Saturday, October 31, 2020

Please Don't Steal Our Dolphins!

Pay no attention to me, what do I know after all, but I'm increasingly bothered by the way corporate media are speculating obsessively about the prospects of civil unrest and violence on and after Election Day, and the way they're addressing the possibility that the outcome of the election won't be known by midnight on November 3.  The only reason anyone -- except maybe Trump -- believes that the results of the national election must be known right away is that the media cover it that way.  That goes with the obsessive, day-by-day, minute-by-minute, poll-crazed horse race narrative they impose on the campaign.  But with reporters and anchors asking rhetorically with smug condescension, Will we know the results at midnight Tuesday, it's a safe bet that many of their audiences will suppose that the answer is Yes.  Never mind that they promptly explain that the answer is No, because they clearly assume that knowing the results as soon as the polls close is a Constitutional requirement, instead of the result of the rise of mass media.

That assumption feeds the belief that there will be violence in the streets if either candidate wins or loses.  The result of all the talk about it is that people now expect it, and gun sales are up, and Walmart has removed guns from their shelves, which will make consumers worry and go to gun stores instead.  I think I've mentioned before that the local news media, including the student newspaper, used to implore IU sports fans not to steal the bronze dolphins from the fountain near the center of campus when IU wins a championship or some other significant victory.  Of course somebody would do just that, and when they were caught they'd explain that they thought they were supposed to steal the dolphins, like isn't it a tradition or something?  With an endless media drumbeat of fear about the danger in the media, people are already expecting riots on November 4 if not sooner.  Voter intimidation has already begun in numerous places, sometimes by vigilantes and sometimes by police, who know it's what Trump wants.  Today in Texas a bunch of Trump goons in pickup trucks with Trump flags tried to run a Biden campaign bus off the road; a Biden event was canceled there as a result.  The police are chuckling.  Most of the fault belongs to Trump, and to the fascist strata of Americans he taps into, but the liberal media have their share.