own minds.
What the news media was able to do (and, arguably, all it should ever attempt to do) was display both Clinton and Trump to the American electorate. Reports of their speeches, coverage of their rallies, the live broadcast of three independently organised candidates’ debates: the American people read, listened and watched; and, interpreting the information according to their own needs and beliefs, reached their own decisions.
In doing so – and in a way utterly at odds with the instructions imparted to them by the pontificators-in-chief – the American people delivered an important lesson about both the purposes and the limits of journalism.
The media in New Zealand have the same dilemmas, they got a taste of it last election when Katie Bradford was famously busted saying that no matter what they did, or said the polls never changed. Meanwhile the right have walked away from social media giving the impression “real people” are mostly left leaning. The Media are set up to monitor the screeching and wailing on social media because they think that is the intentions and feelings of the electorate. NZ media heavily monitors that instead of real polls, and as a result, they are getting fucked over because they don’t reflect the actual populace who don’t use social media. Barely 7% of the population use Twitter…and that is mostly left-wing howler monkeys.
As a case in point, Katie Bradford got crucified by the left-wing for posting a photo of John Key and Richie McCaw in Kaikoura. If she wants to prevent that pain, she will stop reporting what she knows will upset her “friends” on the left. This further disconnects the public from the media and further extends the awful feedback loops they designed themselves.
They mistake the shutting down of media and right-wing opinion with changing the vote. They still think that if the voters are starved another solution, then they’ll end up liking the left-wing one. It’s kind of like taking away cabbage so people will eat Brussel sprouts.
When the eighteenth century parliamentarian, Edmund Burke, gestured towards the journalists observing the House of Commons from the reporters gallery and described them as “ a fourth estate, more important far than they all”, he was not being complimentary. He was merely recognising in the printing press – and in those who fed it – a power to make visible to multitudes what had hitherto been witnessed by only a tiny minority of the population. It is in making the whole nation witnesses to the actions of their rulers that confers heroism upon journalism.
It is not the business of journalists to tell their readers, listeners and viewers what to think; but to place before them any and every matter that a free people might reasonably be expected to have an interest in thinking about.
Finally, Chris Trotter gets it, and perhaps he will be able to work out why the criminal actions of Nicky Hager and his enablers always fails.
But in writing this he has also probably worked out that you no longer need a printing press and alternative voices can and will continue to be heard. Witness the rise and rise of Breitbart. Scoffed at for years by the liberal elites, they now are dominating while the New York Times and other media institutions have become precisely that…institution…filled with high functioning retarded people unable to see that they are in fact retarded.
I think this is one fo Chris Trotter’s best columns, it’s a shame bugger all people will read it after it was posted in a remote corner of the internet. That’s why I posted it…so they can enjoy it.
-The Daily Blog