As is now known to the world, Donald Trump has endorsed Mitt Romney. Ron Paul, echoing the thoughts of millions, asks in response: “Who cares?” In a sane world, covered by a reasonable news media, this would be an appropriate question to ponder. But today’s state of affairs are so insane that we should all care. We should care that the press has been so thoroughly hijacked by the imperative to entertain that we no longer live in a world where meaningful facts matter.
The massive lie circulating is that Donald Trump is incredibly popular in certain right-wing populist circles and that he can deliver their votes for Mitt Romney. There are no polls that verify this claim: it has been consistently demonstrated that a Trump endorsement would in fact be counterproductive, making it doubly baffling that the supposedly by-the-numbers, managerial candidate, Mitt Romney, would gleefully appear with a man who has been so throughly dismissed and repudiated.
Indeed, the only group of people who seem to consistently care about what Donald Trump thinks is the mainstream media. Bizarrely, CNN even reports in its fifth paragraph of the story that the endorsement is probably irrelevant — and yet, it blares as a top headline on the site. Let that sink in for a minute: by its own admission, a top national news agency is granting marquee coverage to a story that no one cares about.
But here we are, once again discussing what this self-aggrandizing clown thinks about anything at all. And why not? It’s a simple, entertaining news story, and it makes the Republican Party look like a freak show. It’s a lot less complex — and a lot worse for conservatives — to discuss Donald Trump than to turn up the heat on our corrupt, incompetent attorney general, or to shine a light on the fact that much of the reason that the unemployment rate has decreased is because hundreds of thousands of Americans have simply given up on looking for work. If Eric Holder’s woes received half the coverage that this weird Donald Trump saga did, we might be discussing an impending resignation. Instead, we are discussing an event that nobody cares about. Even I can’t help but live in symbiosis with it: as a commentator on political affairs, I’m reacting to this story — sure, I’m outraged about the nature of it, but I’m still trapped within its confines. I can’t simply ignore it.
It’s even harder to ignore it when there are no good alternatives. Most of the old-guard of the alternative media has jumped on board with this circus, too: Drudge’s headlines today have been breathless — and all about Trump. Drudge rose to fame for his role in exposing Bill Clinton’s scandals. Today, he is reduced to patting himself on the back for knowing who Donald Trump will endorse a few hours before others do. Riveting stuff. NewsMax has been even worse, heralding Trump as some kind of savior from the very beginning. And what are all of the political blogs — right and left — discussing today? You’ve got one guess, hotshot.
The age-old question about the media is whether it actually reports or creates the news. If we define “news” as an important event meriting our attention, then the answer is clearly neither, for the simple reason that the mainstream media is no longer a network of news outlets. Events like the Trump endorsement are not news; they’re just random happenings that people discuss. And boy, do people discuss them. But let’s not pretend that they mean anything or make any sense. Real news events are occurring — but as America declines, anesthetizing itself in a soothing infotainment void, it is oblivious to that reality and doesn’t seem to know or care how to reach it.