How should we understand Trump’s surge

what_on_earth_logo__small__centeredOver at the New York Times, Jim Rutenberg suggested that, “The Republican Horse Race Is Over, and Journalism Lost.” Really? Exactly how did Journalism lose? And what does he mean by “Journalism”?

Journalist lost because they repeatedly got it wrong in reporting about the election. Rutenberg says news coverage of this election is “truly spectacular in its failings.”

Rutenberg suggests the problem is more than over reliance on faulty polls. He believes it exposes “lack of shoe-leather reporting.” And, he’s right — to an extent. Reporters have lost touch with the thinking of actual voters. The problem with journalism, however, is much deeper.

At, Nate Silver complained that, “there were a lot of extenuating circumstances that made the Trump story hard to call. Mr. Trump has rendered useless the traditional rule books of American politics.”

While admitting he got so many things wrong in reporting on the election and, on Trump in particular, Silver struggles explaining Trump’s rise to prominence. Perhaps it was “the way he dominated media coverage.” Or, maybe it is evidence of the “failings of the Republican Party as an institution.”

In the end, Silver believes that, “Trump’s main differentiator was doubling down on cultural grievance: grievances against immigrants, against Muslims, against political correctness, against the media…” Silver then suggested that Trumps strategy worked in “favor of those who see politics as being governed by cultural identity…”

Like so many others, Silver either doesn’t get it or doesn’t want to get it (or, both). Does he recognize that much of what passes for journalism today is “governed by cultural identity”? Reporters and commentators are largely required to do their work based on a set of presuppositions that serve the cultural identity of far left ideology.

Earlier in the primaries, The Huffington Post said you could relegate the Trump campaign to the entertainment section. They went so far as to put a disclaimer on their reporting about Trump, calling him “a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully…”  Is this journalism?

Huffpost Media blogger, David Fuller suggested that The Huffington Post was misguided in placing the disclaimer on reporting about Trump. Almost prophetically, Fuller predicted that, “The Huffington Post’s disclaimer may have the effect of boosting Trump’s popularity even more, because it adds another major media outlet leveraging unfair political coverage against the Republican front-runner.”

Fuller was right. But he completely lost me when he warned The Huffington Post that, “they are potentially damaging their brand as a serious media resource.” Serious media source? Since when?

Predictably, Fuller challenged the Post to ramp up their role, not in reporting on news as it occurs, but in helping ignorant Trump supporters understand how damaging Trumps beliefs are to America.

“It is Trump’s supporters,” he said, “who need to be addressed most directly and shown the damage that their beliefs are causing to America. When we can change the culture within America, candidates with messages similar to Donald Trump’s will no longer gain a foothold in American politics. “

This kind of propaganda driven media so often comes with a smug and condescending air of superiority. Is this journalism?

Most Americans are well aware that mainstream media is a vehicle of propaganda. A growing number of reporters and commentators barely conceal their deep commitment to a worldview they prefer. But Journalism is not the work of those who report news to promote their way of seeing things.

True journalists do not ignore facts or selectively slant data in an effort to conform it to the world they want or against a world they want to save poor ignorant Americans from.

It’s almost painful to watch these reporters strain to convince themselves of alternate realities in the face of clear evidence to the contrary. A word to the wise — Americans are not as dumb as arrogantly supposed by fake journalists.

So how should we understand Trump’s surge?

Is America being swayed by Trump?

Or, more likely, is Trump being propelled by a longtime, growing disgust among the majority of Americans toward an arrogant, agenda-driven media and toward the political suck-up machine controlled by it?

Steve Cornell

see also – Adam Carolla Explains Trump’s Rise Perfectly

About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
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5 Responses to How should we understand Trump’s surge

  1. This article starts with a good premise about journalism’s failures, but after Jim Rutenberg, you followed with Nate Silver (statistical analyst, not a reporter) and David Fuller (screenwriter, also not a reporter). I agree with Rutenberg’s premise, but I’m not a reporter either. I’ll have to offer my own less-qualified theory.

    Trump’s surge is not entirely unique or unprecedented, though each election is different in the small details. In 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater won the GOP nomination with an identical base of support, primarily less-educated white males in economic distress. He ran a campaign against the GOP establishment (against the entire Washington establishment really), with a message similar to that of Sen. Cruz, and lost the general election by a wide margin to JFK’s Vice President, who had a long resume in government, and also high negatives.

    Journalism has become a younger person’s game than it used to be because it’s mostly on-camera. Before TV, radio and print outlets valued experience more. It didn’t matter what the reporters looked like, as it does now. Education has also changed and is less broadly comprehensive. My wife is a retired TV news writer,with 35 years at CBS, and 5 Emmys. Her education in journalism and political science included a lot of history. They studied politics and elections going clear back to the ancient Greeks. I doubt very much the majority of 20-somethings reporting currently had the training to recognize the similarities to 1964.

    I also don’t see any clear reason for a different result in 2016’s general than the one in 1964. Trump’s message has deep appeal for a minority of voters, but in a risk vs benefit analysis, his negatives are more dire than Mrs. Clinton’s. The minority and female voters have more influence on results than in 1964. It could be an even more lopsided defeat.


    • I didn’t refer to either Silver or Fuller as journalists (although Silver reports on elections and is a correspondent for ABC News and Fuller is a blogger, a new kind of journalism). Be careful. As for your conclusions about the outcome, don’t be surprised if they go the way of most prognosticators on Trump. People have many very good reasons for distrusting Clinton and Trump will likely draw attention to most of them. Your suggestion that Trump “has deep appeal for a minority of voters” feels a little out of touch or like a version of reality a small number of cultural elitist wish to be right.


    • Rich Lowry compares Trump’s campaign to that of George Wallace in the April 25 ‘National Review’. I think it’s a good analogy – the lurid, demagogic populism, the crude histrionic outrage, the anti-establishment pose, his utter lack of conservatism, the unbalanced & overwrought media attention, the packed, lowbrow populist rallies serving as entertainment during the 60’s. One of best lines in Lowry’s piece, comparing Wallace to Trump, is this…
      “Journalists have repeatedly written stories about how Trump communicates at about a fourth-grade level. Wallace liked to “put it down where the goats can get it” ‘.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that it was largely the 24/7 media coverage and fawning that gave Trump the nomination. Even Fox News seemed to want to propel him to victory. And I don’t give the average American as much credit as you do. I think that the level of gullibility, moral depravity, and ignorance is a massive problem.


  3. Black3Actual says:

    Personally, I think the explanation is easy: “And the people cried out for a king.”

    When the people become corrupt enough to turn from God, they will cry out for a strongman to ‘make things right.’ Scripture tells us how well that works, and history bears witness to it. Why should it be any different today?


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