The suspicious outcome of the 2016 election was almost a foregone conclusion to those who controlled the message. We never had a clue that Donald Trump, reality TV star, could actually win. But Trump's powerful allies in tabloid, yes tabloid, media overtly and subconsciously damaged Hillary Clinton beyond repair, and our overconfidence in the election outcome was our downfall.
How the hell did this happen?
It's obvious in retrospect, that we must look to THE most complicit and influential sources of pro-Trump (and anti-Hilary) propaganda, The National Enquirer.
It’s easy to imagine that tabloids don’t matter; the Enquirer is a relatively small voice in the media kingdom, with a weekly circulation of only 342,071, down from the 5.9 million it commanded in the 1970s. But that misses the importance of the constant cultural background noise it adds to American life: There are 37,000 supermarkets in America, with an average of about 10 checkout stands each, and many stands feature a wire rack displaying the Enquirer, the Globe, often the company’s other tab, the National Examiner, and celebrity magazines. According to an industry study, American households make an average of 1.5 trips to the supermarket each week. Every customer passes by the checkout stand, which means that even people who never purchase a tabloid still absorb the ambient headlines, and those headlines can shape their view of the world.
In another era, Trump’s history of tomcatting, unscrupulous business dealings and grandiose tastes would have made him a perfect tabloid villain. But in that era, all the tabs would not have been owned by one person, who happened to be a friend of Trump: David Pecker, CEO of American Media, the New York-based publisher that owns the Enquirer, the other tabloids and Radaronline, its Web tabloid. The two worked together in the late 1990s on Trump Style, a magazine for guests of the Trump properties, when Pecker was a magazine executive at Hachette Filipacchi Magazines. Pecker acknowledges their personal closeness, and reports have documented what looks like a significant amount of back-scratching.
Trump, taking cues from his pal Vladimir Putin, adopted the Russian leader's philosophy on controlling the message:
As a former KGB officer and head of the KGB’s successor agency, the FSB, Putin knows the value of information. His concept of the media, however, is a far cry from the First Amendment. For him, it’s a simple transactional equation: Whoever owns the media controls what it says.
“There should be patriotically minded people at the head of state information resources,” Putin told reporters at his 2013 annual news conference, “people who uphold the interests of the Russian Federation. These are state resources. That is the way it is going to be.”
Oddly enough, a very effective and notorious technique of deceptive Russian media-domination is to label any news contrary to the head honcho's perspective as 'fake news.' Trump's adaptation of the old KGB technique which labels anything negative in the media as 'fake' is identical to Putin's active measures. That means the powers that be will convulute reality as fiction while presenting lie-infested propaganda as the gospel truth. His sycophants fall for it, hook, line and sinker.
Shame and reputational risks do not appear to be a factor in Russian decision-making. In early-2016, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not shy away from repeating a patently false fake media story about the rape of a Russian-German girl by a Syrian asylum-seeker in Germany.
Moreover, a version of selective naming and shaming—or targeting of political adversaries with false allegations of misconduct—has been used by Russian propaganda to discredit political adversaries in the West. Russian propaganda, and Putin personally, have sought to deflect the attention from the fact of the intrusion into the DNC server and the top leadership of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to the information released as a result of it that has presented various political operatives in an unfavorable light.
If the name Lavrov seems familiar, that's because he was one of the two Russians who were invited INTO the Oval Office, along with Russian media, WITHOUT American media present. Trump seems insanely overconfident that his love of all things Russia won't arouse more suspicion and the investigation into his collusion with Putin will amount to a big nothingburger. He must be certain that the complicit right-wing media domination will sabotage the multiple investigations into his criminal conduct and allow him to continue the chaotic destruction of the American Democracy.
Media Matters reveals how his audacious media ventures will guarantee his administration (and the chaos-loving GOP) more 'victories,' all obtained by any means necessary.
Thanks to the deregulatory efforts of President Donald Trump’s Federal Communications Committee, the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group announced today that it will purchase dozens of televisions stations across the country, allowing the company to spread its conservative programming to new markets and consolidate the ownership of broadcast stations in fewer hands.
Sinclair’s conservative programming bent has a lot of impact because of the concentration of its stations in presidential swing states. The Tribune purchase will give the network more influence, as Tribune’s television portfolio includes stations in states with high political value, like Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, and Ohio.
When Trump seeks re-election in 2020, he will be able to count on the support of a massive network of television stations helmed by a conservative who owes his company’s latest growth to the (so-called) president.
If you think this can't happen again, these Republican villains have already begun to tie our hands so we can't fight back. By the 2018 midterms, policies will be in place to prevent any investigations into future election-machine hacking. They intend to keep the (likely compromised) GOP in power.