Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Trump bashes news media, but feeds off coverage and exploits emotions, editorial says

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been blasting the news media, but without journalists reporting his every move, most of his supporters would have no connection to him, The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo., points out in an editorial that could inspire community newspapers across the country to write similar takes.

"Trump has been calling the media corrupt and biased as if they’re one monolithic entity controlled by a central, secretive decision-making body," the Sentinel writes. "Those of us in the staid business of dispassionately providing facts are puzzled by this. For one thing, Donald Trump wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for the mainstream media falling over themselves to cover his audacious campaign. Secondly, if the 'media' are just paid shills of the Clinton campaign, as Trump suggests, why would the latest iteration of her email scandal even make the front page or the evening broadcast?"

The editorial cites former Chicago Tribune editor Jack Fuller, who "explains that today’s information overload makes us dramatically more receptive to sensational news. The brain processes media input with the same threat-assessment approach of our cavemen forebears. Emotional stimuli always get top billing. What this means is that serious policy analysis and issues-based campaign coverage (boring) will never rise above the 'importance' of over-the-top rhetoric (danger!)"

"Some so-called 'news' outlets exist not to inform, but to inflame, outrage or extract an emotional response (usually fear and alarm) from their audience," the editorial says. "Trump understands this so well, he’s thinking about launching his own news network. So, the average reader/viewer sees standard, objective journalism as unappetizing. It may not confirm some closely held views. It’s too reliant on experts and authority (the establishment) and it makes people think instead of telling them what to conclude."

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