Hiding in Plain Sight – The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior

Sarah Kendzior, a journalist and writer from St. Louis Missouri, covers a history of the past forty years of American decline and how Trump and his people in business, politics, and the media enabled and benefited from criminal activities, spanning the globe. Her book is also the story of what it’s like to live in an America dominated by a “transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government”, as Sarah puts it.  Back in August 2013, Foreign Policy named her one of “the 100 people you should be following on Twitter to make sense of global events”. 

If you want to understand where we’re going, you need to know the truth about how we got here.


Sarah Kendzior


Kendzior’s background is well suited for understanding Trump, his administration, many in the Republican party, as well devout media organizations such as Fox, OANN, Brietbart , Infowars, Sinclair Broadcasting, and others, allowing to amplify fear and hate, as well as sow divisions within American citizenry.  She has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis (2012) and an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University (2006). Her work focuses on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust. Her deep knowledge of authoritarian regimes around the world. provides for a solid understanding of how the United States and other countries adopted authoritarian-style politics.

Yellow Journalism that causes harm.

Yellow, or tabloid, journalism is not new to America. Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal and Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World newspapers presented little or no legitimate well-researched news while instead using eye-catching headlines for increased sales.

Kendzior explains how today’s media outlets are using the same tactics.

Sarah Kendzior addressing Brietbart and their negative impact to society.

“The story of Trump’s rise to power is the story of a buried US history — buried because powerful people liked it that way. It was visible without being seen, influential without being named, ubiquitous without being overt.” Sarah Kendzior, 2020.


Social media has grown exponentially during the 2010’s. So has the ability for anonymity, and the creation of automated bots to propel false and reckless information. I have witnessed some people become sucked into what I call the Trump Vortex. This vortex is a constant cycle of repeating what is fed by the likes of Fox, OANN, Brietbart and others. Critical thinking evaporates. Fear and hate is the primary achievement.

For President Obama’s two terms, tremendous progress had been made to address climate change, such as the transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources, and other advancements increasing solar and wind energy, combat gender-based wage discrimination, navigated the country out of a recession, provided healthcare to 28.6 million people, and considered the most pro-LBGTQ president in history. But what lacked was addressing income equality.

However, the rich continued to get richer during the Obama administration. Trump proclaimed during the 2016 campaign “…there is more than 40% unemployment.” And while the unemployment rate was at 5%, with a degradation of full-time employment, people were forced to work multiple part-time jobs, or work via contract with no slated benefits. (And those who worked part-time jobs less than 32 hours a week received no healthcare benefits).

The America of the past will always stay in the past. As we move onward, we’re faced with a multi-pronged storm of major consequences, and this, at times, is difficult to envision a healthy future. 2020 is turning out to be a combination of three terrible years of U.S. history: 1918 – pandemic, 1933 – depression and record number of people out of work, and 1968 – riots in the streets.

“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell and everything is a disaster. Then you’ll have (chuckles), you know, you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be when we were great.” – Donald J. Trump, February 2014.

Published by Brian J. Podesta

Administrator and writer for WritingReal, a place for stories about people and places. Included are my musical projects and my book reviews.

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