If there was ever any doubt that the US election is less about ‘left versus right’ than establishment versus anti-establishment, a story has emerged where both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are taking the same position on a very large issue.
AT&T, one of America’ most powerful telecom and broadcast corporations is set to merge with Time-Warner, the owners of CNN, HBO, internet streaming services and other television channels. It would represent one of the biggest media coups in modern American history.
It’s the kind of merger that not long ago, Republicans would have defended if not praised and one which Democrats would say they’ve ‘got to keep an eye on’ before doing absolutely nothing about it. But Trump, like Sanders is different.
Recently I compared Trump’s foreign policy to the Republican tradition of Robert Taft rather than that of Ronald Reagan. Likewise, his economic policies are more similar to those of Teddy Roosevelt than those of most contemporary Republicans.
Teddy Roosevelt was famous for ‘trust busting’. Like Trump, Teddy Roosevelt found that when major corporations combine to drive out any and all competition, than it isn’t really a free market but instead, a corporatist oligarchy.
Trump tends to take a similar view and has done from the beginning of his campaign. For all of the mainstream media’s nit-picking over his quotes, the humour of which they often are too unimaginative to contemplate, his positions whether it be on Russia, ISIS, tax, protection or defending ordinary people from Wall Street, has been utterly consistent.
Furthermore, in a move set to anger Wall Street stooges in both major American parties, Trump has said he’d conduct a Roosevelt style break-up of the 2011 merger between Comcast and NBC. Trump’s economically progressive anti-corporate stance is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly corporatist America.
Trump has exuded a profound sense of justice when it comes to his policies not only on big business but especially on the press/corporate media. He clearly believes in a free press that is less centralised and more democratic.
He seems to understand the dangers of all major press outlets being owned by one or two ultra-big corporations. Furthermore, he understands that in order to protect free journalism from what was called ‘yellow journalism’ in the era of Teddy Roosevelt, it is crucial to have strong and consistent defamation laws.
If Trump gets elected, the era of big media may well slowly become an era of free media. Trump has embraced the new media of the web more fervently and more successfully than any other politician before him. He has a keen eye for where the future lies.
Interestingly, Trump’s views on media and the dangers of a corporate-media monopoly mirror those of the left-wing Bernie Sanders. Recently Wikileaks made an ironic apology saying that if they had been able to get copies of Hillary Clinton’s emails sooner, the election would have been a choice between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
What an interesting election that would have been. Two men of substance with unique personalities debating the issues, rather than Trump fighting a professional con-artist with all of the corporate-media against him. One can dream…