Donald Trump has cast a spell over the media and he has them eating out of his hand and catering to his every whim.
Jack Shafer writes in Politico Magazine, that the media has to break the spell. The bigger question is can they?
Shafer writes, the news media must break the spell. But before it can, it must understand his magic. At the core of his game is distraction: He shows the media and the public something shiny, sparkly, and outrageous, and they race after it. While they’re running, he returns to his laboratory to conjure something else equally shiny and outrageous for them to chase. It’s like watching a dog trainer leading a pack of feral hounds into performing a ballet.
Shafer correctly points out that for cable news to come out from the Trump spell, is basically a lost cause. But, he believes other Journalists can be saved.
He writes, perhaps it’s too much to expect the news media to handle a chimera like Trump—especially cable news, which might like to cut away when he appears before their lens but loves the ratings too dearly. As for the hundreds of working reporters who have been covering him for the past eight months, my modest advice is to maintain your patience. Journalism is long, politics is short. Reporters, by virtue of their tenacity and the permanence of the paper trail, get the final say in recording a politician’s indiscretions and embarrassments. But inside the moment, politicians control the ball, determining the day’s winners and losers.
Your job is neither to stop Trump nor advance him. But we can all do a better job at resisting the shiny and sparkly media events he creates. The next time he launches one of his serial provocations, we should call him on it rather than chasing our tails. Stop letting Trump manipulate us. Compel him to articulate his policy positions. Keep digging into his past. And continue to expose his flip-flops. In the short run, Trump, like most front-runners, will command the advantage. But over the long haul, it’s still in the power of the news media to convey what a deceitful and nihilistic game Trump is playing.
Great advice, but will anyone in the news media listen?