So sayeth conservative radio personality Charlie Sykes:
We’ve basically eliminated any of the referees, the gatekeepers. There’s nobody. Let’s say Donald Trump basically makes whatever you want to say, whatever claim he wants to make. And everybody knows it’s a falsehood. The big question of my audience, it is impossible for me to say that, “By the way, you know it’s false.” and they’ll say “Why? I saw it on Allen B West.” Or they’ll say “I saw it on a Facebook page.” And I’ll say “The New York Times did a fact check.” And they’ll say “Oh, that’s The New York Times. That’s bullshit.” There’s nobody – you can’t go to anybody and say, “Look, here are the facts.” And I have to say that’s one of the more disorienting realities of this political year. You can be in this alternative media reality and there’s no way to break through it. And I swam upstream because if I don’t say these things from some of these websites, then suddenly I have sold out. Then they’ll ask what’s wrong with me for not repeating these stories that I know not to be true.
When this is all over, we have to go back. There’s got to be a reckoning on all this. We’ve created this monster. And look, I’m a conservative talk show host. All conservative talk hosts have basically established their brand as being contrasted to the mainstream media. We have spent 20 years demonizing the liberal mainstream media. And by the way, a lot of it has been justifiable. There is real bias. But, at a certain point you realize you have destroyed the credibility of any credible outlet out there. And I am feeling, to a certain extent, that we are reaping the whirlwind at that. And I have to look at the mirror and ask myself, “To what extent did I contribute?” I’ll be honest, the bias of our mainstream media has been a staple for every conservative talk show host, every conservative pundit, for as long as I can remember. Going way back to the 1960s with William F Buckley, Jr.
This is almost a metaphor for larger issues. In the same way that the anti-Trump conservative entertainment weak tore apart the trust in the media they’d need this year, they also tore down the institutional protections and respect that might have prevented his rise to begin with. I’ve previously likened Trump to a virus that succeeded in large part due to a compromised immune system. Among other things, the bullspit detecting antibodies had been obliterated after wave on wave of previous infections.
And so when the media was needed, it wasn’t there in a meaningful extent. It couldn’t penetrate the minds of those who needed to hear it. Their credibility had been destroyed. When “the establishment” sought to stop him, they couldn’t. Their credibility had been destroyed. And the conservative news personalities were disinclined to rain on anybody’s parade.
I’ve been rather hard on Erick Erickson lately, because up until earlier this year he has been among the worst offenders. So it’s a bit rich for him to act as the “principled opposition.” On the other hand, at least he did flip. And when Republican voters needed to hear a particular thing, he tried to tell it.
What I still haven’t seen, except from Sykes above, is any indication that 2016 followed 2015, which followed 2014 and especially 2013. And that these things are related.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!
About the Author
please enter your email address on this page.