Passive U.S. Media Moving Quickly to Normalize Trump's Hate Speech and Stream of Nonstop Lies

Posted Nov. 30, 2016

MP3 Interview with Robert Jensen, professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, author of the forthcoming book, "The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men", conducted by Scott Harris

normalization

From the moment Donald Trump launched his presidential candidacy in the Republican party primary, it was clear that the real estate billionaire and reality TV star was not just another ordinary politician. His denunciations of Mexicans, Muslims and raw expressions of misogyny disregarded the standard GOP dog whistle-style bigotry that's been part of the GOP for decades. Instead, Trump’s incendiary hate speech – linked with the scapegoating of minorities – succeeded in galvanizing his support among white men who were eager to identify those to blame for the decline of America’s middle class and their standard of living. Although the right-wing populism with bogus bumper sticker-like policy solutions helped Trump win the GOP nomination and the Electoral College vote, most Americans saw through the scam and voted against him.


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At the outset of the campaign, major corporate media outlets provided billions of dollars of free airtime to Trump, owing to the public’s fascination with his circus sideshow persona and the profits high ratings brought in. But even as the November election drew closer, the nation’s major newspapers and TV networks accorded Trump’s extremist rhetoric a false equivalency to that of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. This normalization of Trump’s demagogic views continued after he won the election. When former head of Breitbart News and campaign CEO Steve Bannon was appointed as Trump’s chief White House strategist, the Washington Post didn’t describe him as the promoter of vicious racism, misogyny, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, which he was. Instead, the capital’s paper of record benignly described him as “a hard-charging strategist who does not shy away from the rigors of a tough campaign."

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Robert Jensen, journalism professor at the University of Texas, who examines corporate media's coverage of the 2016 election campaign and concerns about the normalization of hate and lies after President-elect Trump takes office in January.

To see more about Robert Jensen's books and articles, visit robertwjensen.org.

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