(Originally written 6/24/2018)
The perception that the media is somehow now “fake” or is peddling untruths and alternate realities may or may not be true, however it is most likely not specific to just this era. People concerned with the mainstream media’s coverage should not so much question the motivations of these companies, but rather assess the loyalties found in the interplay of media and politics. At one point, media was an outlet for politics to disseminate its information to the populous. It was an arguably symbiotic, or at least commensal relationship that had functionality and could be explained. Since the corporate takeover of the US government, the interests have shifted extremely, and the media and politics are now at odds, staring across from different sides of the DMZ.
In theory politics is supposed to mirror the interests of constituents. But with recent events, politicians are either capitulating policy for corporate entities, or are perhaps even powerless to the whims of these giants as mere bystanders in the policy-making process. Here occurred the breakdown of the 21st century. If I am willing to elect leaders to convey my interests to congress, why do I feel that the exact opposite of what I want is always happening? Money now goes to politicians in a laundering scheme, while the companies push corporatized legislation into the pipeline. Therefore, the politicians no longer have a need for the media, as the end user has morphed into one that likely owns the media outlet. The banality of America’s richest man owning one of the largest newspapers would likely make a soap opera writer gag, overcome with cliché.
Instead the media marches stalwartly forward, attempting to expose corruption and corporate influence in the government. Once partners, now adversaries. But are they? Since the media no longer dictates political agendas, they fill the vacuum left by the government. They advocate and propagate the ideas of the populist movement. Although Trump is president, a majority of the country voted for Hillary. They are mad. Furious at the election of such a cartoonish figure. The media preys on this, rightfully so. Make the majority think they are fighting from behind. Support of gay marriage is not an unpopular opinion to hold in this century, as much as the news would lead you to believe. The only reason that LGBTQ law restriction story is running at the top of the hour is because they know it enrages you. All 51%+ of you. A 24 hour new cycle about the cynicism and incompetency of President Trump. Anger drives clicks, clicks drive advertising, and advertising enriches the media companies. The same people still win, on both sides now. The deck in shuffled in plain sight, but the ace never leaves the sleeve.
Attacks on the press are as old as politics itself. Leaders, presidents even, have belittled the press because of their “unfair” takes on policy and personality. There are literally millions of press officials in the world, typing out every possible hot take under the sun. This is not a unified conspiracy, a cartel of elites pushing a distinct narrative to advance the interests of their shadowy group. These are people, doing their stupid jobs that they don’t even like. It is easy to flail about and pretend to fight monsters in the dark, however these monsters are specters. Until leaders confront true problems endemic to all walks of life, they are simply think-skinned actors who lack credibility and are morally indefensible. We should be fearful of the corporatization of the press, not our businessman™ president.