New weapons of political discourse should be taken seriously by mainstream media
The political right needs to be able to trust, listen to and be informed by the press just as much as the left. If the media fails to champion the angry core of America, it will have little hope of guiding or informing the nation’s conversation, even if it is true and righteous. In the worst case, trying to bring down Trump through the media could allow him to destroy liberal mainstream media altogether.
‘Trump’s Media War’ compiles 15 essays by experts from academia and journalism. Topics they address include Trump’s television celebrity, his use of social media, and his combative relationship with the mainstream media. The contributors rally together to map the parallels of the seemingly momentous and continuing shifts in the wider relationship between media and politics.
“Trump’s success was the result of a violent release of dispossessed discontent that had one credo: continually articulating itself against the establishment, the elite, the mainstream, the political order, the neo-liberal economic order, the global order, the established way of doing things—against, that is, the entirety of the hitherto existing mainstream reality,” explains editor of the book Catherine Happer.
The success of Trump can also be partly attributed to his use of social media. For example, he spent over $85 million on Facebook ads, designed not only to persuade users to vote for him, but also ‘dark ads’ to suppress voter turnout among Democrats. Editor William Merrin argues that we have underestimated both the extent and impact of social media memes, troll politics and the ‘datafication’ of our social media activity. Memes may simplify political arguments but they also cut through the liberal ideal of rational debate to deliver satirical critiques that damage opponents.
So, what now? Scandals, failed policies and gaffs that should have damaged Trump appear not to have done so. One answer is to invent and invest in new services to serve new communities, including those who feel underserved: immigrants, Muslims, LGBT communities, people who will lose health insurance— communities organized not just around identity but also around need. But there is also a tremendous business opportunity for a new service for conservative America. There are enough people on the right who want facts too.
Catherine Happer, Andrew Hoskins, William Merrin (Eds)
Trump’s Media War
2019, XVII, 272
Softcover €29.95 ISBN 978-3-319-94068-7
Also available as an eBook ISBN 978-3-319-94069-4