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Donald Trump, the Emperor of Social Media


Donald Trump, the Emperor of Social Media

Neal Gabler

By now I must be at least the millionth commentator to observe that Donald Trump is the candidate for whom social media have longed. What FDR was to radio and JFK to television, Trump is to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, et al.


Essentially Trump plants seeds in an already plowed field. The media gave currency and to some extent legitimacy to his entertaining bombast. To avoid commenting on Bernie's attracting huge crowds, they featured Trump attracting smaller but still significant crowds and then had their fun commenting on some new verbal excess of his that had a high entertainment 'quote worthy' value. The media avoided Bernie's popularity by virtually creating it for Trump! Trump got the publicity and that also legitimized his comments like never before. After a number of repetitions even a wall started to sound logical to some people. Media repetition does that.

To avoid showing Bernie's popularity and commenting on his platform, the media featured Trump to the exclusion of all others. Presumably they felt Trump was not going to be a serious candidate after a period of time but Trump got interested and ran with the ball.
The Trumpenstein monster but the crowds running after him with pitchforks and torches aren't angry villagers but his supporters using social media cheering him on! The media created Trump the candidate, a billionaire autocratic oligarch, to avoid reporting on the people's candidate and his anti-oligarchy platform.

Meanwhile they settled on supporting Hillary who shamelessly said whatever she needed to say to combat Bernie's grassroots support. The media let her have a free ride when it came to being critical and they kept ignoring Bernie. Now the pieces are in play and they media fixed the game but not the outcome. They thought it would be a shoe in for her, they having literally contempt for their own democracy. They'd rig the game and all would go as planned.

But the Trumpenstein monster escaped! He runs amok! So America's media who calmly rigged the game and possibly destroyed our democracy ( we do not know what the future will hold and this will be a worrisome decade on several scores) to favor the status quo that the American people wanted to change, It is now confronted by that change but from the wrong side. Instead of trustworthy Bernie and his help the people programs, we will get ........................what? Violence, upheaval, fascism, oligarchic rule and the corporate coup and will people stand for all that due to a rigged game being at fault?

We don't know what will come from this rigging of the game but the majority of the voters will not be getting the candidate that the majority (including independents) wanted and that is a bad sign. In fact that is scary. They may reject Hillary even if she does win. They, the majority, didn't want her. Who knows what we come about if either she or the Trumpenstein wins?

Yikes people!



Anti-intellectualism is as American as apple pie. It is an effective political (and business, and religious, and [gasp] even educational [training]) tool. The sound bite, the slogan, the banners all work much better on the symbol minded, a term George Carlin well coined. I think the country has always been in tension between those that see anti-intellectualism as the problem and those that see it as opportunity writ large. Furthermore, I don't think this can change without revolution--with or without blood.


Cool word, decontexualizaton. Actually the entire Republican campaign whether on the Internet, radio, TV, or live is conducted without context. Specifically this context is that we are spiraling downward in a climate crisis that requires a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to save us from the worst consequences and will require vast sums of money for adaptation measures. All Republicans candidates operate without this context in all settings and with all media. Real context is out, replaced by a fictional context. The Republican Party is the party of make believe. It is all con and what better con man than Donald Trump to deliver the message. So in the general election it will literally be a context between the reality party candidate and make believe party candidate. The question is whether the voters will choose a candidate for a make believe world or the real world that is rapidly warming and becoming gradually more hostile to human life.


" It makes him an epistemologically different kind of candidate."

Trump does not have to make sense, because he plays the MSM like a fiddle. Trump has learned to be a master of the MSM soundbites, which is good business because it has given Trump 2 billion $ or more in free MSM airtime. Trump is the master of one liner sound bites; Trump is no doubt the consummate sound bite king!


Like the prized athlete carried through the town, Trump got a LOT of MSM coverage from the get-go.

This article in my view falsely attributes qualities to Trump that don't exist. And the old film, "A Face in the Crowd" demonstrated how the mechanism works that catapults an individual into celebrity. ONCE there (like the athlete carried through the streets of the town), whatever he says is considered nuggets of importance. After all, he has achieved Celebrity!

Also, no mention is made that much of the Internet is dominated by White Guys. There are lots of articles about females (particularly Feminists) being intimidated by male-dominant groups and chat room participants.

So it's no wonder that Trump--who insults Mexicans/Latinos, women, Blacks, and Muslims--has his greatest fans in white males; and that those same white males work so cohesively together in and at Internet sites.

Trump is their man and their conditioning in team sports makes them powerful fans.

Gabler has a great way with words and needed a topic for streaming them. This analysis, misses 2 elephants in the room.


"But social media – in fact, the Internet generally – have also recalibrated our focus by democratizing information; not the access to it, but the lack of discrimination among bits of information. The Internet is a great disinformation machine where anyone can say anything. It is also a kind of magnifying glass enlarging the most minute and trivial things – things, frankly, that very few people seemed to care about before the advent of the Internet. I don’t recall us ever having recaps of every episode of every television program, complete with critical annotation. Well, now we do."

Perhaps, the Internet doesn't magnify the most minute and trivial things so much as it shows that what the old guard establishment media wanted and still wants people to think are very important things are truly trivial and minute. I don't personally have a lot of use for television recaps, but when the Very Serious People in the media treat a political argument over whether an estate tax should affect 0.14 percent of Americans or none of them as an extremely important issue and a HUGE difference between the political parties, I'm not going to blame those who roll their eyes and go off to discuss the previous night's episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.

Trump is winning not so much because he's doing something unique in politics. He's an old phenomenon from a time when a handful of corporations didn't control the media, a time that the Internet mirrors to a degree. He's talking about things that his supporters care about. He identified issues that some people care about and advocated on those issues. I may not agree with him or his voters, but that's all he's done. The MSM and all the establishment foes Trump has bested are still stuck in the corporate media dominated age. They expect to be able to dictate to voters what the important issues are and have those voters come to them.


As a career gal for much of my life, Trump's vocal strutting very much reminds me of what I had to constantly endure when I was stuck in a roomful of men during a business meeting. Until the alpha male showed his teeth, it was the loudest, most aggressive and, especially, the most concise bark that grabbed the floor. I know this all part of the male pecking order dynamic, but my biggest reservation with Trump is that I've seen little beyond this when he goes off-script. Surely someone running for president should be able to express himself beyond a two sentence Twitter or Facebook zinger. Surely, we should expect a cohesive paragraph or two. :slight_smile:


I don't doubt that Trump is popular in social media, but I never see it.

One of the issues about Social Media and News sites that present information tailored to what we want to see is that they become like a set of blinders. We end up only seeing things that correspond to our viewpoints - which reinforces them and prevents us from seeing conflicting information.

Now, for people like us, who are always correct in what we believe (well - when you agree with me, that is) it isn't a problem. But it prevents those who disagree with us from seeing the wisdom of what we believe.

Trump supporters see information reinforcing their beliefs, Clinton supporters...

It would be nice if there was an 'Opposites Day' button that showed us info diametrically opposed to our beliefs, if only to give us more ammo to mock those idiots who believe differently.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


"Violence, upheaval, fascism, oligarchic rule and the corporate coup and will..." Hmm, sounds a lot like the last 16 years...most notably the last 8.


"What qualifications does he have to be worthy of the Presidency?"

Seriously? He's perfect.