Two words: The Media.
It’s nothing new for the media to obsess over a particular story or public figure. They will jump at any given opportunity to form a cash generating scoop, or to simply keep the public distracted with trivial issues. Arguably, this was the case with Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial sacking from Top Gear earlier this year, or the shooting of Cecil the Lion (while millions of other animals are killed each year), or the usual celebrity gossip plastered over The Sun newspaper. However, the media can also utilize its considerable power to vilify one particular person.
Donald Trump is the target here. The big business mogul and former reality TV star turned Republican candidate is leading an increasingly scandalous electoral campaign. Of course, he’s not one to shy away from making offensive comments. Some have been truly distasteful and absurd, including mocking a disabled journalist and calling for a great wall to be built across the US-Mexico border, to stop illegal immigrants. More recently, he proposed to ban Muslim migration in the United States until the problem of extremism was solved. This has caused outrage, in America and in Europe. In the UK, a petition to ban him from the country has received over half a million signatures.
The media is partly responsible for this uproar, by giving him disproportionate coverage. Studies show that Trump has received 25 times more limelight than the GOP field combined; and 23 times more than Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders, despite both men equally polling just over 30% of their party’s support. Part of the parcel could be from Trump’s initial fame, and his absence of any inhibition. Yet is there a more sinister reason for him being plastered over the headlines?
Likely so. If you look at the headlines, the vast majority of them portray Trump as some kind of buffoon. The Huffington Post has credited J.K. Rowling’s likening of Trump to Lord Voldemort. NBC News has called Trump’s campaign dangerous, and compared him to Hitler. The New York Times has said Trump is “more typically associated with hate groups”. The Washington Post has indicated he is a racist, while the UK’s right-wing Daily Express labelled him an extremist. Even the Murdoch Empire has painted Trump negatively in The Times, in a bid to demonize him – and you know if Rupert Murdoch targets you, your reputation will likely be tarnished. After all, the man has over 150 media outlets worldwide at his disposal.
Whenever the mass media barrages someone in such a manner, it indicates that the target is not liked by the corporate establishment. While Trump’s comments sometimes have reflected mainstream values e.g. firmly declaring he would not raise the minimum wage, he lacks refinery and is devoid of political correctness. He would be difficult to tame – unlike say previous Republican president George W Bush. His outright targeting of Muslims diverts from the narrative commonly shared between politicians that ‘Islam is a peaceful religion, and extremists do not represent Islam’.
Yet he’s still rather popular – surely he’s a danger?
Of course, who am I to say? I’m only a Brit, so this doesn’t affect me? Well, I’ve observed the patterns in which the media operates, and how the so-called “free press” really has its own agenda – that which it shares with the corporate elite.
Yes, the opinion polls have him ranked highest – for now! Yet polls this early are not accurate predictions. Remember in the 2008 Presidential Election, Rudy Guiliani was miles ahead for several months, until he later got trumped by John McCain.
Even if Trump was nominated to be the Republican candidate, it is almost inevitable that he will be up against Hilary Clinton; who has astounding political influence, a great campaigner, and an abundance of funds to invigorate her campaign. At least her views resemble the political orthodoxy.
And one can only imagine the pandemonium that Trump will attract if he is elected. The media will be desperate to keep him out, if he’s being portrayed this negatively now. As Noam Chomsky once pointed out: “hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year to control the public mind”.
It’ll will work. It always does. Look at Britain, where the press is considerably less restrictive than America – in 1997, when Tony Blair came to power, it was widely believed within his inner circle that the main reason he was successful was owing to his close friendship with Rupert Murdoch (two months before the election, The Sun had swung behind Blair). On the polling day of the 2010 and the 2015 General Election, The Sun also blatantly commanded readers to vote for the Conservative Party – which it gave favor to after Blair retired from Labour in 2007.
The Power of Propaganda
The media possesses tremendous influence. In the words of Malcolm X: ” “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” And if Trump is not wanted in power, which is conceivably the case, then he won’t set foot anywhere near the White House.