Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reflections on the Election of Donald Trump as the 45th US President and on the Media

As readers of my blog will know, I voted for Donald Trump a week ago.  I explained that vote in a long essay which I posted the day before the election on November 8th and which can be found here. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you do so if you want to understand where I'm coming from.

Without a doubt, the grief that the losing side in a Presidential election always feels has been greatly magnified this year throughout the nation.  The weeping and gnashing of teeth--to use an appropriate biblical metaphor for extreme anguish--may be unprecedented virtually everywhere we look.  It's certainly more than I've ever seen before in my six+ decades on this earth.  The closest analogy I can think of is the actual death of a President.

I still find it hard to believe that Donald Trump won.  I certainly wasn't expecting it, given the strength of Hillary Clinton's campaign, the money behind her, the mainstream media support she got, and the 'all-in' campaign support she got from a popular President Obama and his wife Michelle.  And it was very, very close.  If the four heartland and industrial states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania had gone the other way (and they easily could have), the President-Elect would have been Hillary.

As I stated in my pre-election essay mentioned above, it was clear to me that most of the mainstream media--print, network, and cable--were 'in the tank' for Hillary Clinton.  The only major cable news channel that was at all balanced was, oddly enough, FOX News.  Normally we think of FOX as the conservative opposite of the left leaning MSNBC, with CNN trying to be the 'fair and balanced' network.  That wasn't the case this year, as many observers have rightly pointed out.  CNN was as totally in for Hillary as MSNBC (just trying to be a little more subtle about it, I suppose), and FOX was conflicted, with a number of their anchors having no love lost for Trump (like Megyn Kelly, for example).  You know it is a very strange year when the fairest and most balanced Presidential debate moderator was Chris Wallace of FOX!

Even more disheartening to me was how unfair and unbalanced the New York Times and the Washington Post--the two major national newspapers--were in their coverage of Trump and Clinton.  There was not even an attempt to be even-handed in either their news coverage or their editorial coverage.  Even the two regular NYT 'conservative' columnists--David Brooks and Ross Douthet--were anti-Trump, so that except for an occasional guest column, there was virtually no good word for the Trump/Pence ticket to be seen.  Which when you realize that half of the country voted for Trump and Pence, makes the political slant of the MSM very problematic, to put it mildly.

This says several things to me, as many have pointed out.  First, our elite media, segregated as they are in New York and Washington, DC, are totally out of touch with much of this country.  They live in a liberal/left cultural and ideological bubble that is largely impervious to any other view of reality.  And for the most part, they look down on the rest of the country as hicks and rednecks, people to be ignored if at all possible.  When Hillary used the word 'deplorables', it was clear to me that the media elite mostly agreed with her, though they may have thought it to be unnecessarily impolitic.  In other words, it's okay to believe it, just don't say it in public!

Second, alternative media--most of it online--is replacing the MSM as the primary source of news and opinion for a vast swath of the American populace.  Some of that alternative media is out there on the extreme (Alex Jones and Infowars, for example), but some of it is quite good.

And third, if you are regular consumer of the MSM but you have no alternative source of news and opinion, you are making a big mistake.  You will not, you cannot have, have all the information, facts, and views that you need to see the entire picture, the forest for the trees, about what is going on in this country and in the rest of the world.  This year's election has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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