Robert Freeman on the CNN Town Hall: "When you marry Trump’s force-of-nature demonic character with the money-seeking imperative of commercial media and stew it all in the primal resentment held by vast swaths of the public who believe that the country has shafted them, you get exactly, formulaically, what we saw last week: an almost satanic (certainly, sadistic) celebration of our worst side, our basest nature, our latent id, the devils of our lesser being. It couldn’t be anything but.
"The essence of Trump’s message and of Trumpism itself is this: “Tear it down. It’s shafted you, it’s rigged, and it cannot be redeemed.” This is exactly what Trump means when he says with deadly seriousness, “I am your retribution.” That is, “I am your retribution against a society that has shafted you.” The fact of Trump’s resilience is the proof of the depth — and the breadth —of this sentiment. It is fanatically shared by tens of millions of people. We ignore it at our peril.
"But “tear it down” is not a viable governing policy principle, which is why Republican policy proposals are nothing so much as nothing. There’s no “there” there. There are no actionable actions that can be acted on. It’s just vituperation, rage, conspiracy, histrionics and bile."
Tim Karr: "Like Mussolini, Trump is a master at manipulating media attention to amplify his propaganda, says Ben-Ghiat, a NYU professor who has studied authoritarian patterns worldwide. Many in the U.S. media have been “slow to catch on to what Trump [is] doing,” she said.ReplyDelete
"Or perhaps news outlets don’t care. As long as Trump’s hijacking of media attention makes them richer, why should media execs worry about the consequences?
"CNN has faced a storm of criticism for its decision to give Trump a primetime slot, and deservedly so. But the network’s choices are symptoms of a larger problem. The commercial U.S. media system needs to undergo deep reckoning for its role in accommodating the rise of camera-friendly authoritarians. Without this serious assessment of the failings of top news execs like Zucker, Moonves, and Licht, the media will never quit its Trump habit.
"As an antidote we also need to support a noncommercialpublic-interestmedia system that promotes democracy and civic information. This includes funding public structures to support the production of local and diverse news and information as well as the sort of investigative reporting that holds abusive leaders accountable.
"While this approach doesn’t pretend to address every threat facing democracies today, it recognizes that a more robust noncommercial media can serve as a bulwark against the democracy-destabilizing forces of 21st-century demagogues. And it can do so in ways that prominent commercial outlets like CNN have failed to."