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January 23rd 2017 print

Peter Smith

The Media’s Dark, Distorting Prism

If Obama had delivered Donald Trump's inaugural address it would have been hailed for its eloquence, nobility and resolve. But it was not merely a Republican at the lectern, it was a maverick Republican, so the consensus  insists the entire known world is in mortal peril

trump demonI noticed yet again that the Democrats in the US have a way with the instantaneous dissemination of words; or, at least, when it comes to the “dark” word.  President Trump had hardly finished his inaugural address when it was in the mouths of CNN commentators and, tout de suite, I saw it appear via the ABC and The Australian. I guess it also made an appearance in other media outlets. It was previously used, I recall, in describing President Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. And then too it spread like wildfire among the media elite.

“We the citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people…We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.”

This doesn’t sound too dark to me. So where is the darkness so perceptibly spotted by the Dems at their ‘media control headquarters’? Here it is, just 83 words taken out of his whole speech.

“But for many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful children deprived of all knowledge; and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

If you can stand it, picture the well-heeled media types on CNN twittering on about how this sat uneasily with the soaring [empty] inauguration speeches of yesteryear. For example: “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to make your farms flourish and let clean water flow.” And the progress President Obama made on this? Tut-tut, a mere detail.

Never mind that people and whole communities are being thrown on the scrap heap as a result of globalisation, high corporate taxes and mindless regulations; never mind that the living standards of the low skilled are being forced down by illegal immigration; never mind that law abiding people and their children are living in fear in crime-ridden inner cities. There is nothing to see there. After all, east-coast commentators on CNN are doing OK – thanks very much.

Talk about living in a bubble. It is sickening and is precisely why, and not before time, that America has President Trump. And look the way he immediately followed up his supposedly gloom-laden remarks: “We are one nation and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams. And their success will be our success.” The group-thinking MSM would have wet their pants in admiration for his soaring oratory if Obama had said it. The difference is that Trump said it. And the palpable fear is that he actually means it and just might succeed in doing something about it. Forget this cant that he is our president and we want him to succeed. They want him to fail monumentally.

Let me take a step back and admit that at first the content of Trump’s speech clashed with my preconceptions. It wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t expect him to commit himself in such definite terms to the same policies he had espoused in his campaign; to express the same disdain for the Washington elite; to effectively castigate those who had been in charge – Republicans and Democrats – for weakening America and for prospering at the expense of the people they were meant to serve; and to tell the world in no uncertain terms that in future he would always put the interests of America first (imagine how that went down among the political leaders of countries getting America’s protection on the cheap).

Despite all I thought I knew about Trump I was programmed to assume that, once President, he would hedge his bets; be at least a tad mealy-mouthed and nebulous; express a fair quota of empty rhetoric; be hard to pin down. Obviously I have listened to too many political speeches from “fancy dancers, people who can glide you on the floor, they move so smooth but have no answers.”[i] I should have known better.

I do know better. This man, I am convinced, is not just a cut above the political class; he is out of sight. Whether this means he will succeed I don’t know. Outright opposition apart, inertia on Capitol Hill is a powerful force. Trump’s persevering and negotiating skills will be tested.

Whether he is successful depends also, in part, on how success is defined. His ordinary supporters I’ve seen interviewed are level-headed. They don’t chase down his every word and promise. But he needs to get runs on the board. He has no expansive reservoir of goodwill to call upon among the political class. Only concrete results will keep off the jackals on the left and those ostensibly on his side of the fence. There will be no shortage of Republican jackals ready to pounce if Trump stumbles. Hell hath no fury like senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham scorned.

Peter Smith, a frequent Quadrant Online contributor, is the author of Bad Economics

Comments [41]

  1. Bill Martin says:

    Nice review of an inspiring speech, Peter.

    To me, apart from being most impressive and presidential, it sounded like the reading out of a an unfavourable report card of a failed student, who happened to be sitting within a few feet of him. And the failed student was painfully aware of the gravity of the dismal report, his facial expression testifying to his discomfort.

    Here is wishing the best of luck and unprecedented success to the Donald, not only for the sake of Americans but for all fair minded, decent people everywhere.

