Home Pop Culture Donald Trump president: Why did the mainstream media get it so wrong?

Donald Trump president: Why did the mainstream media get it so wrong?

Donald Trump president mainstream media
Donald Trump president mainstream media: How did the establishment get it so wrong?

Donald Trump president mainstream media: How did the establishment get it so wrong? How corporate media failed to pay attention to the down and out American.

In the hours after Donald Trump pulled off an upset win to beat Hillary Clinton and become America’s 45th president, questions have been asked how did the mainstream media get it so wrong?

Throughout the presidential campaign all bets were on Hillary Clinton who represented the liberal class and her staunch alliance with big business, the financial sector, and the dogma that the needs of the corporate ought to supersede that of the common person.

A point of view abetted by the mainstream press, a defacto public relations arm for the establishment who assiduously avoided at all turns dissecting the growing fissures that had allowed a populist candidate like Donald Trump to gain precedence along with that of Democratic contender Bernie Sanders (prior to his being backstabbed by the Democratic Party machine who had a more important clientele to cede favors to) who galvanized the disenchantment of the common person.

Wrote the guardian this morning: ‘Donald Trump shattered expectations… with an election night victory that revealed deep anti-establishment anger among American voters’.

Perhaps in a bid to understand how the establishment got it so wrong, one has to remember that today’s media world exists in concentrated forms, with behemoth corporations (6 corporations now own 90% of the media) controlling the daily lexicon for what passes as culture, entertainment and what’s ‘fit to be printed as news’.

Yet the role of media has morphed beyond that of a conduit of reflecting what necessarily takes place in the real world, instead increasingly morphing into a vessel that strains to influence and counterweight competing ideals and dispositions.

Donald Trump mainstream media
Donald Trump president mainstream media: How one highly influential corporate media commentator struggled to come to terms with Trump’s win.

In short the mainstream press was fighting a class war and it was firmly entrenched on the side of the owners of capital who it had decided to ride its fortunes along with abetting the mandate of the powerful and elite, which it too is part of. 

While the mainstream press fawns over gilded and highly paid millionaire celebrities ad hoc and titans of industry and society (instead of questioning their roles and conduct and why in fact they are even given the attention that they so often get) the media seldom gives ‘guts to the bones’ coverage to how most people live and what they contend with.

When coverage was offered it was often done so to frame an issue in a preferred strain, ensuring that readers and viewers’ prejudices were indulged while failing to seriously tear apart how and why there had come to be so much fissure, disenchantment and disillusionment in America.

Issues of mass murders, riots are often couched in terms of gun rights, race wars and mental illness, avarice and the bleakness of inner city life or rural life. Barely does the mainstream press dare to wonder if such violence and ongoing dissonance which has increasingly become the staple of daily American life may have been the result of class divide, the lack of social or capital mobility?

Matters that more and more Americans had overtime become savvy to as they watched on their television screens how the gilded lived while they anxiously suffered in the knowledge of burgeoning debt, lack of opportunity and the grim reality that destitution is always around the corner. 

Donald Trump mainstream media
Donald Trump president mainstream media: How did the Democratic party fail to not notice the needs and concerns of the average American? Pictured, Hillary Clinton.

Opined a column for foxnews today: ‘I have been sounding this alarm for a year and a half—not that Trump would win, but that he could win. That there was a reason he beat the Republican establishment. That the coastal-elite media didn’t just underestimate the anger and frustration in much of the country, but had little ability to understand it.’

Yes America may have meekly bounced back since the mortgage debacle of 2008, (the root of so much dislocation in recent years) but the bulk of that bounce went to the financial industry who had caused the fissure in the first place, fissure that much of the press had failed or declined to investigate or ‘understand.’

There is a lot to risk to uncover class divide, it opens up for discussion the inequity in any society and the policies that have led to such steep fracture. Policies that might have to be reconsidered, repealed, re-adjusted at the opportunity cost of the owners of capital who have every incentive to flood the public consciousness with mirages, titillation and distraction.

The bottom dollar and concentration of wealth and power bears little conscious and moral guidance, such being the limitation of capitalism, something that esteemed invisible hands economist Adam Smith had warned against.

Reflected Julian Assange, the wikileaks activist in an essay for counterpunch on the eve of the elections:

‘The US public defends free speech more passionately, but the First Amendment only truly lives through its repeated exercise. The First Amendment explicitly prevents the executive from attempting to restrict anyone’s ability to speak and publish freely. The First Amendment does not privilege old media, with its corporate advertisers and dependencies on incumbent power factions, over WikiLeaks’ model of scientific journalism or an individual’s decision to inform their friends on social media. The First Amendment unapologetically nurtures the democratization of knowledge. With the Internet, it has reached its full potential.’

What might on the surface have been the role of the mainstream press to investigate, to explore, to raise questions had gradually ceded to agents outside of the corporate press: the slack of ‘democratization of knowledge’ had with the advent and transparency of the internet passed onto alternative media outlets, independent press who rather than necessarily indulge on the mirage of public discourse and hubris set out to sleuth uncomfortable dilemmas and raise questions that the oligarchic power elite would rather a free society not reflect on.

Hillary Clinton represented the power elite, the gilded liberal neoliberal class who time after time would come unscathed from setback to setback, emboldened to convene/lobby in policies, business decisions that often benefited the owners of capital and state while so often disregarding the consequences that such actions often imparts on the average person: the risk of environmental catastrophe, the usurpation of civil liberties, and the heightened dislocation of social and economic mobility- ensuring in fact only those with access, privilege and funds to persevere and live the American dream. 

Hardly the ideals and notions that once emboldened average Americans who believed if they too worked hard, took initiative could share in the wealth and mobility of a modern nation- something that Donald Trump has promised voters to resurrect even if based on the folly of closed borders, discrimination, and the idea that as a billionaire (whose wealth to some degree has been contingent on exploiting labor and pro business laws) has sympathies for America’s overt disenfranchised class. Time will tell….