I AM A CRACKED MACHINE

Posted in Quick Hits on March 1st, 2016 by Ed

It appears that America is going full "Here, hold my beer. I'm gonna try somethin'…" with this election. After Tuesday it will be very, very hard for the non-Trump Republicans (and Bernie Sanders for that matter) to claim that they are in position to win the nomination. A chance remains on the GOP side if the entire party apparatus and its money men throw their heft behind one candidate. Unfortunately it appears like they cannot decide whether that candidate is Cruz or Rubio (hint: It's Rubio, but they're stupid).

The only thing that I find legitimately interesting about Trump as a candidate – not "Hey check out that flaming dumpster" interesting, not "How bad can Batman & Robin really be" interesting – is the way that he has paralyzed the media that just can't stop paying attention to him. They're ratings- and click-driven, so it's hardly a surprise that they do so. But our media have self-censored their coverage of politics in general and Republicans in particular to the point that they have literally no idea how to handle someone that lies as baldly and as often as Trump.

Our media has become a slick, well-organized Both Sides Are Valid machine. They have gotten into the habit of stenography to the point that they no longer appear to have a procedure in place for telling viewers when something is false. Twenty solid years of "We'll let the viewers decide" has culminated in a candidate who lies so outrageously that even he bursts into giggles half the time at his own bullshit and yet the media are paralyzed about how to challenge him or correct him. It isn't fair to say that one candidate is lying without also saying the same about the other, creating a vortex of False Equivalency and nonsense from which there is no escape.

By understanding their job as writing down what the candidates say or letting the candidates talk into the camera unchallenged and then passing that along to consumers, the media collectively – even Fox, if you can believe it – look like a deer in headlights as Trump maximizes his strategy of simply making shit up so quickly and in such quantity that the fact-checking couldn't keep pace even if it tried. And there is no real evidence that it's trying.

(post title)