I want to blame the media for being too simplistic, for playing into Trump’s hands.
For example, they (CNN, MSNBC, probably others) keep repeating, like a mantra: How does it make sense for Trump to say the leaks are real but the reporting is fake? How can that possibly make any sense?
Well, it makes obvious sense, and Trump knows it in a feral, instinctive way, as do his supporters, though neither he nor they might have the clarity of mind to articulate it. The sense is simply this: The leaks did happen, but the reporting about their significance – and possibly even their content — is misleading and distorted. The INTERPRETATION that the media has overlaid on the leaks is “fake.”
Now, of course, if the media were simply to acknowledge this IMPLICIT argument (and trust me, it IS implicit), they would have an easy comeback with “But we are simply reporting what the leaks CONTAIN. We are reporting them LITERALLY. Interpretation is minimal or NONEXISTENT. We are simply reporting the information we are receiving via White House and other government sources, as literally as we can without divulging our specific anonymous sources.”
And yet, if the media tried to do this – that is, both articulate AND address Trump’s implicit argument – an argument that Trump himself has not been able (or willing?) to state plainly – that would be asking A LOT of the news consumer, a lot of thinking, a lot of attention and proactive use of brain power to follow the nuances of this situation.
And our culture is not conditioned to use its brains. This is not people’s fault. People are not stupid, but we are neither taught nor encouraged to USE OUR BRAINS in this society. This has actually been a problem as long I’ve lived at least, but it’s gotten so much worse. And calling people stupid, of course, only adds to the problem.
So I don’t know what to do, or what the media should do. But it freaks me when intelligent mainstream media seem to deliberately ignore the obvious. I feel they are unwittingly PROVING TRUMP’S POINT when they do that. They are reporting the news as it occurred – in this case, the news being Trump’s gibberish at his press conference about real leaks and fake news – but giving it a not-altogether-honest slant. And I believe Trumplandia dimly perceives this, and it keeps them in Trump’s corner.
I think Trump himself is a lizard brain, connecting with other lizard brains. When he calls himself not a bad guy, don’t you feel something? Like the guy really wants to be loved? Let’s not underestimate the power of that either. That tiny bit of authenticity is something people feel, totally bypassing their rusty critical thinking facilities.