My Turn: Media continues to give Trump exactly what he wants – attention

For the Monitor
Published: 9/29/2020 6:20:05 AM

Isn’t CNN (and certain other media) in a poisonously symbiotic relationship with President Trump? The other day I clicked on cnn.com to find seven headlines about Trump. How many about Biden? Zero.

Many bright people try to dismiss Trump as an idiot. When Trump ran in 2016, Bruce Springsteen said, “The republic is under siege by a moron.” While I love this quote, this perspective is only valid if we narrow its scope to American history and government. When Trump called James Comey the worst FBI director in American history, did anyone besides me wonder whether he could name another FBI director, much less compare any other director’s record to Comey’s? And if Trump knew anything about government, he could have shepherded into law the mythical Republican health care plan to replace Obamacare, when the Republicans controlled the legislative and executive branches in the first 18 months of his administration.

But Trump is utterly brilliant at manipulating the media. He manages to dominate the headlines everyday. Trump will not acknowledge a peaceful transition of power! CNN covers Trump’s shocking statements breathlessly. We sit glued to our TVs desperate for the next development, like every reality TV producer hopes his audience will. What did Joe Biden do today? Who cares! We’re fixated on “The Trump Show!”

Any publicity can be good publicity, as Trump well knows, as he shocks us and shocks us and shocks us again, keeping the spotlight magnetically fixed on – him.

What if CNN, and the rest of us, could break ourselves of the spell of Trump’s siren song of shock? Sure, cover Trump if and when he conducts official business, but otherwise turn the spotlight away from him. Ignore his rallies. Ignore his outrageous statements. Let him rail in the light of Fox News and the adulation of his devotees, but otherwise in darkness.

The media spotlight (including the spotlight shone by his detractors like CNN) feeds Trump. He will wilt in its absence. Shut off the light.

(Benjamin T. King resides in Concord and is a partner in the Concord law firm Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C.)


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