JJudging by his ridiculous video calling for the cure Thursday night, Donald Trump is tipping the scales and the effort marks in “Late Brando.” Apparently reading the cards held by one of the last bunker friends who hadn’t yet resigned, the president somehow managed to make his lines ring at once like they were phone calls and terrified.
No one should trust a single word he says, naturally, but there was a distinctive tone of truth to the quote from a current presidential adviser, who told a New York magazine reporter that Trump was irritated by the scenes in the Capitol simply because they looked “lower class”. As the advisor explained: “He doesn’t like low-class things.” Well, quite. All populists hate their people, and Trump’s lifelong dislike for exactly those who voted for him and supported him to the bitterest end, if at all, is one of the harshest ironies of his time. .
And that’s how the staunch members of his base woke up to find that, for Trump, it was just a one-shot position. On Wednesday night he told them that he loved them; by Thursday he promised to jail them, probably using the executive order from the draconian monument he had brought in to delight them during the collapses of the Black Lives Matter statue. Life comes fast, they tell me.
It is not yet clear how well they will take the betrayal. We are already talking about people whose idea of freedom is so distorted that they seem genuinely offended by the idea that they are not actually free to strike a blow at a democracy. A boy on wednesday aware a photo of her son standing inside the Capitol on a statue pedestal with the words, “That’s my son!” By Thursday, I was asking, “Why is the FBI contacting me?” I was hypnotized by a clip from a Maga insurgent who explained: “This is a revolution!” but she was absolutely outraged and shocked that tear gas had been applied to her. America’s culture of service runs deep.
And so to the founding fathers of this level of massive deception. It was nice to hear from Mark Zuckerberg who grandly announced that he had blocked Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. It is not so much about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as it is about bending the horse, whipping it into a frenzy, encouraging it to bolt, fostering a world in which humans are subjugated by horses, monetizing each snort and whinny. allow the very existence of “humans” and “horses” to become one of many competing opinions, and then, only when that particular horse is no longer useful and seems destined for the glue factory, gently close the barn door with a little self-satisfied “click”. That said, I really enjoyed the photos of Zuckerberg’s wife enjoying carefree surfing in Hawaii, presumably taken as a man claiming to be prepared for a violent death I was browsing on Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
However, breaking his silence is Rupert Murdoch, hiding in Oxfordshire and already safely vaccinated, even as his highest-profile Fox news anchor Tucker Carlson pushes anti-vax propaganda. But there would never have been a Trump presidency without Fox News, with the channel spending years before his election fueling his birth, the bait of the boom, and the belief that the news is actually another television show whose ratings were his main obsession. Duplicating all of his worst instincts from the moment Barack Obama was elected, Fox News terrorized and radicalized with savage disinformation, creating a post-fact black hole so powerful that even its previously moderate rivals were sucked into it.
And here we are. The significance of the events in Washington this week is many things, but one of them is a warning about what happens when the “news” is completely unrelated to the facts. Moving from channel to channel as the drama unfolded, I was amazed at how much there is still to be treasured in UK television news. Robert Moore’s truly masterful reporting for ITV from inside the Capitol was far better than anything I saw on US channels, where even CNN seemed locked in the format of experts at the height of the action.
And yet… imagine being the country that RIGHT NOW is deciding to get into the crazy news and entertainment game. Imagine being the country that has seen the last four years develop in the US, with its bloodlines so easily traceable to Fox’s sensibilities, and yet you’re thinking: let’s have a little of that. Because we are, of course. In the coming months, not one but two anti-impartiality news channels will launch in the UK: GB News, backed by Discovery, and News UK, courtesy of that aforementioned international life adornment, Rupert Murdoch.
He couldn’t move for commentators to explain after the phone hacking scandal that Murdoch’s spell was broken. In fact, as numerous events since have shown, Rupert Murdoch’s spell has not been remotely broken. It is spello intact. Shortly after Trump’s election, Murdoch’s protégé, Michael Gove, was flown to New York for a worship colonoscopy: “interview,” as he had it. Gove apparently described every detail of his visit to Trump’s office, even who rode the elevator with him, but never thought to mention that Murdoch sat on the whole thing. according to the Financial Times. The public doesn’t like to see the trick done, perhaps.
The Trump presidency was possibly the logical outcome of the kind of hyperpartisan misinformation first fostered by Fox News, and the grotesque events on Wednesday were the logical outcome of a Trump presidency. I wouldn’t be so eager to call it the logical end, given that strong rumors persist of a Tucker Carlson presidential race sooner or later. There is always another chapter. As for our next chapter, there will be those who wonder after the era-defining events in Washington this week if this is a good time for the UK to start going after this particular Fox. On the other hand, what is the worst that could happen?
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism