New Yorker journalist William Finnegan offered some keys for understanding the Republican candidate’s success.
How can it be that one of the least prepared, most sexist, racist and xenophobic men on the planet is candidate to occupy the post with most responsibility and power in global politics? That’s the question many of us are asking ourselves after seeing or reading the umpteenth news report on the latest gaffes of Republican politician Donald Trump. It’s also the question that New Yorker journalist William Finnegan attempted to answer at the lecture he gave at the CCCB “Journalism and the Future of Democracy”.
Donald Trump is viewed by many analysts as a freak; a strange phenomenon in the politics of the United States. Instead of placing the focus on his grotesque and rude character, William Finnegan talked about the media and the political context that has helped Trump reach the gates of the White House. Whether he wins the elections or loses, this journalist considers that there are two main phenomena that have turned American politics upside down and that are keys to understanding Trump’s electoral rise:
- The power exercised by the entire network of right-wing media (radio, TV, websites) from the orbit of the Fox television network. Media that have broken away from the model where news must be based on facts and truths, substituting these with opinion and entertainment. At the heart of this tangled web is Donald Trump, television reality king and expert. Finnegan explained how many Americans are living in a news bubble and only listen, read, or see on their Facebook walls “news” items that coincide with their way of seeing and understanding the world.
- The loss of support and electoral bases that has been suffered by the Democratic Party both in the south and the north of the country. De-industrialisation has left many white American low and middle class workers unemployed, and the discourse of fear and anger against immigrants promoted by Trump fits in well with their mood. “They are looking for someone who will speak for them, a saviour,” says Finnegan. And Donald Trump is their man.
In this video (9 minutes) we have summarised the main interventions by William Finnegan from the lecture that he offered at the CCCB.
The video of the entire lecture (1 h 30 min) is also available in the original version (English) or with simultaneous translation into Catalan. In this video, as well as the complete intervention by the American author, you can also hear the questions from the audience plus writer Albert Forns’ introduction of William Finnegan. In addition to being a journalist and a writer, Finnegan is a surfer, and he won the Pulitzer 2016 Prize for Best Biography or Autobiography for a book about surfing.