A stark warning from CNN’s Washington chief

Trump could win, says CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent, and the reason he stands a good chance is because of the failure of news media such as his own.

And why does he think? Well, half of his own extended fmily are behind the man with the big hair and tiny hands.

From Der Spiegel:

In a soon-to-be-released interview with DER SPIEGEL, Germany’s leading weekly newsmagazine, CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper has come out critically against the media over its coverage of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy.

“There was too much airing of the Trump rallies, just start to finish, with no editorial content, no fact-checking,” Tapper tells DER SPIEGEL. “And it wasn’t done equally with other candidates. It wasn’t done as fairly as it should have been by any network.”

Tapper also criticizes the way in which his colleagues dealt with Trump in the interview, saying: “Some of the people interviewing him have let him get away with murder.” The lack of critical questioning is a huge problem, and Tapper challenges American journalists not to cower under the harsh criticisms of the media made by Donald Trump in recent days. “The coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton needs to be stronger in general,” he says.

In the battle between Trump and Clinton, Tapper believes the likely Republican candidate has an edge over his Democratic contender. “It’s going to be a very hard-fought battle, and he’s going to have some advantages,” he says.

Tapper draws on his own personal experiences to explain further: “Half of my extended family are voting for Trump, and the other half are not.” Tapper worries that with so many wanting to vote for Trump, “The very fact that so many members of my family are voting for him makes me think he is part of a phenomenon a lot of people in Washington, New York, and California don’t understand at all.” The coming general election, Tapper says, will be “nasty, ugly, horrible.”

People forget the power of the media to exploit our deepest fears and basest passions.

But anyone with a sense of history knows that the media can be seized, if not through outright takeover, then by playing to what they need: Sensation enough to keep their readers, listeners, and viewers hooked.

Lessons from history on capturing control of the media

Before he became the leader of Italian fascism, a movement that took power a decade before the Nazis won the chancellorship in Germany, Benito Mussolini had been a member of the Fourth Estate, a political journalist.

When it came time to seize power, he did it through a staged media event, a “March on Rome” the Italian army or even police could’ve easily repulsed. But he had captured the media by understanding it, and he carried the day.

The March on Rome, October, 1922. Via Wikipedia.

The March on Rome, October, 1922. Via Wikipedia.

And Joseph Goebbels, the man Hitler chose to head the Nazi Party’s all-important Berlin branch was a master of media manipulation, destined to become Reichsminister für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda, the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

One of the key reasons for the Nazi’s success in taking power were the brilliant propaganda campaigns masterminded by Goebbels and filled with race-baiting, outrageous claims, and rapidly evolving and shifting positions, including one or two temporary alliances with their archenemies, the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands. . .the Communist Party of Germany.

After taking power, Goebbels rapidly seized control and often outright ownership of both the news and entertainment media.

And then their was Hermann Göring, Minister of Aviation, head of the Luftwaffe, and Hitler’s designated successor until Goering narcotic addiction rendered him politically impotent.

At the Nuremberg Trials where he would be sentenced to death [he committed suicide before the sentence could be carried out], Göring explained the secret of the Nazi Party’s success in drawing his nation into war during an interview with Gustave Gilbert, translator for the International Military Tribunal and prison psychologist to in Nazis captives on trial:

Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

And if there is anything Trump knows, its the power of the media and the ways to seize its attention to suit his own end.

And we’re his captive audience, right up until he tells us, “You’re fired!”

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