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By: Joshua Dietz
Depending on your perspective, the Trump campaign and subsequent administration has either revealed the great temerity or timidity of American journalists. Whether by ‘investigating’ President Trump’s connections to Russia, or his tax returns, or any of the innumerable political dumpster fires that have been set since the summer of 2015, the News media has set itself up as this administration’s primary opposition. This stance however, has not been without its consequences. The perceived influence and reputation of formerly great entities such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, and others, have been marred by claims of ‘fake news’ and cronyism. Chris Cuomo of CNN compared the use of the fake news pejorative to that of more egregious ethnic slurs. In challenging the press, President Trump has raised such existential questions as, “What is true?” and “Who can I trust?”. This volatile and unpredictable climate was best exemplified by an exchange on today’s episode of Morning Joe between hosts Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, and their panel of guests.
Mika Brzezinski, in chastising the President for attempting to monopolize influence of American political thought, mused over who ought to control the flow of information:
SCARBOROUGH: “Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, ‘Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing — what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'”
BRZEZINSKI: “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”
Regardless of your political affiliation, the section in bold ought to trouble you, and for several very good reasons. The statement is a naked admission of the intent to manipulate. Such startling candor would be admirable were it not so evil. Americans seek their news from sources like Brzezinski and Cuomo (although at an astonishingly declining rate) in order to be informed, not propagandized. On this subject, Brzezinski and Cuomo appear as birds of a feather; Cuomo famously stated that it was illegal to read the Wikileaks releases (it wasn’t), exposing the very same lusting, control-freaking, desire for power as Mika.
This Tolkienesque, Gollum-styled mad possessiveness speaks to an underlying pathology that under any other circumstance would occlude such participation. The freefall in ratings for both MSNBC and CNN suggests that an increasing number of Americans can also sense this. With increasing regularity, pollsters, pundits, journalists, and commentators of every stripe have asserted themselves more strongly to shape the outcome of key economic, political, and social policies. This conduct is also unethical, and in some instances illegal.
Mika Brzezinski, you are very, very fake news.