Skewed News — Enough with the fun and games! Donald Trump is dangerous.
That’s the message corporate media pundits are selling (after months of selling He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Elected because, the country be damned, #RatingsMatter.
Exhibit A is Timothy Egan’s op-ed in today’s New York Times. The Donald, Egan writes, is a fascist. Which marks a turning point. Politics is a game in which news coverage is the most precious oxygen of all, even more so than money — and the Times has granted the billionaire nativist three times more coverage than Bernie Sanders. Maybe, just maybe, Trump’s apparent mockery of a Times reporter’s disability accounts for this newfound ferocity?
In any event, Egan pulls no punches. “Let’s start with his most far-reaching crush of cruelty, the Trump promise to create a huge ‘deportation force’ to storm into homes, churches, schools and businesses and round up all 11 million undocumented immigrants. In doing so, he would need an army of agents to go door-to-door, breaking up families, and snagging many citizens caught up the in the mass sweeps. As his jackbooted minions grab legal Americans (the children born in this country, citizens per the 14th amendment) and separate them from their illegal parents, he will place them — where? In foster homes? In detention centers? In concentration camps?”
If nothing else, he’ll create a lot of Gestapo jobs.
Trump’s campaign appearances, the paper has reported, are flashbacks to the Nuremberg rallies. Here’s Egan to bring the point home: “These rallies are scary spectacles of rabid brown shirts in Dockers. His followers cheer while others pummel protesters, or spit on them. A few days ago in Alabama, a black protester was punched and kicked by his supporters. Trump suggested the man had it coming.”
Egan is right: Trumpism is dangerous. But there are three major problems with his take.
Aside from Trump’s making fun of a disabled reporter, the MSM’s alarmism-come-lately follows the developer’s renewed rise to the top of the Republican field…which followed months of mainstream pundits solemnly assuring us not to worry, this is just the silly season, the adults will win in the end. So they’re not exactly surfing a tidal wave of credibility.
Second, the outraged tone of their coverage implies that the populist nativism Trump exploits with his lies (he insists he saw Muslims in New Jersey cheering 9/11 — it never happened) is something new. To the contrary. Xenophobia and racism are older than America. And politicians, mostly but not always on the political right, have always played to these hateful scum. Pulling a few random examples, George W. Bush rounded up hundreds of innocent Muslim men from American streets after 9/11 and deported them. Barack Obama and Bill Clinton slimed the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and hip-hop artist Sister Souljah, respectively, because their victims were strong symbols of blackness who threatened “angry while male” swing voters. Ronald Reagan told fairy tales about “welfare queens.”
What Egan and his colleagues leave out of their analyses is that anti-intellectualism and bigotry aren’t anomalies of American electoral politics. They’re core features. If they were honest, they wouldn’t just call for an end to Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency. They’d call for getting rid of the water in which this poisonous fish swims: the Republican Party. No other industrialized nation has a political party this far to the right with this much support. Like the Nazi Party in Germany, the GOP has pulled too much shit — invading Iraq, opening Guantánamo, legalizing torture, etc. — to justify allowing its continued existence.
An end to the Republican Party, of course, would only be a start. Under Obama the Democrats have become a party of mass assassinations of civilians using thousands of drones, and a conduit for trillions of dollars from the Treasury to the big Wall Street megabanks that have never been held accountable for their countless crimes. Truth be told, both major parties have been delegitimized. There should be no place in mainstream political discourse for anyone to the right of, say Bernie Sanders.
The third problem with the “Trump bad” narrative is that, getting rid of a toxic strain in politics requires pumping up its alternative. This, the Times and other corporate media outlets never do.
There are hundreds of American newspapers. Not a single one ever runs an opinion essay by a communist, much less hires one as a columnist. Given that 11% of Americans are communist, 11% of published opinions should be pro-communist — and would be, if we had a free press.
There are hundreds of major broadcast and online news and politics outlets. None employ a self-identified socialist. 36% of Americans are socialist.
Communists, socialists and anarchists are the only major ideologies unequivocally opposed to the racist and Latinophobic and Islamophobic garbage Trump (and most other Republican candidates, and some Democrats) are spewing. Anyone who is serious about taking on this crap must support the real left.