Weeks ago I gave you a heads up that as it became more clear to the average American that Donald Trump’s future consists of indictment, criminal trials, and prison sentences, the media would push the “Trump 2024” narrative more loudly than ever. After all, it’s the only ratings-friendly narrative that they’ve been able to come up with in the past year. And if the facts start to make clear that Trump 2024 isn’t a real thing, then the media is going to need to shout down the facts in order to keep milking its preferred narrative.
If some of you saw this as overly cynical on my part, that was understandable. The trouble is, the media is already in the process of proving me right. Days ago the Washington Post published an article which claimed that Trump is unlikely to be indicted, and then went on to make the incredible claim that Trump will still be a serious candidate in the 2024 election even if he’s in prison at the time. Now things have gotten even stupider.
Multiple prominent political pundits are now hyping the notion that Donald Trump is such a lock to win in 2024, the only remote chance Joe Biden has of beating him is if he drops Kamala Harris from the ticket and replaces her with a Republican like Mitt Romney. No really, this is a narrative now.
Meanwhile back in the real world, if 2024 were Biden vs. Trump, Biden would be the overwhelming favorite because his numbers are so much better than Trump’s numbers. In fact the only way Biden could screw up that advantage would be if he did something absurd like dropping his Black woman running mate and replacing her with an anti-choice Republican man with vaguely institutionally racist tendencies. As usual, the pundits are demanding that the Democrats make the one move that be certain to sink them. But it’s more than that.
The media is clearly hoping to spend 2022 and maybe 2023 chasing ratings by pushing the fictional “Trump is a lock to win in 2024” narrative. In order to sell that narrative, the media has to promote two lies.
The first lie is that Biden is unpopular. That’s why most pundits insist his approval rating is in the mid thirties, when you can easily look up the averages and see that it’s in the mid forties. In order to keep up the appearance that Biden is unpopular, the media will continue promoting phony scandals about him, as well as the fictional claim that he’s looking to get rid of Kamala Harris. In other words, the media – even on the left – will ramp up its efforts to sabotage Biden.
The second lie is that Trump will somehow magically get away with his crimes. After all, they insist, he got away with his crimes while he was in office. That’s cute, but at the time he controlled the Department of Justice, and he had the office of the presidency to shield himself from state level prosecution. These days he has none of the above – which is why multiple District Attorneys are in the process of criminally indicting him.
No prosecutor is afraid of Trump anymore, because he’s powerless over them. But the more obviously powerless he’s become, the more the media insists that he’s more powerful than ever. After all, they have to sell the notion that Trump – who at this point is an addled semi-corpse whose only “escape” will be if he croaks before he’s convicted – is somehow secretly more powerful than ever.
So for now at least, the media is going to continue pushing the false narratives that Joe Biden is toast and that Donald Trump is somehow magically going to make a big comeback. The more loudly the facts prove those narratives wrong, the more loudly the media will shout those narratives. The only question is what’ll happen once Trump is indeed indicted and arrested. Will the media finally give up on its Trump 2024 ratings narrative, or will it insist that being in prison will just “embolden” Trump to magically take over?
Again, I know that all of this sounds awfully cynical. But keep in mind that major media outlets and pundits are already insisting that Trump will be the 2024 frontrunner even if he’s in prison, and that Biden would need to put a Republican on his ticket in order to have any chance against Trump. If the media has gone this far down the rabbit hole, it’ll go even further. Our job as activists will be to not only promote the factual truth and fight for political victories, but to also hold the media accountable when it pushes harmful false narratives in its never ending quest to boost its ratings.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report