“Trump is not just an instant ratings/circulation/clicks gold mine; he’s the motherlode,” Ann Curry, the former “Today” anchor, he told [Kristof]. “He stepped on to the presidential campaign stage precisely at a moment when the media is struggling against deep insecurities about its financial future. The truth is, the media has needed Trump like a crack addict needs a hit.”
Kristof’s “My Shared Shame: The Media Helped Make Trump” covered several points that my journalism class has discussed, the overlying point being this: journalists (as a whole) made a gigantic mistake when they began to air and report on Donald Trump’s candidacy. Nearly all of the big news outlets, especially CNN, used Trump as a sort of “pick-me-up” from a particularly dry season of journalism; although the saying goes “If it bleeds, it leads” , I feel a better one would be “If it’s crazy, we’re hazy”.
The manifestation of Trump’s superego, and even worse, the reason behind his enormous number of devoted followers fall on today’s media. Although it’s sad to say, the truth is secondary to the amount of views any content receives. Instead of fact-checking Trump’s bullsh*, they aired him. They aired him for the sake of gaining countless views on his absolute balderdash. This not only goes against the integrity journalists are supposed to hold with high regard, but a more serious matter is that it is *not* journalism. Airing lies/assumptions/etc puts these news sources in the same level as a tabloid if they refuse to ask follow up questions; they didn’t push for the truth. This gave an unfair distribution of air time to the other republican candidates, and quite frankly only gave him free publicity, which he used to his advantage.
Although it was quite humorous in the beginning (the idea of Donald Trump being president tickled many an intellectual’s humor), a journalist’s job is not to entertain, nor is it to undermine the facts; journalism is about reporting the truth and exposing dishonesty and falsehood. The media counted Trump’s candidacy for president as a joke and treated and showed him as entertainment to the American people. One of the flaws of journalism is the lack of diversity in the sources of information; we’re more willing to interview and report on so called professionals that meander around the truth instead of seeking it from those who are affected by it. Instead of asking those who suffered from Trump’s many failures, today’s media simply laughed at Trump’s bogus responses to any negative claims.
All in all, Kristof accepts the role that the media had in the menacing inflation of Trump’s popularity as the Republican candidate for this year’s presidential race. Although Trump supporters often ignore whatever truths are thrown at their faces, we are to blame: after all, we waived half-truths and full-lies in their faces for the sake of survival.
To read Kristof’s entire article, click below: