Donald Trump Could Not Have Had a Better Ally than the Liberal Media
For months, the overwhelming majority of the media, experts, and political specialists in the United States predicted an election victory for Hillary Clinton. They were doubtless persuaded by the predominance of “liberal” ideology in our society, or what passes for it. Yet, opinion leaders, not to mention the pollsters, offered more public relations for the Democratic Party candidate than actual information.
Many Americans, and people around the world for that matter, were led astray from what mattered by the media. In fact, it might be safe to say that the media completely failed to capture what many people were thinking and—more importantly—feeling. While much of the mainstream media still appears to be struggling to understand, perpetuating the divide, some are getting it.
Thomas Frank, a self-declared liberal, and author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, has gone to the source of the problem. Rather than blaming Trump’s voters, he admits that some very good people voted for Trump. He uses that fact to examine what went wrong for the Democrats.
Frank suggests that “Hillary Clinton was exactly the wrong candidate: a technocrat who offered fine-tuning when the country wanted to take a sledgehammer to the machine.” (Source: “Donald Trump is Moving to the White House and Liberals Put Him There,” The Guardian, November 9, 2016.)
In the days after Trump’s win, the “liberal” media—mainly “intellectuals” and “journalists”—struggled to deal with their amazement and surprise. “I didn’t see it coming” is what they all say. But that’s the problem, as Thomas Frank observes. They should have seen it coming miles away. Instead they painted Trump’s support base—before the election—as right-wing reactionaries. And that was the most moderate term.
They did not see that an ever-growing number of Americans have had it with the economic—and even societal—liberalism that has dominated the world since the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. The media did nothing but paint Trump’s support base as frustrated and ill-bred people.
As Frank says, the media preferred to insult instead of trying to understand what motivated Trump supporters. “They transformed opinion writing into a vehicle for high moral boasting. What could possibly have gone wrong with such an approach?” (Source: Ibid.)
I would add that the media should use the Trump election for some deep thinking about its role. If it doesn’t, it will miss the bubbling revolution. Revolutions are not just a left-wing phenomenon. It can take any number of forms, and Trump’s election is a sign. We might still be in time to avoid it, so long as we remember that more Trumps will rise in America and elsewhere in the West. Revolutions are the effect, not the cause, of injustice and unfairness.