By, Linda Stockton
We hear a lot about the big bad MSM-Mainstream Media. They are the bad guys. They control everything right? The trends, the public discourse, the culture, style, societal norms, political outcomes…everything. Or do they? What about those on the fringe? What about those far left and far right outlets that are not so mainstream? What about talk radio and the blogosphere? Facebook and Twitter? Certainly, now, in 2016, there is an absolute overload of information, opinion, fact and rumor from just about every possible source and it can be overwhelming. This is part of the frustration of the average voter. What to believe and from whom?
In an election year where otherwise respected, reputable media folks have completely capitulated to their partisan urges, one is left wondering where to turn for truth. When you have the usually insightful former AR Governor Mike Huckabee (R) shamefully and senselessly concocting inane car crash analogies to support Donald Trump, we have reached new lows. Most of us witnessed the presumed intellect and former Speaker Newt Gingrich become unhinged and tell FoxNews’ Megyn Kelly that she was “obsessed with sex” for questioning Trump’s history with women. He went on, with a Trump-like smug, demanding that she say the words “Bill Clinton is a sex offender.”
We have entered the twilight zone, people.
And then there’s Facebook. A very kind and wonderful lady I know actually posted an apology the other day. She stated, “I am really, really sorry that so many of my friends have unfriended me after finding out I voted for a third-party candidate. I hope after this election we can be friends again.” This lady had never posted anything negative about either Trump or Hillary. In fact, I don’t know that she had ever posted anything negative…ever. I’m sure most of us have seen some of that nastiness that is out there, from all sides, when our choice happens to be different. Twitter is another whole brutal world. There are not enough bridges in the universe for that many trolls to crawl back under.
So, what is shaping this negative conversation? It is no longer just the MSM. It is the uncontrollable onslaught of negativity from people who are abusing their positions and notoriety to force the public dialog. Why? Simple. Controversy and negativity sells. It boosts ratings and sells books if you can persuade enough people that your opinion, as crazy and destructive as it might be, is the “right” way to think. This is revving up masses of confused people that are angry and disenchanted with their idea of America. These are people that, on the right and the left, have been left out of the American dream. Some have been promised that if they work hard, they will prosper. Only they didn’t. They were taxed, and fined, and told they weren’t paying their fair share. Others were promised that if they were underprivileged, their government would take care of them…they did not count on being dependent on Uncle Sam as a lifestyle. But they are. Most of us were promised that if we supported either the big R or the big D, our lives would be better. We were lied to. Enter the opportunistic talking head. That so-called journalist or writer or blogger or pundit who sees the chance to exploit the lie, use the justified anger of the people, and FEED it. Fueling the fire of discontent into a raging inferno.
Thus we have the unholy rise of egomaniac Donald J. Trump and the discontented acceptance of corrupt Hillary Clinton. Monsters were created and then enabled to be as ugly and uncivil as possible. It makes for great T.V. and good copy.
After the election, when the dust settles, and we are “friends again,” we will begin to see true colors. We will learn who has been given a cabinet position. We will find out which outrageously inappropriate remark won an ambassadorship for which surrogate. We will hear who has been promoted from talking head to communications director in the new administration. And then we will know for what, exactly, this ignominious crowd has sold their dignity, integrity and very souls. We’ve all heard of pay for play. Presidential politics this year is shaking out to be the biggest pay for play scheme in history. Whether the paycheck is prominence and power, or monetary gain, the deception of the American people is a lucrative and disgusting way to make a living. And a shameful thing to do to one’s own country.