  2. Don A. Veitch says:

    It was a very good speech, especially the parts about unlocking the mysteries of the universe, protective tariffs, jobs and infrastructure. The speech expressed the principles of Henry Carey, the great American system economist, in the principles of Social Science, written in the mid- 1800s, before America was industrial.

    But who pays? Trump must remove Wall Streets tax exempt privileges and make them pay taxes (no free banquet for banks). President Trump has to make the Federal Reserve create credit, buy state infrastructure bonds (100 year, no interest). That is what President George Washington”s secretary of the treasury, Alexander Hamilton, would have done.Otherwise he will just create more debt, and merely give tax concessions to the mega-rich.

    Also, Yelland will leave the Fed soon and there are FMOC vacancies at the Fed, so President Trump can stack the Fed bench (as with the Supreme Court Scalia vacancy). No excuses soon.

    He told a porky claiming Obama was ‘nice’ to him, secondly teh war against terrorism/ISIS is just abojut over, it were the Russians and the muslims (Iran/Hezbollah) that won teh war Bush declared against terrorsm

    But I

  3. Don A. Veitch says:

    Sorry, pushed the wrong button (again) before editing above!

  4. Jody says:

    I fear for The Donald; either a bullet or its equivalent in a national media arrayed against him. But he has to stop engaging with them on their turf and discussing trivia. It’s going to be a killer and we want him to succeed. I fear his own personality will prevent any real success.

  5. Lacebug says:

    Trump will be assassinated by a left wing loony before the end of 2017.

    • Bill Martin says:

      Or by a fervent Islamist. That is a very genuine concern. One hopes that the security people are at least as conscious of the danger as the rest of us. I believe Trump has his own security personnel in addition to the official team. Of course, as is the case with all terrorism, those trying to prevent it must be successful 100% of the time while the perpetrators need only one win.

      • Jody says:

        When you see the people being egged on by Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher (in the most disrespectful and foul comments about American votes) you can see how easy it would be to ‘enable’ somebody to do the unthinkable. Those and other so-called (medicated) ‘celebrities’ are enablers of violence and dissent.

        I think the US is in dangerous, uncharted territory.

        • whitelaughter says:

          We may well end up being grateful for Obama, simply because the Secret Service has spent the last 8 years terrified of him being assassinated on their watch! No, I suspect any potential assassins will find their task much harder than expected.

    • ianl says:

      The MSM are surreptitiously underwriting that.

  6. Geoffrey Luck says:

    The best part of the Inauguration proceedings was watching Trump spit out his assessment of the country’s plight in the face of the Obamas and the Clintons, and then sweetly kiss Michelle goodbye as he saw the Obamas off by helicopter from the White House lawn.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody, its over. The rule of fear, appeasement, chaos and stupidity by the ‘educated’ elites.

    A bullet would simply mean The Donald would be replaced by Pence who, watch this space, will implement harsher changes than Trump.

    We now have a leadership which represents the real people. That won’t change anytime soon.

    You still don’t get it do you?

    The msm has been totally arrayed against Trump already… and he was successful despite them. They and the elites lost all credibility during the election.

    Now Trump has the power to utterly call out their lies and bias. The war has just begun and if you’re smart you’ll back Trump. He and his staff won’t bother answering their questions. At the first White House press conference there were no questions. There was an attack by the Press Secretary on the MSM over the fake reporting of the numbers at the inauguration. Trump attacked them on social media.

    This is the future. They won’t work with those who would undermine them.

    Jody, the combination of Trump’s personality, achiever style, policies and his use of social media won him the election. Why would that winning formulae bring him undone.

    You sound like the elites, and you asserting now, when you’ve been so wrong in the past, that he’ll bring himself undone is a tad desperate.

    I’m wondering why no one has said the likely assassins would be the extremist feminists dummy spitters, lbgti nutcases, black lives matter racists, resentful democrats, the msm nutjobs or the CIA traitors?

    • Jody says:

      Your personal and vicious ad hominems do you no service; these things only occur in the voids where rebuttal and intelligent analysis are found.

      Try to control your rage about educated people, otherwise folks will get the wrong idea about you. I always think it’s worthwhile considering the disinterested bystander and what he/should would make of such comments. It is them you need to convince, not me.

      • Jody says:

        I meant “should be found”.

      • en passant says:

        Jody,
        Keith telling it like you are is not an ad hominen – and neither is mocking your negativity and pretensions. As you have yet to name 5 positive things you expect Trump to achieve your credibility is at a low ebb.

