Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Have the Media Lost Their Mojo?

 

Listening to Andrew Klavan’s podcast has opened my eyes to how the American media complex – from news to entertainment – has promoted a monolithic political narrative. We may look back on the past four years as the time the media finally lost their power to create and maintain their desired narrative.

The most obvious example is the 2016 election. The election of Donald Trump caught every news outlet completely by surprise. As far as I know, only Salena Zito and Molly Hemingway understood what was happening and predicted his upset over Hillary. After the election, I quit watching cable news – even my favorite show, Bret Baier’s “Special Report.” I realized that all the pundits pontificating so confidently don’t know a dang thing. I’m sure they’re quite intelligent, but they are stupefyingly ignorant.

The next big media fail that I recall is the Kavanaugh confirmation. If we still lived under the old rules, Sen. Feinstein would have leaked her letter, the media would have broadcast it far and wide, and chastened Republicans would have withdrawn Kavanaugh’s nomination. Instead, alternative media shined light on Feinstein’s underhanded tactics, and the mainstream media beclowned themselves by frantically upping the charges against an honorable man to the point of ridiculousness.

Then came the Russian collusion narrative. When it was first floated, I wondered who in their right mind could ever believe such a far-fetched story. Yet it dominated cable news for years, and Robert Mueller was touted as the savior of the country. The media pushed this narrative until Mueller’s pathetic congressional testimony exposed the narrative for the hoax it was.

Next up was the brave whistleblower who leaked the Ukraine phone call records. You couldn’t turn on the TV or the radio without hearing “quid pro quo” 24/7. Once again, if we still lived under the old rules, Adam Schiff would be the most brilliant orator the Senate had ever seen, the Senate would vote to convict, and President Trump would have left office in disgrace. Instead, Americans had alternative sources for news and commentary and could see for themselves how weak the case against Trump was.

Now we are in the middle of a pandemic. I honestly don’t know if the extreme stress we are putting the economy under is necessary or not, but I am staying home. I am not watching cable news. I check on @rodin’s updates, I read Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit, and I take daily walks outside. We’re ordering takeout as much as possible to support local restaurants. Fortunately, I teach high school math, and I am well-prepared to conduct my classes online. (If you’re looking for math screencasts, you can visit my YouTube channel here.)

But the recent stimulus showdown was another media fail. Under the old rules, McConnell and the Republicans would be blamed for the initial blocking of the bill, and Pelosi and Schumer would be portrayed as trying to get some “common sense” provisions into the final package. Instead, we could see in real time how the NYT headlines evolved from telling the truth (Democrats block passage of stimulus bill) to serving the desired narrative (McConnell is to blame for stimulus bill failing to pass). As Andrew Klavan has said, Democrats can’t hide behind their media allies anymore. We can see everything they do, and Pelosi had to back down. Meanwhile, Trump is gaining in popularity on a daily basis, as frantic media personalities advise him to stop the press briefings, please!

Of course, this state of affairs didn’t happen in a vacuum. Unlike past Republican presidents, Donald Trump understands that the media will never be fair to him, and he hits back at them when they attack. Hard. For the first time in my life, I have had the pleasure of watching a Republican president call the media out on their tactics, and their discombobulation is a marvel to behold. They still don’t understand that we don’t subscribe to their narrative anymore.

Now they have set themselves a Herculean task: get an old white man, who is clearly not mentally competent, elected president. I can’t wait to see to what lengths they will go to convince us Joe Biden is the right person to lead the country at this time.

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  1. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Now they have set themselves a Herculean task: get an old white man, who is clearly not mentally competent, elected president”

    I wouldn’t be so confident about Joe not getting elected , he does have a way with women voters:

    Image result for CREEPY JOE BIDEN

    • #1
    • March 25, 2020, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Bob Thompson Member

    I have been watching tv to get the briefings from the president and the governors. I was surprised at Governor Cuomo’s briefings initially until Party leaders must have gotten to him to make sure he understood the need to conflict with the President’s actions. The quality difference between the Q & A at the daily coronavirus task force meeting and the virtual townhall conducted by Fox News was enlightening, the latter actually being informative instead of confrontational.

    The answer to your title question, in my view, is yes. The same for both political parties and the bureaucracy (the deep state, that the pandemic has forced into the background for the moment). Pelosi seems positioned to call for a unanimous vote on the Senate stimulus, which would be a capitulation of sorts, and Governor Cuomo is back praising the White House again today. So we went through a short period where all these disempowered groups tried to ride the pandemic but failed.

