Donald Trump always claimed the media was against him and this week’s events prove he was right, whatever one’s opinion of the US president.
It’s probably the understatement of the year to say that Donald Trump is a polarising figure. Rather like Marmite, people tend to love him or loathe him. But even those in the latter category, if they’re being honest, would have to admit that the mainstream media coverage of the 2020 presidential election results has been heavily – and quite outrageously – slanted against the US president.
Let’s put it another way.
Suppose someone who had spent the last four years at a space station on Planet Zog, and who had no background knowledge of US politics, zoomed down to Earth on Tuesday night and decided to tune into the US election coverage. They would work out pretty quickly that most of the media and most ‘commentators’ wanted the man they called ‘Trump’ to lose and the man they called ‘Biden’ to win. Orange Man = Bad, Other Man in Mask = Good.
You’d have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to notice the bias. As the author Candace Owens tweeted “At no point would they call states with a clear Trump lead on election night if it put Trump above Biden. I have never seen anything like it. The media is in full cooperation and collusion with the Democrat Party.”
Quite a claim isn’t it? But it certainly does seem that way to any neutral observer.
Trump’s defeat was something the major channels and most ‘talking heads’ had looked forward to for years. The prospect of him actually winning – against the odds and against the polls – was not something they were willing to countenance. Even when the president had a clear lead in several states. Instead we kept hearing how Joe could still take this or that state. The Democratic candidate was merely ‘biden’ his time, don‘t you know.
We all know the media plays a key role in influencing how people vote, but in the US, because of the peculiarities of the system, they also play a very important role in shaping perceptions of who is actually winning. Forget the fat lady singing, the US election shows it ain’t over until the media says it is, the New York Times even explicitly said this in a hastily deleted tweet. And the media wasn’t going to call it over with the man they utterly despised in the lead. You don’t have to be a member of the Donald Trump fan club to acknowledge this.
On Tuesday, at 11pm in the UK Biden was odds-on and Trump 2-1 against. But in the morning Trump was odds-on. Then came the time-out. It was the German football manager Franz Beckenbauer who said that if your team is losing, you have to do everything you can to disrupt your opponent’s momentum. The media – and Trump’s opponents – certainly did that.
Of course Trump is angry about what happened. Wouldn’t you be? But look at how his reaction to what happened has been portrayed. The BBC website, declared ‘US goes to wire as Trump falsely claims fraud’. Why the ‘falsely’? Does the BBC know for sure that Trump’s claims are false? They may be but they may not be. Who knows? In the good old days when the BBC reported the news rather than editorialised it, the headline would have been ‘US vote goes to wire as Trump claims fraud’, and viewers would be left to decide for themselves whether they thought the claims had any merit.
ITV News was just as subjective. ’Donald Trump repeats baseless election fraud claim as Joe Biden urges calm’, they tweeted. Got that? Bad Man makes baseless claims, Good Man says ‘Stay calm, folks’.
Isn’t it revealing that Trump’s claims are routinely and summarily dismissed as ‘false’ and ‘baseless’ whereas Democrat claims that he was a de facto Russian agent received no such dismissal. No, they and the associated claims of ’major Russian collusion’ in the 2016 election were reported as credible, even though no evidence was produced. Which begs the question: How can the US electoral system be so fraud-proof in 2020, yet so open to ’Russian fraud’ in 2016? The double standards are off the scale.
Trump has been told to be a ‘good loser’ and ‘do a John McCain’ by those who did everything they could to delegitimise his victory four years ago. Is it any surprise that he isn’t prepared to concede and instead threatens litigation? To add insult to injury several news networks cut off from the president’s Thursday press conference regarding the election. Newsweek, helpfully, tells us Trump’s statement “was laced with false claims regarding the election.”
The BBC, even more helpfully, ‘fact-checked’ Trump‘s speech for us. What a service! What a pity all this ‘fact-checking‘ wasn‘t around when George W. Bush (and Tony Blair) were making claims about Iraq having WMDs. They were baseless claims, for sure. But no one reported them as such. Shame that, because lots of people died. But only Donald Trump tells lies. Donald Trump was the man who invented ‘Fake News’. There was none of it before he was around.
Repeat After Me: “Orange Man Bad. Biden Man Good. Once Bad Orange Man goes US will be a great, internationally-respected country again like when it invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, bombed Yugoslavia and destroyed Libya under the ‘honourable’ Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, who never made any ‘false’ claims at all. Got it, children?”
Now go to sleep. Uncle Joe will (hopefully) soon be in the White House and the world will be a MUCH BETTER PLACE.