So, a few weeks ago I began to pen a brief thinkpiece in reaction to the ridiculous level of press attention being leveled at Donald Trump’s campaign, much to the benefit of Hillary Clinton. Tentatively titled ‘Let’s start calling Trump by his real name: Hillary’s Bogeyman’, I decided to sift through the mire that is ‘progressive’ media discourse and scrutinise how it is framing our perspective on the presidential race. It went a little something like this:
So, I’m finally doing exactly what I said I wouldn’t do (well, kind of) … but we’ll get to that in just a moment.
Zoe Williams recent Guardian piece ‘Me! Me! Me! Are we living through a narcissism epidemic?’ raises some increasingly relevant points about our relationship to celebrities on social media in the ‘seflie era’. However, the idea that Donald Trump & Katie Hopkins are somehow narcissist pinups (an ironic but appropriate term of phrase, given the amount of attention we afford them in the press and on social media) is both a flawed and one-dimensional take on their divisive sideshow antics.
But why? You might ask.
Well, I’ll tell you. Put simply, it is based on the idea that we take everything they say at face value, when really they’re just polemicists or actors that are pushed into the spotlight because they further a specific agenda. Now, I know this idea might be hard for both stateside liberals and fascists alike to digest (put it down to being spoon-fed on a diet of extreme insincerity and other noxious substances since infancy), but anyone with half a brain can see that Trump is in fact Hillary’s bogeyman (there, I said it). The infinitely less significant Hopkins on the other hand, exists purely to outrage the moral majority whilst rallying what’s left of the fascist bile at the bottom of the proverbial scum-bucket. At the most basic (or dare I say, base) level, we absolutely love to hate these people. Of course, our reactionary anger is often justified. Yet we need to consider whose cause it’s furthering.
It’s certainly not ours.
In short, read between the lines.
Long story cut short and we fast-forward several weeks later, only to find that my thoughts on the election campaign are substantiated by none other than John Pilger (a surefire indication if you ever needed one that said shit is going down):
Glad that I’d postponed posting a premature assessment of the situation, I decided to share my thoughts on the matter at hand.
For those of us astute enough to see through the emerging media driven dichotomy, Pilger’s on-point prognosis should be read with glee. Only, we don’t. Not quite. Instead, we’re wary of just how big a truth-sized shadow such an on-point summation can cast over those of us who are done with inevitable tide of tawdry, disingenuous anti-Trump tirades every time we open up social media. Worst still are the politically correct ripostes penned in the name of ‘feminism’ emanating from virtually every single section of the media. Despite the popular perception of Trump as the primary antagonist and all round beast-to-be-slain, the idea that Hillary is in any way a feminist is infinitely more fallacious than any one of Trump’s outrageous claims (almost as much as those that paint Bernie Sanders as sexist). I mean, she’s made no secret that agrees with Trump on a whole host of issues, not least relations with Mexico and immigration (read: continuing Obama’s legacy of deporting vulnerable migrant and refugee children). It’s therefore even more disconcerting to learn that the preponderance of this pro-Hillary narrative in mainstream media isn’t the only thing that risks undermining the dissemination of home truths.
As Pilger mentions in his article, the “editorial committee” of Truthout – one of the American outlets Pilger syndicated his article in – “clearly wanted me to water down my argument that Clinton represented a proven extreme danger to the world”. Upon examining the content of Pilger’s article, Truthout’s claim that its job is to “hold the feet of elected officials to the fire” seems at odds with its umbrage at Pilger’s searing critique of Hillary’s preordained media-driven role in the presidential race. We could clearly speculate until the cows come home as to the nature of Truthout’s real agenda, but to say that this is a highly suspect moment of media slippage would clearly be an understatement. For now though, the implications that such fleeting commitment to the truth will have on progressive discourse and independent, uncensored political reporting are not yet clear.
At this moment, it seems, we need to remain vigilant. And resistant, always resistant to bullshit. No matter whose cakehole it’s coming from.
But especially Hillary’s.