        What have you got to support your negativity?
        Oh, yes, your prediction that Trump would not be the Republican Candidate.
        Oh, yes, your Clooneyism that ‘Donald Trump will not be the POTUS’
        Oh, yes, you advice that he must stop using his successful strategy of bypassing the MSM and challenging them on Twitter. Not POTUS polite. It was pointed out to you that instead of being polite and kowtowing to people trying to lie their way to destroying him (the end justifies the lies), he fought back – and 162M people voted for this GUY. He can be brash, rude, crude and a MAN.

        He is not racist, homophobic, islamophobic or deplorable. He sees a problem, he sees what can be done and he takes action. He has given every indication that what he campaigned on is what he intends to do. Name one of our current crop of pollie-wafflers you believe?

        Now where is your list of 5 x positive achievements Trump will achieve in his first term?

        • Jody says:

          You obviously don’t think there’s a problem. Now to convince the Republican establishment in Washington who probably provide the biggest threat to Trump outside of some enabled and aggrieved Clinton supporter/s. Time will tell.

  8. Keith Kennelly says:

    Yes Geoff and then there is that less than flattering photo of her behind.
    I’d never seen that before.

    I thought Hillary was choking. Craw must be really horrible when you thought you were queen of the world.

  9. en passant says:

    Didn’t everyone see the fear on Trump’s face as he took the oath? Didn’t he look as if he wanted to duck? When he gave his speech, surely everyone saw that he was trying to put Melania between himself and the crowd?

    That’s the problem with being overseas and only getting CNN, because that’s what I would have believed if they were my only source. Today they said that over 5M people marched against Trump in x, x & x and SYDNEY. Chris Mathews opined that Trump’s speech was anti-semitic – and everyone nodded, despite a Rabbi standing behind Trump and Netanyahu being invited (along with Hanson), but Mal’s invitation is still in Oz Ambassadorial Channel Filter, Greg Norman’s Inbox.

    At this point I was about to reach for a double dose of Chivas therapy, but switched to Russia Today – and returned to reality.

    If something [external] harmed Trump the MSM (which has campaigned for it relentlessly) would claim their credibility has been restored and would cheer without shame.

    All is again right with part of the world, but not yet Oz.

  10. Warty says:

    Watching English films, or our own, says something, perhaps not a great deal, about who the English are, and we, but also a little of aspects of ourselves we like to project. In so many Australian films, a form of optimistic humour comes across, whether it’s Hoges hamming it up over in America, or a sense of our own ridiculousness in Strictly Ballroom. And then there are American films, some presenting large than life situations that no individual would experience in ten consecutive embodiments, never mind one. Or the extraordinary capacity for schmaltz.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Trump and hope, perhaps believe, he’ll achieve a great deal in office; and I think his administration will be a game changer. But for all our talk in the Quadrant and in The Australian and Spectator (I don’t think there are any other publications out here) it is hard for us to actually get a handle on Trump, no matter how many American films we watch. He is larger than life, and I do cringe whenever he uses the word ‘nice’ (it has quite a different connotation over here and in England) but for all their bluster and dollops of treacle, they do achieve a lot, and have achieved even more in the past. So Trump being larger than life also has an element of reality about it too.

  11. [email protected] says:

    Trump is a rude, crude, lewd, bombastic buffoon, but I still really liked the fact that he was elected POTUS, even if only to see the majority of journalists around the world go firstly into a state of denial and then into apoplexy. In November I even broke my golden rule and watched the ABC to see how the likes of Cassidy and Virginia Trioli [a.k.a Vitrioli] took it. Not well. To see some of the US ‘journalists’ crying was almost as good. Unfortunately Trump won’t be the intellectual/philosophical warrior that civilisation/the west needs, but at least he will do far less harm than any Democrat Party apparatchik would, certainly less than Obama or Hillary.
    As I have posted before – The US election showed in detail the voting ‘patterns’/areas. The bulk of people who voted for Trump were from the wealth producing areas of the US, i.e. rural areas and the outer suburbs of bigger regional cities. About 83% of individual counties voted for Trump. Clinton won only in the bigger cities, i.e. the wealth consuming areas and areas dominated by bureaucratic ‘elites’ and welfare recipients. These were concentrated on the west coast [known in the US as the 'left' coast] i.e mainly California, and the North-Eastern States such as New York and Massachusetts. Take out California [where Trump didn't campaign] and Trump won the popular vote.
    Although Trump is not the intellectual/philosophical warrior that civilisation/the west needs he may be the intellectual circuit breaker that may permit that sort of person [A Margaret Thatcher] to arise and succeed.

