One of my early posts at RedState was specifically about how utterly fake politics is. If anything, it has gotten even harder to suspend disbelief long enough to take most of the political world seriously.
I started thinking about this again because of the recent story about Trump allegedly lying to get on the Forbes 400 list and using fake personas like “John Barron” to heap praise upon himself. That story appears to have revived a post I wrote back in October about Trump pretending to be his apparently non-existent secretary and writing a letter to the editor defending his sex appeal.
At times—most of the time really—writing about the latest political controversy makes one feel like a sports writer who covers professional wrestling or soccer.
The hardcore Trumpkins will take all this as an anti-Trump post but it’s not really a Trump problem. He and all the intellectual dishonesty and logical inconsistency he inspires in pundits and politicians may be the easiest example to recognize but the problem has existed for far longer than Trump’s political career.
We were incessantly told that Barack Obama’s guest lecturing made him a “Constitutional scholar.” The conventional wisdom was that Obama was the smartest president ever even though we never saw any evidence to support that. His academic records remain a tightly guarded secret.
Democrat media operative Dan Rather infamously ran with “fake but accurate” documents in a story about how George W. Bush went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. Ask practically any Democrat and they will still tell you that W “stole” the 2000 election with the conviction of the most ardent believer in chemtrails.
The Clintons were portrayed as defenders of women despite Bill’s rampant philandering and Hillary’s abetting of it by destroying the reputations of the women with whom Bill cheated on her. Hillary’s disconnection from reality following her 2016 defeat is even making some on the left cringe, while even Bernie Sanders and Salon are decrying the rise of team sport politics.
When politicians on both sides only speak the language of political expediency we rely on the press to sort out the facts from the fakery but the media has chosen sides and now only reports the spin that aids their team’s agenda.
Balance only comes in the form of soundbite duels between self identified experts whose arguments are judged primarily by the audience’s confirmation bias. People refer to these television segments as debates but they are really more performance art than anything. Like in Presidential debates, facts take a back seat to subjective perceptions of who appeared more confident and who delivered the best zingers.
Hopefully people will eventually begin to reject this synthetic politics of entertainment and demand better. In the end we get the government we deserve because we get the media we deserve.