Day 9: Zuckertrump, WHCA, Breitbart

The message is clear and two fold: Prez-elect Trump is concerned about media and keeps his friends closer than his enemies. And by “concerned” I mean media is on his mind, more than it keeps him up at night. It’s a priority of his, as well as a tool. Brush up on Society of Spectacle in preparation for the next four years. 

During that hilarious exchange between John Stewart and Trump, I couldn’t help imagining the bankrupt billionaire swaddled in 4,000 thread-count gold bed sheets that match his comb over, squinting at an iPhone screen, trying to eek out a tweet that summarized both his confusion and late night spite in thecomedian’s 140-character chosen battle ground. 

Throughout his campaign, it’s hard to explain the numerous fuck ups and rescinds of tweets coming from a professional, hired staff member, someone who 1) knows how to convey ideas across the social media sphere, 2) has any concern for public reception (PR?) and/or 3) has his/her job in mind, based on the potential subsequent fallout. That is, I think the official Twitter account is accessed, at least in part, by the incoming commander in chief. What a pleasure and danger this is!

The White House Correspondence Association is irked that Prez-elect isn’t allowing the usual press to accompany his travels.  And, on a personal level, you can imagine Trump is probably tired of the mainstream media attacks that have been trying to undo their own work in the last six months. The mainstream media (hereafter ‘Dr. Frankenstein’) aren’t even allowed to see an unexperienced politician try to make a transition team! I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it. But Dr. Frankenstein needs the viewers. Dr. Frankenstein wants to set things straight. That’s the carrot that leads Dr. Frankenstein, keeps him up at night in his laboratory, lit by lightning flashes, well rested from his extended holidays while he just ran entire speeches of the demagogue over broadcast TV. Meanwhile, in hate forums of Brietbart, alt-right–so far right not even Glenn Beck will go there–those offscreen, middle America, basement dwelling support groups have their leader exalted to a plush seat at the table. (Bannon & Beck have a poor history of vying for the diminishing pool of invigorated, working-class live at homes. And if we can learn anything from the Yemeni civil war, it would be send Cruz and Beck in to fight Trump and Bannon.)

Stephen Bannon is at least as adventurous a media hate monger as Trump. Both white stallions ready to be put out to pasture, they’ve come back to the online world of 20 somethings who grew up on this and should know it like the back of their hands. They should know the aesthetics of logic and credibility. The fight is underway, with Breitbart, social media, Trump and Bannon and it looks like a fifth-installment of The Expendables where also gets a cash prize. That is, America is aging and it isn’t graceful, but social media may be aging more quickly.

This week Facebook’s CEO rebuts claims that he/they intentionally suppressed fake news from conservative accounts, particularly regarding Clinton. It’s fun to watch the wording here, because everyone–journalists, pundits, Facebook–are all trying not to say, “Yes, we know that there was tons of misinformation on Facebook and disproportionately about Clinton because who would believe this trash other than Trump supporters? Who would tout this crap? How could this be expected?” Point to Breitbart. Twitter is also coming under attack for the increase in hate speech from users, some of which is just illegal. They haven’t banned Bannon, yet. It’s equally funny/not funny that social media, which isn’t held to journalistic ethics, is being pressured to keep the facts straight, to abide, while actual news sources have been pretty much accepted as nodes of misinformation, blatant lies, intentional manipulation or rewording and that there’s nothing that can be done about it. What’s worse is that the media itself is/has been manipulated by the likes of “Groucho Marx Democracy.”

Following the election, news media and social networks exploded, not literally, unfortunately. Everyone wanted first to figure out WTF happened and how to deal with grief and/of/or flaunt their moment of unexpected victory. And there was and still is tons of misinformation circulating on social media. Many Clinton supporters are re-posting articles that are years old, but with headlines that still, somehow, are relevant, inspiring or conspiranoical. Yes, history repeats itself, but hopefully not that quickly. God, we have to live through this, right? If I see Jr. elected I’m going to fucking snap. I mean, what if Trump’s victory day was repeated like “Groundhog’s Day?” #dayMare #BillMurray2020 

In my own outdated media drawls, I stumbled into a video by Zizek where he makes an interesting point in the last ten minutes about politics becoming depoliticized. He’s talking about Berlusconi and how candidates are being measured on apolitical grounds, “empty spectacles.” What better description for Trump’s entire campaign than this? The purpose is to create smokes screens that facilitate a military authoritarianism not abroad, but within the country. Trump’s first day in office, and most viable promise, is the deportation of illegal immigrants beginning with those with a criminal history. This is less distinct from Obama’s deportation tactics (Obama holding record of most deportations of any President), but only through the vocal platform that intends to instill fear in those living here and conjure hatred in those supporters. 

Aaron David Miller’s explanation as to the end of great presidents nears Zizek’s conclusion of the depoliticization of politics, only in focusing on the criteria by which we weigh candidates. Rather than looking at policy and experience, we’re faced with making a decision on Presidents compared to non-presidents, like rock stars, actors or billionaires. This becomes a recipe for cults of personality, which goes back to Day 4′s post regarding a better form of democracy. Why are we electing one person who basically gives speeches and flies around the world posing for handshaking photos, but then appoints a huge number of members of his candidates whom we have little knowledge of in advance and no say in their politics to lay out law in this country?