A Genuine Crisis.
The US Capitol was violently attacked, on January 6, 2021.
Much of the anger in the aftermath has been rightly directed at our political class.
A group of Republican politicians, loyal cabinet members and staff. Pampered and ambitious followers ... not leaders of any kind. They knew well enough to warn about Trump when he was a candidate, but today find themselves either feigning distance, or stuck clinging to their dear Leader.
The trope about an undisciplined New York businessman belies the truth of a calculated huckster. Trump is a shrewd demagogue and marketing professional, keenly aware of his formal and informal power.
Our nation is paying a dire price for elevating this charlatan.
The outgoing President of the United States, and his team of sycophants, have been attempting a slow-moving coup since losing the election in November 2020. Their cynical efforts and lies led to a violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol Building, January 6, 2021.
To understand how disinformation could confuse millions, and motivate thousands of people into a violent frenzy, I think we need to take a wider view.
Tucker Carlson is a formidable media and right-wing presence as an anchor for FOX News; a Public Relations extension of the Republican Party. His Nightly, Prime-Time Cable News Show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, has a unique legal distinction.
In court last year, lawyers for FOX News argued successfully that “reasonable” viewers should watch the show “with an appropriate amount of skepticism”.
"It’s a beat change, if you’re an actor … You can even see it on his face. He gets serious. He’s not being dramatic." -FOX News Lawyer
To clarify, Tucker Carlson wants millions of cable news viewers to discern his dull facial expressions, and subtle ‘beat changes’ - while streaming from TVs and cellphones. Only by developing a grasp of Tucker’s “serious face” will viewers know if they’re watching “A high-ranking journalist describe the real world” or “A vile, silly man pretending to describe the real world.”
Sadly, even if someone could convince Tucker to respect or care about his audience ... the problem persists.
By now, "newsy-sounding" garbage has proven itself as a business model ... inspiring new, unscrupulous media enterprises. SOME New Media players are eager to compete by further lowering journalistic standards, leaning into clickbait distortions.
Clicks. Views. Shares. Audiences.
Everything else is filler.
Ready to supply any void in the market, these content platforms openly venture to deliver the most sensational rightwing partisanship and conspiracy theories, to a thoroughly confused viewing audience.
The dangerous plot further thickens as just below that gutter, a robust sewer thrives. An expanding industry of political personalities - commentators, tweeters, book sellers, Youtubers, media entrepreneurs - all clamoring for attention. Broadcasting their lazy takes, moving branded merch, peddling their music, monetizing outrage.
One example of this is "Harlan Hill". A chubby faced, child-like figure who contaminates our public discourse every time he tweets to his 160K followers.
Each morning, Harlan commits himself to retweeting only the worst comments on the platform. He promotes his book, lands on TV - for some reason - and fashions himself president of a “PR strategy firm”.
Harlan dutifully conjures up grievance, and topical, Trumpist tweets 7 days a week … simply as part of his personal branding strategy.
Take a moment to think about that ... and what it means for our society.
There are HUNDREDS of little Harlans, at varied levels of success and disrepute. Naturally, the nation's political capital is burdened with a disproportionate number of these invertebrates.
Many are fully independent actors - in a market for views, legitimacy, and access.
Performing overconfidence is perhaps their only real product, or innovation.
Seeking to garner favor from the increasingly brazen liars, just one level up.
Can you imagine? Knowingly betting their fortunes, and reputations, on mass delusion ... and then, winning that bet. Lol.
Ours is a decadent culture that holds money and status as top values, and this is just one harmful byproduct. An AMERICAN culture, which could see itself collapse under the weight of its own deep-rooted indifference.
"HONEST WORDS MATTER"
Public trust in our government and elite media has long been eroded.
But Donald Trump, and his resilient group of political allies have aggressively assaulted the national consciousness over the last four years. In his final days, Trump organized a mob, and professed that they’d march to the Capitol together.
He lied to them yet again ... sitting giddily in the White House, while his