Ever since the election, finding a fearmongering article on a corporate news outlet’s Twitter page is like shooting sardines in a sardine can. I found this gem after approximately one second of scrolling through the page of CNN, the network we learned from WikiLeaks allowed the Democratic National Committee to dictate what questions they’d be asking Donald Trump.
— CNN (@CNN) November 12, 2016
Go to the Washington Post, the shill rag that according to Democracy Now once published 16 Bernie Sanders smear pieces in 16 hours, and it’s even easier.
Trump win spawns fear and loathing among people he disparaged and alienated https://t.co/dIxkNphsui
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 13, 2016
It’s the same with all of these establishment propaganda operations, from the New York Times, which the Observer reports are seen actively subverting Sanders and propping up Clinton in Wikileaks documents, to the “big three” television networks, along with many other sources the political left trust for their news which, according to Glenn Greenwald, are guilty of “serious impropriety” due to their collusion with the Clinton campaign revealed in leaked documents. They’re all still fanning the flames of fear and unrest, flames that they deliberately ignited in the first place.
Old media, also known as legacy media, also known as obsolete media, also known as the neoliberal propaganda manufacturing industry, appears to have made a go-for-broke gamble in its desperate attempt to ensure Hillary Clinton’s rise to the White House. The gamble they made went like this: risk plunging the nation into fear and chaos by making sure every liberal in America is terrified of Trump, betting everything on that fear being enough to scare everyone into voting for Clinton so that it wouldn’t come to that.
Well, it came to that.
Month after month after month, beginning in the primaries and continuing all the way through November 8, the Clinton propaganda media outlets did everything they could to make sure that every man, woman and child was subscribed to the narrative that a Trump election will mean a fascist uprising right here in America, where gays can be accosted with impunity, where Muslims will be massacred by marauding bands of newly-emboldened skinheads, where millions upon millions of immigrants will be immediately rounded up and deported, where the First Amendment will be destroyed and journalists imprisoned for voicing dissent against the new Führer.
So of course now that he’s won, half the nation is in fight-or-flight mode. They’ve been pummeled with the narrative that a Trump presidency means the end of the world, and now it’s happened.
— Grant Klokeid (@klokeid) October 17, 2016
I can’t tell you how often I’ve been called a “brownshirt” in online forums for suggesting that Trump may not be the baby-eating demon he’s portrayed as. A brownshirt. And it’s not just me; you see that term flung around all the time in political conversations; “If you don’t vote Hillary then you’re the first person I’ll blame when the brownshirts start marching.” Fascist, Nazi, white supremacist, these words were used constantly in all the progressive circles I’ve been moving in.
I don’t think they were being deliberately hyperbolic, either. Not all of them anyway. I think people a lot of people really were thoroughly convinced that Trump’s election would mean that America immediately turns into a chaotic inferno of violence and oppression. And I think we have the corporate media to blame for that.
In September of 2003, half a year after U.S. and coalition forces had invaded Iraq, USA Today released a poll saying that seven in ten Americans still believed that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The media propaganda machine had been so good, so efficient at slyly linking those two unrelated things in people’s minds leading up to the invasion, that most Americans remained convinced of this lie long after it was even necessary for them to continue believing it.
Did the press ever outright tell people that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Not to my knowledge. But they didn’t need to. All they needed to do was mention weapons of mass destruction in the same breath as the attacks, with an ominous-sounding tone of voice, and people made that connection themselves through repetition and subtle insinuation.
— David Reynolds (@arimareiji) November 7, 2016
In the same way, I don’t think the press was ever overtly telling people that Donald Trump would turn America into a fascist dictatorship in four years, but they were certainly able to give that impression judging by the reactions of pure horror that erupted early Wednesday morning. They reported frantically on every outrageous thing Trump said, while ignoring when he walked back on those statements after winning the primaries. They’d feign shock and horror when Trump said perfectly understandable things like the possibility of votes being manipulated in the election (a pretty normal thing to say considering the Democrats had been caught red-handed rigging their own primaries). And meanwhile, they raked it in. CNN estimated that it would make $100 million more this election year than it would have without Trump. The shock and awe was a ratings winner.
And they’re still raking it in, pushing stories like the one from CNN at the beginning of this article, talking about Americans “crying tears of fear” when CNN helped create those tears in the first place. The Washington Post talking about “fear and loathing” among Americans when they’re the ones who’ve been working to create that fear and loathing in America’s consciousness for more than a year. And now they’re selling these sensationalist stories about a wave of fear they themselves created, and they’re making a mint from it. That is truly reprehensible.
This was not just a “beat-up,” this was an ongoing and systematic assault on the truth to benefit ratings and draw advertising, and it had hugely traumatic consequences on the American public. People on social media were saying they were considering suicide rather than live in Trump’s America. That was entirely the fault of the American media. To say it was irresponsible is an understatement. The American media as a whole owes the public an apology for torturing them with sensationalized hyperbole. Hyperbole that they are still being handsomely rewarded for, because the fearmongering hasn’t stopped. It is a disgusting abuse of power and privilege and reparations must be made. I call on the media to apologize for its coverage, walk back the scaremongering, cover Donald Trump and his policies in considered and measured tones, and start doing what they’re meant to do — report the truth.
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]