    Cuomo will do his duty this year and may be the Democrat candidate for POTUS in 2024. The Democrat Party will continue to be joined with factions of the media and go down in November. This all assumes that Trump can get us through this period with reasonable success.

    • #2
    • March 25, 2020, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    @twert, thanks for the post; a great summing-up.

    • #3
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:21 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    Thaddeus Wert: For the first time in my life, I have had the pleasure of watching a Republican president call the media out on their tactics

    How I have YEARNED for a Republican to fight back! Gone are the days of “beneath-the-dignity,” “thank-you-sir-may-I-have-another” Republicanism!

     

    • #4
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Thaddeus Wert: Listening to Andrew Klavan’s podcast has opened my eyes to how the American media complex – from news to entertainment – has promoted a monolithic political narrative. We may look back on the past four years as the time the media finally lost their power to create and maintain their desired narrative. 

    One of the MSM’s biggest tools has been the use of polls to drive the narrative. Trump’s “surprise” victory in 2016 broke that tool, now recognized as such by most Americans. In addition, the constant ranting against Trump bored people to tears with the MSM, just like the constant virus coverage has become tiresome.

    • #5
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Bob Thompson Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    just like the constant virus coverage has become tiresome.

    Except to Comey, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, and a few others it’s delightful. 

    • #6
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Stina Member

    The Election of Obama was the triumph and height of entertainment and media power. Obama’s upset over Hillary  was the media’s doing. Sure, he was an easy sell as the first Black to ascend to the office, but he was an easy sell largely due to entertainment and media pushed culture where the Civil Rights Act and Civil War to Free the Slaves are the founding myths of our age.

    His administration was the period of hegemony for them, where they believed they could tell America what to think. They’re narcissist pride in what they accomplished had them curating the news in Obama’s favor, resulting in an increased distrust in them as “Truth to Power” tellers.

    Trump’s election was their hubris. They had fooled themselves into thinking people would  listen to them forever after, but Trump used their incessant need to destroy him, their pride that people still trusted them, and the public’s growing distrust of the media complex to his advantage – constantly baiting the media to spew “truths” that no one believed.

    I get the importance of Freedom of the Press – but that is a layman’s creed. Turning professionals into gatekeepers and experts, elevating industries to powerful places that can mobilize the government against their lesser rivals – these are just as much of a threat as government is. And that’s the libertarian’s failure to understand – that just because it isn’t literally government, doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten liberty.

    • #7
    • March 25, 2020, at 10:20 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  8. Bob Thompson Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    The Election of Obama was the triumph and height of entertainment and media power. Obama’s upset over Hillary was the media’s doing. Sure, he was an easy sell as the first Black to ascend to the office, but he was an easy sell largely due to entertainment and media pushed culture where the Civil Rights Act and Civil War to Free the Slaves are the founding myths of our age.

    His administration was the period of hegemony for them, where they believed they could tell America what to think. They’re narcissist pride in what they accomplished had them curating the news in Obama’s favor, resulting in an increased distrust in them as “Truth to Power” tellers.

    Trump’s election was their hubris. They had fooled themselves into thinking people would listen to them forever after, but Trump used their incessant need to destroy him, their pride that people still trusted them, and the public’s growing distrust of the media complex to his advantage – constantly baiting the media to spew “truths” that no one believed.

    I get the importance of Freedom of the Press – but that is a layman’s creed. Turning professionals into gatekeepers and experts, elevating industries to powerful places that can mobilize the government against their lesser rivals – these are just as much of a threat as government is. And that’s the libertarian’s failure to understand – that just because it isn’t literally government, doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten liberty.

    I do like this. I would add to the very end of what you said about the press as relates to libertarians that there has been a comparable disjuncture between the free market small business community viewpoint and the big corporate capitalists. My modern customer relationship with banking as a necessary service is disgusting, it was once not so.

    • #8
    • March 25, 2020, at 10:34 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Cow Girl Thatcher

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    I get the importance of Freedom of the Press – but that is a layman’s creed. Turning professionals into gatekeepers and experts, elevating industries to powerful places that can mobilize the government against their lesser rivals – these are just as much of a threat as government is. And that’s the libertarian’s failure to understand – that just because it isn’t literally government, doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten liberty.

    This is really the point, huh? The Free Press doesn’t understand that they are not free to lie and push their personal agenda!

    As for the “alternatives” to what that Free Press promotes…I have people in my family who completely believe the Dem lines still. They still rely on the WaPo, the LA Times, the NYTimes for their news sources. So, there is no talking to them about political things, because for them Trump is Hitler, still.

