Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: American media horror stories

2 months ago 26

We begin today with a somewhat rambling piece from the editorial board of The Kansas City Star about the GOP’s lack of truth and the media’s complicity in broadcasting untruths and disinformation.

...can we note that Donald J. Trump is still besting his Republican competitors in the polls for their party’s presidential nomination next year — and by a mile? Sure, Kansas’ Koch machine has thrown its support behind Nikki Haley, and Fox News keeps trying to prop up Ron DeSantis’ flailing campaign. (Even though Sean Hannity stacked the deck in DeSantis’ favor in Thursday night’s so-called “debate,” cucumber-cool California Gov. Gavin Newsom just made the angry Florida governor come off like a clenched fist in a blue suit.) [...]

Way too many serious journalists still haven’t internalized the lesson scholars have long warned us about: Airing would-be autocrats’ lies, even to dispel them, is dangerous.

This is, unfortunately, what the vast conservative alternative news ecosystem has evolved into. The late Fox News Svengali Roger Ailes built the channel into a powerful Republican Party answer to both liberal and mainstream thought in the first 20 years of its existence. He capitalized on human beings’ innate desire to think we’re as smart as the experts, that we can “do our own research” and dig out the truth as well as any reporter or scientist. It’s built into the rugged individualist spirit that created the Declaration of Independence. [...]

Donald Trump’s feral genius is that he knows instinctively how to stoke the anger of the millions who don’t think those institutions serve them anymore. In less than eight years, he’s transformed the public face of his party from genteel patrician Mitt Romney and Clint Eastwood-esque John McCain into the jeering, ungovernable House now led by a speaker who was a primary architect of the Jan. 6, 2021, attempted government overthrow. Trump’s closest presidential challengers talk of “slitting throats” of federal employees and making widespread, indiscriminate purges in their ranks.

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