Flat White

Je suis Fredo

18 August 2019

1:49 PM

18 August 2019

1:49 PM

I have pondered for some time why President Trump is so disliked by all the mainstream media. I am using this term a little loosely to include the real MSM (MSNBC, US-ABC, CBS, NBC, Viacom, New York Times, the Washington Post, et al), along with CNN, the National Public Radio and Fox News (recently). However, the BBC, the tiny, little Their ABC, Hollywood and Channel Nine and its tabloids must also be included with that bunch of cowboys.

However, it’s all very well to label these organisation as left-wing, or lunatic left-wing liberals, and their members as M-A-D, mad; which they all are; but that does not give us the real cause of their deeply felt hatred of everything Trump to the extent that like many of the Democrats, they are prepared to tell lies about him.

After all, the MSM despised Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidents, not because they were conservative, however, or even because they were incompetent which one Bush was. They despised them simply because they were Republican. That equates with normal political bias even if it has been nailed to their respective mastheads beside the words ‘Impartial and Objective’.

Despite this obvious political bias, the criticism the MSM heaped on those Republican presidents did not begin to equate with their systemic, deep-seated hatred of Donald Trump, a hatred that has spawned the venomous invective and poisonous ramblings that spew daily from the ink-filled weapons that the journalists have trained like bazookas on the 45th President, Donald Trump.

And then I realised that it had nothing to do with left and right in politics, a divide like the straight line between low and high tide.

The real reason for the hatred, the invective, the venom, the calls for assassination, the unhinged media treatment of the President was right there in the response by the CNN anchor, Chris Cuomo (brother of the Democrat New York Governor) to the man who called him Fredo.

In The Godfather movies, Fredo was the older brother of mobster Michael Corleone who was unable to stomach his relative lack of charm, brains, and personal accomplishments.

Cuomo’s response to the hapless fellow who called him Fredo explains it all: ‘“Punk ass bitches from the right call me ‘Fredo,’ my name is Chris Cuomo, I’m an anchor on CNN”. Cuomo/Fredo likened the insult to an attack on all Italians and then threatened to get physically violent and throw the fellow down the stairs.

Cuomo may have extrapolated the word to include all Italians, but it was Cuomo the gym-junkie who has a self-image as the epitome of manliness. That self-image explains how deep the cut to his vanity went that he was obliged to defend it with physical violence.

Cuomo’s response revealed his hubris, his vision of his self-importance and insolent pride and his own realisation of the truth in calling him Fredo made him suddenly aware that his self-image was a lie. Hubris is a character defect in Greek tragedies, media personalities and Hollywood stars. Hubris, I think, is the missing link between media responses to Donald Trump and their refusal to acknowledge his successes.

To understand this link, one has to also understand the source of the media’s self-importance. They command the attention of millions – which is why I included Hollywood in the MSM – but their importance is measured not by what they say or actually know, but by the size of their audience. They can make and break governments with the most outrageous innuendo and they are untouchable while they have the support of their audiences. Those who feed off the public purse are untouchable except for the very brave.

In the United States, the media is constitutionally protected and their journalists’ opinions were thought almost divine; that is until Donald Trump proved them wrong. The Democrat-inspired Russian collusion narrative confirmed the media’s self-importance and they were never obliged to own their mistake. Trump’s victory in 2016 and his description of MSM stories as fake news have been a concerted attack on media hubris, played out in real-time television every night of the week.

It was not because Trump defeated crooked Hillary but because he showed the public that the media were not gods, but fallible, paper men without substance. He called them all Fredos, the MSM, the Hollywood elite, all of them. He attacked their power and their reputation for truthfulness suffered.

The worst of the MSM was the cable news network, CNN and Trump so destroyed public trust in that media giant, that it’s viewer support has been described as a death spiral. Chris Cuomo’s pride in himself, his physical prowess, and the power of his show to move the public was shown to be mere hubris, by the man who called him Fredo. And he will never look in the mirror again.

Replace the television anchor in this analysis with a Hollywood A-lister or a Silicon Valley executive and the analysis still holds. They think that the millions of people who pay to view or pay to use grant them a special insight into political matters. They not only now know that they are wrong. They must somehow learn to live with their true natures.

President Trump’s greatest victory has not been won by his humility but rather by himself having a certain sort of hubris, one grounded in practical wisdom. Here is not the place to make an itemised list of his successes or even his partial successes except to say that his economic and immigration policies and his restraint of China have benefited millions of Americans and his middle-eastern policies have benefited the world.

Since 2016, Trump has held a mirror up to the “experts” in the MSM, and they have seen themselves as shallow, venal, ignorant rumourmongers. It is the realisation of the truth in that reflection and their inability to accept it, that was writ large in Chris Cuomo’s immortal confession: Je suis Fredo. If we were Greek, it would all be a tragedy. However, because we are Australian, it is un petite comédie (pas de la grenouille au chocolat).

David Long is a retired solicitor, economist and PhD candidate at Griffith University, School of Law.

Illustration: Paramount Pictures.

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