Every week, President Donald Trump gets involved in yet another Twitter-triggered brawl, whether he's attacking members of the press or simply "getting back" at media reports concerning him and his presidency.
But despite his loud and oftentimes crass online comments, the battle to reform health care law led by Republicans in Congress and the United States-led aggressive campaign in Syria are some of the most important subjects today. Still, we have started to notice that what the media actually focuses on whenever the president publishes a new tweet is what he has to say — no matter how vapid or classless.
As such, pundits and journalists have begun to ask themselves whether both the media and the president have a codependency-based relationship, and whether this toxic affair is actually making us all better off.
To reporters who have been paying attention to the president's tactics long before he was elected in November 2016, it's clear that Trump relies heavily on media hysteria.
During his campaign and after, Jonah Goldberg writes, Trump has shown that he knows how to control the media narrative.
Noting that writers like Kevin Williamson have already pointed out that the president is dependent on the media's attention in the past, Goldberg adds that if Trump is hooked on attention and that is his drug, then the “media is the junkie’s co-dependent junkie girlfriend.”
In a back and forth among editors and journalists, FiveThirtyEight's senior political writer Harry Enten added that while a great deal of Americans now don't trust the news, the president is using his dependency on media hysteria to his benefit, just as he did during his presidential campaign.
When Project Veritas released its undercover video depicting CNN producer John Bonifield talking about the network's Russia probe coverage, Bonifield was seen mentioning the high ratings tied to the network's non-stop Trump-related coverage. And he was right. Ever since Trump was elected president, networks have learned that talking about Trump's scandals is a real “cash cow.”
Knowing this, both the president and the mainstream media use this piece of information to their favor.
In the case of the president, he's able to shift the focus of the narrative back to his persona or his latest comments as his policies are enacted in the background. And when it comes to networks, they get more attention and subsequently more viewers (and money) as they focus on Trump's scandals, mostly ignoring the underlying issues associated with many of the policies being implemented.
Unfortunately, this trend doesn't show signs of slowing down as both sides just don't seem tired of “winning.” Too bad that it's the American public who will eventually lose as both politicians and media giants don't seem too worried about the actual policies affecting them directly.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Scott Morgan/Reuters