What’s behind Donald Trump’s propaganda war with the press? At election victory rallies, his unrelenting attacks on the truthfulness of the news media are carefully aimed to belittle, humiliate and discredit. But what’s his real objective?
The aim of Trump’s media bias charges is to undermine people’s trust in the veracity of those reporting the news. It’s a cynical and calculated attempt to magically delegitimize his critics by simply ignoring them, while simultaneously focusing attention on what he claims is the untrustworthiness of the press. In doing so he avoids the need to responsibly answer his critics, because to him, they’re irrelevant. What Trump wants people to believe is that the media are the bad guys, the ones who can’t be trusted. And if you can’t trust the messenger how could you trust the message?
Stoking doubt about the credibility of conventional and trusted news sources is risky, but it can be a stunningly impressive maneuver for a huckster if he’s able to pull it off. It’s called “dissembling.” Trump’s obfuscation will succeed if, in the public’s perception, the (news) medium becomes the message.
Expect more bull from the bully pulpit.