The 'mainstream media' no longer is really mainstream
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency appears to have dealt the final blow to the credibility of the media outlets that formerly dominated the nation's political conversation. The label "mainstream media" can no longer be applied to them, thanks to startling and compelling new evidence. James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal provides convincing evidence:
Skepticism toward the media is most often associated with conservatives in Middle America, some of whom eat something other than artisanal sandwiches. But this week brings more evidence that investors worldwide have become very reluctant to buy what many established news organizations are selling. How else to explain the collective shrug of the shoulders in financial markets to the latest breathless media reports about alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia?
Such reports have dominated this week's news as much of the professional commentariat has pondered out loud whether treason has been committed in the President's inner circle. Yet after an ever-so-slight hiccup on Tuesday following Donald Trump Jr.'s release of emails regarding a meeting he took last June with a Russian lawyer, stocks drifted higher. Since then, investors have spent much of their time parsing the remarks of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Reassured by her questionable suggestion that interest rates won't have to rise very fast or very far in the years ahead, they continue to keep market indexes near record levels.
Investors in the aggregate obviously don't believe that the republic is coming to an end, nor do they seem to expect a wrenching change in U.S. leadership. There have been similar episodes over the last several months of sharp divergence between the collective analytical judgment of journalists and that of investors. This era of reported turmoil has been marked by a striking lack of volatility in the financial markets. Stocks aren't cheap by historical standards and corrections do happen.
Yet the world's investors still like U.S. equities, despite constant media reports that U.S. constitutional governance is hanging in the balance.
The ability to move markets is what defines mainstream status. It is much easier to trace media influence looking at markets than politics, because elections happen only rarely, but markets move immediately when news reaches them. So this is actual evidence that the financial mainstream, at least, does not any longer trust in the legacy media. And because financial elites are very powerful (and, according to Marxists, control everything), their rejection of the current media obsession with Russia means that CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NYT, WaPo no longer have a claim to be in America's mainstream.
These institutions used to be able to largely dictate the national consciousness. But over the decades since Woodward and Bernstein actually threw a Republican president out of office with their journalism, the profession and its most prestigious and powerful institutions became deeply politicized and abused their power for purposes of propaganda. By squandering their legacy asset of credibility in tandem with the emergence of new competitors and new distribution technologies, they have sealed their fates.
Trump-hatred has become a cult phenomenon, enthusiastically embraced at the center of their lives by its adherents but shrugged off by most people ("most people" = "mainstream," doesn't it?). The legacy media are being reduced to cult media, a curiosity that can be worrisome when it gets fanatical but is largely ignored by the rest of us.