A Donald Trump victory was not a surprise to anyone who was paying attention to the campaign instead of the media.
I’ll expand on that point for a moment before moving on.
The difference between the actual campaign and the media’s portrayal of the campaign was stark. When Hillary hadn’t done a press conference in two hundred sixty-three days, Trump had been rampaging back and forth across the country, shouting and pounding on his podium and making promises and talking to people in their houses.
Old-school campaigning. I did not personally witness it, but I would put money on him having kissed at least one baby, as is generally acceptable practice when you’re campaigning for President.
In the course of this, he said some dumb things. He’s been talking for a year and a half straight; there were going to be plenty of opportunities to take quotes out of context, capitalise on him tripping over his words (a la @Deadspin’s “mazel tov cocktail” post) and attack him with stuff dug up from decades ago (the beauty queen incident, locker-room talk).
This was what the media focused on. Trump has always had policy positions, a platform and all the other adornments of a President. The problem is that the media didn’t tell you about them, then told you he didn’t have any. They have lied, comprehensively, from the very first day all the way to today. You can expect that they will continue to double-down on this, even as their profit margin evaporates and they are forced to downsize into oblivion.
They didn’t publicize Hillary having given speeches to Wall Street which directly contradicted every held position she presented to the public. They didn’t publicize her pivotal roles in destroying Iraq and Libya, her placement in the Neo-conservative movement, her interest in a Syrian No-Fly Zone and the likely consequences of it, nor her tragic inability to mediate with just about anybody as Secretary of State.
In reality, nobody was less qualified to run for President than Hillary Clinton, and so in order to try to ignore that crucial part of the discourse, a massive web of half-truths was spawned around Trump for the public to be fed. Even the most objective person couldn’t help but wonder if some of it was true, just by sheer saturation and volume.
If you were paying attention to the campaign though, the millions-strong swarms of people visiting Trump rallies and cheering was nigh unmistakable. The day before the election, Trump visited five separate states, all of which had thousands upon thousands of people literally lined up outside the venue (never mind how many were crammed within) just to catch a glimpse of the man.
This is called an enthusiasm gap. Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii on Twitter) made the claim that that gap was very telling about how the election was going to go, and then extrapolated. He found, in his role as a major pollster, that virtually the entire mainstream media except the LA Times were sampling D+6 at the very least. A D+6 sample, I am credibly informed, is a polling sample taken from a location which sports six registered Democrats per registered Republican.
From this, he was able to correct predict a Trump victory some months before the election, even—in particular, predicting Florida being the first battleground state to vote red.
Now what does all this tell us?
It’s a simple conclusion, actually.
The media has an agenda.
Which means you can watch them, but you have to be cognizant of the agenda, and the fact that they may not be representing the actual truth. It makes them more of an opinionated talk-show than a journalistic endeavour.
There is no contrast. I don’t think objective journalism still exists. On the opposite side, however, in this particular case, the alt-right became extremely important.
The rise of independent media, (the alt-right for this election cycle) was crucial to a Trump victory. Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich on Twitter), Stephan Molyneux (@StephanMolyneux), Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) and others were extremely vocal, and had enormous outreach. Cernovich alone wrote an entire book and had a hundred sixty-thousand followers at one point, and through retweets and relays, his message spread to millions.
That isn’t to say they were right about everything. They’re also media, now, and must be thoroughly taken apart and cross-analysed to determine whether they remain true to the facts or not.
In the end, this election was an information war, and information won over propaganda.
How the actual presidency goes is a separate question, but what we can now fairly thoroughly establish is that the media cannot be trusted as anything more than popcorn-lite talk-show commentary, and every position must be deconstructed.
For me, personally, that makes watching the mainstream media way too much work, and I hope others will be with me when I say that that doesn’t even really seem worth it—has CNN ever actually entertained anyone? I mean, what’s the value to you?