    I want to stay in my family (I am married to him, and they are my children) so I just don’t talk about political things with them. Ever. Maybe that is where I failed…I didn’t talk about political things when they were growing up either because their dad and I weren’t on the same page. Actually, he wasn’t political for a long time. He just evolved into it. Sigh.

    I LOVE watching Trump own the press conferences, though. What a delight!

    • #9
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:34 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  10. Jon1979 Lincoln

    In terms of punditry, Trump broke it in the 2015-16 cycle because of both his temperament and his positions. Because he didn’t hold the standard positions of recent GOP leaders on things like Russia or troop involvements in the Middle East, he had pundits on the left railing against Russia and demanding more military action in Syria, while they were also supporting the top levels of the FBI and CIA during their Mueller hearings, because they thought both agencies could help take Trump down. On the right some pundits were shown to prize decorum over everything when it came to their Republican candidate or president. Romney’s noble loss in 2012 was better than Trump’s win in 2016 because of his UFC-style of battling with his opponents.

    Since then you’ve seen them either downplay or oppose actions by Trump that they themselves claimed to support before the summer of 2015, and since none of the horrific things forecast for a Trump presidency have come to pass (unless you’re willing to blame Trump for the coronavirus tanking the stock market), the new spin is all those bad things will come to pass if Trump’s re-elected, because he won’t be bound by ever having to face the voters again.

    Outside of a slightly blip during the 1992 election cycle, you could have pretty much become a pundit in 1970 or so and really not have to make major adjustments in your positions for the next 45 years, since both the left and right sides’ basic principles were locked into place. All that was blown up by Trump because he broke the template (and where on the right, you could be a conservative pundit who maintained their pre-2015 opinions and therefore would oppose Trump in certain areas; the problem is with the pundits who take that one step further and decide because of that and Trump’s personality, they’re fine with President Biden in 2021. When you do that, it shows personal animus is a bigger factor than ideological beliefs).

    • #10
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:43 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I have been watching tv to get the briefings from the president and the governors. I was surprised at Governor Cuomo’s briefings initially until Party leaders must have gotten to him to make sure he understood the need to conflict with the President’s actions. The quality difference between the Q & A at the daily coronavirus task force meeting and the virtual townhall conducted by Fox News was enlightening, the latter actually being informative instead of confrontational.

    The answer to your title question, in my view, is yes. The same for both political parties and the bureaucracy (the deep state, that the pandemic has forced into the background for the moment). Pelosi seems positioned to call for a unanimous vote on the Senate stimulus, which would be a capitulation of sorts, and Governor Cuomo is back praising the White House again today. So we went through a short period where all these disempowered groups tried to ride the pandemic but failed.

    Governors have to govern, while Congressional critters like Nancy Pelosi are freer to play politics, even in an emergency situation like the current one. No one probably did more to set up the media’s attack on George W. Bush than Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco — by refusing to call out the National Guard and get emergency measures in place before Katrina hit, she allowed the media to blame all that followed on Bush. But she also killed her own political career to do so, as did New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

    Cuomo still has hopes of being president, as does Gavin Newsom in California. Both could hurt Trump’s re-election hopes by making the COVID-19 crisis even worse via inaction and non-cooperation. But they’d also kill their own future presidential hopes in the process, because in-state voters like the ones in Louisiana wouldn’t just blame Trump. They’d blame the governors. So it’s in their interest to cooperate with the White House and get things done, while Pelosi in her safe S.F. district can play politics.

     

    • #11
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Rodin Member

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    The Free Press doesn’t understand that they are not free to lie and push their personal agenda!

     

    Actually they are up to a point. But we are not obliged to listen and they cannot hold a monopoly over information. Hear that, Twitter, Facebook, Google?

    • #12
    • March 25, 2020, at 4:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    Stina (View Comment):

    The Election of Obama was the triumph and height of entertainment and media power. Obama’s upset over Hillary was the media’s doing. Sure, he was an easy sell as the first Black to ascend to the office, but he was an easy sell largely due to entertainment and media pushed culture where the Civil Rights Act and Civil War to Free the Slaves are the founding myths of our age.

    His administration was the period of hegemony for them, where they believed they could tell America what to think. They’re narcissist pride in what they accomplished had them curating the news in Obama’s favor, resulting in an increased distrust in them as “Truth to Power” tellers.

    Trump’s election was their hubris. They had fooled themselves into thinking people would listen to them forever after, but Trump used their incessant need to destroy him, their pride that people still trusted them, and the public’s growing distrust of the media complex to his advantage – constantly baiting the media to spew “truths” that no one believed.

