Chicago is still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Donald Trump as he blew through town on March 11 and created a storm of protests – including inside the UIC Pavilion where he was supposed to speak. Instead, the rally was canceled before he even spoke as the Pavilion was declared a disaster area with fighting and chaos not seen in the arena since the days of UIC’s hockey program.
The media was all over the chaotic scene as images flashed around the world – something Chicago is quite used to these days. The news coverage on the cable news networks was about as ridiculous as Trump’s campaign is.
You’re thinking, “Why didn’t Trump hold his rally in Republican-friendly places in the Chicago area?” Simple. Instead of bringing his message to DuPage County or the Rosemont Theater, Trump decided to hold the rally at the West Loop venue – in the heart of one of the most racially diverse places in the Chicago area where Muslims and Hispanics live – groups Trump slams on a regular basis. Thus, the out-of-control protests.
He knew it would get media attention from the Trump-starved media, both local and national. He knew what was he doing. After all, this is a man who once hosted The Apprentice, a stupid reality program yours truly vehemently disliked and became even more stupid when it became Celebrity Apprentice.
So should the media get the blame for Trump’s rise? Maybe. But you can also blame media consolidation, an issue many people thought ended when President Obama was elected.
The three major cable news channels – and all other news outlets abandoned real journalism years ago. What you get is instead of the issues, you get ratings-grabbing bullshit. The promos might as well read ” [insert network here.] Your home for the latest Trump rally brawls”.
Why? Because it draws viewers. The news channels and most local news stations are owned by media conglomerates who emphasize making money for their owners and pleasing fat cats on Wall Street. Recently, CBS Chairman Les Moonves said Trump’s rhetoric was “[bad] for America but it’s damn good for CBS”, pointing out how political advertising for and against Trump (mainly against) was good for his network.
The ownership of two of the three cable news networks – CNN and MSNBC – changed hands in the last 20 years as Time Warner swallowed CNN while Universal and later Comcast took over NBC. Once an innovator in the way news was presented, CNN is now a laughingstock with idiot anchor Don Lemon as the face of the network and is currently run by former NBC dimwit Jeff Zucker, who should be operating a used car lot somewhere – proof only in the media business where you can be rewarded for failure (see Mancow.) And speaking of NBC, MSNBC has an inconsistent line-up with nobodies anchoring the network and programs nobody watches. Recently, the network dropped weekend host Melissa Harris –Perry because she refused to give up her show’s airtime for guess what – more Trump coverage.
And the less said about Fox News, the better.
Meanwhile, local news may be heading down the same path as broadcasters are continuing to merge with one another in order to gain leverage with cable and satellite operators in retransmission talks. Local stations are adding more news than ever before so they can grab more political advertising dollars and of course, show Trump running his mouth.
But the real worry here is what Trump does if he gets elected President. While he hasn’t said what he would do regarding the FCC, his distaste for the media is concerning. He was talking about reworking libel laws, which could diminish the First Amendment rights of journalists. And while he doesn’t like the media, he’ll certainly have no problem with the people who run the media industry as Trump could deregulate the business even more – bad news for those who care about journalism or localism. Completely lifting the ownership caps in both TV and radio could lead to near-monopolies which would be a disaster for viewers, listeners, and advertisers.
The rise of Trump is also a result of the anger we’re seeing against the government. His attitude is also fueling gridlock at many levels, from the Illinois budget impasse to partisan gridlock at the FCC as politics are degenerating into a poorly thought-out WWE angle. In Illinois, politicians are already ignoring the pleas of residents not to cut services or keeping state universities open. Pols are supposed to work for us – not the other way around.
That’s not making America Great Again. Under Trump, it would be just the opposite.