‘You think the truth took a hit last year? It’s about to get worse. A lot worse.’
Welcome to the media in the Age of Trump.
- False rhetoric.
- False equivalency.
- Ad hominum.
Charles Sykes/Politico Magazine
All of this was a long time coming.
Trump’s victory means that the most extreme and recklessly irresponsible voices on the right now feel emboldened and empowered. And more worrisome than that, they have an ally in the White House. The new media will not only provide propaganda cover for the administration, but also direct the fire of a loose confederation of conservative outlets against critics and dissenters.
So what is this brave new conservative media going to look like? Probably more like Alex Jones than National Review. The appointment of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon as chief adviser to the president-elect was the new regime’s implicit imprimatur on the new conservative media. But perhaps the most revealing moment was Trump’s reported call, on the Monday after the election, to Infowars’ Alex Jones to thank him for his support in the campaign.
Jones is not your garden-variety conspiracy theorist. He is a 9/11 truther, who believes the U.S. government conspired in the attacks to justify the creation of a police state. He has suggested that the government also may have been behind the bombings in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, and at the Boston Marathon, which killed three. And he has repeatedly suggested that the Sandy Hook shootings were a “hoax,” “synthetic” and “completely fake.” He also thinks the government wants to “encourage homosexuality so people don’t have children” and said that Hillary Clinton was “a frickin’ demon and she stinks and so does Obama.”