Tag Archives: media and politics

How Trump trumped the establishment media culture

Amid all the media fawning over Meryl Streep’s anti-Trump screed at the Golden Globe Awards, media writer Michael Wolff was preparing the finishing touches on a new column at Newsweek that the likes of Streep will likely loathe.

But as he has shown since Trump’s victory in the presidential race in November, Wolff has captured the essence of what’s been behind this unlikely campaign, and as it continues to escape the media establishment:

The ongoing expressions of shock on the part of the cultural establishment—expressed on a daily basis by The New Yorker, New York magazine and The New York Times, anything, apparently, with New York in its title—reflect their fears that the development of a more careful, regulated and corrected world is about to be undone. That the unapologetic white male has returned. You could hardly find a more threatening and throwback version of that than Trump—a rich, voluble, egomaniacal, middle-aged pussy hound. To write him you would need some combination of authors like Norman Mailer, Terry Southern, Harry Crews and Gore Vidal, all notably out of step with current cultural norms.

And this:

“Media fragmentation has created all sorts of thriving niches that accommodate the views of eager consumers, lessening the need to speak to a broader, more difficult-to-reach audience—the once-great mass market.”

And one more:

“Trump’s attacks on the media served to say that his language, his expressiveness, his ability to connect with the audience was more potent than the media’s. (In an interview with Trump shortly after his nomination was secure, he told me he was sure of victory when for the first primary debate, the usual audience increased almost tenfold because of his presence: ‘I’m more entertaining than the media.’) The media, in thrall to the culture establishment—and signed on to its cultural rules and concerns (hence its Pussygate shock)—was inauthentic and he was the real thing.”

Some other excellent riffs by Wolff along similar media-themed lines here and here (Hollywood Reporter), the fake news about “fake news” (USA Today) and another Hollywood Reporter gem, an interview with Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

Whatever you think of Trump—and I don’t think much of him at all—what’s been truly astonishing is to see how the establishment media continues to misunderstand and misinterpret what’s truly behind his political rise.

If you want to see Trump serve no more than one term—and I consider myself in that group—then read, absorb and understand Wolff’s sharp insights.

But if you prefer to have Trump become a two-term president, then by all means keep blindly applauding the Meryl Streeps of the world.

Journalism/Media/Web links for April 27

8 Ways for Entrepreneurial Journalists to Think Like Business People:

“Many, many businesses have failed where the income statement showed things were great, but they didn’t have cash. Cash flow is ‘the lifeblood of your business.’ ”

Bias Or Balance: Media Wrestle With Faltering Trust:

“Five or 10 years ago, the conversation about trust and the media would have triggered different results. But people no longer volunteer so many complaints about reporters making up stories, as they did in the wake of the scandals involving Jayson Blair at The New York Times and Jack Kelley at USA Today. And concern over how stories are slanted no longer comes just from conservatives. It comes from all quarters.”

72 Marietta — I Still Love You:

The Journal and Constitution hated each other then — a deep, healthy hatred that was a beautiful thing. The first time in history when the Constitution out-circulated the Journal was on Aug. 17, 1977, when the morning rag reported Elvis Presley’s death. I never forgave Elvis for dying on Constitution time.”

Terry Gross: What I Read:

“I really don’t keep up with bloggers. I suppose I should feel guilty about that but my goal in life is to get away from the computer. Time spent reading blogs takes away from the time I should be spending preparing for guests. It’s hard when you’re doing a show like Fresh Air and you’re talking to musicians, theater people, actors and experts on every subject. You have to make peace with the fact that you can’t keep up with everything. It’s more information than you can possibly absorb.”

Think Again: The Internet:

“Today’s Internet is a world where homophobic activists in Serbia are turning to Facebook to organize against gay rights, and where social conservatives in Saudi Arabia are setting up online equivalents of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. So much for the ‘freedom to connect’ lauded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her much-ballyhooed speech on the Internet and human rights. Sadly enough, a networked world is not inherently a more just world.”

Facebook Further Reduces Your Control Over Personal Information:

“The new connections features benefit Facebook and its business partners, with little benefit to you. But what are you going to do about it? Facebook has consistently ignored demands from its users to create an easy ‘exit plan’ for migrating their personal data to another social networking website, even as it has continued — one small privacy policy update after another — to reduce its users’ control over their information.”