Trudeau Doesn't Have To Pay The Press For Loyalty. They Do It For Free
Perhaps the most risible notion in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s GoFundMe rescue of traditional media is the suggestion that he’s paying the journalists to keep them in line with his Liberal policies. Social media is humming with the promise of a quid pro quo between the press and the pols.
After all, this is the PM who demands fealty to the Liberal party platform as the price of extracting public money for summer jobs or other government baksheesh. The reported $595 million can only be claimed by mainstream media cutting its cloth to suit Trudeau’s cloak.
Please. Trudeau had the reportorial class from the moment he wept over his father’s coffin. They are his kind of people. As John Lennon might’ve said, he is them, and they are he, and they are all together. They need no bribing to hew closely to the policy gambits of this current government.
As fellow members of the privileged, they are, in fact, proud to do his bidding on immigration and climate and abortion and the higher goals of the Trudeau canon. Try proposing a contrary policy on social media and see the dutiful flock to pound the transgressor. The journalistic class in Canada and the U.S. is pinker than the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
What would be truly evil about Trudeau bailing out this failed industry would be him paying them to adopt a conservative slant in their reporting. To make them go against their nature in exchange for cold lucre. That would be a cynical, Machiavellian masterstroke guaranteed to set the hounds to baying over freedom of the press.
But this $595 M slush fund is simply a Kickstarter campaign for fellow travellers who’ve made a hash of their industry and need a pick-me-up.
It was not always this way, even as recently as a generation ago. The reportorial class celebrated in Bob Lewis’ new book Power, Prime Ministers and The Press and was unapologetically contrary. They boozed and smoked and took pride in catching even the politicians they drank with in a net of controversy.
If journalism was a calling, it was a rude bellow, not a Puccini aria. They belonged to no one. They cultivated mischief. No young person telling their parents that they aspired to the fourth estate was likely to get a warm reception.
“Mom and Dad, I want to be the next Piers Morgan.”
“O God, where did we go wrong?”
But the hiving of the political classes in the West has tamed the media. Their education in colleges and universities rather than night courts and police stations has gentrified them. Instead of working sources they now work the arcane dialect of class consciousness. Instead of legal codes they codify speech learned at credentialed colleges.
As author Chris Bray describes in his column at The Federalist “for 40 years, with gathering uniformity of purpose, our credentialing institutions have taught postures rather than skills, attitudes rather than knowledge… What credentialing institutions teach is mental rigidity, intellectual cowardice, and the fear of disagreement. They narrow the mind and constrain the ability to act.”
The current culture wars in Donald Trump’s America underscore the media’s active role in defining the cool kids. His brusque rejection of the cozy cabal is met with daily media bombshells and revelations designed to keep him and his people from establishing a toehold in their kingdom. CNN’s Jim Acosta, the tribune of the entitled, is perhaps the most visible example of media’s obsequious defence of the crumbling Clintonian status quo.
It matters not the issue. Russia, the border, Confederate statues, Supreme Court justices, racism— all are weaponized by the credentialed class to show implacable opposition to an intruder. As Bray notes, “National political journalists, a status group that once ranked on par with show people and bartenders, are (now) upper class, no matter their salaries.
“They lose their class status the moment they speak the wrong social code words, like, ‘I think Trump is doing a good job.’ They know this, and live with an existential sense of status anxiety over it.”
The absurd kabuki of the Mueller investigation, sparked by Hillary Clinton’s disastrous defeat, typifies the hackery now being presented as journalism. Despite the total absence of real evidence of a Russia/ Trump alliance in the 2016 election, journalists have summoned a series of process crimes against Trump to reinforce his status as a parvenu.
Anything we know about the insider scandals at FBI, CIA, DOJ and the Obama administration has emerged from Congressional investigators and the few conservative media outlets excoriated at every step by their mainstream colleagues. This week alone saw another ginned-up story— this in The Guardian— about collusion with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. As quickly as MSM spread it, the facts were already falling apart with just a few inquiries to facts.
But fact is not the endgame. The perpetuation of their credentials is.
As Bray writes, “Trump declines the authority of the cultural sectors that most assertively claim it. That’s the conflict, and that’s why it’s being played in a relentless tone of hysteria. There are credentialing authorities — and credential-holding elites — who can see the path to their own obsolescence.”
The press placeholders in America know that their credentialed status is in danger from the boor Trump. In Canada, the challenge is different: To take Trudeau’s money without letting the public see them enjoy the largesse of their benefactors.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the publisher of his website Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also a best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps AreKilling Pro Sports And How The Free Market Could Save Them is now available.