Watch out for Trump, much of the mainstream media was harping six months ago today, when I started This Week in the Narrative (cue confetti).
In many ways, they were correct in their warnings. Across a number of issues, Trump and his administration have acted as horrifically as predicted.
But This Week in the Narrative was never intended to be a bullet-point list of correct and incorrect. It is not an attempt to, as Hillary comically says, “Fact Check!” the minutia of the mainstream media.
Rather, it is about the construction of the mainstream establishment narrative, and how that narrative acts as a system of obfuscation and control.
The mainstream media warnings about Trump, however prophetic, have proven to be functionally irrelevant.
Earth Day was earlier this week. Like many mainstream media prophecies foretold, Trump’s administration has attacked environmental regulation and promoted fossil fuels relentlessly. The media sources who warned about the effects a Trump administration could have on the environment — remember the constant derision for Trump’s ludicrous claim that ‘climate change’ was a “Chinese hoax?” — used the opportunity to promote the idea that ‘jobs’ should not be sacrificed on the altar of environmentalism.
Similarly, the mainstream media sources who warned about Trump’s potential warmongering — remember the well-broadcast horror when Trump said he would kill the families of terrorists? Or the constant warnings about having a purportedly deranged individual in charge of the mighty U.S. military? — are the same sources now cheering Trump’s military actions as those of a “benevolent world policeman.”
The establishment narrative is in the midst of a precarious balancing act of doublethink.
On one hand, a general population already experiencing a period of unrest has had their interest piqued, with many of the previously apathetic now engaged by the villainous Trump character.
At the same time, the narrative is asking these same people to support the initiatives — the wars, fossil fuel promotion as job creation, corporatism, and so on — that the Trump administration is undertaking.
Trump is bad, but firing missiles is benevolent (and, um, yea … so is military spending in case you were wondering).
Trump is bad, but (fossil fuel) job creation ‘trumps’ the environment.
Of course, for the eight years prior to Trump, the mainstream media used the Obama character similarly, with some media sources sounding the alarm about the nefarious Obama, and others defending him; the two sides only coming together in agreement on the most impregnable parts of the establishment narrative — war and surveillance, oil and oligarchy, and so on.
It is a delicate act — to divert public ire onto a villainous character, while maintaining public support for, or at least apathy to, the actions of that villain.
Personally, I dislike many of Trump’s actions — specifically, This Week, surrounding war and the environment — about as much as any human being can.
The villainous Trump character, on the other hand, I dislike about as much as Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff of Nottingham.
This piece was originally published on Medium.
Read the last Week in the Narrative here.