Trump Presidency Might Herald Reality Check On “Liberal” Media

trumpBy Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Donald Trump calls the so-called ‘liberal media’ the “bad guys” and since he was elected President two months ago – in fact even before that with the Brexit vote in June 2016 – the “Liberals” in the West have been chest-beating complaining about misleading social media messages to unfairness of the electoral systems as their preferred candidates or platforms are defeated by grassroots voter revolts.

It is interesting that the ‘liberal’ media has made such a big issue of Trump having lost the popular vote but winning the Presidency, without looking at how the so-called Westminster system of democracy, which many former British colonies have inherited, often reflects such results as it is grounded on an electorate based first-past-the-post system not dissimilar to the U.S. Electoral College system.

Thus, in Australia parties that did not garner a majority of the national popular vote have often led federal and state governments. In 2011 in Singapore the governing party won over 90 percent of the seats in parliament with a national vote share of only 60 percent. At the last national elections in Malaysia, the ruling party was returned to power after having lost the national popular vote. There are many such examples around the world.

The Liberals have always taken the high moral ground arguing that the popular verdict under the ‘one person one vote’ principle need to be respected and elected rulers have to listen to the people, but it seems they accept an election result only if that goes their way.

The pillar of the “conservative” media establishment and Fox News boss, Rupert Murdoch told a U.S. university audience a few years ago when a student asked about bias of Fox News that the rest of the media has a “liberal bias (and) we give the other side of the story”. The U.S. presidential election and the aftermath of Trump’s victory has demonstrated it very clearly.

Over the past decade in particular, the liberals have also mastered new media technology to design and conduct campaigns to overthrow legitimately elected governments they don’t like under the guise of human rights and democracy movements. The man who has promoted and funded such Liberal causes from colour revolutions in Europe, the Arab Spring and many anti-government campaigns in Asia with billions of his own money – what some may say is “ill-gotten” wealth – is now warning that the “Open Societies” he wanted to establish are falling apart.

In a New Year opinion piece distributed around the world by Project Syndicate, the hedge fund manager George Soros lamented, “open societies are in crisis, and various forms of closed societies – from fascist dictatorships to mafia states – are on the rise”. And he asked in dismay, “how could this happen?”

“The only explanation I can find is that elected leaders failed to meet voters’ legitimate expectations and aspirations and that this failure led electorates to become disenchanted with the prevailing versions of democracy and capitalism,” he added in answering his own question. “Quite simply, many people felt that the elites had stolen their democracy.”

This view was manifested in the strong emotions raised by both Trump and Bernie Sanders (during his Democratic primary campaign) among supporters when the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement was mentioned. As Economics Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former UN Assistant Secretary for Economic Development argued in a recent commentary, almost a million jobs may have been shed in the U.S. as a result of its implementation.

“While most politically influential U.S, corporation would do well from the TPP due to strengthened intellectual property rights (IPR) and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, U.S. workers would generally not.” he argued. “Such protectionism would raise the price of protected items such as pharmaceutical drugs.”

Interestingly, a recent report in the Russian Television (RT) channel indicated that Sanders has praised Trump’s recent comments on pharmaceutical industry and hinted that he may cooperate with the new President to achieve reforms in the U.S. drug policy.

“Our drug industry has been disastrous,” Trump told reporters during his press conference on January 11, that went largely unreported in the U.S. media. He stressed the need to increase manufacturing of drugs in the U.S. arguing that he would create “new bidding procedures for the drug industry, because they’re getting away with murder”.

“I’ve been saying that for years. Pharma does get away with murder. Literally murder. People die because they can’t get the prescription drugs they need,” Sanders was reported to have said in an interview with Huffington Post.

The Liberal media while promoting human rights and democracy has shielded away from focusing on such issues. Rather they would talk about freedom of speech or multiparty democracy, but, not about how the democratically elected leaders should shield their populations from greedy corporations like pharmaceutical companies.

While they point fingers at so-called “dictatorial” leaders in non-Western countries accusing them of corruption, neither the media nor the various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Soros and other western ”donors” fund question the role of banks or business immigration policies in western countries (such as Australia and Canada) that encourage these “corrupt’ leaders to park their ill-gotten money in the respective countries. It is such double standards that has discredited the liberal message.

Soros argues that the European Union (EU) right from its inception has been seen as an embodiment of an Open Society – an association of democratic states – but it has unraveled since the economic crisis of 2008 “when debtors had difficulties in meeting their obligations and the creditors set the conditions that the debtors had to obey”. What he did not say is that the States bailed out the creditors (banks) which created huge resentment among the grassroots people both in Europe and the U.S.

Warning that the EU faces disintegration following the Brexit and recent Italian election vote and upcoming elections this year in France, Germany and Netherlands, Soros says “democracy is now in crisis”.

Soros believes that the big winner would be Russian President Vladimir Putin. “At first, he tried to control social media. Then, in a brilliant move, he exploited social media companies’ business model to spread misinformation and fake news, disorienting electorates and destabilizing democracies. That is how he helped Trump get elected,” he argued.

But, this is exactly what Soros and his friends have been doing, funding NGOs in many countries to exploit social media. In November 2016 the Malaysian government accused his organization of funding local “pro-democracy” group Bersih to do the same, and in August 2016 the Thai government accused his foundation of funding the anti-government social media outfit Prachathai to spread “false news” about the military regime.

What the NGOs funded by the Soros Foundation across the world have been doing to discredit leaders and governments they don’t like is to create news stories on human rights violations, corruption and so on, and feed off each other using these contents and buzz words. These websites refer to each other’s contents creating a social media echo chamber of Facebook “likes” and Twitter hashtags, which then land in mainstream media outlets sympathetic to their viewpoint.

The irony of all this is that in December when Soros and Bill Gates were found to be funding a Fake News “detector” on Faceboook it was the turn of the conservatives to cry foul. They accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of colluding to censor Facebook of conservative dissent. Well, the ideological battles have just begun.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of any IDN-INPS. [IDN-InDepthNews – 13 January 2017]

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Author: lotuscommnet

Dr Kalinga Seneviratne, who was born and educated in Sri Lanka has spent 20 years in Australia and is currently based in Singapore. He is a journalist, a radio broadcaster, television documentary maker, media analyst and an international communications lecturer. Currently Kalinga teaches Asian regional media systems and journalism and news media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. From 2004 to 2012 he was the Head of the Research division at the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) in Singapore. He has also taught international communications at the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University (Australia). He has authored and edited many books on media and communications issues. His expertise are in development communication, journalism and feature writing, community radio and alternative media, and international communications. He has won an United Nations Media Peace Award (1987) and the Inaugural Singapore Airlines Educational Award (1992) from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia for services to the Australian community radio sector. He was the Australian and South Pacific correspondent for the Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency from 1991-1997 and still writes for them IDN IN-Depth News on a freelance basis. He has done reporting assignments for IPS from a number of countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Kalinga was a member of a research team from 1991-1993 at the University of Technology Sydney looking at ‘Cultural Diversity and Racism in the Media’ in Australia. Kalinga is still a practicing journalists who writes for many publications across Asia and also produce radio and television documentaries.

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