Throughout Trump's campaign, the President-elect riled up crowd after crowd that the media is "crooked" and cannot be trusted. Also that the "Main Stream Media" ("MSM") is somehow a liberal front designed to manipulate the news against what most Americans view as important. Namely, our nation has fallen apart under Obama and needs to be "great again" - all at the expense of "illegal immigrants", "Elitist Globalists" and corporations happily producing goods overseas rather than here in America using American workers. It seems the only thing the MSM got right according to Trump was the extensive and free coverage afforded to his campaign during his primary fights and the general election. However, what is missing from the equation is the absolute cynical strategy employed by his newly named Senior Counsel and Chief Strategist - namely Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart, the largest of the "Fake News" outlets in existence. (See: mediamatters.org/research/2016/08/17/how-breitbart-news-became-official-propaganda-arm-trump-campaign/212470). What about their strategy gives me concern? A narrative was created that MSM is so corrupt and dishonest that no one will heed anything in the future they broadcast and/or print. That way, when Trump is elected, very few Americans (especially Trump supporters), will believe anything reported that is negative as it relates to Trump. It is a strategy that has begun to produce fruit.
How can I say this? Easy. Take a look at events this past week as they relate to Trump and then check out his supporters' comments. One example: Donald Trump tweets nonsense about convincing Ford to not move a production facility from America to Mexico. The tweet claimed credit for "convincing" Ford to stay in America and in turn, employing "real Americans" instead of Mexicans. Except the plant was never going to be moved to Mexico. The only aspect that was going to be moved was a single production line of automobiles for export - to countries other than the United States. But that did not stop Trump from tweeting his claim - which clearly is a lie. What followed though is a prime example of the misleading strategy created by Bannon and implemented by the Trump folks. As soon as the story was shown to be untruthful, Trump supporters from across the country came to Trump's defense while attacking actual news outlets. Their defensive comments provide a clear indication of how deep and widespread the distrust of media has worked for Trump. Anyone criticizing Trump for perpetuating a lie was immediately called every name in the book while Trump supporters repeated the charade with positive comments like "He's already saving our jobs" and "Trump proves he will make American Great Again!" Except Trump did nothing (except lie). Can we start to see how misinformation can be used, while denigrating actual news sources is taking hold? What is worse is that the comments reflect a certain sense of awe and adoration for a man fraught with serious challenges with dealing with facts or the truth. Yet, these same folks still believe Clinton should go to jail for crimes that she has never been proven to have committed. Why? Trump has encouraged such rants and emotions - all the while, burnishing his own revered status with the ill-informed and intellectual loafers as the only ONE that can save America! Am I saying all Trump supporters are ill-informed? Of course not! But many now, appear to be so. (See: www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/17/trump-just-took-credit-for-stopping-ford-from-moving-a-plant-to-mexico-but-it-was-planning-to/).
Another case in point is the recent news that Trump has opted to settle his Trump University fraud case for $25 Million. Of course true to every legal entanglement that leads to a Trump settlement, no admission of fault or liability is a condition of the settlement. So most folks will accept his argument that he settled the matter not because there was any truth to the fraud allegations, but to eliminate any distractions as he assumes the highest position in the World. Except, Trump would have certainly lost had the litigation gone to trial. What do the MSM outlets say? Before they even could, Trump tweeted that the cast of Hamilton insulted his seemingly vulnerable and insecure Vice-President elect when they pointed out the diversity of America with a plea that the new administration reconcile its rhetoric to the realities found in our society. What do Trump supporters do? They seize the "Trump Tweet" as some sort of "call to arms" by demanding folks boycott the Tony Award winning musical - all stealing the focus of the Trump University settlement so that any negative information relating to Trump is literally pushed off the "main stage" of American discourse. Coincidentally, there is also a lot of concern about Trump's selection of Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General, Retired General Michael Flynn to serve as his National Security Advisor and Steve Bannon as his Senior Counselor and Strategists (who for the first time in the history of the Executive Branch will have Co-Equal status with his Chief of Staff). It seems Sessions has a previous history of supporting the KKK and promoting racists comments and Flynn has a closet full of reckless pro-neoconservative hawkish Anti-Muslim credentials. Moreover, thus far, all of Trump's transition team is full of establishment figures anyone with half a brain would recognize as residents of the very "swamp" Trump claimed he was going to drain in Washington. Con job #1 in the books for Trump. But what do his supporters now say? "He's the legitimately elected president", "Suck it up buttercup" and "Give him a chance!" Except no one of the Right side of the political spectrum ever gave Obama a chance, from day one strategies were cooked up to de-legitimize Obama from the get go. And Right Wing media outlets under the guise of being "real" news outlets perpetuated that strategy. So much so, they successfully used it against Hillary Clinton.
