Trump and Twitter: the lesser of two evils


Trump and Twitter: the lesser of two evils

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.

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  • Peter Divey
    Peter Divey
    Peter Divey's dormant interest in British and American politics has been reawakened by last year's Brexit referendum result and Trump's ascendency to the White House. In his spare time he enjoys playing chess and has a growing collection of vintage wrist watches.
    • fred finger

      This is an extreme example of, what news do you trust, and how much you should check. Take a news item from Sky today. They are bigging it up, that the commons committee of Brexit have issued a report that there will be border checks on the Ireland border. The omission is that 4 of the committee would not sign the report.

      • Peter Divey

        Exactly why credibility is leaking away. Extreme?…the true problem is it’s becoming the norm.

    • Ian Walker

      May was in Iraq, meeting British soldiers, while Barnier was pontificating about how Britain had given up the fight against ISIS. This was his reward to her for tripling her original offer of cash.

      A strong PM would have pulled the negotiating teams out of Brussels, issued a demand for his resignation in demeaning our brave armed forces, and then taken the diplomatic phones off the hook. Let him stew in his own juice for a couple of days, maybe even the EU2 would blink.

      But what did we get? Nothing…and then deciding that attacking the leader of our biggest ally and likely best post-Brexit trading partner was a better course of action. Here’s a clue: Americans realy like free speech. And also allowing Saint Jo to be exhumed and her body draped over the shoulders of Corbyn et al; with Bercow breaking the rules of Parliament to allow him to parade the corpse up and down the middle of the House.

      A clueless leader, a clueless politician, surrounded a pathetic cabal of clueless advisors and hangers-on. That’s not Trump I’m describing.

      • Peter Divey

        PM May will be even more scared of the big bad post-Brexit World after the twitter spat…she will pay anything for a deal now…£150 billion here we come!

    • Ken

      Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe this is a totally manufactured, contrived event to distract you from something else going on? The media today seems to whip themselves up into a frenzy about stuff that just doesn’t matter and are often nothing more than useful idiots. Frankly, I am increasingly doubtful on the useful categorisation!

    • WFC

      Interesting article.

      The MSM no longer seem to view their role as being the reporters of news, but as priests of a modern faith, evangelising to both faithful and heretics alike.

      • Ed Bradley

        You think left and right are so different . MSM bad, this good, That evil, me good.

        Left and right are mirror images of one another. The failure to see it on both sides shows how polarised and stupid the masses have become.

        The self-righteous delight in the total evil and nastiness of the enemy is exactly the same on both sides. That the enemy is doomed is a conviction equally held by all factions and sects.

        A feeling of sacred superiority informs both sides. Reactions are sourced in fear and anger on both sides. They share the same pathology, the same emotional sickness, the same confusion, the same lust for chaos.

        But on Saturday night, it’ll be alright, they can get together and whoop and cheer at the new post-apocalyptic movie. Let it all crash and burn. Kill everything.

        • WFC

          Depends what you mean by “left” and “right”. If you mean “progressives” and “fascists” – both obsessed by race, “identity” and collectivism – then I agree with you.

          • Speedy

            The progressives are becoming the new facists. Antifa and their violence for example.

          • Ed Bradley

            I know what you mean. The picture is clearer in the extremes. But perhaps that is becasue they help us see the overall picture which is obscured in the more moderate expressions of belief.

            • WFC

              Save for the fact that individualism – the idea that people should be judged not by the circumstances of their birth, or where they choose to put their wedding tackle, but by what they have achieved in life – is nowadays considered to be an “extreme” position, I wholeheartedly agree.

        • Peter Divey

          Ed…you are despondent. It is true that the centre ground in politics has collapsed at the moment. But to me Vince Cable seems extreme…choices are limited. Is the media reflecting this, or leading it?

          • Ed Bradley

            Left and right are currently driven by the same irrational forces. Fifty years ago they were driven by a desire to follow reason and thought. Now they both are driven by fear, anger and irrationality. Both have abandoned the knowledge base as their source of thought and now preach from their guts and all it being genuine. And both are destroying the political fabric of the country with their shallow anti-intellectual emotionalism.

