In 1836 William Henry Harrison was the first Presidential candidate to campaign from a train. It didn’t do him any good. Four years later he was the first President to travel to his inauguration on a train. This post isn’t about trains. Rather, it is about President’s and others either catching a break or being caught wrong-footed by emerging technology.
President Roosevelt took advantage of radio, by speaking directly to the American public in a series of thirty “fireside chats.”
History shows that Nixon was the loser of the first televised Presidential debates in 1960. Radio audiences listening to the same debate thought Nixon won the contest.
Nixon was not as photogenic as Jack Kennedy. On TV Nixon lost the battle. He wore the wrong suit; it blended into the background. Nixon displayed a five o’clock shadow against a pale, and sweaty complexion. Nixon refused makeup. Jack Kennedy, on the other hand, enhanced himself by accepting the requirements of TV.
Nixon got caught wrong-footed in 1972. As George Will put it, Nixon didn’t do anything that any other politician of his generation hadn’t done. Nixon’s failure was not to recognize that times were changing. What had been acceptable, no longer was acceptable.
By the time 1980 rolled around, it was the MSM’s turn to be caught wrong-footed. Ronald Reagan showed that Jack Kennedy was a rank amateur at working a camera angle. The great communicator played the press liked they had never been played before.
By the time Blow Job Bill Clinton, the serial rapist, rolled around the MSM gave up its role as the “fifth estate” and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic party. The media had access that the MSM had never enjoyed in any previous administration. But like Faust found out, when you sell your soul to the devil, there is a price to be paid.
Keep this in mind, a rookie reporter who began covering the serial rapist in 1992 has been operating in a climate of no integrity for twenty-five years. Some have probably already retired, never once ever setting an honest word to paper during an entire career. They were able to do so securely in the knowledge that they would never be challenged.
With the election of Barak Obama, “The One” all pretense to objective reporting went out the window. Then a funny thing happened. People discovered that they didn’t need to send their videos, and the first person accounts of events that they witnessed to the MSM, where their reportage could be managed. They could post directly to Facebook, or Twitter or their favorite blogger. The MSM reported events one way. Citizens countered with video evidence to show a side the MSM didn’t want to be known.
Sixty Minutes mastered the ambush interview and undercover video and has been doing it for years, can anybody recall a lawsuit filed as a result? James O’Keefe is routinely sued or indicted for using the same tactics. What is going on? The MSM, like the captain of a slave ship, is hearing the sound of bare feet and chains on the deck and it is their worst nightmare. There is only one thing that could make it worse.
Enter Donald Trump. The first thing to take into consideration is he is a New Yorker, which pretty much means he is an obnoxious prick. When you add vast quantities of money to the mix, you get an obnoxious prick, times ten. That’s Ok; I’m an obnoxious prick, I just don’t have the financial wherewithal to reach my fullest potential. I could probably get along with him during a round of golf; I’m available, just call Mr. President. I don’t think I would do well with him at a remote fish camp in Canada. The MSM is calling him mean-spirited. Name calling is an indication of one of two things; they don’t have mirrors where journalists reside or more likely journalists cast no reflection in a mirror. Sweetness and light are not in a journalist’s job description.
The MSM is trying to create the image that he is unfit and mentally unbalanced. The process is called projection. The MSM has willingly thrown away their ethics, credibility, sense of decency, honesty, and objectivity to maintain the one thing they value above all else, the monopoly they have on the flow of information. They are losing that monopoly, more and more every day and they are panicking.
The MSM is no longer the gatekeepers to what the President has to say. Suppressing some comments, emphasizing others and taking yet others out of context. With Twitter you get Trump. The only recourse the MSM has to report the controversy real or imagined caused by those remarks. I don’t need the media to tell me if I should be offended. If I am not, numerous whiny reactions from commentators are unlikely to change my mind. If I am offended, apologies will probably not ring true.
I suspect that the media believed that biased reporting heavy on opinion and salted with occasional facts had value. Instead, people were reading, listening, and watching to grab a stray fact here or there and ignoring the opinions entirely. How it must cut to find out nobody cares what their opinion is because it is routinely ignored. With alternative sources for information opening, the panic just keeps increasing. Call your stockbroker tell him you want to sell everything and put it into newspaper stock. See what he says.
I have always advocated suing the media when they get it wrong. I’m not talking about libel. I would take a different route, product liability. They are selling a product; information, and the information turns out to be untrue. People are making decisions based on what they read, see, hear, on the media every day.
Here is a scenario for you: a fireworks factory blows up, killing three workers. One would expect the investigation to delve into workplace practices, safety equipment, training of the workers. What if it turned out that the sign painter for the “NO SMOKING” signs didn’t include the “NO” on the finished signs and posted them throughout the plant. It seems to me that the person who put out the false information ought to bear the brunt.
Has Trump gone too far? In my opinion, not far enough. Whistleblowers salted throughout his administration need to be prosecuted. The reporters who printed the stories are reasonably sure they will not be prosecuted. That does not mean that they are immune from contempt charges for refusing to name their source. Put some of these reporters in the general population of the Central Detention Facility, DC jail. Most of them wouldn’t last a week before they would be willing to testify.
The Secret Service screens people with access to the President, White House grounds, and anywhere he happens to be. For the MSM that means a “White House Press Pass.” The New York Times and CNN have both run provably false stories, not unflattering opinions, but false facts in the recent past. Cancel the press passes for these organizations and the individuals and reissue then to other media. This is not an assault on the First Amendment. The affected entities can still report on any topic under the sun; they just can’t do it from the White House.
Cops, sausage makers, and journalists share a common trait. They all revel in the knowledge that the product they are complimented upon would sicken their admirers had the crowd only known the process used to make it.