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MSM is finally admitting its disdain for ‘ordinary’ Americans. Is it any wonder their ratings are tanking?

Helen Buyniski
Helen Buyniski

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23

MSM is finally admitting its disdain for ‘ordinary’ Americans. Is it any wonder their ratings are tanking?
Mainstream US media has long hinted that it finds ordinary Americans ignorant and easily-led, but lately it’s been dropping the mask and letting the hoi polloi know what it really thinks. No wonder subscribers are fleeing.

CNN incensed Middle America with a recent segment in which anchor Don Lemon practically wet himself laughing as co-hosts Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali mocked the “credulous boomer rube demo that... wants to think that Donald Trump’s the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.” As Lemon literally gasped for breath, the other men traded one-liners in which they pretended to be Trump voters with deep-south accents excoriating coastal elites “with your geography and your maps, and your spelling…” chiding each other for “knowing other countries, sipping your lattes…

Lemon issued something vaguely shaped like an apology a few days later, claiming he hadn’t been laughing at any specific “group of people,” only the initial joke his co-host had cracked regarding Trump not being able to find Ukraine on a map “if you had the letter U and an actual physical crane next to it.” Certainly Lemon had started laughing at that joke, subsequently degenerating into complete hysterics over the rest of the clip. But the message – which the Daily Caller succinctly distilled in a tweet reposting the clip with the caption “America, this is what CNN thinks of you…”  – remained the same.

While the media’s low opinion of the populace has long simmered just beneath the surface, evident whenever an outlet delivers a patently false story with a straight face (Gaddafi is giving his troops Viagra so they can rape all the women in Libya! Assad gassed his own people despite being on the verge of winning the war, knowing it would bring down the Western powers like a ton of bricks on his head!), there was always a fourth wall pundits dared not cross: don’t insult your audience to their face. As the Trump era stretches into its fourth year, that rule is in shreds.

Then-candidate Hillary Clinton crossed a rubicon when she denounced rival Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables.” Thus labeled, they wore the term as a badge of honor – and the mud-slinging should have stopped there. But she didn’t take the election loss well, and “deplorable” was followed with all manner of epithets for those who’d had the gall not to vote for her. Trump supporters became, in general media parlance, “racists, sexists, homophobes,” and “useful idiots” – a type of vicious, baseless name-calling once reserved for shock-jock radio. Pundits climbed on board, eager to give voice to feelings they had clearly harbored for some time. A million little Bill Mahers clamoring to show off their smug superiority to America’s working class were born – but they couldn’t all attack at once. A slow slide into public loathing, however, has been underway ever since.

Rather than argue that they’re wrong, mainstream outlets now slime their wrongthink-perpetrating rivals as “disinformation” and those rivals’ audience as duped or conned by the dreaded “fake news.” In a recent Rolling Stone interview, NBC’s Chuck Todd describes belief in fake news as an “epidemic,” a virus to be cured. Todd believes his contemporaries merely “got it wrong” in reporting the existence of imaginary weapons of mass destruction during the Iraq War, blaming “patriotic pressure.” But in 2020, dissent from the line pushed by NBC is a product of “disinformation” and must be stamped out – the audience is too stupid to think for themselves, so they must have been conned by someone else.

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Decades of media dumbing the news down has given rise to media that believes audiences are demanding dumbed-down news because they are themselves dumb. Pundits can’t see past their own tanking ratings to grasp that the reason their audiences are deserting them in droves is because they are capable of thinking for themselves. The few that do, and are allowed to speak up – even the Guardian, not known for self-reflection, published a piece warning “mainstream media is set up to fail the ordinary American,” penned by a rare blue-collar journalist, in 2016 – are ignored.

Mainstream media outlets spend a lot of time reporting on the political divide but tend to feign innocence when confronted with responsibility for it, as if they haven’t been full-throatedly cheering it on – calling on their audience not to visit their Republican relatives on Thanksgiving and to divorce their Trump-loving spouse. CNN even ran a piece about a study purporting to show certain fonts were viewed as “more conservative” than others (burying the study’s up-front admission that whether a font was viewed as “liberal” or “conservative” mostly depended on the political alignment of the test subject). At this rate, how long will it be before the disaffected masses, realizing the “divide and conquer” intent of these messages, come out from under the mainstream media’s spell, sign out of Twitter and pick up their dusty pitchforks?

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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