Thursday, June 08, 2023
Share:

Trump Town Hall Destroys Fake News Silo



The inventors of artificial intelligence went before Congress last week and warned that without government supervision, the emerging technology could be employed by the unscrupulous to mislead people and spread falsehoods.

It’s frightening, but not without precedent.

If you want to know what it would look like if an AI were programmed to be relentless, ruthless, and amoral in service to a political agenda, you don’t have to look far.

Just consider the mainstream media. They have tailored their so-called news coverage to focus entirely on attacking conservatives and covering up for Democrats. Anyone who challenges their narrative is accused of lying or peddling “conspiracy theories.” Any facts that disprove their assumptions are either ignored entirely or summarily dismissed as Republican “talking points.”

And then remember this: Thanks to the First Amendment, the dangerous lies of the media cannot be subject to government supervision or control. It’s entirely up to us to sniff out and reject the falsehoods, but if you are a trusting soul who can’t imagine a world where you are intentionally kept in the dark about fundamental truths, then you will always be living an illusion.

A perfect metaphor for this state of blissful ignorance was unveiled recently on the Apple TV+ show “Silo,” which tells the story of a few thousand people who have been living underground in a massive silo for generations. Their only contact with the outside world is a video link to a camera placed on the surface, which shows a forlorn landscape littered with the bodies of those few daring people who had exited the silo after growing sick of being virtual prisoners. The video of the bleak and deadly surface plays nonstop in public places to remind the residents of the silo that there is nothing for them on the outside.

In our metaphoric analysis, that video represents the relentlessly negative and destructive narrative of the mainstream media, played over and over for an unwitting population. There is little reason for the average person to doubt what he or she has been told so convincingly by so many seemingly sincere talking heads. But what happens if the public gets a glimpse of reality?

Just such an occurrence happened in a recent episode of “Silo” when the main generator for the silo was turned off in order to accomplish needed repairs. In the brief moment between the power going down and the backup generator kicking in, the Hiroshima-like deathscape on the video screen was replaced by a halcyon sunlit pasture of green grass and trees. Blink and you missed it. And if you are one of the characters who lives in the silo, you keep your mouth shut. No one so far has admitted what they saw or asked questions about it. That’s what happens when you are fed an endless diet of lies. The truth looks like an unappetizing worm.

But sooner or later, as the Bard tells us, the truth will out, or in this case the worm will turn.

That transformation for the mainstream media began on May 10, when Donald Trump climbed out of the silo and showed millions of CNN viewers that the lies they’ve been told for years were absurd and dangerous, starting with the notion that the 45th president himself is absurd and dangerous. Town hall moderator Kaitlan Collins did her best to lock down Trump with questions intended to humiliate or mock him. But what she did not count on was that having an audience full of real people from the free state of New Hampshire would make her questions look as fake as that dead planet on “Silo.”

From the moment the crowd of 300 or so Republican and independent voters gave Trump a standing ovation as he was introduced, it was obvious that Collins was in for a long night. So was the television audience of 3.3 million presumably mostly liberal CNN viewers who have been fed a steady drumbeat of anti-Trump propaganda for more than six years. Collins did her best to unsettle Trump by bringing up topics such as the legitimacy of the 2020 election, the Jan. 6 riots, and the many legal cases brought against him by Democratic district attorneys or funded by Democratic donors. But in every single instance, Trump was prepared to answer by rejecting and refuting the left-leaning assumptions implicit in the questions. And the audience kept applauding. They even cheered when Trump called Collins a “nasty person” because she didn’t listen to his answers, or dismissed them because they didn’t agree with her own preconceptions.

It was no doubt maddening to the usual suspects at CNN, as was made obvious by the fact that they cut short the scheduled 90-minute town hall by nearly 20 minutes and then proceeded to devote nearly two hours to re-establishing the official CNN narrative: Trump is absurd and dangerous, and can’t be trusted no matter how much those crazy people from New Hampshire seemed to like and respect him!

Jake Tapper started the commentary by saying “Mr. Trump’s first lie was told just seconds into the night with his false familiar claim that the 2020 election was ‘a rigged election,’ and the falsehoods kept coming fast and furious about the Jan. 6 insurrection, about the threats to Vice President Pence, about Pence’s ability to overturn the election, about Covid, about the economy and more.”

