Photo credit to Carlo Allegri / Reuters
While reading The St. Louis American article “Anatomy of a smear campaign: Shirley Sherrod,” I found myself drawing parallels between the dichotomies of mainstream vs. independent media and corporate vs. anti-establishment politics. When you compare the left and right for both independent media and anti-establishment politics, you get a very different dialogue and impact, even though both are juxtaposed the mainstream narrative.
There has been a lot of talk following the recent U.S. presidential election of how Bernie Sanders would have stacked up against Donald Trump had he been the Democratic nominee instead of Hillary Clinton. To a certain extent, Sanders is representative of the progressive independent media perspective, while Trump’s rhetoric is quite aligned with that of alt-right independent media like Breitbart, as evidenced by his appointment of Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. Both in politics and the media, supposedly independent voices — whether they be progressive or ultra-conservative — resonate with U.S. public that has grown increasingly dissatisfied with the mainstream narrative and society that has been shoved down their throats. Thus, these independent voices tend to incite revolutions on both sides of the spectrum, but the content of these revolutions is vastly different, even though they are both revolting against the establishment.
While Democracy Now is Bernie Sanders, Breitbart is Donald Trump, and the falsified Shirley Sherrod video certainly speaks to that comparison. We have two opposite sides to a very necessary anti-establishment movement, and the side that appeals to the white supremacists and the ‘journalists’ who lack so much integrity that they would contribute the rising trend of fake news is winning. Though I’m sure my own political biases are pervading my analysis, I can’t help but wonder why there seems to be such a difference in journalistic integrity and ethics between right- and left-wing independent media. Is there a group of left-wing independent media that would commit such atrocities that Breitbart did with the Sherrod video? Or is that just the ‘liberal’ corporate media? (https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/08/hillary-clinton-the-pioneer-of-the-alt-left)
I understand why there is a stark divide between these two sides of independent media, but I worry it may weaken the overall quest of independent media to challenge mainstream media, just as the divide between the anti-establishment political revolutions in this year’s election have weakened the country, at least for the time being. Either way, the Sherrod video fraud makes me feel a whole lot worse (as if it were possible) about the chief executive of Breitbart being Trump’s chief strategist.