…the decline of the old media, especially newspapers, and the arrogant self-content of the greatest and goodest–excerpts:
With Trump’s win, the Age of the Gargoyle has arrived
In reckoning with the implications of Tuesday night’s [Nov. 8] American presidential election result, it behooves all of us who have publicly dreaded this dark moment to admit a few things plainly and honestly, while we are still able – especially those of us whose privilege it has been to declaim this dread from the platform of a newspaper column.
The phenomenon of the newspaper evolved over the past three centuries in tandem with the rise of liberal democracy, and both are in eclipse the world round. A complex malaise associated with the stratospheric reach of digital technologies is withering newsrooms and shuttering newspapers everywhere. The old business model is broken.
Only two of the 100 largest-circulation newspapers in the United States – the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Florida Times Union – endorsed Donald Trump. The Democratic party matriarch Hillary Clinton won the endorsement of 57 newspapers, many of which were staunchly conservative and Republican. It didn’t matter.
Over the past 15 years, the number of proper journalists employed full-time in the United States has declined by half, to roughly 30,000. In the meantime, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google News and a plethora of “social media” platforms has accelerated the diffusion of fake news. The Kremlin propaganda arm RT News was as significant an influence in the shouting that produced Trump’s victory as any of the legacy media. Wikileaks, the Kremlin’s clearing house of disinformation and information warfare, was more relevant in directing the course of events than the editorial board of the New York Times. Facebook has tried and failed to keep fake news out of its newsfeed algorithm. Everything is broken.
It is not true that “the people are always right,” that saccharine piety politicians routinely utter upon losing elections. But neither is it true – as this election more than any other in the history of the American republic has proved – that it doesn’t matter who you vote for, because the government always gets back in. The American people voted against their system of government this week. While Clinton may have won a majority sliver of the popular vote, Americans have revolted against their own political culture, against the entire American political class.
…it can’t be denied that Clinton was far and away the best candidate available to persuade and cajole voters into sticking with the neoliberal global system overseen by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. This brings us to the hardest thing of all for any of us to admit.
The system is rigged. It is rigged, and it is rigged particularly against American working people.
From Hollywood to the Upper West Side, Barack Obama’s legions of sycophants and acolytes swaggered and boasted, all for nought, that the Trumpist rallying cry to Drain the Swamp and to Make America Great Again was an occluded inducement to bigotry and white supremacy, and that America has never been so great.
But that is not how a great many Americans see things…