Media frenzy that feeds and feeds off Trump attention seeking

The US media in part made it possible for Donald Trump to win an unlikely nomination and then win the US presidency. They continue to feed, and feed off the frenzy of trump coverage, something the Trump keeps stoking – he is a supreme attention seeker. This works to his advantage sometimes, but it also works against him, distracting from important issues in the US.

Howard Kurtz at Fox News – Lack of substance: Media liberals say ‘Trump Porn’ is hurting them too

In the hyperpartisan media climate surrounding President Trump, I’ve detected a rare spot of agreement.

It’s certainly not in the way the president is being covered.

But if journalists are “obsessed” with the president, as Reince Priebus told me in a “Media Buzz” interview—”Trump is money for the media,” he said—there is a fallout that affects both the right and the left.

Kellyanne Conway and other White House officials have repeatedly told me in interviews that the media focus on Russia, Stormy, Twitter feuds and the like have drained attention from the serious issues facing the country.

Trump is responsible for stoking diversions that continue to dominate the headlines and mainstream news coverage – Fox News is as obsessed as anyone in their largely pro-Trump coverage.

In this view, the news business gives short shrift to taxes, immigration, health care and other matters important to everyday Americans because it’s easier to get clicks for scandal and sensationalism.

Leaving aside the question of whether Trump in part fuels these distractions—were we supposed to ignore Rudy Giuliani’s media blitz?—similar complaints are now being heard on the left. They make the parallel argument that their causes are being overshadowed by the “all Trump all the time” culture.

Liberal New York Times columnist Nick Kristof says…

…the media are “collectively addicted” to Trump and “locked in a symbiotic relationship” because “he is part of our business model in 2018,” with the result that “other issues don’t get adequate attention …

“The nonstop scandals and outrages suck us in; they amount to Trump porn,” he writes. And while the president is “enormously important … there’s so much else happening as well.

  • Some 65,000 Americans will die this year of drug overdoses,
  • American life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row,
  • guns claim a life every 15 minutes
  • and the number of uninsured is rising again even as a child in the U.S. is 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than one in other advanced nations.

Those issues are rather more important than the question of whether Stormy Daniels slept with Trump.”

Trump has stoked the gun controversy – he spoke to an NRA convention last week – but the other issues mentioned don’t rate much of a mention.

Kristof, who also mentions suffering in Myanmar and Syria, makes this confession:

“Progressive snobs like me bemoan Trump’s inattention to these global issues, but the truth is that we don’t pay attention, either. At cocktail parties, on cable television, at the dinner table, at the water cooler, all we talk about these days is Trump. So we complain about Trump being insular and parochial — but we’ve become insular and parochial as well. We’ve caught the contagion that we mock.”

Phenomenons like Trump don’t happen on their own. It has become a self perpetuating circus train, with both Trump and the media stoking the boiler.

Obviously, this president—any president—plays an important role in every foreign and domestic issue. But so much of today’s coverage is driven by palace intrigue and soap-opera plots. So Kristof is agreeing with many conservatives and White House aides who say the level of reporting and commentary in the Trump era is pretty bad, and the fault lies not in our stars but in ourselves.

The media is certainly at fault, big time, but Trump’s behaviour can also be pretty bad, his attention seeking and his actions are a major contributor to the sideshows, as are the White House people that work with him (and against him).

Trump and the media feed and feed off each other.

It has become like surreality TV.


  1. It is hard for the media to ignore things like this:

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 10, 2018

      It’s hard to argue they are ignoring international issues under Trump.

  2. David

     /  May 10, 2018

    If he keeps making progress on North Korea the media will lose it, 3 prisoners released today and no doubt CNN will be covering Stormy.
    While the media obsess with words the people are responding to results. Cut out the noise and the hyperbole what has Trump “done” that is so absolutely awful because there is plenty to point to where he has had good results.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 10, 2018

    The Lefty media are used to beating up Republican presidents but now they have one who punches back and he’s got them on a string.

    It’s just ridiculous that even our Herald and Stuff media will typically run two or three beat up Trump stories every day – mostly overseas sourced.

    • Griff

       /  May 10, 2018

      Every one likes a good train smash Alan.
      Watching trump make a smegwit of himself is fun.
      Almost as fun as watching his fan base twist themselves into knots over their hero’s stupidity.

    • Blazer

       /  May 10, 2018

      Trump lives…overseas…Al.

  4. Zedd

     /  May 10, 2018

    I think Mr Ts threats against DPRK has had an effect because he ‘called Mr Ks bluff’ but there is no real evidence that they have really moved to ‘denuke’. Estimates are they could have at least 10 ready to use ?
    BUT Iran is a different story; they are an ‘Islamic republic’ & there are at least one other, that already have nukes (Pakistan).

    “WAR.. what is it good for.. absolutely NOTHING.. say it again..” 😦

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