Trump’s War Against the Media, Fake News, and (A)Social Media
I argue that Donald Trump won the Republican primary contest and then the 2016 US presidential election, in part, because he is the master of media spectacle. I discuss Trump’s use of media spectacle in his business career, in his effort to become a celebrity and reality-TV superstar, and his political campaigns. Then, I examine how Trump both uses broadcasting and social media in his campaign and presidency and deploys a war against the media to delegitimize media criticism or opposition to his presidency. Yet Trump’s war against the media has generated a momentous battle in which segments of the media are fighting back against Trump in what has to be the most contested media spectacle in modern US political history.
KeywordsCommonwealth Prime Donald Trump Tillerson Trump Administration Republican Primary Debate
- Agrawal, N. (2016) “U.S. disrupts elections too. Like Russia, America has a long history of meddling in foreign votes.” Los Angeles Times, December 22: A2.Google Scholar
- Battaglio, S. (2017) “Trump’s inauguration is watched by 30.6 million viewers — 7 million fewer than Obama’s first ceremony,” Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2017, at http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-inauguration-ratings-20170119-story.html (accessed July 22, 2017).
- Blair, G. (2000). The Trumps. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
- Calabresi, M. (2017) “Hacking Democracy. Inside Russia’s Social Media War on America.” Time, May 29, pp. 30–35.Google Scholar
- Coll, S. (2013) Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power. Baltimore: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- D’Antonio, M. (2015) Never Enough. Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.Google Scholar
- Emba, C. (2017) “When it comes to Facebook, Russia’s $100,000 is worth more than you think,” Washington Post, September 11, 2017, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-it-comes-to-facebook-russias-100000-is-worth-more-than-you-think/2017/09/11/b6f8dde6-94c7-11e7-aace-04b862b2b3f3_story.html?utm_term=.40de09712f6e (accessed September 11, 2017).
- Entous, A., E. Nakashima and G. Miller, “Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House Washington Post, December 9, 2016, at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-orders-review-of-russian-hacking-during-presidential-campaign/2016/12/09/31d6b300-be2a-11e6-94ac-3d324840106c_story.html?utm_term=.bb175270bfde (accessed December 9, 2016).
- Fisher, Marc, and Will Hobson. 2016. “Donald Trump ‘pretends to be his own spokesman to boast about himself.’ Some reporters found the calls disturbing or even creepy; others thought they were just examples of Trump being playful.” The Independent, May 13, 2016, at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-pretends-to-be-his-own-spokesman-to-boast-about-himself-a7027991.html (accessed August 9, 2016).
- Herszenhorn, D. M. and E. Barry (2011) “Putin Contends Clinton Incited Unrest Over Vote,” The New York Times, December 8, 2011, at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/world/europe/putin-accuses-clinton-of-instigating-russian-protests.html (accessed July 17, 2017).
- Kellner, D. (2009). “Barack Obama and Celebrity Spectacle.” International Journal of Communication, Vol. 3: 1–20 at http://ijoc.org/ojs/index.php/ijoc/article/view/559/350
- Kellner, D. (2017) The American Horror Show: Election 2016 and the Ascendency of Donald J. Trump. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
- Kellner, D. (2012) Media Spectacle and Insurrection, 2011: From the Arab Uprisings to Occupy Everywhere. London and New York: Continuum/Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Kellner, D. (2005) Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy. Boulder, Col.: Paradigm Press.Google Scholar
- Kellner, D. (2003a) From September 11 to Terror War: The Dangers of the Bush Legacy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Kellner, D. (2001) Grand Theft 2000. Media Spectacle and a Stolen Election. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Kovalik, D. (2017) The Plot to Scapegoat Russia. How the CIA and the Deep State Have Conspired to Vilify Russia. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.Google Scholar
- Kranish, M. and M. Fisher (2016) Trump Revealed. An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money and Power. New York: Scribner. Kirchgaessner, S. “Russia ‘targeted Trump adviser in bid to infiltrate campaign.’ CNN claims investigators have intelligence suggesting Russians may have used Carter Page to try to access Trump campaign,” The Guardian, April 23, 2017, at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/23/russia-tried-to-use-trump-advisers-to-influence-us-election-report (accessed July 10, 2017).
- Lapowsky, I. (2017) “Russia Could Easily Spread Fake News Without Team Trump’s Help,” Wired, July 14, 2017, at https://www.wired.com/story/russia-trump-targeting-fake-news/ (accessed September 9, 2017).
- Myers, S.L. (2016) The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
- Nance, M. (2016) The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.Google Scholar
- Osnos, E., D. Remnick, and J. Yaffa, “Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War. What lay behind Russia’s interference in the 2016 election—and what lies ahead?” The New Yorker, March 6, 2017 at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war5 (accessed July 22, 2017).
- Pogash, C. Ed. (2016) Quotations From Chairman Trump. New York: Rosetta Books.Google Scholar
- Samuelsohn, D. (2017) “Facebook: Russian-linked accounts bought $150,000 in ads during 2016 race,” Politico, September 6, 2017, at http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/06/facebook-ads-russia-linked-accounts-242401 (accessed July 22, 2017).
- Schwartz, M. (2012) “An Extended Interview with Steve Coll,” Texas Monthly. May 2012 at http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/an-extended-interview-with-steve-coll/ (accessed December 9, 2016).
- Somaiya, R. (2015) “Trump’s Wealth and Early Poll Numbers Complicate News Media’s Coverage Decisions.” The New York Times, July 24, at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/business/media/donald-trumps-wealth-and-poll-numbers-complicate-news-medias-coverage.html (accessed July 22, 2016).
- Travis, P.W. (2016) Reagan’s War on Terrorism in Nicaragua: The Outlaw State. Lexington, Ky.: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
- Trump, D. J., with T. Schwartz (2005 ) The Art of the Deal. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
- Williams, L.C. (2017) “Where are they now? The Russian bots that disrupted the 2016 election. Russia-linked social media bots played a big role in online conversation about the election. Here’s what they’ve been up to since.” ThinkProgress, May 5, 2017, at https://thinkprogress.org/russian-bots-where-are-they-now-e2674c19017b/ (accessed September 9, 2017).