US media trouncing Trump 24/7 proves democracy a charade

Finian Cunningham
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump © Aaron P. Bernstein
Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is right: the 'system is 'rigged'. The media barrage against the billionaire demonstrates irrefutably how the power establishment, not the people, decides who sits in the White House.

Trump is increasingly assailed in the US media with alleged character flaws. The latest blast paints Trump as a total loose cannon who would launch World War III. In short, a “nuke nut”.

In the Pentagon-aligned Defense One journal, the property magnate is described as someone who cannot be trusted with his finger on the nuclear button. Trump would order nuclear strikes equivalent to 20,000 Hiroshima bombings as “easy as ordering a pizza”, claimed the opinion piece.

If that’s not an example of “project fear” then what is?

The mainstream US news media have never liked the brash billionaire Trump. He makes good circulation figures for sure, but the large coverage the Republican contender has received from the outset is preponderantly negative.

Trump’s campaign has instead been buoyed by the popular vote, not by endorsement from the elite establishment, including the Republican Party leadership and the corporate media. Now that the race for the presidency is turning into a two-horse contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, the media’s antipathy towards Trump is moving to an all-out barrage of attacks. Attacks, it has to be said, that are bordering on hysteria and which only a corporate machine could convey.

Like a giant screening process, the Trump candidacy and his supporters are being systematically disenfranchised. At this rate of attrition, by the time the election takes place in November the result will already have been all but formally decided – by the powers-that-be, not the popular will.

The past week provides a snapshot of the intensifying media barrage facing Trump. Major US media outlets have run prominent claims that Trump is a fan of the former brutal Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Those claims were based on a loose interpretation of what Trump said at a rally when he referred to Saddam’s strong-arm suppression of terrorism. He didn’t say he liked Saddam. In fact, called him a “bad guy”. But Trump said that the Iraqi dictator efficiently eliminated terrorists.

A second media meme to emerge was “Trump the anti-Semite”. This referred to an image his campaign team tweeted of Hillary Clinton as “the most corrupt candidate ever”. The words were emblazoned on a red, six-pointed star. Again, the mainstream media gave copious coverage to claims that the image was anti-Semitic because, allegedly, it was a Jewish 'Star of David'.

Trump vehemently rebuffed the claims. He said it was simply a star, like the ones that US Marshals use. When his campaign team reacted to the initial media furor by replacing the red star with a circle it only served to fuel accusations against Trump because he was seen to be acting defensively. However, he later defiantly rebuked his campaign team and said they should have stuck with the star image and let him defend that choice of image as simply an innocuous star shape.

For what it’s worth, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish, subsequently rallied to the tycoon’s defense and said he was not racist nor anti-Semitic and that the controversy was a media-contrived storm in a teacup.

In the same week that the alleged dictator-loving, anti-Semitic Trump hit newsstands, we then read about nuclear trigger-happy Donald.

Not only that but the Trump-risks-Armageddon article also refers to him being in the same company as Russian leader Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un who, we are told, “also have their finger on the nuclear button”.

Under the headline, 'How to slow Donald Trump from pushing the nuclear button', a photograph shows the presidential contender with a raised thump in a downward motion. The answer being begged is: Don’t vote for this guy – unless you want to incinerate the planet!

This is scare-tactics to the extreme thrown in for good measure along with slander and demonization. And all pumped up to maximum volume by the US corporate media, all owned by just six conglomerates.

Trump is having to now spend more of his time explaining what he is alleged to have said or did not say, instead of being allowed to level criticisms at his Democrat rival or to advance whatever political program he intends to deliver as president.

The accusation that Trump is a threat to US national security is all the more ironic given that this week Hillary Clinton was labelled as “extremely careless” by the head of the FBI over her dissemination of state secrets through her insecure private email account.

Many legal experts and former US government officials maintain that Clinton’s breach of classified information is deserving of criminal prosecution – an outcome that would debar her from contesting the presidential election.

Why the FBI should have determined that there is no case for prosecution even though more than 100 classified documents were circulated by Clinton when she was Secretary of State (2009-2013) has raised public heckles of “double standards”.

The controversy has been compounded by the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch also declaring that no charges will be pressed and the case is closed – a week after she met with Hillary’s husband, Bill, on board her plane for a hush-hush chat.

Trump makes a valid point that Clinton’s abuse of state secrecy – whether intentional or negligent – has in fact posed a national security threat. Yet the media focus is decidedly not on his Democrat rival. It is rather centered on overblown concerns about the wealthy real estate developer.

Trump is right. The political system in the US is rigged. Not just in terms of double standards of the justice system, but in the bigger context of how candidates are screened and vetted – in this case through undue vilification.

Trump’s reactionary views on immigration, race relations and international politics are certainly questionable. His credibility as the next president of the US may be dubious. But is his credibility any less than that of Hillary Clinton? Her melding of official capacity with private gain from Wall Street banks and foreign governments acting as donors to her family’s fund-raising Clinton Foundation has the pungent whiff of selling federal policy for profit. Her penchant for criminal regime change operations in Honduras, Libya, Syria and Ukraine speak of a political mafia don.

American politics has long been derided as a “dog and pony show”, whereby powerful lobbies buy the pageant outcome. Trump’s own participation in the election is only possible because he is a multi-billionaire who is able to fund a political campaign.

That said, however, the New York businessman has garnered a sizable popular following from his maverick attacks on the rotten Washington establishment.

But what we are witnessing is a brazen display of how the powers-that-be (Wall Street, media, Pentagon, Washington, etc) are audaciously intervening in this electoral cycle to disenfranchise the voting population.

Clinton has emerged as the candidate-of-choice for the establishment, and the race to the White House is being nobbled – like never before.

US democracy a race? More like a knacker’s yard.

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