Tweeting by Trump and the Future of the Media
In my travels I come across those who think the tweeting by Donald Trump, first in the GOP primaries, then as the Republican candidate for president, then as president-elect, and then presumably as president is ... well ... unpresidential, undignified. Granted, such voices typically come from the older end on the age spectrum, which isn't quite as familiar or comfortable with the new social media technology as the younger set.
But still, there are still many in the hipper generation, especially those in the political world and the media, who don't like Trump's tweeting, either. Although not openly admitted, the actual reason for this group's complaint is that Trump's tweets have been highly effective in advancing his points and prohibiting the liberal media from controlling the agenda and distorting his message.
Thus by tweeting, Trump has further diminished the liberal media's already faltering monopoly on the news.
Some say the mass media is biased against Republicans, especially conservatives ones. No it isn't. That train left the station long ago. Here's the history.
Back when Huntley & Brinkley and Tom Brokaw (NBC), Walter Cronkite (CBS), and Peter Jennings and Harry Reasoner (ABC) were serving Americans their TV news and the print media took its lead from the liberal New York Times and Washington Post, this aggregate of media gave a definite progressive slant to the news. It was a seemingly mild bias back then. That's because the mainstream media had a monopoly on the news.
But things started to change to undermine the liberal control of the news. First was the rise of conservative talk radio. This came about in 1987 with the abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine under President Ronald Reagan. Meaningful talk radio programs started with early pioneers like Bob Grant, Barry Farber, and Joe Pine. This has now exploded to where conservatives dominate the talk radio format with too many personalities to name but they include Mark Levin, Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Laura Ingraham, Tammy Bruce, Michael Savage, and of course, the King of Talk Radio, Rush.
This development seriously undermined the control of the news that liberals have grown accustomed to. In an attempt to maintain its influence on the minds of the people, the media grew more strident and its bias more obvious. Aside from the media's day-in, day-out increased liberal slant on the news, there also were egregious examples of outright lying like Dan Rather's forged documents on George Bush's National Guard service in 2004. Here, Rather tried to sway the presidential election. For this crude fabrication, Rather and three CBS executive producers were fired by the network. Their crime was not that they tried to defeat Bush with 'fake news' but they went about it in such an amateurish way that a blogger was able to blow the whistle on them.
As time went on, Fox News came on the scene and the Internet developed. As for the Internet, not only did it facilitate communication among conservatives, but more significantly it gave rise to conservative websites. Call this the conservative blogosphere. The power of alternative news websites was first demonstrated by Matt Drudge who literally blew the media cover-up of the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal out of the water.
Talk radio ruffled the feathers of the liberal media. But Fox News and the rise of the conservative blogosphere, of which the American Thinker is part, made the mass media apoplectic as it sank the trustworthiness of the media to an all time low.
With the breaking of the liberals' monopoly over the news Americans received, the media jettisoned all pretense of objectivity. Dropping its facade, the mass media emerged as an active participant on the side of the Democrats. For example, we saw supposed neutral debate moderators in the McCain-Obama (2008) and Romney-Obama (2012) races acting not as impartial referees but helpers for Barack Obama against his deer-in-the-headlights hapless Republican opponents. The media tried to use the same tactic against Donald Trump but to much less effect. This was because Trump did not accept the false premise that the media was fair or that he had to respect it. He also had the moxie to tweet.
The media partisanship reached its apex in Trump-Obama race -- all to little effect. The media flopped because of the cumulative effect of talk radio, the conservative blogosphere, and Fox News to which the new element of Trump's tweets had been added. As Trump himself put it, he doesn't especially like tweeting but it is his best way around 'a lying media.' Who can argue that point?
Donald Trump is an intelligent man. He knows the media, although temporarily chastised by the 2016 election, has not undergone an epiphany that will suddenly turn it into an honest purveyor of the news. So the hope in this quarter is that, as president, Trump will tweet as the need arises.
A further hope brings to mind the story of Christopher Columbus and the egg.
The story told by Girolamo Benzoni in his Historia del Mondo Nuovo of 1565 was that at a meal several of Columbus's detractors began to comment that any number of other people could have found their way to the New World and that Columbus's feat was unremarkable because of its simplicity. Columbus replied that it was only easy now that he had demonstrated how it was done, and by way of an example, he challenged anyone present to stand an egg on its end. After all those attempting the feat had admitted defeat Columbus demonstrated the simplicity of the challenge by crushing one end of the egg against the table which allowed it to remain upright.
The moral of the story is now that Donald Trump has demonstrated how to address the American people directly without the clutter of media bias, more conservatives will follow his example. After all, tweeting is available to one and all.