Trumped: Flyover Tweets are Perfect Propaganda

June 29, 2017

Many Americans live in what long-haul aviators first described as flyover country and what political demographers now call the vast midlands that lay between our coasts. If you’re in flyover country, you’re forgotten.

It’s no mistake, then, that the states we buzz by are potently pro-Trump. The new president, after all, sought their support and gave them voice. Instead of skipping Kansas and Nebraska, he’s skipping California and New York.

He’s doing the same with social media. Trump’s tweets, for example, hold no logic for the coastal establishment, but they are enthusiastically read and regurgitated by his 33 million followers. And in full view of the coasties who dismiss them.

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What makes this work so well is Trump’s equally brilliant strategy to demonize and cow the mainstream media. Through combinations of Labels, Red HerringsCall Outs and Baits, he’s put the likes of The Failing New York Times and Fake News Network on the defensive. And with near-exclusive access given to conservative outlets, notably FOX News, he’s assured the smooth-running of his propaganda channel to millions of one-channel watchers.

While The White House toys with a dismayed press corps, the real issue is not whether cameras can be banned from the briefing room but whether any media outside Trump’s virtual news room are even relevant.

There have been stirrings of protest by the chronically polite Fourth Estate. In the infancy of the Trump presidency, FOX’s Chris Wallace chastised chief of staff Reince Priebus, “But you don’t get to tell us what to do.” And just this week, a local reporter finally ignored the be-nice memo and blasted deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders for her taunts: “What you just did is inflammatory!”

Indeed. Through his surrogates and social media, Trump has teased and finally jammed the machinery that delivers to most Americans the information we require to make, um, fair and balanced decisions. And in place of the good information, he’s landed planeloads of pro-Trump takes to the forgotten middle.

Read The Times, watch CNN, surf Politico, and you’ll think the war is on. From my perch, he war is over. Trump has won, at least for now. His supporters are listening and fawning with perfect obedience. They are his private audience and by virtue of their buy-in of a dishonest news media they are further inspired when reporters rise up.

A mere 150 days into his presidency, Donald Trump has beheaded his most dangerous foe, the media. And, sadly, they don’t know they’ve died.

Post by Alan Kelly