There’s a column in America’s newspaper of record explaining how in this election the major media is committing suicide in an attempt to stop Donald Trump from winning the White House. This is a bit of a hardy quadrennial as some element of the press complains about the media in every presidential election. Usually it is the so-called conservative media doing the complaining, but you get some of the professional concern trolls wringing their hands over the bias. Whether or not they are more biased this time around is hard to know as it is hard to know if they can be more biased.
Even so, it does feel different this time. In past elections, the liberal media started attacking the Republican after the conventions, but their tactic was to appeal to the voters. That meant selling the themes of the Democrat and making sport of the Republican. In 2008 they kept reminding voters that Obama was dreamy and from Illinois just like Lincoln. In 2012 they reminded voters that Romney was in a weird desert cult and believed in magic underwear. In both cases the “reporting” was intended to sway the voters.
This time is different in many ways. The obvious difference is the so-called conservative media has locked shields with the liberal media in opposing Donald Trump. The two big conservative journals are fanatically opposed to Trump. Fox News inadvertently made Trump’s campaign by having their attack poodles ambush Trump at the first debate. Even the usually reliable talk radio has been reluctant to back Trump. That’s changing as they figure out which way the wind is blowing, but guys like Glenn Beck are still waving the rainbow flag of #nevertrump.
The other way that things are different is in the tone of the coverage. The major media is not talking to us or even lecturing us. They are talking to one another. A very good example is in this bizarre editorial from a little paper in New York somewhere.
Donald Trump is heading to November like a certain zeppelin heading to New Jersey, in a darkening sky that crackles with electricity. He is fighting crosswinds and trying new tacks — hiring the head of Breitbart News to run his campaign, trying on a new emotion (regret) in a speech on Thursday night, promising to talk more this week about immigration, his prime subject. There’s still no telling what will happen when the gasbag reaches the mooring.
It could be that the polls are right, and Mr. Trump will go down in flames. But while that will solve an immediate problem, a larger one will remain. The message of hatred and paranoia that is inciting millions of voters will outlast the messenger. The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed.
The sneering tone is crude, even by the smug standards of the New York Times, but it has a strange feel to it. It reads like the bargaining of someone promising to be a better person, if they manage to escape the dangerous situation. You don’t say those things for anyone but yourself and maybe your maker. It’s a form of bargaining where you think having had a revelation, you deserve a second chance at life. That’s how this editorial reads. The Old Gray Lady is promising to be more responsible if she can somehow escape the horror that is Donald Trump.
I think what we’re seeing here is the result of decades of insularity of the political class. The people occupying positions in the media have been divorced from the rest of us for so long, they are truly revolted by us. All of the scary campfire stores they used to tell one another about how the people in flyover country are just a bunch of racist mouthbreathers has become their reality. They really think they are under assault. All those times they called the Republican a Nazi is feeling like a prophecy to them now. It’s the 1932 Weimar elections all over again.
That’s the other thing that seems different about this election. It used to be that the beautiful people were nice to our face, but they privately looked down on the hoi polloi. In many cases, they felt sorry for the normals. For better or worse, many of their social projects were well intended, even if they ended in disaster. That’s not the case today. The beautiful people really and truly hate the average American. They barely tolerate us. It’s why the Old Gray Lady is writing these revenge fantasies for after they have destroyed Trump.
This election is often cast as a revolt by the plebs, but it is really a revolt of the elites. It’s as if they have used the rise of Trump as an excuse to open up about how they really feel about traditional America. They finally have an excuse to let those hillbillies speaking “frontier gibberish” know exactly where they stand. You really see this on the Right. All across elite conservative media we see spasm of hatred toward those they used say they represented. Kevin Williamson at National Review even wrote a weird fantasy article about how poor whites should die.