Yes, 74 million Americans voted for Donald Trump.
Up the type size, and make that bold letters: SEVENTY-FOUR MILLION.
The Abominable Showman was fired — but only just.
But never fear, media people, there’s lots of juicy scandals and viral twitterings to come …
Court cases, Biden transition blocking, dubious pardonings, opponent (everyone) baiting …
The show will go on …
But what about the media in all this?
Well, they let us down.
No, not the honestly dishonest ones, your Fox News and the like.
I’m talking about our guys.
The embedded ones, the ones supposedly sniffing out the truth behind the news, and bringing it to us live.
Keeping Trump and all those in power accountable.
And us informed.
They let us down.
Have been letting us down for a long time.
Can’t just blame the kids for not reading any news that isn’t free, or lasts longer than two pars.
It’s the ones providing the news.
Trump has played them for suckers.
And us with them.
All our political leaders seem to be doing it these days.
With the help of their spin doctors.
The ones who have the media lying on their backs, tickling their tummies and whispering sweet distractions into their ears.
Well, that or lawsuit threats …
Over in America, some big media players were busy fact-checking the bullshit Trump and his crowd pumped out, while he and his acolytes were off doing the real stuff elsewhere … rigging the courts, boosting the rich, closing off immigration, rejecting important climate change information …
Remember Batman on TV all those years ago …
Pow, Biff, Wallop … dana-dana-dana, BATMAN?
That’s exactly what the Penguin or the Joker used to do it; distract the police with some epic stunt, and pull off the big heist on the other side of Gotham.
Luckily Batman and Robin always figured it out just in time.
Well, the media were clambering over themselves to be the first to the scene of Trump’s epic stunts …
Making media stars of White House press attaches, or they were over on Entertainment TV, telling us what a liar and a boor Trump was, how he fiddled his taxes, was nasty to some world leaders … while the Trumpeter and his lawyers and rich buddies were busy planning and pulling off their heists.
All in plain sight.
If you really looked.
And no Batman or Robin to save us.
Just the sons and daughters of Bernstein and Woodward, churning out those punchy 800-word leaders on why Trump was not fit to lead the most powerful country in the world, how divisive he was, how dangerous he was, sucking up to Putin, piddling on his own political party of convenience, the Republicans …
And so on, and so on, embedding themselves in the epic stunt stories that filled their pages and bulletins.
Smoke and mirrors while America burned.
And 74 MILLION still turned out to vote for Trump.
Wanting to give him another four years to make America Great Again.
Pandemic deaths or no pandemic deaths, Black Lives Matter protests or not …
It has only dawned on me recently exactly what media advisors are all about.
THEY’RE THERE TO TAKE OUT THE MEDIA.
And it works.
They have mummified the media.
We’re talking spin doctors.
They will tell you they are just there to help politicians make their message clearer.
That’s their first spin …
The Terry Prones (veteran Irish political spin doctor, and sometime media performer — hunter with the hares and runner with the hounds) of this world, sure they’re only there to polish a few turds, get their clients using the right fork at important dinners.
The ones that obey covid regulations anyway.
And talking proper.
They’ve been accused of helping politicians to avoid answering the questions put to them by preening news anchors.
As if that’s the worst thing they do.
No, far worse is how they disarm the media.
Kill them softly, or kill them cruelly.
But kill them.
Cultivate them, stroke them, threaten them … offer them epic stunt scoops, while the heists take place across Gotham.
And so many journalists head willingly into the spin doctor’s parlour … I mean press conference.
And would die sooner than boycott these affairs, lose their place in the elite pack, or chase the real story.
Follow the money.
Ultimately, these spin masters blindside the public, and keep their masters from accountability.
And democracy is the loser.
Don’t know about you, but I’m tired of all these breathless political correspondents skulking along the corridors of power, eavesdropping outside government meetings … ready to give us the news when the doors are finally open.
Only they don’t.
