Trump’s Media: They are Pavlov & We’re the Slobbering Dogs?

Donald Trump is a serial liar. Everybody knows it. Even his supporters. If you look at Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning site that examines candidates’ statements for accuracy, 76 percent of Trump’s statements are rated either “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire,” (a damn lie). So how is it that Trump just marches on to his 40% poll number anyway?

Here’s how:gop-therapy

We dared to insult the majority of Republican voters in 2007 by electing the first African American President. From that moment on, the predominantly white Republican Party set out to discredit Obama by any means necessary. The Republican elite held a meeting the night of Obama’s inauguration to set a plan in motion for the sole purpose of discrediting and obstructing the new President. The Democrats’ voters could not have been more helpful to the conservatives by turning out in the 2010 mid-term elections in record low numbers allowing the farthest-right conservatives to elect a record-setting number of Congressional Republicans even more conservative than the ones in the existing Party….in a census year,no less, during which resulting state governing parties are free to gerrymander voting districts.

As for television, “journalists” now have to be “pretty” (man or woman) instead of principled, and 90% of the American news media is owned by six self-serving Entertainment Companies who repeat half-truths in order to stir up fanatics instead of informing the public.

GOP Presidential Candidate Trump has proven he doesn’t care about the truth, but he doesn’t seem to care much about his own ideas either. He tells so many lies, or simply doesn’t know the answer to any given question, that nobody, including himself, can keep up with them all. Worse, not a single national news channel has the balls to make him accountable for the cascade of daily sputum he hacks up. Even when shown a recording of a lie(s) Trump told the previous day he will claim he didn’t say that and the “journalist” will just let it slide.

With all the blatant disrespect that was being tolerated for President Obama by the “new” GOP (The Tea Party), Trump obviously saw what simps national newspeople had become and decided to jump in. His practice run at the media was his “birtherism” claims that, of course, were debunked, but so emboldened his snake oil persona that he now clandestinely gives the frantic bigots and gun nuts his tacit approval to commit acts of violence against his opponent (which is a federal felony), obfuscates his direct ties to major U.S.enemy, Russian billionaire dictator Vladimir Putin, with the hypocrisy of GOP leaders denouncing his felonious statements but refusing to withdraw their endorsements.

The typical meme, that Trump has somehow changed the norm because he’s an outsider, is total crap. The norm has been changed, but by the self-serving national news media who need the ratings that come with bigots who relish Trump’s own unrepentant bigotry. Trump is a provocateur, not a statesman, whose ardent supporters, could not care less about policies and facts. And Trump knows it. He exploits it. Even Twitter recognized Trump’s repeated source of daily disinformation…#ManyPeopleAreSaying.

Social scientists have long observed that truth matters less to people than reinforcement of their opinions, The more more unhappy a person is, the more they rationalize and reformulate lies into truth so long as they conform to their biases. We believe what we believe, and we are not changing even in the face of opposing facts. After all, without this capacity for self-deception there would be no Fox “News”.

Our politics is no longer about policies and governance. It is a show, a game, an ongoing “reality” TV saga. Professional Wrestling in real time. We’ve gone from entertainment as an escape to entertainment instead of realism.

Why Televised News Transformed Into Glorified Gossip

Ever since broadcast news departments abdicated to entertainment divisions they’ve been expected to produce more and more profit. [If this sounds familiar, think health care…less health, less care, much more profit]. Cable news has to fill 24 hours a day and make a profit, so they ignore policy and real issues because the horse-race narrative takes precedent over investigating or informing. And when they do discuss policy, they prefer the outrageous, absurd generalities of Trump over the detailed policies of Hillary. It explains why liberal-oriented channels (radio, television, etc.) always draw smaller, albeit better-informed audiences but eventually wither and die; more Americans want to be entertained than informed.

Trump is the culmination of trends that began decades ago. With their mutual lack of interest in the public good and the craving for dollars, Trump and the MSM are symbiotic — a synergy of the showman and biased news “readers” who have replaced actual journalists.

If Americans want better choices and a functioning government some vital changes are necessary — and soon.