Oh come on Rubin, she is a known pathological liar and she killed four Americans in Benghazi and then allowed national secrets to be leaked! Just look at Wikileaks! Except none of that sentiment is true - but no need to speculate, the strategy worked. Just yesterday someone asked me if Obama should grant Clinton a pardon. When I said yes (explaining my approval of Ford pardoning Nixon), someone sitting nearby cynically replied with a snicker, "Why, if she didn't commit a crime!" But according to Trump supporters, they still demand Clinton be locked up! And the Chair of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chafetz now says he still wants to continue investigating Clinton for potential crimes. (See: www.newsy.com/videos/rep-jason-chaffetz-to-keep-investigating-clinton-s-emails/). Huh? The icing on the cake? Someone asked when the FBI was going to complete it's investigation of the "Clinton Pay to Play" investigation and they bet "she will go to jail for that!" Except the FBI is not investigating the Clinton Foundation. Why? Because the allegation of wrongdoing came from a book written by Peter Schweizer called "Clinton Cash" that was prominently promoted on Breitbart - one of the FAKE news outlets. When I mentioned there was no FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation I got the craziest response. "It's amazing how the Clintons can pay everyone off, including the FBI!" Except, how can one pay the FBI to stop investigating something they have never investigated in the first place? Trump supporter's response? "It's all rigged!" Score one more for the Bannon/Trump strategy of marginalizing facts! And this is the problem we will begin to face on a daily basis come January 20, 2017. In the event the Trump Administration engages in wrongful acts, will any of the millions of his supporters actually care? Will their adoration of this man blind them to the reality that he may actually be unfit to be president? That his Administration may have engaged in a pattern to violate individual rights guaranteed under the Constitution? This is something I actually do fear. I fear that Trump knows his followers will support him no matter what he or his administration do, even if unlawful. I mean, they already refuse to heed anything coming from "MSM" why would they "see the light" anytime soon?
So saddle up folks. We may be entering a dangerous era of media manipulation and gamesmanship promoted by Trump and his "lock-step" supporters. Some already seem to believe that Trump alone makes the sun rise every day - and that is certainly not healthy for any democratic-republic. When folks begin to attack those that confront abuses that may come from the Trump Administration, how long will it take for his supporters to demand they be silenced (as seen in the "buttercup" legislation supported by many Trump folks calling to make peaceful protest assembly a FELONY). (See: www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/14/iowa-lawmakers-suck-up-buttercup-bill-targets-protests/93797142/). Would an ultra-conservative Supreme Court rule in favor of these attempts to stifle free speech or will they move to uphold the First Amendment? We already know how Trump Supporters feel about the Press regardless of their First Amendment protections.
As Founder, Framer and Patriot Alexander Hamilton once wrote; "The inquiry constantly is what will please, not what will benefit the people. In such a government there can be nothing but temporary expedient, fickleness, and folly." Let us heed Hamilton's warning and keep a close eye on those with designs to please their egos and vengeance instead of what will be best for everyone, everywhere! Now the task will be to convince all Americans, no matter who is President, that we are charged with the responsibility and duty to pay attention and not allow us to be either manipulated or misled, no matter the strategy employed by any Administration of government. Have a great week!