“….To them it is the end of life as they know it. “The world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from,” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote in Vanity Fair. “That’s a terrible feeling for a father.”
“Where does this leave us?” Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times. “What, as concerned and horrified citizens, should we do?”
Beneath the sentimental rhetoric lurks a realisation of powerlessness. For 18 months they have been lecturing Americans, in ever more strident terms, about the dangers of Trumpism, but Americans called their bluff. The recriminations have begun. Some blame Facebook, which has allowed Americans to see the world through eyes other than those of the media establishment.
Facebook’s executives should take responsibility for “this very real civic crisis, in which the electorate has unprecedented access to information and an unprecedented inability to comprehend it”, wrote one commentator. Facebook had “the social responsibility … to stop allowing its customers to be grossly hurt on a massive scale”.
The shattering defeat of the US cultural elite has resonated strongly in Australia, where our own media class largely shares the same values. A profound discomfort has taken hold. If the thundering of The New York Times no longer prevails, what hope for The Sydney Morning Herald?
“I watched in stunned shock and dismay,” writes Anne Summers. “I am fearful.”
Trump will “almost certainly inspire a truly awful wave of ugliness against women and minorities around the world”, writes Waleed Aly.
Huffington Post Australia’s Emily Brooks spoke to a child psychologist who warned young girls might feel “disempowered” by the result. “Hillary’s loss was a loss for women everywhere,” she writes.
Seldom in a free democracy has the media been so one-sided. The line between journalism and campaigning was crossed the moment Trump was confirmed as the Republican nominee.
It is not hard to see why, since most opinion makers live and work among people who saw the presidential contest as an existential battle between good and evil. How do you balance a debate between Joan of Arc and Attila the Hun?
The mediacracy will fight back, viciously one suspects, in cultural opposition to Trump’s presidency. Dealing with the hostility, half-truths and distractions may be the new administration’s biggest challenge.
The noise will matter, but not as much as it once did. The spell has been broken. They can pontificate all they like; Middle America isn’t listening any more….” US election: media pontificators left whining to an empty hall