In We Wouldn't Have Donald Trump If the Media Hadn't Helped Destroy th..., Neil Gabler argues that mass media has literally made the 2016 Presidential Campaign into a reality show. The media created Trump, he says, but now how we imagined.

We've focused on how the media give Trump free air.

Trump ... This past Thursday, he was the subject of 52,683 articles. Bernie Sanders was next at 4,400. In a measure of what LexisNexis calls “voice,” which tallies both web mentions and mentions on social media like Twitter, Trump received 84 percent of the Republicans’ share."

Pay attention, instead, to a larger picture.

The media should be pounding Trump not for his bloviation or his braggadocio or his bad manners or even his implied racism and explicit nativism. They should be pounding him for what he purports he will do as president. But they don’t, and Trump knows they won’t. [emphasis mine]

Consider a longstanding media offense, what Daniel Boorstin calls "pseudo-events". We have ...

... a society in which things were increasingly staged expressly for the media without any intrinsic merit of their own – things like photo ops, press conferences, award ceremonies. He labeled these “pseudo-events” because they only looked like real events, while being hollow inside."

The media, after all, were in the business of getting an audience, not educating it, which is why campaigns began to assume the contours of movies...

A phase change happened. The 2016 presidential campaign is actually a pseudo-campaign, wherein the line between reality show entertainment and actual politics blurred.

...where all the usual trimmings and frivolities of a campaign moved to the center, and the center disappeared.

Donald Trump did not create this situation. He is ...simply the most gifted practitioner of the pseudo-campaign,...

Donald Trump ... is ... our first pseudo-candidate because he is ...  a celebrity who stands for little besides his celebrity,...

... he is not held to the standards to which politicians have been traditionally held... because they treat him like a celebrity and not a real political candidate. Celebrities aren’t expected to be substantive. [emphasis mine]

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...  a media that is far more interested in creating a reality show than presenting a process for selecting a leader.

Gabler's right. We've crossed a portal into surreal territory In 2016, people can't distinguish entertainment from real social function. No VR goggles needed. We've lost our collective grip on reality.

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Robert Kuttner delves into historical precedent. The Toxic Factors that Give Rise to Right-Wing Populists Like Trump...

Right-wing populists ... are not accountable to politics as usual.

They trigger cognitive dissonance. Once large numbers of people see a populist outsider as potential savior, it doesn't matter what they say, how much they contradict themselves, how crude they are, or how much their own previous life is at odds with their current role. This is all seen as anti-establishment cred.

In Berlusconi's case, Italy's instrument of populist anti-corruption rage was himself a corrupt billionaire. It didn't matter. Trump, the scourge of aliens who take American jobs, has imported hundreds. Water off a duck's back.

Hitler, calling for the golden-haired resurgence of a racially pure, nordic German Reich, was a swarthy Austrian. Das macht nichts (no problem). [emphasis mine]

No TV fantasy prepares me to live in a planet-destroying culture selecting mere celebrity for leadership. In all of the science fiction I read as a child, no one imagined a world in which virtual reality engulfed the living world through such bizarre collective madness. The media lost touch with reality, and we strolled right through their portal without noticing.

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Well . . . Bobby Jindahl says Obama created Trump.

Are these fellows bragging or complaining? Seems like the world needs a few more sensible candidates! If this is what democracy produces, I would rather live on a starship!

Ohio's former governor Kasich is the adult in the campaign. The media are using the others to attract advertisers.

A starship governed by whose rules, Joan?

I don't think voter support is the deciding variable here, Daniel. Media are often the driving force behind the manipulation. It's important to recognize the dangerous power right-wing media can have on everyday people.

... campaign coverage, at least Trump's campaign coverage, is based on what's popular (or what makes money for news outlets), and not based on what's newsworthy. Casting aside decades of precedent, campaign journalism seems to have almost consciously shifted to a for-profit model.

"Politicians have always sought to manipulate the public. What's changed is that media is now not only a willing co-conspirator, they are often the driving force behind the manipulation. No longer seeing itself as responsible for reporting the truth, for getting the facts to the people, it has instead incentivized a scrum, a wild fight for attention in which anything that attracts an audience is fair game." [emphasis mine]

The Media's Not Being Honest About Its Trump Obsession

There's a new documentary coming on the 18th,'The Brainwashing of My Dad': Documentary Explores the Scary Influe.... It explores "the dangerous power right-wing media can have on everyday people."

So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a
frozen pool which might give way under you, the author, at any time.
. . . Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory
since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in
truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is
essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even
the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon
which we feed.
. . . It’s a scintillating stratagem. Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay. 
--Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 2005

Language is actually employed to keep thought at bay.

This is a time honored ploy, especially in religion and politics.

Almost synonymous with religion and politics.

I don't watch much of it. Trump promises to deliver on things he could not legally accomplish. At best, if elected, he would find his hands tied and others not wanting to work with him - much like Obama has but for different reasons.

What would you do with 3 million Muslims, all U.S. citizens and born right here in America? Where would you send them, why, and how? Are people so stupid that they believe you can round up others like Hitler did and send them away? Apparently so. Folks, it isn't 1950 any more.

How many believe that building walls would keep immigrants out? How many believe that that's the real problem? When (if ever) will any real issues be addressed? Once we get that far we would have to have debates between the 2 parties rather than dog and pony shows.

Fix climate, fix bad drinking water everywhere, take a positive stand on our security and do the same with our welfare. Bernie Sanders would do it, but Old Charlie says he's only aware of Col. Sanders.

How many believe that building walls would keep immigrants out?

Brilliant plan: a Maginot Line in 2016. That'll work.

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The Donald is just another brick in the wall.

So, when do we say to Trump "you're fired!"?

We need him around a while to deflect Cruz's chances. Seattle Times endorsed Bernie and Kasich, but no way will the Republicans go for the adult.


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