Saturday, October 14, 2017

a reminder of why so many authors at Slate can be hard to take seriously in the era of Trump, confident predictions that "Donald Trump is never going to be the president of the United States". Yet here we are.

Back on October 8, 2016 Slate's Isaac Chotiner wrote:

Donald Trump is never going to be the president of the United States. As we sit and digest each successive leak of damaging material, each un-endorsement, each Trump threat to attack Hillary Clinton in the most personal terms imaginable, the fact remains that Trump has almost surely destroyed his chance of ever becoming the most powerful man on Earth. The discussion will now slowly shift to Republican hopes of shoring up down-ballot races and (just wait) the creation of Trump TV. But we cannot and should not forget: A couple days ago it was still fathomable that America could have voted into office the biggest threat to the country in decades.


We should never forget that the authors and editors at Slate seemed so dead set in their certainty that Trump could not possibly win that it might confirm what Ellul wrote decades ago about how propagandists are a caste of aristocrats who control and work within mass media who ultimately display contempt toward democratic processes as those who sit in the positions to decide how things are perceived.  That's not a knock on liberal media, that's a knock on the entire media system in the United States.  :)  It's not that red state readers and writers are promulgating fake news, it's that the entire gaggle of authors at Slate believed to some degree or another that Trump couldn't possibly win and then turned out to be spectacularly wrong.

In the David Lean film Lawrence of Arabia one man tells Lawrence that, yes, he lies as part of his political work but Lawrence tells half-lies. One man tells a lie knowing what the truth really is, another man no longer knows what the truth is any more because he forgot where he left it.  The implication in the scene is that the politician is a liar and he knows what he is, whereas Lawrence is telling half-truths that he sincerely believes, half-truths that will turn out to be just as much lies as lies told by a man who knows what the lies are. 

What the liberal press seems to struggle to learn, if indeed they can even learn this, is that the fake news of the other team isn't half as dangerous as the fake news that we think is the truth because it comes from our side.  In this respect the American media empire is potentially the same across any formal differences in the political spectrum. 

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