If the Media Keeps Rigging the Election and Trolling Trump and American Voters with Tabloid Nonsense, Trump and His Supporters Will Be Right to Feel Cheated, and America Will Deserve Their Wrath
by Alexander Zubatov
First, to dispel a commonly perpetuated but wrongheaded notion, in response to another comment on my initial article about the manner in which the media is rigging the election against Trump, I have already debunked here the notion that the media helped make Trump’s candidacy in the first place. To summarize that response in two sentences, yes, it helped him, but despite its intentions. The media has largely been trying to demonize Trump as soon as it realized he was a serious threat to win the nomination, and that demonization campaign has now gone into hyperdrive, Warp 9, dead set on a collision course with the electoral twilight zone in which this election is drained of every last bit of substance and procedural integrity.
The moderators at both the presidential debates hardly even made a pretense of objectivity, repeatedly peppering Trump with aggressive questions, arguing with him and generally being pretty open about their biases. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Think about what’s going on now with this utterly silly and insignificant tabloid-style scandal about Trump’s dumb and vulgar comments from an inadvertently recorded private conversation back in 2005. The same liberals who were (justly) outraged when evangelicals and conservatives opportunistically jumped on Bill Clinton for his turning the presidency into an opportunity to obtain sexual favors from employees are now hypocritically piling on about the fact that Trump made some private comments 11 years ago when he wasn’t running for any elected office and that were just entitled-rich-frat-boy style braggadocio about what he can do with women because he’s a rich, famous, powerful man. What did we learn from these comments that we didn’t already know about Trump? That he’s vulgar? That he likes to brag? That he’s high on himself? That he, like an overwhelming majority of men ever since the Stone Age down to 2016, sees women as, among other things, sexual objects? I mean, what exactly is startling or revelatory about his comments that would merit the kind of intense scrutiny the media has seen fit to devote to the issue?
So much of the chatter and ink spilled about this non-issue that I’ve seen and read in the press is making all sorts of assumptions that essentially infantilize women and imagine them as passive victims of (Trump’s or anyone else’s) sexual advances rather than human beings and active agents who might, in many cases, get a big kick out of feeling like they charmed a famous real estate mogul sufficiently to get him interested. The narrative of beautiful women and powerful men is an age-old story in which women are just as often manipulators as victims (ever heard of Helen of Troy?), but the media is acting as if women are just inevitably powerless victims of this evil sexual predator that’s a heartbeat away from the presidency.
The most pathetic part of this is that, as my original article on the media’s rigging of the election in Hillary’s favor explained, the focus on this tabloid-style nonsense is doing a fundamental disservice to voters, taking their focus away from actual substantive issues in the election. We had a whole debate devoted to nonsense like Trump’s 2005 comments, Hillary’s e-mails, Bill’s sexual antics back in the 1990s and that sort of thing, and the media is directly responsible for that. There are serious policy differences between the candidates, and there are very serious issues on the table, whether it be immigration, the threat of terrorism, our policy with respect to places like Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as a whole, education, the economy, the environment, political correctness, criminal justice, race issues, etc. Whichever candidate’s positions you prefer, those are the issues we should be focused on. The media’s role should be to inform us and dig deeper, not to drag us down into this gutter. I mean, when the debate ends and all the stories are not about what was said, substantively, but rather, on where Trump was standing with respect to Hillary, this is pathetic. Who cares where Trump was standing? If he becomes president, I don’t care where he’s standing; I care about what he’s going to do. In responding to the ridiculous question about his 2005 comments during the October 9th debate, Trump’s turn from a cursory discussion of those comments to the real threat posed by ISIS was awkward, to be sure, but I sympathized with the intent: he was essentially telling us all, c’mon, really? Is this what you’re interested in? We have a serious terrorist threat, and you want to talk about my frivolous and silly comments bragging about my sexual prowess back in 2005?
People need to be up in arms about the media’s role in all of this. We need a return to the idea that the media needs to portray professionalism and objectivity, and reporters and moderators need to do their best to conceal their biases. We can’t have a concerted attempted by the press to run down a presidential candidate, regardless of what these left-leaning reporters may think of his views or his temperament. We have Wikileaks revelations coming out about Hillary’s actual views of policy issues (such as Saudi Arabia and free trade and things of that nature), and the news of this is being obscured by the media’s relentless focus on tabloid absurdities.
As my original article on these issues tried to explain, even if you happen to like the result of the media’s dumbing-down and election-rigging campaign this time around, you might not like the results the next time. You have to stand up for principles. If Trump is defeated in a fairly fought election that pits his views vs. Hillary’s views, I’m fine with that, but if he’s defeated because the media is trying to get us obsessing about what he said in some silly comments in 2005, he and his supporters will be absolutely right to be up in arms about that. They’ll feel cheated, and they’ll deserve to feel cheated, and America, and especially the American media, will deserve to incur their wrath.
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Alexander Zubatov is a practicing attorney specializing in general commercial litigation. He is also a practicing writer specializing in general non-commercial poetry, fiction, drama, essays and polemics. In the words of one of his intellectual heroes, José Ortega y Gasset, biography is “a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.”
Some of his articles have appeared in The Federalist, Acculturated, PopMatters, The Hedgehog Review, Mercatornet, The Montreal Review, The Fortnightly Review, New English Review, Culture Wars and nthposition.