            • richardofkent

              Agree, but the right has only grown as a direct result of and as a necessary counterbalance to the expansion of the emotional, left wing bed wetters who believe that if we ignore the problems of Islamism, or worse lay flowers and hold hands, the endemic violence which attaches itself to islam will magically disappear. Whatever the rights and wrongs of Trump’s tweets ( and I often cringe at them) he is forcing the liberal left ( and I include many Conservative MPs within that description) to step out of their cosy consensus and discuss the issues arising. Unless they do so they will continue to disenfranchise many people in the UK who do not implicitly support mass uncontrolled immigration, the EU or the expansion of islam within the UK and these people will be drawn to the people who will listen to their legitimate grievances.

      • Peter Divey

        Exactly so, which is why the slow drift away is continuing. It is quite rare now for facts to be reported without the necessary spin being applied. The BBC….

    • noix

      The MSM used to interpret equivocal statements from politicians to justify their inflated salaries. Now Trump says what he thinks and the MSM are surplus to requirements and cannot justify the insane amounts of money they receive.

      • Bill

        Surplus to requirements – that says it all.

      • Peter Divey

        Plenty of squirming going on…they have lost control of their own “Fake News” mantra.

    • R M

      Except your prime example of The Young Turks isn’t the MSM at all, it’s chiefly a YouTube channel.

      What an incoherent article.

      • Peter Divey

        You have misread the article…i make it clear that prior to watching TYT i had almost abandoned MSM entirely, which is why i was taking in news online…

        • R M

          Or perhaps you miswrote the article. What relevance whatever did TYT have to your argument in this article? Why was your comment on TYT the following?

          “It was a truly epic melt down. This result confirmed the irrelevance of the MSM”.

          Please explain how this is a remotely coherent argument. The epic failure… of a non-mainstream media outlet… confirmed the irrelevance… of the mainstream media? Seriously, can you explain this to me? Were you high when you wrote this?

          • Peter Divey

            TYT, like most others believed the MSM…Clinton had a 95% chance of victory, would win in a landslide, the Pollsters were all certain…that was the basis for TYT’s confidence. They referenced it constantly all night. I watched TYT because i was not certain, i watched for entertainment, and was Royally entertained when TYT melted down because the MSM predictions were so catastrophically wrong. TYT relying on MSM was the point, It failed TYT just as it failed everyone else.

    • barney mcgrew

      They’ve (MSM) lost control of their narrative and they absolutely hate it. Which is great news for the rest of us because how long have they been brainwashing us for? I don’t watch television news (gave up over a year ago) and don’t buy newspapers any more. Get my news off the web from various sources and make up my own mind.

      • Only Me

        I have a Times subscription and the only reason I keep it for it’s the travel magazine and the free cinema tickets. The reporting is just Guardian lite..

      • Bosanova

        That is increasingly the way many are going. The sad consequence is that we all go into our own bubbles, with little understanding or overlap between polarised groups. That explains the “shock” at Brexit or Trump, with the rest of us shocked at their shock. That said, the MSM are digging their own grave with such brazenly partisan reporting. I have no objection in principle to partisan reporting, just don’t try and tell me (BBC, C4) that you’re remotely impartial.

      • Peter Divey

        It’s the way to go…

    • Bosanova

      It’s interesting to note that unless you are POTUS your Twitter account would most likely have been suspended by now for “offences” such as Trump’s. That’s the real pleasure. Watching him use their tools against them.

      • Peter Divey

        There has been talk about suspending POTUS account. If you make a huge fuss about the messenger, with some justification in Britain just now, you do not have to address the message…

        • TRAV1S

          Twitter had to be taken to court to remove ISIS tweets. Shows whose side they are on.

          • Peter Divey

            Exactly so. They are attempting to apply their own moral, ethical and cultural code.

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