As a #NeverTrumper, I had hoped that the election would prompt a moment of reckoning and introspection, not merely about conservative values but also the role of the conservative media. As someone who has spent much of his career promoting conservative values on my radio show, I was depending on it.
Clearly, that is not going to happen now. In fact, itâ€™s going to get a lot worse.
Trumpâ€™s victory means that the most extreme and recklessly irresponsible voices on the right now feel emboldened and empowered. And more worrisome than that, they have an ally in the White House. For years, Rush Limbaugh has gibed about what he calls the â€śstate-controlled mediaâ€ťâ€”the fawning liberal news outlets that Limbaugh has long decried for their lack of critical coverage of President Obamaâ€”but we may be about to see what one actually looks likeâ€”an alt-reality news outlet operating from within 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The new media will not only provide propaganda cover for the administration, but also direct the fire of a loose confederation of conservative outlets against critics and dissenters. Already, Foxâ€™s Sean Hannity has urged Trump to freeze out the mainstream media and talk directly to the nation.
The â€śfake newsâ€ť that we are now obsessing over is only the latest leading indicator of the perils of our new post-truth media/political world. Indeed, what we learned this year was that the walls are down, the gatekeepers dismissed, the norms and standards of journalism and fact-based discourse trashed.
All of this was a long time coming...
After choosing for his cabinet a series of political outsiders who are loyal to him personally, Donald Trump has broken with this pattern to name Betsy DeVos his Secretary of Education. DeVos, whose father-in-law is a co-founder of Amway, the multi-level marketing empire, comes from the very heart of the small circle of conservative billionaires who have long funded the Republican Party.
Trumpâ€™s choice of DeVos delivers on his campaign promise to increase the role of charter schools, which she has long championed. But it also flies in the face of his fiery anti-establishment campaign rhetoric. Steve Bannon, who was named Trumpâ€™s senior counsellor and chief strategist, has mocked what he called â€śthe donor class,â€ť arguing that it and the politicians it bankrolls have little understanding of the needs of working-class and middle-class voters. Such populist rhetoric fuelled Trumpâ€™s campaign, in which he presented himself as an outsider who would govern independently of the corrupt and out-of-touch private interests that he said had â€śriggedâ€ť American politics.
But it would be hard to find a better representative of the â€śdonor classâ€ť than DeVos, whose family has been allied with Charles and David Koch for years...
Trumpâ€™s alt-right trolls have subjected me and my family to an unending torrent of abuse that I wouldnâ€™t wish on anyone. I distinctly remember the first time I saw a picture of my then-seven-year-old daughterâ€™s face in a gas chamber. It was the evening of September 17, 2015. I had just posted a short item to the Corner calling out notorious Trump ally Ann Coulter for aping the white-nationalist language and rhetoric of the so-called alt-right. Within minutes, the tweets came flooding in. My youngest daughter is African American, adopted from Ethiopia, and in alt-right circles thatâ€™s an unforgivable sin. Itâ€™s called â€śrace-cuckingâ€ť or â€śraising the enemy.â€ť I saw images of my daughterâ€™s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a â€śnigletâ€ť and a â€śdindu.â€ť The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with â€śblack bucks.â€ť
I believe it is fairly obvious that it was they, not their opponents as Sykes suggests who "were in a bubble" of their own making. Now when that self-deception is clearly revealed by the elkection result,
...when it comes to politics, one of the great love affairs of all time may have been between Lyndon Johnson andâ€¦ himself.
Johnson leads the list of 42 presidents on measures of â€śgrandiose narcissism,â€ť according to a new study by a team of psychologists published online by the journal Psychological Science.
Also near the top of presidents grandly infatuated with themselves were Teddy Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
Probably because we're now comparing Obama to Trump. Kind of an unfair advantage, don't you think?
But you donâ€™t have to be in the educational establishment to be worried about where this is going. The DeVos nomination is a triumph of ideology over evidence that should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.