  • First, and most important, get rid of legal political briberyCitizens United is far and away the worst Supreme Court decision of the modern era. Spend 18 minutes listening to Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk on political corruption, who argues convincingly that unless the United States radically changes the way it finances political campaigns, it’s virtually certain that our democracy is nearing its end.
  • Second, repudiate the willful impact of identity politics on policy: Observers make a big deal that, in capturing the presidential nomination of a major party, Hillary Clinton has shattered another glass ceiling. And they are right. But the perpetual media-fueled rumors persist that Clinton is some nefarious monster. If she is, then the tens of millions of dollars have been spent on countless GOP Congressional committees that are unbelievably incompetent, because nothing, from Ken Starr’s relentless, partisan investigation of Whitewater to Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi investigations haven’t come up with a single proven offense against Mrs. Clinton. Even using personal email servers were used by her immediate GOP predecessors, Condi Rice and Colin Powell.
  • Third, refuse to patronize “reality” news : This is not The  Amazing Race or Survivor, and our televised “news” has left us lost in a thicket of faux reality. By relentlessly perpetuating half-truths and regurgitating the inaccurate causes of blue collar expectations, pundits have perpetuated a myth…that NAFTA and TPP are the same and that all free trade agreements are bad. NAFTA isn’t, TPP is.

And part of the reason Blue collar Americans somehow expect to cling to out-dated skills but insist on being paid more is the national media never challenge the meme, while Trump blames trade policy rather than automation. It’s also easy for him to blame some immigrant subgroup so he can pander for votes then do nothing once elected. We should be offering training for new manufacturing jobs but that requires collecting a little more tax money from those benefiting from the work of others. And it doesn’t even matter to televised “news” media that our planet is screaming in pain, and dying quickly, as long as politicians can ease their blue collar egos by a politician trolling for votes.This is the essence of Trump’s voters. But honestly, does this look like immigrants or trade policy that’s taking the place blue collar jobs in the U.S.? images                         robotic coal mining_resized

The average American lives in a world where fantasy is  reality, where the image is more important than content. We don’t dare face our own bewilderment because the comfort of belief in a contrived reality is embedded in our self-image. We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the era…the hoaxes we play on ourselves by believing political jibberish ginned up by “news” to keep us watching and emotionally addicted.

Intellectually, America lags way behind every European and Asian country in math, science, and healthcare, most of whose populations have far less personal wealth or personal debt. The only area in which America outperforms the rest of the civilized world is in our unparalleled ability to create the very illusions which fuel our expectations; television shows, movies, televised sports, and the elevation of “celebrities”. One would be hard-pressed to compare any other country’s entertainment industry to ours, although most are filmed in that evil, socialist stronghold…..Canada. It has quite literally become the business of America…to entertain, not to inform.

And as we sit on our couches watching the “news”, screaming at the TV, eating microwave pizza and Ho-Hos, we bemoan that our jobs are paying less because of trade policies or immigrants, and it’s bullshit. There are few jobs that aren’t vulnerable to being partially or completely replaced by automation. This isn’t going away and it isn’t new. Between 1920 and 1939, there were an awful lot of horse-and-buggy tradesmen put out of business by automobile factories. One had to learn a new trade then as now. But would-be Emperor, Humperty Trumperty, has no clothes and will walk away with all the campaign donors’ money in just another scam.

But Presidential campaigns are pseudo-events, spectacles that never end because the media benefits; what the hell would CNN and MSNBC do if there wasn’t something political on which to keep their viewers hooked? Instead of a six-month election cycle, we have campaigns that literally start the day after every election and our Congressional members are required  by their parties to telephone-bank fund-raise every day for half their time…that we pay for.

The television news media drained the national political gene pool of whatever substance it had once Walter Cronkite, Huntley & Brinkley, Peter Jennings, and their respective networks stopped providing truth for the public good.

The thick undergrowth of illusion in American politics is pernicious and is solidified every day with reinforcement by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, news and their parent entertainment companies; Disney, ComCast, CBS Corporation (with remnants from ViaCom), and Warner Brothers (no, I don’t bother with FOX, they’ve been a fraud since their beginning).

But didn’t we demand this? Aren’t we the entertainment junkies and they the dealers? There is  no need for supply without the demand. There’s really no need for FOX News, CNN or MSNBC other than pablum  is there? It’s live infotainment trying to justify their own jobs.

As the comic strip “genius” Pogo once quipped, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

And since there’s some perverted thin blue line among the six media companies demanding they not call one another out for their lack of journalistic integrity, no one calls them out collectively. Hell yes they want Trump out there ginning up people too old for Pokemon Go. It explains why they simply will not challenge him. Hell, it might cost them viewers who swallow their visual, pre-chewed Gerber creamed peas, e.g., The Bachlorette or The Apprentice or some other crappy scripted “reality” show.

Neither Trump nor the press has to be truthful anymore, all they have to do is keep ringing Pavlov’s bell  while half of us slobber for more Alpo.

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Harvey Gold