Network television used to love “conflict,” and the more acrimonious and hate-filled the better. As pack animals, humans are fascinated by intense disagreements, especially between their leaders, and by fights in general [Why Do We Enjoy Watching Other People Fight?, By Christian Jarrett, Science Focus, 2020]. So intense political conflict means more viewers and more add revenue. But clearly this doesn’t apply to the disputed Trump-Biden election. All the Main Stream Media has adopted the “narrative” that “Biden is the President-Elect,” essentially ignoring the “conflict” happening behind the scenes, rendering their broadcasts bland and hardly worth watching. Why?
After all, you would think that the networks would be elated. Able to present the U.S. as a country in crisis, on the brink of self-destruction, there could be constant, dramatic, rolling news bulletins—all of them more than paying for the commercials by which they’d be regularly interrupted. Biden-supporters would ardently insist that their man won “fair and square,” Trump supporters would deplore the “steal” and insist they weren’t going to give in. News networks used to live for situations like this—as they did during the Gore-Bush “conflict.” What happened?
A key part of the answer: we live in a remarkably different world from that of the year 2000. As I have reported before, the U.S. has suddenly become much more polarized. Modelling by Russian biologist Peter Turchin, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, has found that America is as polarized now as it was at the beginning of the Civil War. This has led him to predict that the 2020s will be a decade of quite incredible strife and unrest. The causes he highlights:
All of this has developed since the year 2000, when the economy was in superb shape, there was no international competitor to America, and the bitter harvest of mass immigration and elite-overproduction had not yet fully delivered its poisonous fruit.
The result now: polarization, with each side tending to distrust intensely, and even despise, the other.
But Liberals – possibly because they specifically score higher in “moral disgust,” i.e. are repulsed with those who disagree with them—tend to hate and distrust “conservatives” even more than “conservatives” loathe and distrust liberals, according to research by psychologist Jonathan Haidt and his team [The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum, By J. Graham et al., PLOS One, 2012].
To make matters worse, because of immigration policy, America has become more ethnically diverse since the year 2000. According to research by Harvard psychologist Robert Putnam, this has the effect of reducing trust: firstly, because the natives and the foreigners do not trust each other; secondly, because the natives become paranoid that fellow-natives will collaborate against them with the foreigners, reducing trust even between the natives [E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century, By Robert Putnam, Scandinavian Political Studies, 2007].
And then there are other, more subtle, demographic changes in the last twenty years. Improving transport links, gentrification, greater university attendance, which permits a certain psychological type to abandon small-town America) and even the rise of the internet mean that people can more easily find other people who are like themselves politically and psychologically. This results in them having less and less to do with people who are psychologically, and thus politically, different. In turn, they will decreasingly trust such people.
This process—which Charles Murray has called “Coming Apart”—is gradually dividing America, and other Western countries, into two really quite separate tribes who are mutually antagonistic towards each other.
In a context of extreme polarization such as this—in which some Trump supporters seem genuinely to believe that some leading Democrats are child-sacrificing, pedophile Satanists [QAnon conspiracists believe in a vast pedophile ring, By Moira Donegan, The Guardian, September 20, 2020] and indeed can point to the peculiar case of Jeffrey Epstein—the liberals who have control of the Main Stream Media and the most popular social media platforms, what Steve Sailer calls “The Megaphone,” are able to impose a certain “narrative.” And we can understand why that “narrative” would be that there is no serious “conflict” over the presidency/ Biden has won/ Trump is a child-like sore loser to be ignored, pitied and mocked.
If this had happened 20 years ago, the MSM probably would have presented both points of view, in the hope of drumming up viewers. But there would never have been a candidate such as Trump in 2000, because America was so much less polarized.
In 2020, we have an elite media that despises and distrusts Trump and his supporters; that believes that Trump and his people want to destroy the system that gives them their wealth and power; that believes that Trump and his supporters may well punish them personally for their prominent role in the “fake news” regime; and which, on some level, feels that America may be close to some kind of war, which their side may well lose.
Furthermore, research show that extreme liberals also tend to be very strongly governed by emotion. They feel negative emotions far more strongly that do conservatives. They simply don’t believe that “the truth will out” after a rational discussion. Instead, they strongly fear that people can be manipulated emotionally, since they themselves are driven by emotion, not rationality [Are leftists more emotion-driven than rightists? by Ruth Pliskie et al., Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2014]. And in fact they are way more likely to suffer from anxiety and other mental problems, as I have previously reported.
Liberals also tend to believe that people who disagree with them are less intelligent, meaning they think that they can manipulated into violence. For example, it has been found that liberals will rate blacks as less intelligent—but only if they disagree with liberal dogmas [Do Politically Non-Conservative Whites “Bend Over Backwards” to Show Preferences for Black Politicians? by Daniel Bird et al., Race and Social Problems, 2015].
Barack Obama just said that the internet is “the single biggest threat to our democracy”[ Obama: The internet is “the single biggest threat to our democracy”, by Peter Kafka,Vox, November 16, 2020] Of course, he doesn’t mean the internet itself, but the Politically Incorrect information that can be found on it. He, and his Ruling Class peers, increasingly think that stupid conservative people shouldn’t be shown evidence that suggests they might be correct even if they are correct— for example that police do not disproportionally target blacks or that Black Lives Matter is a hoax—not least because those who present this evidence are, anyway, likely to be wicked people with ultimately evil motives, like Jared Taylor or Peter Brimelow.
To put it simply: The Leftists who now control the MSM believe that some kind of Civil War—in whatever form that takes in a highly technological country—might be coming; and that if they report both sides of any argument, they might trigger it.
They genuinely think the Cossacks are coming.
And America is now so polarized that they may well be right.
Lance Welton [email him] is the pen name of a freelance journalist living in New York.