In many ways, I’m surprised by the restraint that major news outlets have about the spew coming from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. What bothers me is that the trajectory is so easy to spot. Here’s how it works.
- Some right-wing crank like Michael Levin, Michael Savage, or Alex Jones makes a claim based on little more than their own imagination. The bit about bugging Trump Tower by Obama, for instance, came from Levin.
- Breitbart or Fox News picks up the story, even as a discussion point.
- Our cable news-loving commander in chief then takes it as fact if it’s from one of those outlets and tweets it out.
He did this with the ludicrous claim of 3-5 million illegal immigrants voting for Hillary Clinton. And he’s done this with the Obama bugging claim.
The problem? Well, there’s lots of them. The biggest one to me is that there is at least 30% of the population that then takes it as fact. The president makes it news and then they believe it because the partisanship-as-gang-member mentality kicks in.
There are hours and hours of rightwing agitprop on the air every single day: on cable news, online, and especially on talk radio. This rots peoples minds. And at the same time, they sit there thinking they’re informed.
Now one of those people is president.