In other words, the picture you just saw where Trump was witty, charming, in full command of the facts and unwilling to be pushed around by a junior reporter was not what you saw at all. To paraphrase Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Nothing to see here. Move along.”

Suddenly, we were back safe and sound in the universe where Trump is a troublesome oaf, and where all the so-called smart people agree that the walls are once again closing in on the mega-villain known as the MAGA Prince. It didn’t require evidence to say so, just a concert of voices in agreement that nothing we had seen with our own eyes was real. I call it the Deep Fake of mainstream media – mouths moving but the words coming out of them are untethered from reality. Just an anti-Trump, anti-MAGA, anti-conservative agenda that can be twisted around any and every news story.

Perhaps the best (or worst) example of this can be found on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” which provides the most-one sided panel of talking heads this side of Rachel Maddow. The episode on the morning after Trump’s invasion of CNN was more proof that the former president had terrified the mainstream media mob. Which means they could only do one thing in response – lie.

In that regard it was similar to almost any day on “Morning Joe,” but host Joe Scarborough reserved his greatest vitriol for this episode. Right out of the gate, he and his producers tried to imply that Trump was delusional about Jan. 6 by matching his words about the massive rally he held that day with pictures of the riot a few hours later at the U.S. Capitol. So when Trump said that his supporters were at the rally “with love in their heart,” Scarborough and his team conflated that with pictures of rioters at the Capitol, even though they had nothing to do with each other. It was a bit of propaganda worthy of Leni Riefenstahl, the Nazi filmmaker. Four hours of that kind of distortion was too much to watch, but I made it through 90 minutes and came to the conclusion that Scarborough and his guests were tools of a self-serving narrative to the same degree as a ChatGPT deep fake, and both were equally soulless.

Coincidentally, CNN superstar Anderson Cooper unwittingly took up the silo metaphor himself the day after the town hall when he responded to outraged CNN viewers who could not believe that their beloved left-wing network had veered from their usual Deep Fake script and allowed Trump an opportunity to demonstrate that his brand of conservatism has a strong following that cannot be easily dismissed.

“You have every right to be outraged today and angry and never watch this network again,” Cooper said on his show. “But do you think staying in your silo and only listening to people you agree with is going to make that person go away?”

Based on the heated reaction to Cooper’s remarks, yes, most CNN viewers want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that front-running candidate Trump doesn’t exist. So much easier to listen to the fake narrative that paints the former president as the most hated man on the planet than to consider, as Cooper reminded his viewers, that “the man you were so disturbed to see and hear from last night, that man is the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president. And that audience that upset you, that’s a sampling of about half the country. They are your family members, your neighbors, and they are voting. And many said they’re voting for him.”

Of course, it’s not just television media that promotes a fake narrative about Trump and his supporters. Consider this tweet by the New York Times on Tuesday after the release of the Durham Report, which confirmed that the FBI had no legitimate evidence against Donald Trump when it launched its Russia collusion probe:

“John Durham’s report on the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s work with Russia, which produced no startling revelations, is being viewed by some conservatives as lending credence to their conspiracy theories about the U.S. agency.”

Say what? “No startling revelations” implies that the New York Times already knew that there was no legitimacy to the allegations against Trump. But if that’s the case, then why hasn’t the Times returned the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting it shared with the Washington Post in 2018? Both of those esteemed newspapers promoted the Democrat-originated lie that Trump was a Russian asset and they did absolutely nothing to uncover the truth about how the FBI was co-opted by the Biden administration as a campaign asset for Hillary Clinton.

And even more outrageously, the New York Times (the nation’s putative paper of record) twisted the damning facts of the Durham Report into a Republican fever dream that could apparently be dismissed as one more “conspiracy theory.” Hey, Mainstream Media! It’s not a conspiracy theory any more if it’s proven to be true – then, it’s a conspiracy fact. Durham concluded that the FBI persecuted the 45th president of the United States without any credible evidence, and no amount of willful denial will change that devastating charge.

Not sure if reality will win out against the phony mainstream narrative in the long run, but my hope rests with 300 New Hampshire voters who thumbed their collective nose at CNN on national TV and said in no uncertain terms that they don’t want to live in the Fake News silo any more. What educated person does?

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.