There seems to be a reality block . . .
When Anderson Cooper (finally) looked at the polls that showed Senator Sanders faring better in Republican match-ups than Secretary Clinton, instead of asking, “Are you worried?” he asked Hillary Clinton, “Are you buying it?” Doesn’t that seem just a bit off? When Chris Hayes asked Susan Sarandon about her experience travelling around the country with Bernie’s historical campaign he did not ask her how exciting an experience that must be. No, he said, “What do you get out of that?”
Are they living in the same world we are? Is there some sort of mental blockage preventing these people from registering the reality that is right before them? I’m beginning to think that must be the case.
Though it’s fair to question the motives of corporate networks who benefit from advertising revenue, especially when they might see that profit threatened by the effort to “get the money out of politics,” I don’t think it’s a media conspiracy. Some Sanders’ supporters will make that argument, but it can’t just be about advertising revenue, or how would you explain all the free air time given to Donald Trump? Well, drama, train-wrecks, I guess it makes good TV. And maybe the gentleman maverick who is trying to buck the establishment just gets lost behind the loud blow-hard “reality” TV host.
It’s less likely to be a planned corporate coup than it is a kind of sheltered egotism. These “news” personalities have become out of touch with your life and mine, as detached from life outside their world as Washington is detached from life outside the Beltway. Maybe they trust their own assumptions and created narratives so much that they fail to see polls, numbers, and the hard evidence of giant crowds.
Meme (in the original sense) and the media
We see lots of what have come to be known as internet “memes” flying around with Bernie’s face on them. But memes are not simply photo-shopped pictures with a message sent out in hopes that they will “go viral.” The word meme was originally used by Richard Dawkins as a shortened version of a root word that basically means to mimic. Note the similarity to the word “mime.” A meme by Dawkins definition is a behavior, or a pattern, often linguistic in nature that gets passed along in a culture. The meme may be true or false, but it’s thought to be “successful” if it catches on.
I suggest to you that statements like “Bernie is too old to be president,” and the other myths about his electability, which Robert Reich talked about in his video in my last post, have been successful memes, so successful that even the news casters who probably made the assumptions in the first place just accept them as truth. From the beginning they set up the idea in our heads, maybe because they thought it would be such a great drama that it just had to happen, that the final fight for the White House would inevitably be Clinton against Trump. And ever since then, the most common theme among democrats and media pundits had to do with “preventing” a Trump presidency.
Could it be that this is why so many in corporate media are still convinced it’s going to be Clinton against Trump, even though the actual possibility could be Clinton and Cruise, Sanders and Trump, or even John Kasich against either Clinton or Sanders? And remember according to the polls if it’s Clinton against Kasich, she could very well lose in November.
But that’s not the narrative, so many in the media simply cannot imagine things going off script. But what if the American voters go off script, instead of just repeating the memes?
In an article in the Huffington Post on Thursday former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains:
The real reason the major media can’t see what’s happening is because the national media exist inside the bubble of establishment politics, centered in Washington, and the bubble of establishment power, centered in New York.
As such, the major national media are interested mainly in personalities and in the money behind the personalities. Political reporting is dominated by stories about the quirks and foibles of the candidates, and about the people and resources behind them.
Within this frame of reference, it seems nonsensical that a 74-year-old Jew from Vermont, originally from Brooklyn, who calls himself a Democratic socialist, who’s not a Democratic insider and wasn’t even a member of the Democratic Party until recently, who has never been a fixture in the Washington or Manhattan circles of power and influence, and who has no major backers among the political or corporate or Wall Street elites of America, could possibly win the nomination.
Oh but he could. He actually could.
It’s Not Just Corporate Media Who Are Out of Touch
Some are trying to explain away his win in Wisconsin Tuesday. And apparently the Clinton campaign strategy is one of slash and burn. Thankfully at least CNN reported on this change of “tone.” The lack of foresight from Clinton here astounds me, as I doubt very much she will be able to re-unite the party later. Instead, I fear she’ll alienate millions of voters, and not just young white “bros.”
If she does that she will hand over the presidency to the Republicans and she will have nobody to blame but herself. Ignoring and and treating a large number of the democratic electorate is simply not wise. What I am saying, of course, is nothing new. Politicians who are not in touch with the working class in their own parties have become cliché. Hillary Clinton’s blind spot here is not surprising.
NOTE: Although I hadn’t hit the “publish” button yet, more has happened since I wrote the above. I must say that while she has more than once accused Sanders of an “artful smear,” she seems to be proving that she is indeed the queen of that negative tactic. I’ve seen it happen in the debates. Attack the other candidate while claiming that you are being attacked. It’s disappointing, Secretary Clinton. To be honest, I’m glad that Senator Sanders is fighting back. More on that coming soon.