It all seems so long ago now, the day we created the Trump. We were so innocent then and could not possibly see what lay ahead. It began simple enough with cable. The three big news stations became in competition with the newly forming news stations of cable. Newspapers suddenly found themselves in competition with blogs and online news. The viewing public was no longer able to be divided into three and the reading public was being divided into smaller and smaller special niche populations. The mighty New York Times was bleeding readers. The news industries were struggling to maintain their audiences much less grow them. Who was leaving them were the audiences on the far right and left. How do we compete with these news agencies the big three said. We must have wider appeal to an audience that now can cherry pick their news sources. So it started.
The far right views once thought to be filled with hate and misinformation were now given equal credence with the norms of fact and the growth of a better society. It was called moral equivalencies. Everything was to be presented in equal time with equal moral sway. The newscasters and reporters were to be neutered and offer no subjectivity to be totally objective ( a lie unto itself) At first this seemed so right, views that had not been shared regularly before now found themselves on equal footing with the more progressive viewpoints and best of all unchallenged. After all it was the right thing to do. The public would be able to discern who was right. But how by the passion in their voice and the confirmation of already held beliefs told with certainty and facts made up or exaggerated? The big three’s moral side was now compromised with the confusion of were they promoting this view after all I saw it on NBC it must have some legitimacy because it was not challenged only shared. The public began to expect to hear other points of views no matter how outlandish. They also expected the outlandish non mainstream views to be given equal time and treated equally. The shouting began as groups with new found airtime demanded not only expression but agreement or else declare you anathema. Truth became irrelevant because now the more important thing was holding your ratings. Because they had not entered this bargain with the devil in an effort of airing new viewpoints for truth but for the ratings they would lose their way. The beast was rising up from the swamps of toxic news.
Then the right started their own media Fox, Talk Radio, Breitbart, etc. These organizations were not concerned with moral equivalencies and non-subjective presentations. They exhibited extreme Prejudice and were convinced they were balancing the left’s bias (at least some claimed this). But the big three and most other moderate agencies were now caught in the web of moral equivalencies and non-subjective reporting as their mantras. Which meant the public either received the bias right or a watered down moderate point of view. So when the Tea Party, who never amounted to more than 15% of the population, came they were able to dominate the news. They were new, loud and created good buzz which in turn created good ratings. No one seriously challenged them at first because if you did they would leave you and go to the new right media giving them the sought after ratings. So interviews became soft and information slanted to not offend. And their small group appeared big because they were everywhere challenging all comers making them the news. The network news were the Stepford news now perfectly polite and programmed to create ratings.
We began to live in an age where the moderate and left views are either attacked or ‘balanced’ by other viewpoints. The right is either catered to or ‘balanced’ as much as they are comfortable with. The norm and factual are now relegated to where the far right was in a corner and can no longer get the truth out.
Enter the loud mouthed politicians who attract attention with outlandish non-factual statements. The shouters were once the province of the talking heads but now politicians saw room to be loud and obnoxious as a campaign strategy to garner attention and inflated importance. Chris Christie was the accepted norm with what was heralded as his New Jersey attitude. We were now used to hearing political views presented with volume, attitude, and as moral equivalencies left unchallenged. Even governors and presidential candidates spoke this way now. The seed for the Trump was planted. Trump is a media hound par excellence, self-promoter of great capacities, celebrity with reality television authority, and with money that everyone wished they had. He spouts outlandish things creating good ratings and if the press dare to challenge him more than he was comfortable they were barred from his events. His views if challenged at all were suddenly retracted or became suggestions not policies. He could challenge other candidates with loud voice, disparaging nicknames, policy simplifications, or outright lies. He spoke in a way the public had grown familiar with and to love. He was a natural politician they said. Genius of media promotion they said. But the real scary fact was we had planted the seed for him a long time ago and he had laid in wait and now the Trump had conquered the Truth. The only question left was were we to become pod people.