    • ianl says:

      > ” … to see the majority of journalists around the world go firstly into a state of denial and then into apoplexy”

      Yes, that *was* fun. Hypocrisy unleashed, as it were …

  12. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody

    Obviously you object to other people’s truth and/or their expression of it. This is what the educated elites have tried to force us into behaving over the last 30 years.

    It won’t work any more .

    Tell me how is to call you an elitist an educated elitist an ad hominem attack. It’s the truth as wvidenced in all you say about Trump. I do give you credit for arriving at your conclusions, not because of what you read, but because you have a mind of your own. It simply has been influenced, in your training, to think like an elitist.

    Well I’m like Donald, I object to elitism of the educated and I’ll point out the stupidity of it all.
    Unlike the educated elites I believe everyone holds some of the truth and no one holds all the truth. The problem has been that the educated elites have been too narrowly educated and yet think they hold all the truth… and have told us all how we should live.
    Yep I’ll rail against that all day and everyday. Just like the great philosophers, who you have never read, and in particularly Bertrand Russell and Jaques Barnum.

    You are right Jody I don’t see a problem with Trump at all.

    Where have you been for the past 12 months?

    Donald has made a point of showing how badly askew in behaviour and outlook those elitist Republicans in Washington are. This establishment no longer holds much power at all. If they try to stifle Trumps policies they know they will slaughtered at the ballot box in much the same way Hillary was.

    His ‘cleaning out the swamp’ is aimed at them as well as all those other elitists.

    • Jody says:

      You direct your ‘elitist’ accusations towards the wrong people. Elitism is too good a term for those who supported the Clintons – they are oligarchs. Roger Federer is an ‘elite’ individual, but nobody in the polity – either here or the USA. So, let’s get that straight.

      Today John McCain has come out criticizing Trump – the GOPs are utterly divided over Trump, just as they were before when they were fielding candidates AGAINST Trump.

      Watch the movie “Citizen Kane” if you want to see where all this is likely to go.

      • Ian MacDougall says:

        Jody:
        In these opening days of Trump’s Reich, I happen to have been reading a novel that begins in the last days of Hitler’s Third : James A Michener’s Space. A damned good read IMHO.
        At Peenemunde in Holland, the German rocket scientists who had been trying to destroy London were trying to save the documents relevant to their work, and to prevent them falling into the hands of the SS, French or Russians. They decided to try a surrender to the Americans.
        Whatever the historical accuracy of all that, it has an uncanny resemblance to the present race by American climatologists to save their stuff from Trump and his underlings.

        AT 10 AM the Saturday before inauguration day, on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library at the University of Pennsylvania, roughly 60 hackers, scientists, archivists, and librarians were hunched over laptops, drawing flow charts on whiteboards, and shouting opinions on computer scripts across the room. They had hundreds of government web pages and data sets to get through before the end of the day—all strategically chosen from the pages of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—any of which, they felt, might be deleted, altered, or removed from the public domain by the incoming Trump administration.

        It’s that bad….

        I have no objection to Trump trying his hand at radical brain surgery on himself. When he decides to carry it out on the rest of us, it becomes another matter entirely.
        https://www.wired.com/2017/01/rogue-scientists-race-save-climate-data-trump/?mbid=social_cp_fb_tny#slide-1

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jaques Barzun

  14. Keith Kennelly says:

    No Ian I mean Jaques Barzun the great late 20th century American Educationalist, philosopher, writer and Editor . His greatest works were assisting in the compilations of ‘Great Books of the Western World’ and the ‘Harvard Classics’.

    I guess I don’t know as much as you about circuses or clowns.

  15. Keith Kennelly says:

    Jody
    see Ian sees you as aligned with him and he, mate, is an avowed elitist.

    John McCain is an elitist and is becoming isolated in the Republican Party.

    See you confuse things like the elites.

