Donald Trump and his rag-tag team of amateur politicians were continually chastised by established media outlets. Their stories were researched and verified, and obviously true. Trump’s life and career have always been well publicized, with most of the the publicity orchestrated by Trump himself. Like a spoiled child who always gets his way, Trump’s only defense was, “They’re lying.” His campaign coined the phrase “fake news.” Millions of people believed him. Those of us with I.Q.s higher than room temperature knew Trump’s people were blowing smoke.
Of course, there are (and always will be) pathetic racist idiots who want “America back,” most who believe that only a white man should be in the White House. I am still amazed at how many women think this way. I always thought they were smarter than that. As I perused their Facebook and Twitter profiles, I wasn’t all that surprised to find most were over 60 and subscribed to the feeds of genuinely fake news sites. Nothing will ever change their narrow minds.
However, now that we’ve seen him in office, something clicked. Trump is so awkward. He’s making faces, pointing, butting in, suddenly praising a certain nasty woman, and spouting off unpresidented – sorry, unprecedented things a sitting or retired American president should never say. I began to wonder if Trump and his cronies were right about fake news. But now in the way you think.
Maybe there was fake news. But not news that would pull people away from voting for Trump. It was fake news that would convince people to support him. I wonder if perhaps we have just witnessed the most brilliantly executed reverse-psychology the world has ever seen. This was a social sham that might have made Edward Bernays proud.
But why? Well, I can think of two primary reasons. One, media success is based on viewership and readership. The more readers, the more advertisers. The more advertisers, the higher the ad rates. And nothing would generate more sensational news than a Trump presidency. Imagine – four full years of viral, easy pickins. The New York Times knew damn well their detractors weren’t and would never be subscribers. They either can’t read, or can’t afford the subscription. It was a perfectly calculated ploy.
Secondly, proof was needed to ensure the American public was still as gullible as they’ve been since the Eisenhower days. Apparently, the miracle of free and untethered global information offered by the internet hasn’t made anyone smarter. The press can still twist a story any way they want, and people will take it for gospel.
Hey, it’s not all the Trump voters’ fault. Blame our schools and the textbook mafia curriculum. Blame generations of parents who never had a chance to be critical thinkers. Blame community leaders and churches who spoonfeed whatever story best suits their agenda. Blame capitalism’s continual impulse to enrich those who control it, the media’s tendency to celebrate them, and our willingness to watch or read that crap. That’s right, folks, we’re all to blame.
Ultimately, wittingly or not, we all contributed to the rise of fake-fake news, and the election of a sad clown who will adorn our headlines for as long as he can bear it.