Enemy Of The People

It hardly seemed like much of a stretch for some lunatic on the right to take Trump’s constant chant of “fake news” and “enemy of the people” to heart, and act upon it. It’s not just the believers gonna believe, but that it’s assumed that anyone tied to the alt-right was at an intellectual deficit to begin with, and would need only the tiniest of pushes to go over the edge.

Violence? Any moment now. Then boom, there is was.

The point isn’t that this reflects the core of the left any more than the craziest white supremacist is representative of the right, although both sides will insist so. The point is that this can’t be laid on Trump’s rhetoric.

There is a strong argument to be made that, outside of his hardcore base, no one takes Trump’s words seriously. They’re foolish, bordering on idiotic at best, and little more than a constant din of black noise in the background. Yet, the media was outraged by this “enemy of the people” mantra, not just because it was an attack on them but because they feared it placed them in the crosshairs of some Trump-inspired nutjob. It was a very reasonable fear.

What wasn’t anticipated was that the knife would come from behind.

Why? What drives these attacks against the media during this protest in Charlottesville against white supremacy, in remembrance of Heather Heyer who was killed a year ago?

For the most part, the media is peculiarly sympathetic toward progressive views, and yet they’re perceived as the “enemy of the people.” While there’s no “official” explanation, which makes sense given there’s no “official” positions, organization or spokespeople, it doesn’t change the reality on the street that the protesters are at the point of grabbing cameras, blocking the shots with their hands and screaming that they’re the enemy.

Two points appear most likely. One is the misguided belief that they have a right to be in public, to engage in a newsworthy action such as protest, yet are entitled to privacy such that the media cannot film them without their permission.

It may be understandable that they would prefer not to be the face on camera, even if they would never admit to being concerned about standing up for their cause, as no one ever knows what goes viral and what comes back to bite one in the butt. These are odd times, and there is almost nothing that is so pristine as to be above reproach. Or put another way, there will be someone who will shriek mean names at you no matter what. No one wants to be the target of derision at a time when everything is the target of derision to someone.

But the second point is perhaps the more telling. Much as conservatives are outraged by the progressive bias in the media, as reflected by cherry-picked “facts” which may not be facts at all, but rather the “truth” of advocacy journalists who feel it’s their duty to lead you inexorably to the conclusions they assume you’re too stupid to reach on your own. it’s not good enough. Anything shy of a frontpage New York Times headline that reads, “Trump is literally Hitler” is acquiescence to their enemy. And if you’re not for them, you’re, well, you know.

Of course, this puts the media in a bit of a bind. Here it is, trying its best to push what it believes to be the “right” insights into the news, that the president is a amoral idiot spewing nonsense and hate, and yet they are unappreciated by the crowd with whom they share their sensibilities. The media can’t be quite so flagrant as to call for the revolution, even if not a day passes when they don’t publish a dozen editorials about how the Trump Apocalypse will end our existence within hours.

An interesting point was made by a professor on twitter a few weeks ago, that the conservative media, from Fox News to the extreme craziness at Infowars, takes pride in its ideology and makes no bones about being overtly conservative. In contrast, the progressive media denies its ideological bent, promoting itself as neutral and, indeed, believing with all its heart that it is.

It may well be that no media can ever be truly neutral, as it’s invariably forced to pick and choose what elements of a story to put up top and what to bury, or omit. But historically, media tried to be as neutral as it could, with editors challenging reporters who strayed from the facts into covert editorializing. It didn’t always work, but it was the goal. That was before advocacy journalism became not only acceptable, but an acknowledged purpose of providing all the news you deserve to know.

Short of the main stream media conceding that it’s the other side of conservative media, and shedding its mantel of feigned neutrality, it will never satisfy the demands and expectations of the far left, the Antifa, the protesters taking to the streets for JUSTICE!!! No matter how many attempt to “explain” the virtues of social justice or rail against systemic -isms, they will appear to be too centrist, too squishy, too conservative, to please the mob. And so, the mob will attack the media as their “enemy of the people.” And no president had to tell the mob to do so.

12 thoughts on “Enemy Of The People

  1. Jim Ryan

    “I, against my brothers. I and my brothers against my cousins. I and my brothers and my cousins against the world.” – old Arab Bedouin saying.
    The concentric circles defining my tribe (group, clan) may or may not include you or any part of your tribe. These concentric circles ebb and flow so that where once you were an insider, but now you’re an enemy of the people (aka my tribe).

    1. SHG Post author

      This might give the media some pause to reflect on the inherent problem with identity politics, the untenability of social justice. But I doubt it. It’s hard to shed one’s irrational belief system when one can rationalize instead.

    1. Frank

      Wimp. Barbie gun. 40 Liberty or 45 ACP FTW. I’m in favor of making the next scrote who thinks a bike lock on a chain is a good idea regret their choices in life. Three years probation for seven felony assault charges, are you kidding me? It’s decisions like this that make people look favorably towards Committees of Vigilance and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

  2. Karl Kolchak

    As a lot of writers do, you confuse “liberal” with “leftist.” The media savaged Bernie Sanders in 2016 almost as hard as it did Trump, with far less justification. Why? Because nearly all the big media outlets are owned by a few mega-corporations who oppose any perceived threat to the status quo, left or right. It likely wasn’t a conspiracy, but a. case of reporters and their producers wanting to please their bosses.

    Personally, I don’t view the media as the enemy, but as someone who is strongly against America’s wars and ever worsening wealth inequality I do believe that the media has just as much bias against people with strong leftist economic views and noninterventionist foreign policy views as it does people with Trump’s.

    1. SHG Post author

      Or I don’t confuse liberal with leftist at all. There is nothing liberal about progressivism, the current leftist trend.

  3. Anshu Sharma

    Sorry, I can oppose Antifa and still recognize how dangerous Trump’s demonization of the media doing their jobs is. In fact, this event could show that the extreme left and extreme right both dislike the media because both believe the media treats them unfairly and that when one criticizes the media, it emboldens the other as well. Remember when Trump criticized the DNC (and perhaps the media as well, I don’t remember that far back) for being unfair to Bernie? I didn’t hear a lot of Bernie supporters criticizing Trump for that.

    This post also makes too many excuses for Donald Trump, and too many broad claims about bias in the media without sufficient support. The media, by and large, is doing their job-reporting on what he says and does. If that makes him look bad, then perhaps that’s an indictment of him and not the media. It isn’t the media’s job to modify coverage to make him look better. And if a bunch of ideologically diverse editorials are criticizing Trump, perhaps that is an indictment of him, instead of the media, as well.

    1. SHG Post author

      I’ll type slowly so you can try to follow this: this post is about something. That something is not the something you wish it was about, so your beef is that you feel it should be about what you want it to be about rather than what it’s about. Tough shit.

      I’m sure there’s a reddit you’ll be able to follow if you stretch yourself. Go for it.

    2. Sgt. Schultz

      You’re allowed to oppose any damn thing you want. Here’s the better question: who gives a fuck who or what you oppose? This isn’t all about you, whoever the hell you are.

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