Sunday, January 15, 2017

This is Alex Jones and Donald Trump's America now: Hannity and Tucker on the rise. Glenn Beck and MSM on the decline

It's been months since my last post and obviously a lot has happened. We have a new President, one that no one expected outside of the few true believers. With that comes a shift in the power structure of the Pundit Class. Anyone who follows me on Twitter would have noticed my fixation on Alex Jones and Donald Trump. Both epitomize the Politics is Wrestling analogy. They understand showmanship and the cult of personality and have capitalised on it to emerge as the most influential voices in American Politics.
'Politics is Wrestling' on major News publications in 2016:
The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, NY Times, Washington Post etc...
Whilst I've tracked the 'Politics is Wrestling' analogy for 10 years, the rise and conquest of Donald Trump and Alex Jones took me by surprise. Donald Trump was the undisputed star of the Election cycle. Overlooked in Trump's deftness at bypassing the MSM was how he mollified Rush Limbaugh, the traditional gatekeeper for the Right. Trump also boldly challenged Fox News, fracturing them into two factions. The Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly wings, the Champions and skeptics respectively of the Trump movement. Hannity's winning gamble for Trump positions him as the official media surrogate for POTUS45. Megyn Kelly, destined for a payday regardless takes her talents to NBC where she'll have to resettle her footing with different stablemates and a broader audience.

Another pundit whose fortunes have been shaped by Trump is Glenn Beck. He put his stock on Ted Cruz for GOP nominee and was the defacto figurehead of the #NeverTrump resistance. Beck fashioned himself as the voice for principled Conservatism, poised to pick up the pieces after the seemingly inevitable Trump and subsequent GOP collapse. Trump's improbable victory made the public wary of Pollsters and News Media but Beck did something Pundits never do, show contrition. He flagellated himself on various News programs, making a show of aligning with Satirical News host Samantha Bee. After rising to the top of the Pundit power rankings a few years previous, a humbled Beck explores a new gimmick to face the Trump era.

Matt Taibbi weighing in on Donald Trump's tweet.
Not to be outdone, Alex Jones shot back at Matt.
One media personality ascendant with Trump's rise is Alex Jones, an outlandish broadcaster with fringe ideas. Entertaining but otherwise innocuous, his program taps into the worst imaginings of libertarians. These views amplified and validated as Trump echoed them and began winning over crowds. "Birtherism" was the springboard for Trump's candidacy, this and conspiracies like them had been Alex Jones' stock and trade for over 20 years. Hillary Clinton and President Obama often referenced Alex and aimed to discredit Trump by pairing them together.

Whilst other Right-Wing pundits vacillated during the primaries, checking the pulse of the masses before supporting a candidate. Alex Jones with the endorsement of Trump was becoming the zeitgeist.

VIDEO: Alex Jones exposes Beck/Savage/Limbaugh (2010)
ALEX JONES: Here's the deal, I'm an alternative, grassroots radio host that isn't part of the Left-Right paradigm. I don't let myself be put in a box, OK. It would appear that I'm allies with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and others right now... because I'm opposing everything Obama is doing. Limbaugh, Beck and others aren't opposing Obama on the War, they're saying he's not doing enough...

But as soon as they're in power, unless we really we get real leadership in there it is only going to continue, the Democrats will suddenly be Anti-Establishment. I'm Anti-Establishment and a constitutionalist no matter whose in power... I'm into facts, I'm into issues. I'm into how things actually work, OK. And I know the Government gets bigger and we lose freedoms no matter who's in there because of Global, private interests. Again I don't sit up here bashing these guys all day, of the three you mentioned I think Savage has always been the best...

All I'm saying is in three years when you get a Republican you're gonna hate me. A lot of you Republicans now love me just like when Democrats liked me when Bush was in. And then when Republicans get in you're gonna hate me. Liberals hate me now Conservatives love me. Folks you gotta grow up. I mean c'mon, some how you've got to grow up and get the facts. Somehow you've got to shatter the Left-Right paradigm. Please!
Jones and Trump represent a paradigm shift, the rise of Alternative and Independent Media. Not beholden to decorum and the rigours of Mainstream politics, they command a sizeable audience that they communicate to directly. Operating outside the traditional ecosystem of Pundits and Politicians, they have noone to answer to but the people who brought them to power.
APF Extreme Rules: Billy Bush, Hillary Clinton VS Donald Trump and Alex Jones
I originally crafted this graphic to highlight the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, a year when voters were clamoring for an outsider. After Bernie was ousted, I tweaked it for my series of PPV posters hyping each debate. This was for the second showdown, on the heels of the lewd leaked video that seemed to be the elusive silver bullet to fell the Trump campaign.
They say "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger". After overcoming the gauntlet from the Left and the Right, Alex Jones and Donald Trump are incredibly powerful and by all accounts thus far - impervious.

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