Skip to comments.Impeachment Shows the Limit of Media Power
Posted on 12/01/2019 11:58:45 AM PST by Louis Foxwell
Impeachment Shows the Limit of Media Power
Live by the lie, die by the lie.
Fri Nov 29, 2019
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
After the media went all out to televise the impeachment committee hearings, a majority of independent voters switched from supporting impeachment to opposing impeachment.
In October, 48% of independents supported impeachment while 39% opposed it. Now 49% of independents oppose impeachment while only 39% still support it. The neat, almost perfect reversal, can be credited to the medias fateful decision to televise the committee hearings across the networks.
The medias error was entirely predictable.
The Russia investigation looked good in the media frame until the Mueller report came out and then Mueller was dragged in to testify about it. The impeachment bid looked good in the media lens until people actually watched committee hearings and didnt see any of what the media had been touting.
Live by the lie, die by the lie.
The paradox of impeachment is that the medias con artists invented it, but stories alone, the commanding heights of communications, cant actually close the deal. Like every con job, at some point the mark actually wants to see the million dollars that Nigerian prince is offering, the brand-new Tesla for only five grand, and the papers for the Brooklyn Bridge. Individual marks can be strung along indefinitely, but there are limits to how much an entire nation can be conned. Even by the media.
Abe Lincoln had something to say about that. But, then again, he was a Republican.
The media has excelled at creating investigation narratives. Its take on the Russia investigation or the Ukraine investigation convinced a lot of people that President Trump really was guilty. But you cant impeach someone in the media. Nor can you actually try them on MSNBC. And thats the problem.
Elections are where the medias power lies because all it has to do is convince voters to cast a ballot, without ever having to show its work or prove its claims. With impeachment, it has to do both.
Impeachment failed to flip Republicans. Its, at best, deadlocked among independents. And that leaves the Democrats isolated on impeachment. Poll after poll shows that most people are no longer persuadable on impeachment. Only 13% of respondents in the latest Q poll say theyll change their minds on impeachment. Thats not a lot to work with here. And it dooms the impeachment project.
The impeachment push was never going to work without the cooperation of GOP Senate members. Without them, it becomes a purely partisan project to influence the 2020 election. And the turnout boost will be more likely to help Trump than the Democrats. It also poisons the well for further proceedings down the road. House Democrats focused on impeachment above all else. Not only is it failing, but it leaves voters with the impression that trying to impeach Trump is all the House does.
And its not even very good at that.
The one thing the House Democrats tried to do, they failed at. That leaves them with a choice of admitting defeat and appearing completely useless. Or dragging out the process and then, possibly crippling their ability to take the White House, to avoid admitting just how useless they really are.
If the Democrats want to blame anyone, they can blame the media. It was the media that pushed them to impeach Trump. That happened over the protests of Speaker Pelosi and warnings from Democrat strategists. But the media needed the clicks, the eyeballs, and the money. And it promised the Dems that it could carry impeachment forward no matter how weak the case might be.
The media tried to do its part. But the Democrats couldnt deliver anything of actual substance. Again.
There are important lessons here for Republicans and Democrats about the limits of media power. The ability of a single radical political faction to control the national debate has critically damaged the country. But, at the same time, narrative power isnt the same thing as actual political power.
The Democrat plan to stop Trump has always been built on feeding lies through the media to justify abuses of power by elected and unelected officials. But the lies fall apart once theyre examined in the harsh light of the law and that just leaves the abuses of power. And yet the Democrats still believe that the same strategy will work once their ability to communicate their message improves.
But messaging has never been their problem. The facts of the case are where it all goes wrong.
The media is the strongest asset of the Left. And its also its greatest weakness. Not just because the medias business model is imploding, its credibility is tanking, and its transitioning to a charity. The Left believes that narrative is superior to reality. If you believe something, you can do it. A compelling story is all you need to bring change. Facts dont matter when emotions are played on by propagandists.
Narratives are effective. But the Left always overestimates the power and price of ruling by narrative.
The people most vulnerable to narratives love stories. Con artists start out by fooling themselves. Then they fool their victims. Liars lie to themselves. The media constantly lies to itself. As does the Left.
The media keeps promoting implausible schemes for taking down President Trump. These schemes, whether its the 25th Amendment or a House impeachment plot, are fanciful and implausible. They all depend on the power of the media to convince Republicans to act against their own interests. But the Republicans werent fooled by this scheme. The media fooled itself into believing it could fool them.
Thats the price of being a liar. When you live by the lie, youre also fatally poisoned by those lies.
Liars lose touch with reality. The cost of the con is no longer knowing whats true. Democrats were sucked into an alternate reality in which Trump is a Russian agent and was on the verge of being overthrown by a secret deep state operation. When they actually tried to make these laughable fantasies real, the collision with reality unraveled both the plans and the lies, leaving a disaster area.
The deep state operatives volunteering for duty proved pathetically nerdy and inept. The same intelligence agencies who have bungled everything they ever touched abroad did not magically become more competent when they tried to intervene in domestic elections. Fantasy met reality. Reality won.
The entire Russia scheme was based on a document out of the Clinton campaign that was so badly put together that a random gas station attendant from Milwaukee could have done a better job. When Mueller actually went in front of the cameras, the great detective could hardly remember his own name.
After all this work, the deep state has been reduced to guys like Vindman and Strzok, men with impressive titles and poor self-control, who are as useless at home as they are abroad.
What did the media expect? Did their own reporting really lead them to expect that the NSC, the CIA, or the FBI would suddenly turn into the master strategists that they have never been for a single second?
You cant consistently win battles in the real world when you arent living in the real world.
The coup plans worked spectacularly in the pages of the press, the broadcasts of network news, and the viral stories and videos splashed across social media, but they completely fell apart in the real world.