    I get the importance of Freedom of the Press – but that is a layman’s creed. Turning professionals into gatekeepers and experts, elevating industries to powerful places that can mobilize the government against their lesser rivals – these are just as much of a threat as government is. And that’s the libertarian’s failure to understand – that just because it isn’t literally government, doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten liberty.

    Your analysis is right on, but I would like to point out that some of us libertarians do understand your last point. Don’t you think a powerful centralized state is an irresistible attraction to deeply corrupt non-government institutions like the corporate press, the banking cartel, and the military-industrial complex?

    • #13
    • March 25, 2020, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Stina Member

    CJ (View Comment):
    Don’t you think a powerful centralized state is an irresistible attraction to deeply corrupt non-government institutions like the corporate press, the banking cartel, and the military-industrial complex?

    I think power is irresistible to anyone who exhibits pride and greed.

    If it weren’t government, it would be something else stepping in. That’s kinda the point. Company towns could be oppressive, too.

    • #14
    • March 25, 2020, at 7:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. CJ Coolidge
    CJ

    Stina (View Comment):

    CJ (View Comment):
    Don’t you think a powerful centralized state is an irresistible attraction to deeply corrupt non-government institutions like the corporate press, the banking cartel, and the military-industrial complex?

    I think power is irresistible to anyone who exhibits pride and greed.

    If it weren’t government, it would be something else stepping in. That’s kinda the point. Company towns could be oppressive, too.

    I thinks it’s Google that operates a sort of modern day company town, finding ways to provide affordable housing & transportation to its employees. Doesn’t sound oppressive to me. And it’s voluntary. Google would be a lot more benign if there weren’t a huge State it was trying to control and keep you from controlling.

    The State is a monopoly on violent coercion. It is the One Ring of Power. You are up against sinister forces far wealthier and better organized than you if you hope to take control of the State.

    • #15
    • March 25, 2020, at 9:36 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. I Walton Member

    When power over ordinary things moves to the center in a giant place like the US it can’t take local knowledge with it, but almost all reality actually takes place locally, so what are they supposed to do? They tell the stories given them which change rather regularly. Media can’t worry about truth, there isn’t any within their world.

    • #16
    • March 26, 2020, at 4:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Stad Thatcher

    Stina (View Comment):
    I get the importance of Freedom of the Press – but that is a layman’s creed. Turning professionals into gatekeepers and experts, elevating industries to powerful places that can mobilize the government against their lesser rivals – these are just as much of a threat as government is. And that’s the libertarian’s failure to understand – that just because it isn’t literally government, doesn’t mean it doesn’t threaten liberty.

    Well stated.

    • #17
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:45 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Stad Thatcher

    Cow Girl (View Comment):
    because for them Trump is Hitler, still.

    Ask them how many journalists Trump has imprisoned or shot, then ask them how many journalists Obama spied on.

    • #18
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:46 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. Bob Thompson Member

    Today, the governor of New York is back in taker mode complaining that the emergency relief legislation working its way through Congress does not completely cover all the shortfall created in his state’s budget caused by the covid-19 virus epidemic.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:02 AM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. Rodin Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Today, the governor of New York is back in taker mode complaining that the emergency relief legislation working its way through Congress does not completely cover all the shortfall created in his state’s budget caused by the covid-19 virus epidemic.

    O’Reilly pointed out that as Cuomo is “presidential-candidate-in-waiting” pending Biden’s imminent denouement as pre-disqualified under the 25th Amendment, Cuomo has to always have a beef with President Trump’s leadership while not being seen as undermining federal support for state efforts to combat the epidemic. To a lesser extent this will be true of all Democrat governors around the country. That Pelosi and Schumer let themselves be so caught out this week just shows you how dazzled these people can be by the shine off the “one ring to rule them all”.

    • #20
    • March 26, 2020, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Today, the governor of New York is back in taker mode complaining that the emergency relief legislation working its way through Congress does not completely cover all the shortfall created in his state’s budget caused by the covid-19 virus epidemic.

    O’Reilly pointed out that as Cuomo is “presidential-candidate-in-waiting” pending Biden’s imminent denouement as pre-disqualified under the 25th Amendment, Cuomo has to always have a beef with President Trump’s leadership while not being seen as undermining federal support for state efforts to combat the epidemic. To a lesser extent this will be true of all Democrat governors around the country. That Pelosi and Schumer let themselves be so caught out this week just shows you how dazzled these people can be by the shine off the “one ring to rule them all”.

