firstly i would like to point out that i’ve been watching daily dn! since 2001 and for many years, up to 2012, i was an active commentator of the livestream since it coincided with my lunch break and i have often praised dn!’s work (just to a twitter search for ‘@figuredisfondo dn!’ if you don’t believe me).
in addition, up to 2 years ago, at least half of the xmas presents that i gave to my family and friends came from the dn! store (actually i’m wearing right now a dn! hoodie) and i’m most proud of the fact that my whole inner circle is familiar with the content that has aired on dn! over the years.
but, most of all, i want to stress that i have the utmost respect for both amy goodman and juan gonzales.
however, in despite of all that background, i can’t help to notice that, since the election, most of the analysis that i got from dn! has followed a steep decline:
- the critique (i use the term in the marxist sense of analysis) is not structural but focused on the ‘daily outrage/scandal’ that is part of the trump show
- these ‘daily outrage’ items are covered mainly according to the liberal mainstream/democratic party narrative
- the guests involved in the program most often provide a ‘middle school’ level critique that is not substantiated and, in the end, can be summarized as a general ‘trump stinks’ since the focus is not on the structural significance but on the ‘breach of etiquette’*.
as i wrote since the night of the election (https://twitter.com/figuredisfondo/status/796275794511269888) there are many parallels between the trump reign and the situation that we had here in italy during the berlusconi years and actually, with friends and comrades, it has become a sort of running joke to predict what will occur next… and, at the time of writing, almost all predictions have come to life….
however, leaving aside the although interesting aspects of the mythopoeia of emperor trump and his cohort, is sort of sad to see how the already week leftist opposition to the american empire (of which dn! was a corner stone) is following the same auto-destructive path that the anti-berlusconi opposition followed here in italy. i’ll try to illustrate the situation by points:
- trump is a product of the culture of spectacle and showbiz/entertainment thus his actions follows the rules of that paradigm;
- trump’s presidency generates a diffuse opposition in ‘unstructural’ segments:
- by unstructural i mean opposition that is aimed at the person and not at the power structure;
- unstructural critique created the “dissent consumerism” market that is exploited by ‘dissenting brands’ (maddow and the comedians such as jhon oliver, jon stewart ans steven colbert are examples of that. i’m not afraid to predict that soon, in the us, you’ll have also ‘dissent advertising’ as here in italy we had since 2002**)
- trump’s presidency produces incremental daily outrages (i.e. being part of the spectacle culture these outrages tend to be each worse than the previous since the outrage has an inurement quality [i.e. what was outrageous yesterday and today becomes the tomorrow’s normality)
and here we come and what i believe are the causes of dn!’s steep decline into an unstructural critique voice:
- catching up with the daily item
- by trying to keep up with the latest boutade is impossible to focus on the big picture
- the easy way/good meaning wishful thinking:
- in the culture of spectacle paradigm (i prefer to describe it as bulimic) ultra-simplified messages are the winning ones.
- due to the resurgence of a vast base of unstructural dissent it is easy to be tempted to produce ‘entry level’/unstructural content accessible as the video of a cat on facebook, in the hope to gain enough attention to become more relevant in the hope that it can ‘educate’ it and then provide a structural critique that, at that point, would become mainstream
- but here comes the clash with reality (as here the italian experience)… if one chooses this approach (as dn! seems to have done) the time in which the new audience is enough ‘mature’ to accept a serious de-structural analysis of the power structures will never arrive: there will always be new audience to ‘lure’ and, in addition the changing in tone will dumb down quite a few of those who are part of the pre existing audience.
* as an example: when trump allegedly said “he knew what he was getting into” to the widow of a us soldier that died in niger last week, the ‘today’ dn! focused on the outrage. i like to believe that the dn! that i came to appreciate over the years would have ‘welcomed’ that moment of honesty and use it to focus on the structural issue that is us imperialism and the exploitation of the poor to wage the emprire’s wars.
** identity branding already exists and visible in the constantly gentrified segment of healthy food/veganism, but it is too long of an issue to insert it here
ps i’m leaving aside dn!’s coverage of the syrian crisis which has been embarrassing and borderline imperialist (check the dreadful journalistic performance of nermeen shaikh on the episode of may 3, 2017 while discussing with anand gopal. i obviously despise the assad government, but that episode was, beside the lack of follow-up questions and the passive acceptance of unsubstantiated claims, borderline “humanitarian interventionism” propaganda).
pps fortunately the vacuum left by the dn! has been filled by the real news network (also by dn! former member aaron mate), telesur and, partly, by rt… but it goes without saying that it would have been better to have all those voices.