The biggest struggle that I’ve come across since the election of Donald Trump is trying to make sense of the apparent crisis within government and the media. The 24 hour news cycle is so jam packed with stories of Russian meddling, DNC leaks, and strange conspiracies from within the outgoing Obama administration, that Americans have trouble trying to focus on any one story. They all seem to be somehow intertwined, but the “big picture” is still evading most people, including most people in media.
Regardless of the stories themselves, however, the utter chaos of reporting the news fairly and accurately, shows the bigger story – main stream media and establishment politicians are panicking. The election of Trump was a massive eye opener to those who had thought that they had all of the power. The narrative of Hillary Clinton being a shoe-in for the election was fought tirelessly by alternative media, but due to news organizations such as CNN and the New York Times being liberal echo chambers, they took the dose of reality given to them on November 8th particularly hard.
The share of American eyes and ears is no longer so unevenly distributed. This is a trend that has been going on for decades. In earlier times, there were only three American channels giving news to the public – ABC, NBC, and CBS. With the arrival of cable television, consumers were handed new choices in news – CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. As the internet evolved it led more people away from cable, and millions of people away from newspapers. The media landscape changed, but the old guard didn’t seem to notice… Until Trump happened.
It is now the aim of the media to do two things – first, they must attack, discredit, and delegitimize the new President at every turn. The Russian scandal isn’t going away anytime soon. It is the MSM’s silver bullet and they will use it until the end. As polls show lower and lower approval ratings for Trump, the hacks at CNN are surely patting themselves on the back. News networks like this are blatantly showing that telling a story is no longer their job. Their job is to mold opinion.
Secondly, MSM will attack and malign anyone who is a part of alternative media. Credit for the Trump revolution goes in large part to the man himself, but Fox News, the Daily Caller, Breitbart, and Infowars, were all major contributors. Breitbart, for instance, overtook the New York Times, CNN, and even Fox News in terms of Facebook engagement. The YouTube channel “Right Side Broadcasting Network” has overtaken MSNBC in terms of subscribers. All over the internet, MSM is getting its ass kicked by alternative media. Their answer – call everyone who isn’t playing by their rules “fake news”.
Not only will the left label alternative media as “fake”, but they will go so far as to deem it racist, homophobic, and related to neo-nazism. An article appearing on Fortune lumps all pro-Trump media in with the “alt-right”, which is described as “a loosely defined group of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, anti-immigrant provocateurs and trolls.”
Thirdly, censorship. Content creators will likely not be censored by the government itself, but by big players in Silicon Valley. Facebook has already been caught red handed censoring pages with a conservative slant. Google and Facebook both have new algorithms designed to keep conservative news outlets off the top pages of search results. Having Trump in the White House is not a block against the efforts of technology elitists wishing to control what people can watch, read, and listen to. In early January Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Alphabet, parent company of Google. Some others within the administration have secret ties – not to Russia, but to Silicon Valley.
What we are stuck with in the meantime is a world where the news cycle is so chaotic that it’s own reputation is damaged. Fewer people trust mainstream news because the stories are hard to follow. Turning on the news channel should leave a viewer feeling more informed. A single one-hour primetime show should give viewers a fair understanding of a particular story. This is no longer the case, especially for news junkies like myself who watch a mix of all channels. The stories reported on by CNN and MSNBC are not the same stories of Fox News, which doesn’t report on other stories I only find on RT America.
In a time where everyone has an opinion, and thinks everyone else should hear it, having an informed opinion is harder than ever. It is said that less intelligent people have conversations about people, while more intelligent people have conversations about ideas. At a time when the news from either said is 1) hard to trust and 2) hard to understand, Americans could use some brushing up on ideas about government. What should the role of government be? What economic system do we want in America? What was the original intent of the Constitution, and how should it be applied to modern times?
With a deeper understanding of the ideas of government and politics, it will be easier to cut through the never ending TMZ-like news channels. When losing track of the day-to-day news becomes inevitable, go back to basics.