Trump Derangement Syndrome in NZ

By Malcolm Moncrief-Spittle

Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is serious, not just a cute insult or clich?. It is real and even worse in New Zealand than in Trump?s America, which has some major media institutions that are more sympathetic to Trump such as Fox News, Breitbart, and The Daily Caller.

Andrew Breitbart, before his too-early death in 2012 at the age of 43, made the remark that ?Politics is downstream from culture?  (The documentary Hating Breitbart on YouTube is a good introduction to Andrew Breitbart, as is his 2011 book Righteous Indignation.)

Andrew Breitbart saw that the mainstream media in the USA had effectively become a wing of the Democratic Party and much of academia another wing. So you had an academic-media-Democratic complex. Leftists overwhelmingly predominate in media and academia and the result is an overwhelming barrage of propaganda attempts to mould and shape public opinion.

The Otago Daily Times is no worse than any other New Zealand daily paper but I will use it to illustrate my points. Trump Derangement Syndrome is just as bad in the NZ Herald and the Dominion Post, and readers of other daily papers may be able to relate having had similar exposure to TDS.

On 5 January 2019, the Otago Daily Times ran an editorial on the deadly aspect of journalism. The editorial was inspired by a report issued by the International Federation of Journalists, which reported that 94 journalists and media workers worldwide were killed in targeted killings in 2018. Each one of these deaths is of course a tragedy and we all should want a world where journalists are not killed for their activities.

Predictably, despite President Trump having had no role in any of those killings, Trump Derangement Syndrome sets in towards the end of the editorial. The writer first warms up to his conclusion: quote.

Anti-media rhetoric might not be directly linked to the rise in murders, but helps create a negative and more dangerous climate.

Then, at the finale, the whole intended point of the whole editorial becomes clear. It is another attack on Trump. (Why linger on actual causes of deaths of journalists when one can attack Trump?) The antepenultimate and penultimate paragraphs of the editorial are: Quote.

Thus, President Donald Trump?s disparaging and anti-media attitudes and comments help set the stage internationally for state and private attacks on the media. The atmosphere at his rallies where reporters were corralled and his supporters encouraged to taunt and threaten them is virulent.

 Populism, often tied to xenophobic nationalism, is dangerous. Abusing and blaming the media is its default position. That must be guarded against even in relatively mild forms sometimes found in this country. When the messenger is attacked, be suspicious. end quote.

Otago Daily Times

It is all very well for the ODT to think of themselves as merely the ?messenger?, and that one should be suspicious if they are ?abused? or ?blamed?, even in ?mild forms?. I have some news of my own for them and other legacy media. (I prefer the term ?legacy media? to ?mainstream media?, as MSM implies that many people still take that media seriously as a news source.) In your coverage of Trump since 2016, YOU ARE FAKE NEWS! You continuously print vitriolic opinion pieces (e.g. Joe Bennett?s), and hateful, bad-taste, counter-factual cartoons (e.g. Garrick Tremain?s cartoon of Melania Trump wearing a KKK hood.)

The ?news? articles you choose from Reuters and other agencies often read more like anti-Trump opinion pieces than actual news. For example, on 6 January while Democrat Elizabeth Warren ?was cheered as she launched a campaign?, on the same page Trump ?digs in? and ?persisted in blaming Democrats?. We are not told about the numbers that cheer for Trump at his rallies.

I think it is wholly understandable that the ODT?s Trump Derangement Syndrome will make people angry. It makes me angry.

Just as pain alerts us that something is wrong, anger also is a message to us that something is not right. Psychologists tell us that when properly managed, anger is a healthy and natural emotion. It is a message that something is wrong and that we need to look for causes and solutions to a problem.

How then do we channel that anger and use it constructively? Writing is one way. I found whilst writing this article that I was able to process my thoughts. I have found however that, while the ODT will publish pro-Trump letters, when I have submitted letters that are critical of the media itself as an institution, they tend not to be published. The ODT is after all a commercial enterprise, and they do not like being told that they are becoming the ?legacy media? as more and more people turn away from them to other sources such as blogs, Twitter, and YouTube.

Journalism as a profession in New Zealand fully deserves to be regarded as one of the least respected professions. Journalists have become self-deluded sycophants, who associate with, and try to earn the respect of, their own peers but who are out-of-touch with mainstream New Zealand.

With ISIS largely defeated, unemployment at record lows, and the appointment of constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court, President Trump is shaping up to be one of the greatest US presidents ever but you wouldn?t know it from reading your average New Zealand newspaper. They are as bad as fake news CNN.

Trump Derangement Syndrome is just as bad within New Zealand academia, but that is a subject for another day.