The bungled impeachment once again shows the limits of media power. It offers a warning about the dangers of believing your own hype. The media abandoned the vestiges of journalism for narrative in order to gain power. And yet, instead of gaining power in exchange for losing an eye, it went blind.
The media inhabits a compelling fantasy world. It is able to occasionally realize this fantasy by imposing it on enough gullible people. But convincing a lot of people to live in your fantasy world isnt a strength. Its a weakness. The temporary power gained in the moment is more than offset by the disasters that follow. Just look at any Communist country, its fantasy economics, and the disastrous outcome.
Democrats rule through media power and Republicans envy that power. But the power to lie to people is also a curse that entraps the liar. Believing lies makes you dumb. And dumb people do dumb things.
Impeachment isnt a brilliant strategy. Its the outcome of lies, greed, and stupidity. But the greedy dumb liars thought that it was a brilliant plan at the time. Because they wanted to believe it.
The entire disastrous venture shows the limits of media power, of lies and living out a fantasy.
There are two ways to fight a liar. You can fight him with lies or with the truth. Not the mere assertion of truth. Convincing people of what is or isnt true through mere words is an uphill battle. The real truth lies not in a page, but in reality. Reality is a painful way of testing lefty schemes and lies that has cost hundreds of millions of lives throughout history. But some lies are easier to test and damage the liar.
The Democrats plotted to rule through media lies. That strength became their weakness. Addiction to fantasies is harder to shake than heroin or cocaine. And their own lies are leading them to disaster.
Live by the lie, die by the lie.
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As someone once said, "These people are stupid".
The media used to be able to jam it down our throats, but not anymore. With the means to communicate far and wide with like minds, their power has faded. Now they have accelerated that decline with Fake News 24/7/365.
"The media inhabits a compelling fantasy world. It is able to occasionally realize this fantasy by imposing it on enough gullible people. But convincing a lot of people to live in your fantasy world isnt a strength. Its a weakness. The temporary power gained in the moment is more than offset by the disasters that follow. Just look at any Communist country, its fantasy economics, and the disastrous outcome."
Now, how about some truth and reality about the America which was envisioned and became a reality by the exceptional men and women who populated these shores from the 1600's through the middle of the 20th Century.
Thomas Jefferson's 1801 First Inaugural laid out what he considered to be the principles of his Administration. Mr. Trump may find that Jefferson's listing agrees with most of what he ran on as a candidate.
Note the important warning contained in Jefferson's last paragraph--that if "we" strayed from those principles, the nation should return to "the only road which alone leads peace, liberty and safety."
We are just beginning that "road" back. Determination of "We, the People," combined with diligence and patience will be required against those "progressive" paths which have led us away from the principles of Jefferson and the Framers of our Constiution of government.
(Excerpt, "Our Ageless Constitution," p. xiv, reformatted)
"Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation;
- entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them;
- enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man;
- acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter
with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people?
- Still one thing more, fellow-citizensa wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.
- This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
"About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you,
- it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations.
- Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political;
- peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;
- the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies;
- the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad;
- a jealous care of the right of election by the peoplea mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are unprovided;
- absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism;
- a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them;
- the supremacy of the civil over the military authority;
- economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened;
- the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith;
- encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid;
- the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason;
- freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety."
Near the root of all this is Rush Limbaugh.
30 years ago he started, almost all alone, to tear down what was then called the MSM.
What an exciting 30 years.
So true! Thank you, Rush Limbaugh.
Yeah social media has helped us MUCH more than it has helped the left.
Actually, now that actors and singers and other morons on the left can post insane comments for 10s of millions to see, it shows what they are.
Meanwhile Trump reaches 10s of millions to set the record straight on what the media lied about that day.
Twitter is one of Trump’s greatest weapons. And BOY does twitter hate that.
Rush has long said the media run the rodent party.
Hmmm. If 2020 is a blowout election year win for PDJT and the GOP, will the rats cut the chord with media? I can't envision that, but what is the alternative if the media deliver nothing but defeats?
Oops. Cut the cord.
I'd be honored to be on this fine writer's ping list; thank you in advance.
Sounds a little like Dan's been hanging out on FR, doesn't it? But we underestimate the partisan media at our peril. It wasn't simply they who forced Pelosi and company into impeachment, it was their elected media darlings such as Cortez, sensationalist and radical, who forced their collective hand. Theirs was also the first balloon popped by the hard thrust of reality. That happens a lot when there's more sizzle than steak.
All of this pales in the light of the antics of the third leg of this disreputable troika, the intelligence services, whose determined effort to stoke the fire by persistently leaking to the media is nothing short of criminal. The partisan media, the third-rate politicians puffing their chests out in pretend righteousness, those are forgivable in a representative republic and sort of go with the territory. Not so the deliberate betrayal of oath that has permeated non-elective offices of trust. These have proven impossible to dislodge so long as they keep the circus going. We may all hope for a reckoning when it stops.
And on AM radio! Definitely grass roots and the same medium that our grandparents listened Roosevelt’s speech to the nation at the beginning of WWII.
Don’t forget to thank Al Gore for inventing the internet.
We may have reached that point for Progressives.
They were able to get away with lies for so long, they thought they were invincible.
At the same time their ability to control the narrative has deteriorated.
Rush has had significant impact.
But he was far from alone.
At about the same time, the Internet was making an impact.
Freerepublic has had a very large impact.
Social media has had a very large impact.
The multitudinous Second Amendment groups have had a large impact, building longer than Rush, on different media.
C-Span had a large impact before it went over to the dark side.
Well said. Thanks Rush!
The saddest person in the world is the one that starts believing his or her own BS.