Adam Serwer makes some excellent, frightening points about our upcoming post-truth presidency: The U.S. Media Is Completely Unprepared to Cover a Trump Presidency.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, reporters marveled at the ability of Donald Trump and his surrogates to create an alternate reality in which statements made by the candidate had not been made at all—from his view that global warming is a hoax, to his nonexistent opposition to the Iraq War, to his refusal to say he would concede in the event of a loss, to his remarks about his relationship to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. These are people who could argue that the sky is green without a blink. They were able to win a presidential election while doing so. Now they will have the entire apparatus of the federal government to bolster their lies, and the mainstream press is woefully unprepared to cover them.
The first reason is that political journalism is highly dependent on official sources, which are chased with abandon. Miller’s defense of stenography seems absurd in hindsight, but there is a grain of truth in it. Government sources are granted a high degree of credibility, and official lies can be difficult to dispute. Contrary leaks from highly placed sources can offer an important check on the official story, but the breadth of the surveillance state built by Bush and Obama, a surveillance state now in Trump’s hands, will make such leaks difficult.
For Trump administration mouthpieces, both public and anonymous, lies will now come with an officiality that will be difficult to contest. The total Republican control of government means that Democrats will struggle to get their objections to carry much weight, much as they did prior to the Iraq War.
The entire weight of the federal government will now be behind Donald Trump, backing up his lies and evasions and rationalizations and horrible narcissistic personality. We’re in for a very rough ride, folks, and there’s no way to sugar-coat it.
We’re entering the Era of Bad Craziness.
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