The annexation of the control of mass media by the incoming Trump administration is a full-frontal attack on our democracy. It is an unabashed attempt to control thought and it is deeply dangerous. The forces behind the media takeover are nothing short of fascist. The Trump takeover is more comprehensive and calculating than the similar efforts of Mussolini and Hitler combined, and more likely to achieve their underlying and sinister objectives.
Over the past months in particular, I have been reading a heck of a lot and trying to understand why things have gone the way they have. I’m no political scientist and I often struggle to grasp politics on this scale. I do attempt to understand the world I inhabit and I do try to keep an open mind and take all things in account when forming my opinions. I have really given this some thought and while struggling to wrap my head around all this, I noticed something.
Before the election I was very confused about the types of comments I was seeing from people who were passionately supporting Trump while passionately trashing Clinton. Some of the things they were saying made no sense to me. Based on the articles I had been researching and reading, none of their claims seemed to have any substance. Most of my friends and connections seemed to think the same way as I did and we couldn’t really fully grasp what was going on. The Trump that I saw was not the same Trump that his supporters seemed to see. The Clinton I saw and grew to admire and respect during her campaign was not the Clinton they saw. Something was amiss.
As we got closer to the election I felt certain that basic decency and common sense would prevail. I was sure that the majority of people throughout the country would feel as repulsed by Trump and Pence as I did. I felt certain that the majority of people would see Clinton as the only viable candidate based on her platform, her character and her experience.
But like many of you (not all of you), I was shocked and mortified when Trump was elected.
At first, in my attempt to understand it, I blamed it on many things. I attributed his success to the fact he is a demagogue who appealed to a deep seated racism which was exacerbated by a seething contempt for our first black President. I put it down to fear…fear of Islamic terrorism and fear of being “swamped” by undocumented Mexican immigrants. I thought that unemployment, poverty, drug addiction and despair in the Rust Belt had a lot to do with it. I also thought that the wide spread, deeply rooted misogyny filled the hearts of millions and prevented people, even women, from being able to bring themselves to vote for a woman.
But there was something else going on and I didn’t quite get it – until I heard that Trump was appointing Steven Bannon as his Chief Strategist in the White House. Steven Bannon, as in the former Chairman of Breitbart News, a website that pumps out fake, Alt-Right “news” stories. If you haven’t gone to Breitbart and looked at the headlines, do so now. It’s important.
Breitbart and other Alt-Right, radical fake “news” sites infiltrated the hearts and minds of millions. People didn’t realise that they were absorbing propaganda and didn’t reach outside of their Facebook newsfeeds to find alternative information and points of view. Remember just how tailored our newsfeeds are. When I said before that the Trump and Hillary that Trump supporters saw was not the same Trump and Hillary that I saw, I really meant that. We were living in alternate social media universes.
Facebook needs to address this world of alternate universes because rather than social media becoming this incredible tool to enhance democracy which is what many thought it would be as the technology developed, it became a tool for the Alt-Right to manipulate vulnerable people and hide the truth.
I know that there were fake “left news” stories and memes also, and I also take issue with that. I even got caught posting one that had been called out on Snopes, and quickly took it down when someone brought it to my attention. However, some research on this has revealed that there was a much larger presence of fake alt-Right “news” being circulated around social media than that coming from the Left. Also, those Alt-Right “fake news” headlines are altogether disturbing and did a major disservice to our country and our people. They stirred up hate and promoted distrust in everything – our government, our people, and our allies. They even have many believing that climate change is a hoax, so when Trump says it, he is speaking their language and confirming what they believe, what they have been fed via these fake “news” sites. The people who are about to take over our government are people who used social media for their gains, and stopped at nothing to influence their readers when you look at the material they created and distributed.
So, Trump used these guys and social media to win the election and now it’s payback time. Trump owes them and many others who backed him financially. That’s dark money I’m talking about and that’s why we are about to have a cabinet that will give many of us the creeps.
In addition to the internet being used as a tool to manipulate the masses, Fox News and other mainstream media establishments also peddled half-truths. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that. It was obvious to most of us how unfairly Clinton was treated and how much air time Trump was given in the lead up to the election. The Right’s complaints about how the media is “liberal biased” is just not true across the board.
Yesterday on the way to work I heard an advertisement paid for by the Koch Industries on my local NPR affiliate. It appears that National Public Radio has been accepting advertising money from Koch Industries for several months. That is extremely disturbing to me. If you do not know who Charles and David Koch are, they are two of the richest men in America and two of the biggest players in U.S politics. They are the founders and funders of a number of conservative and libertarian political organizations and think tanks. Back in June they announced that they were budgeting $889 million to back Trump in the 2016 election. When I heard the advertisement I wanted to scream from the roof top “get your grubby tentacles off our national public radio and save this bastion of authentic and ethical reporting” but it’s just all too late. It’s just all too late.
Do some research on these guys, the Koch brothers. Learn about what these guys stand for and how they operate. Then tell me how clean Trump is, how “anti-establishment” he is, how he is the “voice of the people”, and how dark money and corruption didn’t deliver him to power.
When you think about who is behind Trump, and how much of the media has basically been taken over by the Alt-Right movement, you will start to understand the gravity of the situation if you haven’t already. I’m not even talking about your standard Republican politicians. Those guys I’d gladly invite over for dinner to chat about policy and life in general. Heck, I’d even make them my best roast chicken and pour them a glass of Aussie Cab Sav. Those guys are milk toast compared with what’s moving into the White House.
The Trump takeover is pervasive and real, and yes, it is without question our own American brand of fascism. At this point, nothing is more important than to fight against the normalization of the imminent crushing of dissent. This is terrifying. Don’t become complacent.
November 25, 2016