Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Shaping The News

President Asterisk elicited much mirth and memes when he incorrectly noted that Sweden had suffered a terrorist attack that it didn't suffer.  It was the Bowling Green Massacre all over again.

Until last night, when riots broke out in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in Stockholm.  If you read the piece, you'll get a sense of how out of whack the report on Fox News was that Trump based his erroneous statement on.  It was selectively edited, it has no corresponding statistical evidence to back it up and it's largely the work of a journalist who has a point to make rather than a story to report.  What Trump said at his little Nuremberg rally this weekend was factually and substantively false.

But get these riots.  In some ways, these are no different from the sort of riots we see in American ethnic neighborhoods, when the populace feels that they are being oppressed rather than served by the police.  Whatever the reason - maybe it was just a bunch of drunk teenagers - this feeds into Trump's apocalyptic narrative of a world in flames.  The Rinkeby riots will resonate throughout right-wing media and reinforce Trump's support in those quarters.  The lack of chronological accuracy won't be noted, because the larger purpose of right wing media isn't accuracy, it's advocacy.  And that advocacy involves keeping the populace fearful enough to embrace authoritarian solutions.

Trump presents a conundrum for his opponents.  If you violently resist his regime by rioting, you feed into his narrative.  If you acquiesce to his presidency, you risk normalizing a profoundly unfit president.  Riots always feed into the authoritarian power structure.  It allowed capital to crush the Knights of Labor after Haymarket Square.  It allowed reactionary forces to crush left wing dissent during both post-war Red Scares.  It drives the authoritarianism expressed by Trump's supporters.

Bad things happen.  They happen for various reasons.  One of those reasons can be the incompetence and belligerence of Trump's administration.  It really doesn't matter.  Anything can be used as a tool and excuse to increase the power of the Leader.

Kind of hooked on the devil's horns here.

No comments: