Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Is the Media Unfair to Trump? Well, Duh!

Even paranoids have real enemies.

Donald Trump is a psychopath.  Don't get me wrong, he's a nutter.  He's obsessed with the size of his election victory, his inaugural crowds, and his penis.  It does not bode well that only a few days into the Trump Administration, that he is mired down with trivial controversies about "alternative facts".  We could be in for a very scary four years as I've noted before - but no one seems to want to acknowledge.

However, I think one reason he got elected in the first place is that people are sensing a disconnect between what the media says and what the media does. It seems as though the media is gleefully jumping down Trump's throat at every opportunity to point out how horrible a person he is. Contrast this to the love fest that Obama faced when he was first elected, or indeed any president faces during the first few weeks of their Administration.

For example, several media outlets speculated that Trump may have violated the records act by deleting a tweet with a typographical error in it.  They treat this at the same level, if not far worse than, say, having your own private e-mail server and deleting 30,000 e-mails.   I am not saying Hillary did anything wrong - I don't believe she did, she just did stupid things.   But to give one person a "pass" on a big whoops and to jump down the throat of another for a trivial matter is a clear example of bias.

The problem with this approach to reporting is what I call car alarm news. The media has been going off like a siren about Trump, painting all sorts of scary scenarios about every one of his nominees and every action he has taken. Some of his nominees are indeed quite frightening, but others seem more traditional conservative Republicans, which is what you would expect from a Republican President. If there is any good news, it is that some of these people are indeed rational actors in may keep his more egregious impulses in check.

Like a car alarm that is constantly going off, the media runs the risk of people eventually ignoring its alarmist predictions. When everything becomes a crisis, people fail to react to an actual crisis.  Not every piece of news needs to be a "Fox News Alert".  Again, this is one reason I decided to cancel my subscription to the New York Times, and I don't think I will even continue an online subscription - particularly for the prices they ask - $10 per month per subscriber.

The Times, like many other media outlets has turned into a drumbeat of anti-Trump reporting, and this is quite noticeable to anyone with half a brain. I have taken to calling it the New Trump Times, as every article in the paper seems to be about Donald Trump and what outrageous thing he did today.

The problem with this model of reporting is that first of all, other things happened in the world today other than what Donald Trump said or did. Also, crowing about the size of a inaugural crowds seems kind of petty on a part of the news media. Granted, it is not as petty as Trump's reaction to it. It would appear, that the media enjoys tweaking and trolling and baiting Trump, knowing that he will respond at 3 AM with an outrageous tweet.

Second, as I noted above, constantly reporting about whatever outrage Trump says or does is what creates the car alarm type of reporting. Eventually, people glaze over and stop listening to you. The administration is only a few days old, and the media is obsessed with trivial matters and disagreements with the administration. Granted, these dialogues about alternative facts are disturbing and no doubt signs of more disturbing things to come.  However these sort of attacks tend to play in to the administration's narrative that the media is out to get them.  And disputes with the media are certainly not front-page news.

One reason I think Hillary lost the election was that many on the Left failed realize they were creating a cognitive dissonance in more rural and conservative populations.  The Left is quick to defend Muslims as not all being terrorists, which is undoubtedly the right thing to say.  At the same time, they are neglecting to address the issue of how we can live in a multicultural Society without dissolving our own culture.

I dunno, I didn't go to Burger King.

This is less a problem in the United States then overseas. You can't blame the French for complaining when we open a Burger King on the  avenue des Champs-Élysées.  In their mind, this is an assault on French culture even if they patronize the restaurant. And similarly, you can't blame an Italian for complaining when minarets are being erected in ancient Italian cities.

And Britons, who seemed to seamlessly integrate immigrants from India and Pakistan seem to have found their limit with mass migration from the EU, as well as an influx of refugees from the Middle East. We may call them bigots or intolerant, but there is an underlying point that when enough people migrate to your country, your culture will change permanently and dramatically.

Rather than address this issue, the Left pretends it doesn't exist. Again, this creates a cognitive dissonance in the voters who perceive there is a real issue but it is being ignored by the Democrats.

I think the media runs the same risk with this constant haranguing of the administration, particularly over trivial issues. The public may eventually perceive that Donald Trump is being unfairly attacked and they end up siding with the new President. Thus, when Trump does something really outrageous, reaction from the population may be muted.

As I noted in an earlier posting about the Plasco building in Iran, it seems the media is only interested in the superficial story and doesn't go into the background. They seem to prefer this sort of tit-for-tat type of reporting instead, concentrating on the superficial and not on the substantive. I wonder if a story like Watergate would even be reported today, as it cannot be condensed into a sound-bite or tweet.

And that is the real danger, that the mass-media misses the more important stories in favor of the superficial - what sells eyeballs to advertisers. Such is the nature of modern media.

The one positive aspect of the Trump Administration is that it makes us appreciate George Bush in a whole new light!