Media, White House Fight over Control of “Exactly What People Think”

On Wednesday’s episode of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski made a comment that is currently making its rounds on conservative-leaning news outlets and news aggregation sites like Drudge Report:

Brzezinski: I think that the edges here are he (President Trump) is trying to undermine the media, trying to make up his own facts, and it could be that while unemployment, the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think, and that is the — that is our job.

The way Brzezinski phrased the end of her remarks makes it sound like she is saying the media’s job is to control the way people think. This is not dissimilar from a member of the press saying it is the media’s job to decide for the people which presidential candidates are viable and which aren’t. Or a CNN anchor saying it is illegal for average citizens to look into leaked government documents, but the media has special exemptions.

Watch the video above.

Brzezinski’s comments followed remarks from co-host Joe Scarborough on President Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the media. If Trump is successful at turning people against the press, he becomes the highest authority and arbitrator of facts and information on policy. And this battle for who is supposed to “control the way people think,” has long reached a boiling point.

But is it really the state’s role or the media’s role to “control the way people think”? Isn’t that what has disenchanted so many Americans with the political and media elite in Washington — that they are trying to take sole control of how people view the world, often in a partisan or one-sided manner? Is this not why we now live in a world where multiple realities can paradoxically exist simultaneously depending on the medium from which people obtain information, data, and facts?

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The media’s job as the Fourth Estate is to help keep the government in check, while informing the people of the relevant information that will allow them to form their own conclusions on governmental affairs and policy issues. When both the state and the press fight over who should be the highest authority for truth (with a lowercase “t”) people lose faith and trust in both — as we have seen in public opinion polls.

What do you think?