Trump’s Attack on the Press: The Real Endgame
It’s easy to miss the real threat. Hannah Arednt talked about what happens when we no longer have a free press.
— Michiko Kakutani (@michikokakutani) January 29, 2017
So it’s not that people believe lies it’s that they don’t believe anything. Trump is already finding that a free press is really cramps his style. He is literally doing an O’Brien out of Orwell’s 1984: demanding that people believe 2+2=5. Like when he says there were 3 to 5 million illegal voters, or that he won the biggest landslide since Reagan, or that there was a terrorist attack in Sweden-there wasn’t.
And if people don’t believe anything then they have no defense. We must be skeptical but we also have to have a base of belief.
It’s not surprising that Hannah Arednt-as well as Orewll’s 1984-are now seeing a huge uptick in demand.
Doesn’t Arednt’ perfectly sum up the rise of Trump?
“Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what you have. The second step is the notion: “Things must change—no matter how, Anything is better than what we have.” Totalitarian rulers organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it. They were told before, thou shalt not kill; and they didn’t kill. Now they are told, thou shalt kill; and although they think it’s very difficult to kill, they do it because it’s now part of the code of behavior. They learn whom to kill and how to kill and how to do it together. This is the much talked about Gleichschaltung—the coordination process. You are coordinated not with the powers that be, but with your neighbor—coordinated with the majority. But instead of communicating with the other you are now glued to him. And you feel of course marvelous. Totalitarianism appeals to the very dangerous emotional needs of people who live in complete isolation and in fear of one another.”
Yes! Was this not the story of 2016? The ‘Elites are all terrible. Everything is terrible. Only I can save you’ You had people on the Left as well as the Right say anything is better than the status quo. And I saw Bernie supporters celebrate on Twitter the night Trump won. Not the majority-who did vote for Hillary-but there were some.
In her recent interview with Chris Hayes, Susan Sarandon accused Hayes-and anyone who questioned her suggestion during the election that Trump is the lesser of two evils-of ‘being happy with the status quo.’
The fact is that status quo was not terrible. No doubt we’ve had some very tough times post 2008. But they were improving. Incomes were rising. I certainly would not say that the 2016 status quo was the ‘best of times’ but it was far from the worst.
But a lot of voters believed this-on the Left and the Right. There was this illiberal energy that was also on the Left. You saw this when the Berners picked up Trump’s chant in Philadelphia: ‘Lock her up!’
Trump is still playing this game by the way. He’s claiming he ‘inherited a mess.’ A claim not remotely true.
Don't believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2017
Of course, since he didn’t inherit a mess, it will be easy for him to at a later date claim ‘It’s all fixed now.’
The easy way is cite U6 employment stats when running and U3 stats when running for re-election.
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