How Trump Turned the National Media Into Impotent Hecklers
Savor it. It finally happened. The national media no longer matters. The entire institution has been rendered as irrelevant as a drunken fan in the cheap seats pretending to know more about the game than Kobe. Sure, the media might still have the power to annoy. But as far as how the players play, the institution is now just, well, belligerent jerks with no power, no sway, no influence.
Much of the credit does not belong to President-elect Donald Trump. The media did this to themselves. What Trump does deserve credit for -- and I'll get to this -- is realizing that the Emperor has no clothes and firing the kill shot.
The media's collapse began in 2008, when something I call "Capital-J Journalism" came to a tragic end. Oh, sure, these cocktail-partied backslappers will convince themselves that phoning a friendly "source" for a quote is journalism, or they will bask in the glory of "breaking" a piece of "news" fed to them 10 minutes before that "news" was going to go public anyway. But as far as deep-dive investigations into powerful people and government institutions go, that died with Obama's inauguration.
It works likes this…
An opinionator-disguised-as-a-journalist cites studies and "experts" that tell him what he wants to hear (no one is better at this than our phony fact-checkers). Then an op-ed cloaked as objective reporting is puked up to the public. Even if there is actual information to pass along, even if journalism was blundered upon, it is always delivered in a boorish lecture that tells you what to think about that information. And that viewpoint always come from the left.
This is why the media had zippo to do with uncovering many of the major scandals that hit the Obama White House. Were we naive enough to count only on the media to uncover scandal, we would not know about the IRS, the myriad of surveillance improprieties, the truth about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, or the Clinton Foundation. Moreover, instead of uncovering scandal, our media did everything to ensure these inconvenient truths couldn't cripple Obama.
With the arrogance of supremacists still certain of their persuasive powers, the media went all in against The Donald, and in doing so completely exposed and destroyed themselves.
In short, in pursuit of their overriding goal, which has nothing to do with uncovering government abuse and everything to do with empowering government, the media rejected the art of information gathering and sharing -- which is the essence of journalism. Instead, armed with the belief that in doing so they could sway public opinion further to the left, the media became nothing more than a gang of leftwing pundits.
For a while it worked. An inexperienced community organizer with ties to a domestic terrorist and a racist church became president. Shameless lies were hurled to allow central government to capture 1/6th of the economy -- healthcare.
The cracks, though, started to show with gun control. No matter how hard they tried, the media's usual bag of tricks failed. Again and again, the public rejected further restrictions on their Second Amendment civil rights -- and then Trump rode into town.
With the arrogance of supremacists still certain of their persuasive powers, the media went all in against The Donald, and in doing so completely exposed and destroyed themselves. And now, knowing that 70% of the American people despise and distrust the media, Trump is using his considerable savvy to render them unnecessary, to crush this once all-powerful institution into little more than crybaby hasbeens left to pompously pout about lost "norms" and their own self-importance.
Through social media, Trump has already stripped The New York Times of its sacred job of setting the daily agenda, and in order to communicate directly to the public, he has bypassed the media filter entirely.
Look at what occurred during Trump's Thursday night rally in Cincinnati. The entire mainstream media could only helplessly stand by and fume as a man they despise spoke directly to the people. Afterwards, the oh-so precious Journalist Class was left with only one option: to prove themselves helpless, small and embittered as they impotently heckled what had already happened.
Imagine this … we now live in a world where the media has zero leverage. They can't blackmail Trump into behaving a certain way because 1) they have nothing he needs -- to reach the people, he can easily go around them; and 2) they can't put pressure on him by hammering him with coordinated narratives because they have lost all moral authority with the public. Nothing they say matters. Nothing they do moves the needle.
Sure, there could be a downside here. If the Trump administration gets wrapped up in a legitimate scandal, we might not listen to eunuchs who cried "disqualified" thousands of times already. But to me, that's like lamenting the lack of trains running on time after the death of a dictator. Whatever downside that comes will be well worth the defeat of outright evil.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC