Seth Ickes, Columnist
On Oct. 24, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign launched a nightly news program that airs every night up until Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. via Facebook Live, a platform based out of Facebook used to make live broadcasts. The nightly show is hosted by the infamous Facebook conservative sensation Tomi Lahren, senior Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshte and Trump campaign adviser Cliff Sims.
While it was heavily reported on and criticized by the media with reports mostly stirring rumors Trump plans to launch a “Trump TV network” after the presidential election following his inevitable defeat (current FiveThirtyEight polls indicate that Donald only has a 15.3 percent chance of winning the election, while his opponent Hillary Clinton has an 84.7 percent of victory.)
The topic has largely dissipated over the last few days and unless something brazen or controversial is said during the broadcast (which will more than likely happen) the live broadcast is set to be largely unimportant.
However, this “news” program IS important, not for its content but for the dangerous precedent it sets for candidates in future presidential races. Trump has recently been stumping the completely baseless claim that the election is rigged in Clinton’s favor and there is cheating going on within the presidential election.
Whether the ramblings of a sore loser or a paranoid control freak it’s difficult to tell, one thing that’s for sure is Trump capitalizes on Americans’ negative emotions in order to gain votes, his capacity to tell the truth always comes second to his ability to create fear.
The Donald Trump nightly news program creates a dangerous precedent for future presidential candidates: an alternate reality based upon the propaganda they create and broadcast to their supporters. While the American people tend to be highly critical of politicians, they tend to be LESS critical of private citizens and private businesses and with the rise of Trump, it is entirely possible we’ll see another “businessman” run for president on the Republican ticket in 2020.
Perhaps each and every presidential candidate from here on out will try to craft their own realities out of social media: Twitter, Facebook Live, YouTube and other social media platforms are perfect for building a network of propaganda in order to support a presidential campaign. Furthermore, a live broadcast from a social media platform is almost entirely free and doesn’t require the campaign to pay millions to secure television ad space.
Why run a 30 second political attack ad when you can broadcast an entirely free broadcast over the internet and have it say, quite literally, whatever you want it to?
With the value of the truth so low in the 2016 presidential race, I’m wary to see where political messaging could take the state of politics in the United States.