Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
"The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan."
Mein Kampf. - Adolf Hitler.
Trump understands this. And yet, the mainstream media don’t get it. His use of tweets, repetition, distraction, the alternative narrative and victimhood is all part of a process. In effect, he has cut out the mainstream media, whilst in the process damaging their standing. Assertions of ‘fake news’ are sticking. Mainstream media outlets are now less legitimate under this onslaught.
Self-appointed intellectuals deride his reliance on cable news. A stance that reveals their limited understanding of what Trump is doing. Cable News is what the masses watch. Thus, he is able each day to assess the mood and direction of the news. Next, he exploits tweeter to comment or take a position with messages crafted for impact. In the process, he steers the agenda, communicates direct to masses. Along the way, the media is playing catch up, forced to repeat his tweets. It’s genius.
He uses repetition like a school teacher. The scientists tell us you need to see a message three times for it to embed. Watch Trump at work and count. Teressa May has adopted the same approach with her ‘Strong and Stable’ mantra.
When Trump gets caught off-guard then distraction comes into play. Don’t look at that, look at this. It’s an old trick which he uses without shame. The Syrian missile attack distracted us from the investigation into Russian influence on the election. Clinton used the same tactic during the Monica Lewinsky saga. He hit an alleged terrorist base. In fact, it proved to be a milk powder factory. So Trump is not novel in his approach.
On account of their herd mentality, mainstream media get outflanked by Trump. He’s reaching out to the public and they don’t like that's not through them. Their ability to filter and interpret is gone. Plus they are all chasing the same story making them blind to other aspects of whats happening. Trump portrays himself as a victim of the press’s prejudices. Few of them have managed to get themselves from under that cloud.
The lazy rhetoric that Trump is a ‘crazy man’ is easy to reproduce. This overgeneralization is now the default position for some. Meanwhile, there are those who argue that his lies are damaging. Yet, the public doesn't see it that way. It’s results they want to see. Lying politicians are the norm.
Lastly, a couple of weeks ago I pontificated that Trump could pivot. I asserted he was learning ‘on-the-job’ thus he could settle down to being a conventional president. I’m not sure that is an accurate assessment. His address to Congress was presidential. Despite this, in no time he was back to the usual habit of tweeting. His firing of the Director of the FBI affirms he’s playing the game by his rules. Trump is not going to change, and his audience doesn’t want him to.
Personally speaking, its fascinating to watch. However, it would take a brave man to forecast where this is leading us.
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.