Like some defective and malevolent artificial intelligence that reflexively fires off nuclear missiles long after the world is a blasted radioactive wasteland populated by tribes of cannibal mutants and murderous scavengers, the Trump media machine relentlessly continues its bizarre and destructive propaganda war against America.
While armies of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, truck and delivery drivers work in conditions of terror and exhaustion with limited equipment and a rising caseload, The Trump Show rolls on to constant applause and endless praise, an alternate universe impenetrable by tragedy or reality.
Ten thousand Americans are dead of COVID-19, but at least the Trump agitprop army is owning the libs.
While the rest of America faces the grim reality of a rising coronavirus death toll and an economy knocking on the door of Great Depression numbers, it’s always Year Zero in Trump’s alternate universe.
The Dear Leader can do no wrong. History is subject to infinite revision. Miracles wrought by his strong hand are on the horizon. What the hell do those doctors and epidemiologists and scientists and public-health officials know, anyway? Those libtard cucks probably voted for Killary, amirite? Why not take Dr. Trump’s Magical Covid Killin’ Hydrofloximoxicillianranium Wonder Elixir? What do you have to lose?
The brief bubble of rally-round-the-flag polling is deflating for Trump. Delay and denial for two months, even in Trump’s America, comes at a cost.
While America increasingly—and correctly—lays much of the blame for this crisis on Donald Trump’s horrifyingly inept performance, the Trump media machine keeps feeding his base political Brawndo. As the rest of America fights the viral tide and readies for the worst, Trump’s media army is doing its best to rewrite his failures into triumphs, his lies into gospel, and his petty grievances into righteous battles.
You would think that at long last the people who have empowered Donald Trump from the beginning would stare into their hearts and reassess their slavish obedience. You would think that the daily body count would strike some chord deep in their souls. You would think that his base at long last would see past the bluster and bullshit and finally, at long last, demand something more of him.
That’s where you would be wrong.
Donald Trump and his enablers love every second of the media circus surrounding this crisis. Every. Second.
For Trump himself, it’s what he always craves: attention, the spotlight, and the sole focus of everyone, everywhere. This is entirely a reality show for him, a daily opportunity to play to the camera. Like a monkey behind the wrought-iron White House fences throwing rhetorical feces at his chosen enemies, praiseturbating over his own brilliance, and retconning reality to suit his political and ego needs, Trump’s only regret about COVID-19 is that the show will someday end.
He’s said it repeatedly; he sees the press briefings as “free advertising” that is “great for his ratings.” I must have missed the part in the oath of office that said, “I do solemnly swear that I will caper daily in my reality TV role as president of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend my ratings. You’ve never seen such great and bigly ratings, believe me."
Trump’s media apparat is so profoundly corrupt and corrupted that this moment should stand as a stinging indictment, with one caveat: It’s working to keep the base in line.
In their bleak and reductive mental landscape, the compass always points back to whatever feeds the boundless sense of outrage and aggrievement that replaced conservatism. They always return to the safest of Trumpian spaces for this week’s iteration of the war against the elites and experts, and some fresh incarnation of an imaginary but vividly drawn and utterly sinister leftist conspiracy held at bay only by Trump’s Twitter feed.
This is why no matter how convoluted their mental gymnastics become or how many facts they are required to ignore, they’ll stick with Trump until the last dog dies. You will have, without exaggeration, Trump media outlets (quite notably The Federalist, a conservative journal turned Trump agitprop cesspool) that will run articles arguing that it’s only blue-state voters dying, and perhaps the olds should just shuffle off this mortal coil so Wall Street can emerge from its swoon. As for Trump supporters, their dead-eyed commitment to Don Shinrykio is so complete they’ll stand at the funerals of their dead grandparents, parents, relatives, and friends and hiss, “Well, what about her emails?”
At the top of the food chain is Fox News, of course. A network that has suddenly run like a scalded dog from its two months of “Corona what? It’s the flu! Hahaha time to travel and buy stocks!” attitude. Recognizing too late that they played a meaningful role in suppressing public awareness and concern over the coronavirus pandemic, Trump’s favorite network has turned on a dime.
The House Rupert Built was made for this. It’s busy attacking the main enemy in the battle with an implacable viral opponent: the media and the Democrats. This was the fundamental lesson of Roger Ailes by way of Saul Alinsky (and isn’t that a combination you never saw coming?); propaganda of their flavor needs an enemy, and the only enemies that matter to MAGA world are the media, smart people, and anyone opposed to Trump.
Fox’s radical change of tone from denial to defense may well be driven by a fear of the legal exposure caused by its denialist early coverage, but in the tribalism-uber-alles zero-sum game of defending Trump, it’s happy to have an enemy so it can look away from the disaster its Frankenstein monster is causing. If Granny has to die for the Dow, isn’t that a small price to pay?
As for the second-tier conservative outlets, they’re in the usual bind: Ignore Trump’s raving, flaming, insane incompetence, or please an audience that gives zero fucks for the old ways of Buckley, Burke, and Hayek and thinks conservatism is whatever Trump shits out of his Twitter feed on the daily. Their pain is constant and sharp, and they do not hope for a better world for anyone.
As for the rest of Trump’s cheerleaders, the lower tiers of that circle of hell are as delusional as always, with fish-oil huckster Seb Gorka, Fox regular and ham-faced screambot Dan Bongino, Gateway Pundit, Newsmax, OANN and the rest decrying people like Dr. Anthony Fauci as Deep State Sleeper Agents and digging under any rock to distract from Trump’s utter fuckery in the handling of COVID-19.
As consequential and as deadly as the coronavirus pandemic has been, and will continue to be, the Trump media machine can’t stop and won’t stop its relentless propagandizing and historical revision. Trump is the hero.
Even with over 10,000 Americans dead in part because of Trump’s deception, denial, and delay, the number of fucks they give is asymptotically approaching zero, and will never budge. Like Trump, shame, reality, and responsibility are alien concepts that fail to own the libs, and thus have been utterly abandoned.