One of the reasons why Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was so successful is because people who stood behind him invested a lot into the alternative media presence from the very beginning.
They saw that most of the US mainstream media was controlled by the financial elites who backed the Democratic Party nominees, so they thought it was pointless to try to reach the electorate through conventional means. All the big media brands, apart from Fox News, just would not be on their side.
[Editor’s note – Fox was also not on Trump’s side – once he won the nomination however, something had to give – JF]
At the same time, they also saw that the mainstream media was losing credibility in the eyes of many people, and that more and more were moving away from TV and radio news to alternative sources on the Internet.
So they built their information campaign with that in mind.
Steve Bannon, for instance, who was then Trump’s chief executive for presidential campaign, is a co-founder of Breitbart News, an alternative media resource he then used as a key platform during the 2016 US Presidential Elections.
Those people knew the market of alternative media news and narratives, they knew what kinds of themes would’ve resonated with the audience, so they were sending specific anti-establishment messages, promoting conspiracy theories of various degrees of truthfulness. They were mocking the pseudo-liberal SJWism (which was mainstream during the late Obama era), creating and promoting alternative media figures on the Internet, as well as getting in touch with already popular alternative opinion leaders such as Alex Jones, Peter Joseph Watson, Mike Cernovich, Stefan Molyneux, in addition to various vocal anti-war activists. The spectrum was rather wide. It even included “shitposters” who were active on 4chan (there are reasons to think that the QAnon content was written and managed personally by people from the Trump’s inner circle). They were building this “underground” network of alternative and pseudo-alternative media and then using it for Trump’s presidential campaign, with Trump tailoring his messages for different segments of alternative media audience.
The beauty of it was that the network was staying under the radar of conventional media analysts and mainstream political pundits who were only focusing on the “official” discourse – the stuff you would normally see being discussed on CNN, CNBC, and ABC News, the stuff you would read on the pages of the New York Times and hear during press-conferences given by the Clintons and Obama. That was, by the way, one of the primary reasons why they failed to see the true magnitude of support Trump had among the population, with Huffington Post predicting Hillary to win with a 98.1% chance a day before the election.
You also have to keep in mind that there were many people who were hesitant to openly support Trump because they were afraid of bullying and ostracism – the anti-Trump hysteria in the official mainstream was huge (it still is, but back then people were aggressively brainwashed into paranoia and psychosis), so those who didn’t agree quietly gravitated towards the alternative media sources (which, again, were cleverly influenced by those segments of the establishment that wanted to see Trump in the Oval Office), before surprising the oblivious mainstream on the Election Day.
The elites who were behind Donald Trump outsmarted the elites who were behind Hillary Clinton, despite all the mainstream media resources the latter had at their disposal.
Of course, the Trump Administration hasn’t fulfilled the hopes of many of his supporters in the alternative media camp. He has never fought the Deep State. There has never been “Trump vs. the Deep State”. It has always been just various cliques and segments within the Deep State fighting each other over financial and administrative resources, with Trump merely representing one of the sides. It is not the 1960s anymore. The US presidents and official politicians don’t really have much power these days. They are more like public relations people who represent the interests of their sponsors. Their sponsors being corporate and financial elites, predominantly, constituting what is commonly referred to as the “ruling class”.
Either way, people who were behind the Trump’s presidential campaign are smart. They were clever enough to see the decline of the conventional mainstream media, they saw the value of the “underground” Internet communities and the alternative media landscape, and they have been coming up with ways to infiltrate, hijack, exploit and manipulate it all in their own interests.
They developed a new generation of mass-propaganda and psy-ops techniques.
That, in part, may explain why the anti-Chinese conspiracy theories are spreading like fire nowadays, even among the self-identifying “lefties” and those people who spoke critically against the “Russiagate” hysteria, which, by the way, was more of a product of “oldschool” information campaign that was initiated by the pro-Democratic Party establishment and relied on conventional mainstream media mechanisms.
It is not a big secret that the trade war with China has been on Trump’s agenda from his first day in the Oval Office, with many people on his team seeing China as an existential threat to the United States as it has developed strong enough to begin to challenge the US world hegemony.
Not so long ago, Trump revived an old anti-communist Cold War era think tank called the Committiee on the Present Danger to devise strategies against the People’s Republic of China. One of the key members of the Committiee is earlier-mentioned Steve Bannon, who, judging by various interviews, is very well familiar with Marxist theories, he understand what clicks with people from various “leftie” movements and he has wide-reaching connections with the Chinese dissidents, as well as extensive experience in formulating, manipulating, and propagating alternative media narratives from the shadows.
Hence, this is probably why we see so many seemingly reasonable, informed, “woke”, and anti-establishment people falling for narratives that are clearly being spun in the interests of the US neoconservative pro-war hawks, with many (pseudo-)alternative media outlets propagating anti-Chinese conspiracy theories, asserting that China and the abstract “globalists” are working together, that regular Chinese citizens are being oppressed, and so on and so forth. And those media outlets also regularly get in confrontation with the official mainstream, getting banned on places like Facebook and labelled “fake news”, which services them well, as it adds to their legitimacy in the eyes of the “rebels” who are (rightfully) skeptical of the “official” narratives.
Interesting times we live in.