Trump’s use of Twitter allows him to circumvent mainstream media and offers some protection against their ability to dictate his image to their audience. Not without its shortcomings, as yesterday shows, it does have its value, says Peter Divey.
Even before Trump’s Presidential victory I was giving up on U.S. Mainstream Media (MSM). You knew exactly how any given channel or newspaper would report, what their slant or emphasis would be. You could have written it yourself such was the predictability. Blatant, unapologetic partisanship. A balanced, considered approach looking at the issue in a fair manner was a novelty. The stock-in trade of traditional journalism was withering on the vine.
After Trump’s victory, any remaining credibility was discarded in a frenzy of self-recrimination, embarrassment and sulking. The MSM hadn’t got it wrong, it was the crazy voter. The Rust Belt, the Fly-Over States were to blame. It was not the fault of the enlightened coastal city dweller. The pollsters had let the MSM down. A few had tried to highlight a possible alternative but were ridiculed and considered comedic. How everyone laughed. Someone had to be blamed…oh yes, it was the Russians. The greatest smoke screen in history is still polluting away with Mueller as chief disciple. Fake news had been rolled out, the mantra that would surely finish off the shameless Republican cabal. But in one of the very greatest political appropriations candidate Trump had grasped the weapon himself and was using it to batter his very accusers.
By then, like many, I was following events almost solely on the web. The wonder of the Blogger: no need for pretence, choose your camp. And so it has continued. Facebook, Twitter, everyone chose a side but they no longer felt the need to disguise it. Fairness and balance were old hat. Censorship, outright lies, all that matters is the result, not the message. MSM has gone for ever more tribalism. You can shoot the messenger, we do not care if it works.
The night of Trump’s victory was one of the most entertaining of my life. I expected Trump to do well, surprisingly well, but I was not confident of success. I chose to watch it all unfold on my computer with the benefit of those “Progressive” Democrat zealots The Young Turks. This would be brilliant if Trump was more competitive than expected. And it truly was. Just amazing. Arrogant, smug, confident were The Young Turks, only leavened by the sixth sense of Jimmy Dore who knew just how awful Obama had been and how awful Clinton was. When it fell apart I was laughing and whooping such was my excitement. I dragged the wife out of bed at 3.30 to watch. It was a truly epic melt down. This result confirmed the irrelevance of the MSM and a new dawn was born with the ongoing rise and rise of the Web.
Governments and politicians are responding. There will continue to be a slew of regulations and laws. The internet must be monitored and controlled. Brainwashing, hate speech and immoral thoughts must be cut out like a tumour. Never mind that free speech will be thrown out with the bath water, it is necessary. What you write and how you think will be continually judged and measured against an unaccountable and nebulous moral and cultural arbiter. In the UK the Police now put more effort into criminalising thinking than catching burglars and other “low level” scumbags. The failure of MSM across the Western World has consequences. The BBC is trying its damnedest to follow its American cousins into self-imposed obscurity. Because it knows best, perhaps it should take on this vital role of arbiter? But I suspect Auntie Beeb already thinks it has.
Candidate Trump tweeted a lot; President Trump is no different. It is sometimes like having direct access to his consciousness. Unfiltered, unguarded, often an emotional response. Critics say it is unbecoming of a President. The MSM hate it, and as much as they use it against him he fires right back. Even President Trump’s supporters are sometimes torn, unclear if it is of benefit or detriment. A Twitter employee, upon leaving the company, disabled the President’s account as they went out the door. It was spotted instantly, tweets were sent and within 11 minutes it was restored. This is what the MSM hate, and what President Trump loves: the instant response in real time. The President can literally reach out, far and wide, in a moment. President Trump says the MSM are his enemy, says it is often fake news and not to be trusted. This is why President Trump will never stop using twitter. In the credibility battle Trump is more than holding his own and the MSM are ceding ground to alternative sources constantly. Because much has been shown to be fake, partisan and obscenely skewed. Choose your side, and dig in. Remember to wear a tin hat.