    Cuomo only burnishes his credentials as a potential Biden replacement if he does his job up to a certain level. So he has to work with Trump at some level, while at the same time he can’t be seen as being too supportive of Trump’s actions involving COVID-19, or he’ll be viewed by Democrats in the same way Christ Christie was viewed by Republicans when he became Barack Obama’s BFF in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. If the coronavirus situation in NYC starts getting worse again and it seems like no one knows what to do, it would hurt Trump, but it would also drop Cuomo’s current rising star and turn him into the same object of disdain that Bill de Blaiso is today, due to his self-centered efforts not to take COVID-19 seriously until the middle of March.

    • #21
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Bob Thompson Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Today, the governor of New York is back in taker mode complaining that the emergency relief legislation working its way through Congress does not completely cover all the shortfall created in his state’s budget caused by the covid-19 virus epidemic.

    O’Reilly pointed out that as Cuomo is “presidential-candidate-in-waiting” pending Biden’s imminent denouement as pre-disqualified under the 25th Amendment, Cuomo has to always have a beef with President Trump’s leadership while not being seen as undermining federal support for state efforts to combat the epidemic. To a lesser extent this will be true of all Democrat governors around the country. That Pelosi and Schumer let themselves be so caught out this week just shows you how dazzled these people can be by the shine off the “one ring to rule them all”.

    It’s amusing to observe the vacillation required of those in Cuomo’s sphere. But one can see the progressive goal of a centralized national government controlling all matters. Cuomo can hardly distinguish between the fiscal responsibility sources for New York State and those for the United States. I think we can get a good test of different behavioral outcomes in the states if those New Yorkers who have been exposed to the virus will stopped leaving their homes to take it to other states.

    • #22
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Today, the governor of New York is back in taker mode complaining that the emergency relief legislation working its way through Congress does not completely cover all the shortfall created in his state’s budget caused by the covid-19 virus epidemic.

    O’Reilly pointed out that as Cuomo is “presidential-candidate-in-waiting” pending Biden’s imminent denouement as pre-disqualified under the 25th Amendment, Cuomo has to always have a beef with President Trump’s leadership while not being seen as undermining federal support for state efforts to combat the epidemic. To a lesser extent this will be true of all Democrat governors around the country. That Pelosi and Schumer let themselves be so caught out this week just shows you how dazzled these people can be by the shine off the “one ring to rule them all”.

    It’s amusing to observe the vacillation required of those in Cuomo’s sphere. But one can see the progressive goal of a centralized national government controlling all matters. Cuomo can hardly distinguish between the fiscal responsibility sources for New York State and those for the United States. I think we can get a good test of different behavioral outcomes in the states if those New Yorkers who have been exposed to the virus will stopped leaving their homes to take it to other states.

    The current situation mirrors the actions of people in the U.S. from the 1920s through the 1950s, who would flee crowded cities for safe distancing in other areas during polio virus outbreaks, to the point that some would make sure they were not in the city during the summer months, when the spread of that virus was most prevalent.

    So the behavioral patterns here are roughly the same as 65-70 years ago, during the last huge polio epidemics in the U.S. It’s just that with the eradication of polio we’ve forgotten people fleeing it in New York and other major cities, so what’s old is now new again.

    • #23
    • March 26, 2020, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • Like
  24. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    One of the casualties of the past four years of our nation viewing an unthinking, non-questioning, knee jerk mentality clouding over the world of news and journalism is that this cluelessness extends into the mental makeup of so many people these days.

    Try and debate anything with someone who does not agree with you, and almost instantly, an ad hominem attack proceeds. I think this is because the Left used “Orange Man Bad” as an excuse for any and everything, even with the powering down of sensible Congressional activities. These forgotten activities were quickly replaced with the invalid “Russia Collusion” meme.

    But to those on the Left, it doesn’t matter that this attack on the President was wrong. Because after all, Trump is still the most hate-able human who has ever lived. I am not even sure that among Lefties in the USA, Adolph Hitler is more hated, because Hitler actually committed heinous crimes that deserved hatred. After all, he brought about genocide and a World War that took the lives of 50 million people.

    Unlike Hitler, Trump does not seem obsessed with the genocide of the Jewish people, or any group of people. In fact, one of his first activities as President was to encourage North Korea’s leader to move that country into a more modern and less repressive nation state.

    Trump is a President who built up a successful economy, with February’s unemployment rate standing at 3.4 % and the stock market approaching the moon. (Until COVID 19 showed up.)

    Trump’s biggest failing is the Don Rickles side of his personality which he apparently cannot suppress. But getting the new “Hitler of the Decade” award for snarky remarks seems very over the top to me.

    ####

    • #24
    • March 26, 2020, at 8:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.