Four years ago President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America began the studied and constant touting of an accusation of “fake news” from the mainstream media. Initially his incrimination was dismissed as the sour grapes of a disgruntled politician – who uncommonly for someone his age had a grip upon social media, Twitter in particular. The charge has since transmuted to a mantra of the very radical element he appeared to fumigate against in others. Trump’s Twitter account has since been removed indefinitely.
“The fault I find with our journalism is that it forces us to take an interest in some fresh triviality or other every day, whereas only three or four books in a lifetime give us anything that is of real importance. In that way we should arrive at the right proportion between information and publicity. Never did I find in that coarse bottle anything but ill-humour, boorishness, and folly.”
Proust, Marcel “Swann’s Way”
Following the storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters including one indignant young woman (who had just been “Maced” in the face) in what she told a mainstream journalist was a “revolution”, the principle of free speech has rocketed to an atmospheric level.
President Donald Trump has many prized possessions. But few seemed to inspire as much personal joy as his Twitter feed. Trump routinely boasted of the social media bullhorn he possessed. He credited it with launching his political trajectory. And he used it as a tool to lacerate his foes.The president is “ballistic,” a senior administration official said after Twitter permanently took down his account, citing the possibility that it would be used in the final 12 days of Trump’s presidency to incite violence. The official said Trump was “scrambling to figure out what his options are.” So too was much of the political universe, which has become bleary-eyed obsessive about Twitter these past four years as Trump used the medium to fire advisers, sink legislative initiatives, encourage social duress and, lastly, praise the scores of MAGA faithful, just days after hundreds of them violently ransacked the Capitol.
At the same time the reporting of the two-faced lies of Trump enablers such as Senator Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley has further stoked the fires surrounding the opportunistic dissemination of information.
Demagogue: A leader whose impassioned rhetoric appeals to greed, fear, and hatred, and who often spreads lies. Former U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy (see McCarthyism) is often cited as a classic demagogue.
Trump’s reputation for bald-faced mendacity was well known even before his election. The most turbulent was the deceit about the birthplace of former President Barack Obama. But Trump’s unconscionable lies also characterized previous baseless accusations against young blacks in New York City. Trump has reportedly bragged that by saying anything often enough it will be believed.
Donald Trump has made many false or misleading statements, including thousands during his presidency. Commentators and fact-checkers have described this as “unprecedented” in American politics, and the consistency of these falsehoods has become a distinctive part of both his business and political identity. Trump is known to have made controversial statements and subsequently denied having done so, and by June 2019, many news organizations had started describing some of his falsehoods as lies.
Counter-balancing the heightened moral tone accompanying these developments is the reserve which is common among lawyers; namely, the right to be heard. What in this instance however transcends even the elemental entitlement to a voice is the recent history of repeated judicial pronouncements by the highest courts in the land confirming the illegitimacy of Trump’s underlying (pardon the pun) fabrication of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The upshot is the same one that has propelled the Resolution for the second impeachment of Trump; namely, the failure to respond effectively lubricates the inauthenticity of the initial act.
The analysis of this issue has disclosed unanticipated results not the least of which is that the people who believe the lies are ones whom one would think “should know better” (including for example a member of the West Virginia legislature). The incongruity is especially remarkable because until the constituents of the storming of the Capitol were itemized (as a result of unfolding prosecutions including murder), there had always been an acceptance that the problem was associated primarily with uneducated and disadvantaged voters – what Hilary Clinton called the “deplorables”. It is now unfolding that the more provocative feature of Trump’s supporters is racism, characterized by gun-totting, gang-bent Confederates from the southern and mid-west states. Their willingness to adopt whatever Trump tells them speaks not just to their incorrigible mental incapacity but more importantly to the convenience of what Trump asserts for their own purposes of superiority.
The most bracing consequence of this recondite debate is that is discloses an apparent rift between Americans exemplified in the indisputable closeness of the presidential election. Clearly the threat is that truth no longer matters. The division between information and publicity is no longer either discernible or important. It is also unsettling that historically when the first coup fails, the next does not.
As the fallout of a widespread ban on conservative and far-right social media accounts — including those of U.S. President Donald Trump — begins to clear, several prominent figures have taken to expressing their opinions online.
Among them is Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who tweeted Saturday he thought Trump’s Twitter suspension was “an unacceptable act of censorship.”
Navalny reasoned in a thread that the ban was a decision based on “emotions” and “personal political preferences” as other accounts belonging to other controversial leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, as well as COVID-19-deniers and other extremists have been not been banned.
“And yet, it was Trump who got banned publicly and ostentatiously,” wrote Navalny. “Such selectivity indicates that this was an act of censorship.”Of course, during his time in the office, Trump has been writing and saying very irresponsible things. And paid for it by not getting re-elected for a second term.
President-elect Joe Biden is doing what he can to steer clear of any manifest censorship by focussing instead upon a seamless transition from one administration to another. To his advantage the recent publicity has drawn definition to the irresponsible and exploitive conduct of President Trump and many Republicans. Given the incontrovertible differences between the ambitions of Americans it remains to be seen whether the new administration will as it professes to do be able to shepherd and unite the sheep.
My sense is that it was only because of Trump’s child-like and calculated behaviour (assisted obviously by his sycophants who are now “outed”) that this anomaly has survived this long. America and its citizens – being the conservatives they all are at heart – will devote themselves once again to the expression of hard work, making money and enjoying life; and the riotous baggage of “patriots” will unfold as the tolerable but minority contamination of racists and insurrectionists. Whatever the competing parties may promote, I cannot imagine that either side wishes to live in a society perpetually under threat of deterioration. For one thing big business in America requires stability. When this insane President Trump is at last removed from the public eye the stimulus for the mobs will start to vanish. If Trump is impeached his entitlement to million dollar annual security and pension will also disappear; not to mention his entitlement to hold office ever again.
Conservatism in the United States is a political and social philosophy. It characteristically shows respect for American traditions, republicanism, and limited government; supports Christian values, moral universalism, and rugged individualism; is pro-capitalist and pro-business while opposing trade unions; advocates for a strong national defense, gun rights, free trade, American exceptionalism, and a defense of tradition and of Western culture from perceived threats posed by communism, socialism, and moral relativism.