    Federer is a sportsman not at all an educate elitist like McCain and the Clintins and Obamas and Washington Establishments. Why did you draw that contemptible comparison?
    Was it an attempt to cleans elitism?

    Jody the Republiccans who attempt to maintain the elitist status quo will become isolated and irrelevant as Trump makes America great again.

    McCain’s problem is that he sees himself a a Great War hero. Trump sees him as a great prisoner of war… not so much a hero but a survivor. Mccain obviously resents the truth being pointed out.

    As a pacifist I always thought McCain a bomber pilot and a coward as he only ever dropped bombs on people and never actually engaged in combat, like Ike and JFK.

    People always understood that, the elites missed that and it was they who promoted the idea he was a hero.

    You should stop championing his opinions. He was rejected by the voters if the US.

  16. Keith Kennelly says:

    What is the title of this article?

    And you know about McCain from … the media.

  17. Jody says:

    Trump is behaving in a more bizarre manner every day; today he’s talking about how many stood for a standing ovation before the FBI hero’s wall. He has all the hallmarks of narcissism and grandiosity. Read this for a view of the spectrum of this disorder:

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

  18. Keith Kennelly says:

    Oh god

    It’s all pretty black and white… but couldn’t their be degrees of narcissism?

    I’d see that as a possibility … here

    I’d also think you pay too much attention to the elite’s blackandwhiteism.

    • Jody says:

      Most of us have a little vanity, to be sure. Narcissism is a personality disorder and there are varying degrees of severity on the spectrum. Having discussed this with my (retired) clinical psychologist sister, she agrees Trump is a narcissist. There is no half-way for him, I’m afraid. Turnbull is also a Narcissist but the worst clinical case was Kevin Rudd. John Howard, by comparison, was not in the least a narcissist.

      These people always disappoint with their ambit of huge excpectations which inevitably are linked to their need for love and personal affirmation rather than doing good, per se. I rather think it is people like you who are beset by ‘black and white-ism’!! There are nuanced positions out there and I urge you to consider them.

      Again, your fundamental obsession with ‘the elites’ tells us more about yourself than the demographic you so clearly despise. Please read Christopher Lasch, “The Culture of Narcissism; American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations”. You don’t even have to be an elite to read it!!

  19. Keith Kennelly says:

    Where would Geoff and Malcolm sit within your narcissistic paradigm?

    Or me for that matter?

    When you go the God Judgement scenario( the route of a little knowledge etc) you can be made to look pretty silly Jody.

  20. Keith Kennelly says:

    Well Jody the reality is this.

    Trump promised a halt to Muslim immigration … done.
    Trump promised to build that wall… begun.
    Trump promised to renegotiate or abolish Free Trade Agreements.. begun.
    Trump promised to end the climate scam … begun.
    Trump promised to revisit Wade v Wade … begun.
    Trump promised to return jobs to the US … begun.
    Trump promised to make America Great Again … well with the personal he’s appointed and with that 15% business tax and the ability of individuals to register as businesses … that will happen.

    ‘These people always disappoint with their ambit of huge expectations …’

    Since he’s not disappointing but actually starting to achieve his promises is he in your opinion still a narcissist or could he be simply a very high achiever, who knows how to get things done?

    I’m not obsessed with the educated elites I’m simply pointing out how their know all stupidity wrecks Western society. I seem to have to repeat it because you and people like you continually indulge in that behaviour.

    Like your assessment and assertions here… again. All your comments ignore the reality most of us see and yet you carry on in the same old vein

    When it comes to Trump I don’t put great store in what any of the educated elites have to say. They are too often too narrowly focused and most have never encountered very high achievers outside their own professions or educated cohorts. I think I’ve told you things like that too … repeatedly and you still don’t get it.

    Your sister for example, does she share your anti Trump anti deplorable attitudes? Can she run through a list of attributes and negative personality traits of very high achievers … business achievers.

    Trump is just that and he’s taking that with him to the Presidency. Looked at in that vein … well Trump might have a degree of narcissism, even more than most, but the positives of qualities and abilities he has fat outweigh

  21. Keith Kennelly says:

    Far outweigh any negatives of narcissism.

    See the narrowness of your perspective? You only judge him by his narcissism.
    He’s much too complex a character for that.

    I think your sister might be being kind to you.