The Sorting of Lindell
I remember the beginning of the Dark Days. This was the long run-up to the 2016 election. There was a supremely stupid and irritating man running for President. He was a well-known national figure as a TV personality, real estate magnate, and general unprincipled asshole. He was the perfect WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) example. Every single utterance from his mouth was meant to challenge, irritate, and celebrate his astounding ignorance and egotism.
I also remember a publication called the Huffington Post which I used to read regularly as a slightly off mainstream source of news for the intelligent and liberal thinking citizen. I cheered and pumped my fist the day I read they were moving all “news” about the embarrassing WYSIWYG from their political/news pages to their entertainment section. (Ok. Instead of continuing with “he who must not be named”, let’s bow to brevity and spell out Trump). He wasn’t a serious player in the world of politics in their judgment. I agreed enthusiastically and encouraged all media to follow suit. Media coverage of this man was like throwing gasoline on a fire. Why should any reputable publication give him the illusion of legitimacy?
This didn’t take, as you recall. And the rest is history, as they say. But the succeeding years have been filled to the brim with clear and convincing evidence of the correctness of HuffPost’s original judgment. Think how much better everyone’s lives would have been if all the news media had followed suit. I’m not saying Trump would not have been elected anyway. But the prospect of MAGA morons seeing/hearing nothing about Trump unless they ran to Fox “news”, OAN Network, NY Post, or Newsmax is somehow satisfying. Nothing to be heard/read on CNN, MSNBC, Wash Post, NY Times, ABC/CBS/NBC news. Oh, what a delight that would be for those of us who wished to consume serious election news.
Omg, even better to think of social media refusing to publish his BS. Think how delicious an early ban from Twitter and Facebook would have been. Yeah, I know we have freedom of the Press in this country. That’s my point. I’m not advocating government censorship. This would be commercial news companies deciding to avoid lending credibility to a dangerous egotist before he started winning State primaries that dictated he be covered seriously. But, as we know, social media also lacked courage and vision. I can only look back and wonder “what if?”.
Our news and social media platforms still need to learn this lesson today. Currently, there is another supremely stupid and embarrassing man infecting TV news and print media as well as the commercial Internet. Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy, seems to be everywhere. And each thing he says is even more astonishingly dumb than the last. But still, the news sources quote him, and film him, and give him a small nugget of credibility. Much better for hardly anyone to know of his existence. I mean come on! He isn’t an elected official, isn’t running for office, isn’t a government employee, has no experience as an election official at any level. What possible reason is there to print or televise anything he says or does? The only answer I can postulate is that he’s sensational in his fantastic non-factual claims and outright lies about the 2020 election. Oh, and he also happens to be friends with Trump.
So it’s come to this, has it? Our supposedly professional journalism companies are choosing to value profit and popularity over truth and social responsibility. Well . . . let’s put it this way. “Yes, they are”. You and I are left to scroll quickly past the offending Pillow-Guy articles and fast-forward through his ridiculous assertions of election fraud at his recent “symposium” on the subject. Again, “come on!”. Otherwise serious news people actually went to South Dakota to cover this! Unbelievable.
Do you have nightmares about Mike Lindell in your news feed and on your TV constantly next year when he’s running for some Senate seat? Or perhaps you feel confident you won’t be inundated with him in the Spring of 2024 when he’s running for President? Are you sure?
Please, please, please, professional journalists, don’t cover the sensational, cover the public interest. And lets all of us make intelligent decisions on who and what we choose to watch. The media companies notice what you consume. Please don’t be part of the problem. Let the media companies know how you feel. Huffington Post, you were right several years ago. But we didn’t follow your example. Let’s be smarter from now on and insist that sensational, made-up claims be put on the entertainment page, shall we?