America’s news media gave us President Trump

We wrote our first newspaper story on 9 November 1964, a story that won the banner headline of the Valley Courier, a small town daily in Alamosa, Colorado.

From that moment we were hooked, and we’ve spent the years since documenting the world we inhabit, covering everything from car crashes and school board meetings to corporate corruption and organized crime.

In those years we’ve seen both a radical downsizing of the American news media [see the links we’ve posted under Blood on the Newsroom Floor category], while the media themselves have been swallowed up by corporadoes, or, more significantly, investment banksters eager to loot by paring news staffs to the bone ad filling their “news” with sensationalism and outright propaganda of the sort that’s without precedent during our first decades in journalism.

In a world where advertising pays more the greater number of audience eyeballs and ears captured, owners experimented with different types of coverage.

Celebrity news migrated from the celebrity rags and entertainment columns to the page front page and the fluff covered by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous migrated into prime time news shows.

When television and stations and networks started using helicopters to provide traffic reports, we soon discovered the broadcast-as-it-happens car chase. A compelling visual event usually ending in dramatic crash, a shootout, or a takedown — each visually and aurally compelling.

Then came the infamous O.J. Simpson slow-speed car chase, combining both celebrity sensation and an as-it-happens crime story in an event that kept scores of millions of eyeballs glued to the boob tube [hence validating that denigrating slang into undeniable reality.

It was, quite simply, the prototypical exemplar of what would come to be called “reality television,” that perfect fusion of news, celebrity, and the sense of sensation that comes from uncertainty of the outcome.

And then came Donald Trump, a man with shady connections and gold-plated toilets, a blowhard and braggart, a philanderer and serial polygamist, a vulgarian and a plutocrat.

In other words, perfect television.

So they gave him a reality show, and he used it to sell the only real brand he’s got, himself — or the carefully constructed persona he found most effective in getting his way.

And so, whether on a lark of fulfilling some long-held fantasy, he decided one morning he was going to pull of the greatest reality show of all, a run for the White House.

And he brought to it all the media skills he’d mastered as a professional celebrity.

And best of all, he knew how to tweet.

Instead of taking the traditional political course of using the news media as a filter, he bypassed them by going straight to his audience/

And the already debased reportorial herd was forced to dance to the tune he called.

And that brings us to tonight’s video, a report from Al Jazeera English’s The Listening Post on the news media’s abject failure in conveying the ture nature of the despicable character of the man a rigged system [he was right about that, but it’s rigged in his favor] has installed in the most powerful post in the government of the most powerful nation on earth.

From Al Jazeera English:

Trumped: The abyss between reporters and the reported

Program notes:

Political journalism in the United States – its spectacular failure in election 2016 and how it got to be this way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s