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The Return of the Nonstop Trump News Cycle

The Return of the Nonstop Trump News Cycle

Trump news

The country has been enslaved to a familiar phenomenon over the past two weeks: the Trump news cycle. It was once all too common. A helpful reminder of this era is an Axios graphic from September 2017, “The insane news cycle during Trump’s presidency in one chart”. The chart displayed search trends for major events in Trump’s first eight months as an officeholder. There was the Women’s March and the travel ban. “Covfefe” was also mentioned. Also, there was the firing of Sally Yates, and James Comey. I also didn’t remember the following: “Don Jr tweets about his email”; “Beautiful Chocolate Cake” (Trump ate the dessert right before a missile attack on Syria); “MOAB Dropped” (the U.S. used their most powerful non-nuclear weapon on Syria). ISIS targets). It was a strange mixture of seemingly insignificant stuff (tweets, cakes) and moments of life or death that struck me. These were the moments that I could not forget.

Trump’s arraignment, pending court case, his 2024 Campaign, and other potential charges mean that Trump news will soon flood the country. This is a shocking prospect considering that the past two decades have been relatively quiet regarding Trump’s antics. His ban from certain social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, meant that he was able to filter into our feeds, and brains–less. These bans were later reversed. Because the major television networks felt some regret for giving Trump so much airtime during the 2016 elections and beyond, his campaign rallies which were re-started a few months ago have received less attention. Even Fox News has begun to show some remorse for Trump; he recently returned to Fox after months of absence, and prominent hosts have adopted a more Trump-skeptical tone. The Trump Presidency left most Americans just plain tired of news. The Reuters Institute’s 2022 study found that 42% of Americans actively avoid news.

Later, it was revealed that Trump had inferred the timing of his impending arrest from information his advisers had gleaned about earlier press reports. Although there was no evidence to support the claim or information that clarified the charges, the media was quickly flooded with stories citing his Truth Social post. Reporters and pundits were worried about the possibility that a January 6th-esque incident would occur, since Trump had called for protests. News stories were full of speculation about Trump’s arrest last Thursday. Would he be in handcuffs? The Times According to reports, Trump was contemplating whether or not to smile for the cameras. The Independent The headline read “Trump misspells “indicted” in Truth Social Post blasting “thugs and radical left monsters.” A.I.-generated images showing Trump being arrested were circulated on social media. This is a reminder of how difficult it has become to report truthful news online.

No sitting or former President of the United States has ever been indicted criminally. These charges will have a significant impact on the Presidential campaign. The precedent is historical. This is a huge story that deserves close attention. To answer the age-old question: How can we responsibly cover Trump? This comprehensive look back at the Columbia Journalism ReviewFrom October 2020, Jon Allsop & Pete Vernon described the common elements of a Trump story. There were reports about Trump’s mood swings and staff turnover, as well as moments when Trump “met basic standards of his office,” especially when a teleprompter was involved. Allsop and Vernon also highlighted the “interminable talking points” of the Mueller-industrial complex, which included cable-news pundits and prosecutors. This sentence will bring up the cottage industry of roundtables and op eds that each of them inspired. We could do without this.

It is important to include historical deviations that Trump and others have made or will make. Trump’s entire Presidency was a departure. This was the challenge when covering Trump. Journalists filmed every move of Trump, and it was done in the right spirit–vigorous focus on the most important figure in the country, if it is not the world-but it failed because the rules had changed. Margaret Sullivan, a media critic, published her own retrospective in 2022. Washington Post Magazine, about the media’s handling the Trump years. Sullivan wrote that Trump’s tweets were covered as legitimate news. “To be fair, media applied a standard that made sense up to that moment: When a major presidential contender says something provocative, or worse, it is newsworthy. We were applying the old standard to a candidate who was using it for his own purposes, while trying to undermine democracy itself.

Contrariously, this kind of coverage can dull the public’s understanding of the substance of the news over time. It trains people to consume the sugary high of reactionary articles. Complex carbohydrates are necessary to slow down the news digest, and to bring home the important. Sullivan offers some suggestions for covering Trumpian politics, where misinformation is a common part of the G.O.P. She suggests that news organizations follow the Pennsylvania public-radio station’s lead, which alerted listeners if a candidate was a 2020 election denier. This was even though the topic of the story was not about the issue at hand. This idea is to hold officials accountable, even after a news cycle has ended. Thomas Patterson, a Harvard Kennedy School professor of government, suggests that journalists weigh whether Trump interview access is newsworthy. He also suggests that journalists consider whether an expert opinion might be as useful as a Trump quote. He says that even journalists with good intentions can spread misinformation by citing fact-challenged sources, whose words and beliefs are then shared on social media without context.

These are honest and fair press criticisms that attempt to offer creative solutions. It’s difficult to imagine widespread adoption of these practices. Who would refuse a Trump interview from a political journalist? Reminding listeners repeatedly that a politician is an electoral denier is a good way to keep the line on what is normal for a healthy democracy. It is also a great way for Republican news consumers to think you are picking on their team, and increase their distrust of the media. Could the media be more likely to ignore Trump? The speculation surrounding Trump’s pending indictment was a bit giddy and prurient. But it was also the stuff that makes tabloid stories so addictive. Trump is one of our last mega-celebrities. He is a person that is universally respected and valued, even though he is widely disliked by all races, ages and classes. Crazy news about the former President is what binds us together. It is the last glimmer of American monoculture. It is Trump monoculture.

The Manhattan grand jury indictment is a complicated story. It is an early test of whether media have learned any lessons about how to properly digest a Trump news cycle. There’s also the political angle: Trump is funding his indictment by raising money, and Republicans accuse Alvin Bragg, Manhattan District Attorney, of being politically motivated. Bragg is another angle: Trump killed an earlier case before bringing forth the current charges. Some sympathetic observers have questioned the legal underpinnings. The historical context is also important: What does it say about the moment in American democracy when the former President and current G.O.P. The front-runner could end in jail

In 2017, just after a long, relaxing beach weekend, I vividly recall getting in the car and hearing the Trump-news-cycle charts. He was as unavoidable as a sunburn. As Trump’s private plane touched down at LaGuardia, and then his motorcade made its way along the Grand Central Parkway towards Manhattan, that moment came back to me. The Trump reprieve was officially over. He will soon be back in your ears.

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