There is a faction of the US electorate that is positively wroth: angry that they are losing their country, angry at immigrants and minorities who want “free stuff,” angry at terrorists for making them feel afraid, angry at liberals for rejecting good Christian values, angry at the economy for screwing them and denying them the better life they were promised, angry about Solyndra and Benghazi and Obamaphones and Sharia law and ACORN and Planned Parenthood and black-on-black crime and a government takeover of health care and Agenda 21 and Syrian immigrants on the loose and UN climate hoaxes. They are angry at all institutions, including the Republican Party and the media, that have failed to halt America’s decline.
They are mostly white, mostly older, and entirely pissed off. And Trump speaks for them, less in what he says than in his total contempt for those same institutions.
The anger is understandable, even justifiable in many ways, but unfortunately it also involves believing lots of nonsense. And no amount of understanding and empathy can make Jade Helm anything but, factually speaking, nonsense.
Thus the dilemma. The old-guard political media has always seen itself as a disinterested referee. But what they confront now is aggressive, unapologetic nonsense, piped up from a nationalist, ethnocentric, revanchist conservative base through the mouth of one Donald J. Trump. He is forcing them to choose sides, to accept his bare assertions and make a mockery of their purported allegiance to accuracy … or to call him out and, in the eyes of his supporters, formally align against him.
The conceptual space for neutrality has all but disappeared. Media outlets are being forced to take sides, and facing the grim possibility that even if they do, they have no power to affect the outcome. Their twin idols — objectivity and influence — are being exposed as illusions. That’s what has them so anxious about Donald Trump.