Donald Trump has been exercising the British media again, and the front cover of the UK’s Economist magazine may well provide one more framed picture for the Oval Office wall come November. The magazine’s hit-piece is just one among a swiftly developing, rather humdrum genre consistent with the lazy doggerel that passes now for British mainstream journalism.
Criticism of Trump in the UK has become generic, and there could be no greater difference than that between the reception afforded to Obama by our courtier class, and the venom hurled at Trump. British politicians wasted no time queuing up for photo-ops with President Obama before his fairy-dust rubbed off. Those same spoiled boulevardiers, however, recently wasted good parliamentary time debating whether this year’s leading presidential candidate could even come to the UK. But the keynote to the absurd posturing of the British political class is not that of principle – it rarely is – but that of fear, fear of the unknown.
The British political elite, aided and abetted as always by its media courtiers, has jumped up like a junkyard dog at the first scent of something unfamiliar. British politicians are essentially public relations people, often literally. Rites of passage for the gauleiters of Westminster include PR, advertising, journalism and the law, all areas where the truth is malleable, and presentation is everything.
Their main concern is with the construction of an image for a largely irrelevant public, and they expect their political leaders and their acolytes to conform to that model. They do not take it well when their technocratic blueprints are subverted or, worse, disregarded altogether.
Recently in Britain, United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and newly elected Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn bucked the trend of production-line politicians, and the media response has been that of a wounded but dangerous animal. The treatment of Farage in particular, over his sceptical stance on Europe and immigration, has been particularly savage.
Now that Donald Trump has gone from fun and rumbustious outsider to a racing near-certainty for the GOP nomination at the very least, the UK’s political class – and therefore its provisional wing in the media – has decided to act. The Economist piece is exemplary.
According to the British press, when they have time to write between diversity training and the pub, Donald Trump is a political antichrist. The words ‘fascism’, ‘racism’ and their cognates, as well as obligatory cries of Hitler, have filled the air like bullets in a gunfight.
Perhaps it is a half-hearted response to Obama’s recent attempt to lobby for continuing British membership of the EU. Perhaps it is a twinge of fear at the heart of the proto-world government fanatics, an idea which has surely gone from conspiracy theory to what Aristotle would call a ‘plausible impossibility’.
The media insist that Trump is scaring the public when the truth is that Trump is scaring the media. They keep trying to go after him – see Megan Kelly on Fox News for the funniest example – and fail to see that their veyy failure lies in the fact that Donald Trump may very well be coming for them.
Without catching the attention of the public, the political class has finagled and finessed a global situation under the terms of which they choose not the actual political leaders, but the pool from which they may permissibly be drawn.
The Western media are terrified of Trump. It is all reminiscent of the Broadway producer whose hit show was pilloried by the critics. ‘No one liked the show,’ he explained, ‘but the public.’