Last week, there were a small storm on Twitter. Two journalists who criticized Donald Trump were targeted on Twitter by his supporters. I suppose it’s old news, but let me just recap. Julia Ioffe was let go from Politico a week before her contract was up for an inappropriate tweet. The anti-semitic comments on her twitterfeed were truly frightening. Another journalist was set a flashing gif that caused him to have an epileptic fit.
Among journalists, there is a strong fear that the next four years will mean more personal attacks and reprisals against the whole industry. Freedom of the press is in jeopardy.
But at the same time, Donald Trump is good for business. People want to read articles about him. Any articles – positive or negative – about him go to the top of the charts. Those same newspapers and magazines are watching numbers bump up and are making big ticket hires, because they anticipate good business in the next year.
Trump is a master of the media. He knows that his actions gather attention. The whole country has become a reality show with him as the star.
Today’s news is all about the electoral college. What will they do? (Nothing) The last couple of weeks were all about his picks for the cabinet. When have we ever paid such close attention to this process before? (Never)
He has orchestrated the pick process perfectly with people going up in the elevator to his office. It’s drama, dammit. And people love the drama.
Meanwhile, we have the Russian involvement in the election. More drama. And that Kellyann snake doing her evasion magic on the morning news shows.
Politics should not be drama. It’s serious, boring business. How do we make sure that people get health insurance? The details are horribly boring, even though the outcomes are so important. How do we keep people from getting massacred in Aleppo? There aren’t clear answers. Instead, we get a photo-op with Kanye.
It’s the media’s job to not jump at the easy hits and sensational headlines. We have to stop letting Donald Trump use us. And it’s up to the readers to demand facts and figures.
UPDATE: This New York Times story.