The politicians walk right past them, except when they want to leak something.
The pol cor elite are actually mostly briefed by the spin doctors.
Who spin them up and down and around like tops, and they lap it up, and write it down … and pass it all off to their complicit editors.
The journalist fly helping the spider to complete the web that will entangle him…
For me, one of ther scariest aspects of the Trump phenomenon is how he ran the media, took it on, and took it out.
His greatest spin doctor?
Initially he thought he needed Steve Bannon and the like, but realised he could do it himself.
Like the master con man he is, he realised he only needed the simple three-card trick: one card the epic stunt; the second, the truth; and the third? The fake news one.
‘Keep looking, keep looking’ …
‘Nah, suckers, fake news’ …
‘Go again … nah, epic stunt!’
‘Suckers … 74 million of them ‘…
And he nearly pulled off the biggest stunt of all, getting re-elected!
Thanks for reading — try another one … sure, why not follow my blog!
I read tis post the other day and liked it, but don’t always know what to say. Mostly because I guard my own political feelings very carefully. I do that partly because I am private, if you don’t count all the personal emotions and things I blog about! But also because I am still an active pastor, I do not want politics or political comments to impede my pastoral voice with my own flock. (Although they are not likely to see anything I write here, still erring on the side of caution). All that being said, I want to say that I value your observations. Also, I wish more people I know paid attention to the reactions of every day people from other countries to the shenanigans here and also had more of an understanding of every day lives in other countries. I did manage to ruffle some feathers in my flock by saying in a sermon that America does not need to be great again. We need to be humble a nd compassionate. Best, Michele
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Hi Michele, I can totally appreciate your position … complicated even more by the strange role that organised religion appears to us outsiders to play in American politics. Something Mr Trump seems to have exploited for his own ends. I think your last comment captured very well just how much of a minefield this is for a person in your position. One would have thought your message was in line with church teachings … but amazing how things can be interpreted!
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You are right. And the thing is we (organized religion) are certainly not all of the same mindset. I hate labels, but I may be more “progressive than conservative” and it is a strong (scary strong) conservative right wing of organized Christianity that has Mr. Trump’s ear…I’ll stop there:) or I might not be able to!
Thanks for your reply.
What we are witnessing in the US, is something unprecedented. It’s not about loopholes in the electoral system or close contests. But it’s about how a contestant reacts to a situation. A politician is fully within his or her rights to say or act in a way that is advantageous to him or her. But when that is done with a complete disregard for facts and realities, it is quite unsettling.
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Mr Trump is certainly not your usual, Pradeep!!
I hit the Like button. This is one of those times I wish there was a Love button. As an American it got so bad I no longer looked at the news here. To find out what was going on I listened to the BBC Less details but more to the point. Politicians are no longer part of a governing structure They are celebrities, built from the ground up, to appeal to a certain group. if the group is large enough they get elected. Sad but true. And all the media wants is sensationalism. Who cares about a robbery on that side on Gotham? There’s a scandal on this side
Laugh It’s all we have left
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Why thank you kindly, Mr Ohh! Glad it appealed to someone out there. Whenever I write what you’d call political pieces, the stats are way down. So responses much appreciated👍😍😊. We live in stranger times than usual, and the Trump phenomenon strangest of all. Much more to it than the partisan stuff we’ve been reading. Be interesting to see how he is written about in years to come.
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Oh Yes The legacy is always very interesting
Enda, I read this piece 6 weeks after you wrote it and, incredibly, it is still relevant today. There are still people who insist that Trump actually won the election. In a landslide. Many of our neighbors still have their Trump signs up in their yards and believe he will somehow wrangle the presidency away from Joe Biden at the last minute. I pray every day that they are wrong. The media’s complicity in Trump’s success is shocking and craven. I have a lot of hope for the new year and the new administration. Maybe Trump and his corrupt circus will finally be relegated to the sidelines.
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