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When Trump Gave Nieto A Handjob The Press Climaxed (Not Really, But We Made You Look)

We’ve said many things about Trump’s disgraceful (ab)use of power, which is leading to toxic, divisive politics, if not a constitutional crisis.

Time to turn our attention to the media.

Here’s the infamous double cover by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), dated 01 Sep 2016, with its two radically different headlines.

Insane, isn’t it?

Many people believe it was done intentionally. Two different covers on the same day catering to two different audiences / markets.

The problem is, it’s not true. The cold and less incendiary reality is that these two cover stories represent two different editions of the paper — same day, different hour of publication: one before the meeting between the two men, when things were ‘soft,’ one following the meeting, after things got ‘tough.’

But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. Who are we kidding? If there was no note in the later edition’s article — headnote, footnote, anything — specifying that an earlier edition of the same article in the same paper on the same day had reported on a ‘soft approach’ to the wall issue, then we have a problem.

Put differently, it was necessary for the later edition to be accompanied by a clear acknowledgment of the earlier, alternate, and by then obsolete edition of the article. Without it, the later edition was engaging in misinformation — if not misinformation, then we’re talking slippery publication ethics.

The reality is, come on, folks! We know that the press is business, and business is a cynical endeavor. Sales rule, ethics be damned. That’s what drives the mass media these days, maybe has been for a long time. We understand that the buck trumps the principle, we get it. Large media outlets of all dispositions, left or right, stand to profit from exciting, volatile narratives that do backflips on a whim, turning on a hairpin, making people buy more copies, spread the word, which drives up advertising etc. It’s good for business, these tactics, see? The media, especially the big players, rely on, if not provoke, twists and turns in the daily narrative. They use attention-grabbing headlines to hook and impress their readerships, keeping them guessing, riveted, driving up sales.

And so, like most of the mass media players, the WSJ is partly to blame for the shoddy, self-serving kind of journalism we’re dealing with today, the kind that is giving the Trump-Bannon-Conway lattice the ammunition they’ve been looking for to brand the media fake, all media except their own media, which are truly and disgracefully fake (Breitbart news, please — what a belch of a name!). Media inaccuracy abound, inaccuracy and cynicism, confusion, us readers in the middle of it, suffering the advance of jaded information combined with predatory business practises and compromised cultural values.

The WSJ would do well not to be so cynical with its process. Slips like these — or tricks, depending on your point of view — make it possible for the Trump poison against mainstream society to circulate and take hold.

Truth is, on 01 Sep 2016 the WSJ did not print simultaneously two opposing front cover stories for two types of market/audience, but, and here’s the adverse camber, it probably knew what it was doing, or didn’t give a crap when it made the mistake, didn’t bother to separate the two editions in its readership’s eyes, for the record, and here we are, dealing with these two front covers, these two radically different headlines on an issue that is controversial and divisive as it is, wondering why Trump has advanced so brutally, enjoying the support of a surprisingly large number of people round the world despite his lawnmower-in-the-bedroom style.

I think it’s time for all Trump opponents to clean up their acts, gather their thoughts, and get serious, fast. They have to, or they risk losing their momentum, if not their entire appeal and case to Trump’s utterly foul brand of politics.

From your devotedly and spherically critical Spin Doctor,

Eyes open, mind sharp.

http://www.snopes.com/wsj-different-trump-headlines/

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