Forty years ago, a movie titled “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” terrified audiences with visions of a dystopian world in which humans transformed into a collective hive of like-minded clones. I’m often asked how I can possibly defend the Trump administration or President Trump, since he has so many faults and says so many questionable things. It puts me in mind of that movie, because my answer generates the same kind of response.
While eyes full of contempt collectively glare at our president, I have turned my gaze back on the mob. I hate mobs, and I hate group think. And I see chilling evil taking place in the name of getting Trump. That’s why I oppose the angry and dangerous mob that’s arrayed against President Trump, regardless of who it aligns me with.
Virtually every story written in media coverage of Trump is negative. Worse than that, the media acts as a single hive as the same talking points that all seem to be said at the same time by unthinking mouths from seemingly unconnected media sources.
Just this week, CNN’s cover story “debunked” President Trump’s claim that Google searches were biased. So did ABC news. So did the Washington Post. So did The New York Times. The president is clearly on to something about Google rigging their searches against conservatives. But his solution, as I show below, will only make the problem worse. Part of the problem is this hive mentality.
The Script Is Powerful and Unquestioningly Obeyed
In urban areas, in coffee shops and wine bars, political discussion locks into a precise harmony with hipsters competing to see who can parrot the anti-Trump slogans with greatest precision and fidelity. Their mouths move, but the words are from “Morning Joe” or The New York Times earlier that same day. Occasionally, a question arises. The hive members inform the questioner of the canned response.
But something happens when a questioner asks for an answer that’s not in the script. The temperature of the room changes with a “what about…” question asking whether the president is being held to the same standards as those who oppose him. At first, it can be easy fun to poke holes in the ridiculous Russia hoax, or point to the even greater violations committed by those in pursuit of President Trump.
Then you see it: that look of anger, even outrage, as the hive responds with that body-snatcher gasp. The smell of suspicion of a Trump supporter suddenly fouls the air. Anger rises. Faces flush. The addictive narcotic of outrage inflames liberal blood. Hyperbole explodes. If you question any action taken against Trump, no matter how unconstitutional, then you’re in favor of putting babies in cages. I’ve actually been told that by a real person.
A few weeks ago, the Boston Globe led a coordinated editorial assault on the president. Without irony, the news media, speaking as a single voice, argued that Trump’s opposition to their withering attacks is, “dangerous” to free speech. Yes, to save speech, the president must immediately stop speaking. Without being told, one could not easily identify the precise actual day that editorial assault was launched, because the editorial assault on Trump is a daily occurrence. This is an echo chamber created by monopoly information-sharing, and government control will only make the phenomenon worse.
Since the day Trump was inaugurated, media coverage remains 91 percent negative. The left has attempted to silence the remaining 9 percent by mounting boycotts against Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs (successfully), Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Fox News, and Breitbart News (with devastating success). In addition, prosecutors have repeatedly and sometimes successfully sought to jail, fine, and imprison journalists and activists who do not tow the leftist line. Like the body snatchers in the 1978 movie, the hive will not rest until all humans buzz in unison.
Industries Write Their Own Regulations
Let’s return to President Trump’s complaint about Google. The worst possible response would be a government takeover of Google. Experience with the telephone companies, energy utilities, or any other “monopoly” regulated by the government is that the regulators will eventually work to eliminate competition for the regulated industry as the industry writes its own regulations.
If conservatives invite government regulators to regulate Google’s speech decisions, they will get liberal regulators who will not be friendly to conservative viewpoints. A Google regulated by the government will be a Google protected from competition and alternatives that might one day dethrone it.
Even after the breakup of the telephone companies, the government, acting at the wishes of the regulated companies, allowed each regional telephone company to maintain a regional monopoly that did nothing to relieve the exploitation of the imprisoned customer. The market, not government, eventually came to the rescue with cell phones and internet-based alternatives.
If the government regulates Google to make it “fair,” you can be assured that speech will become even less diverse as the power of the hive expands with the force of law behind it. The “fairness” doctrine preventing bias on the airwaves taught us that liberal speech sounds neutral to the ear of a liberal. Regulators need information to regulate. Now imagine government regulators with access to all that data about your searches and communications.
The market will eventually challenge even mighty Google. In the 1990s, AM radio rose to check the television broadcaster’s uniformly liberal bias. Later, Fox News filled an unmet hunger for conservative viewpoints. Both made boatloads of money cracking the liberal monolith. Only government regulation can permanently frustrate the lucrative market for true dissent.