Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Let;s Not Let trump Live Rent Free In Our Heads After January 20, 2021...

 

Plea to the Press: Don’t Make Trump 2021’s Shadow President








By ALL means it will very soon be time to cut trump's lifeline to publicity in the main stream media. The last thing any rational person wants or needs after 01/20/2021 is the Great Orange Blob occupying any space in thier heads rent free.

trump is one commodity that is now best left at the curbside for the garbage man to pick up and dispose of so to speak. He may be an ex president after 01/20/2021 but he will offer absolutely zero value for anyone but his fascist  cultists. And that crowd of anti Americans will have its own network of deranged goons punping out trash commentary in support of their Der Leader.

Now, on to the excellent article covering this subject...


There’s a dirty little secret between Donald Trump and the media that at this point isn’t much of a secret. A symbiosis exists between us; we use him and he uses us. Now that his presidency is mercifully taking its last gasp, can we quit him and return to a modicum of sanity and normalcy? Starting in January, can we string together a few Trump-free news cycles? More to the point: can we quit taking his bait? Or are we doomed to cover Trump’s antics as a sort of shadow presidency?

Doing so will be tempting. Even as Trump has sought to undermine the media as “fake news” and “enemies of the people,” we have laughed all the way to the bank. This was true almost from the beginning. “It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS,” admitted Les Moonves, the network’s CEO, during the 2016 presidential campaign. “Sorry. It's a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”

Keep going he did. Moonves wasn’t afraid to drag our dirty little secret into the light. Trump is great for the media. He’s great for ratings. He’s entertaining. Even people who hate him can’t help but watch him. Rubbernecking exists because we can’t take our eyes off of a horrific crash. If it bleeds, it leads. You know the story.

Now, electorally, this phenomenon ultimately did not redound to Trump’s benefit. You live by the publicity stunt, and you die by the publicity stunt. By sucking up all the attention—being the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral—even Trump eventually oversaturated and exhausted the average American’s attention span. It turns out that there is such a thing as bad publicity; at least there is when you’re in a business that demands you win 50 percent plus one.

But keep in mind, I’m not in that business. No writer, commentator, TV channel, or news outlet tries for, much less gets, a majority of the viewers or readers. The average American isn’t clicking my links; I’m here for the addicts. And the stark truth is: The average American can’t get enough of Trump. That explains why 80 percent of my columns are about him.

Blame the collapse of print advertising if you like. The media elevated Trump in a bid to survive in what was becoming an increasingly fraught industry. During the campaign, this seemed harmless enough. The assumption was that Trump would eventually flame out (the same bad bet Ted Cruz and other Republicans made). Then the media went into overdrive on Trump’s Muslim bans, Russian interference, impeachment—you name it.

Hell, if Trump were trying to script a “reality show” for us, it couldn’t have contained more drama. In fairness, once he actually became president, he became legitimately newsworthy. This meant that even if the press was willing to sacrifice ratings and clicks and go on a Trump-free diet (they weren’t), doing so would actually be an abdication of their journalistic responsibility. It’s hard to justify not covering something a president does or says (or even tweets), no matter how ridiculous it might be.

But that excuse is about to run out. Soon, Trump will no longer be president. The new president will, instead, be a man who won precisely because he was, well, normal and boring. Joe Biden won by staying in his basement. Biden won by allowing the election to be about Trump. Biden won by flying under the radar while Trump sucked up most of the attention. And the moment Biden is sworn in as president, everything he says and does will almost, by definition, become newsworthy. Then, it would be an abdication of journalistic ethics not to cover him. Simultaneously, covering Trump would be optional and ancillary.

But what if, aside from providing catnip in the form of controversial tweets, rallies, and speeches, Trump sets up a sort of shadow presidency at the “Winter White House”? One could imagine him holding court at Mar-a-Lago, handing out faux awards and citations, and entertaining dignitaries. As a former president, he would be privy to some of the trappings of the presidency, including being addressed by the title, “Mr. President.” The question is, to what degree will this all be televised, amplified, and glamorized (I mean by the mainstream media; he will obviously still be “president” on most of the exclusively right-wing outlets)?

I’m not saying we can or should ignore Trump. I’m just saying that we should put his ex-one-term presidency into proper perspective. Trump should not be leading the news. But the naked truth is that we respond to you. If hate-clicking (or love-clicking) on Trump columns is your jam, then you’ll probably get more of those pieces. But to the extent that decisions are still made at the top—that assignment editors still pick what’s empirically newsworthy—what I’m asking (OK, pleading) is that you don’t make Trump a shadow president in 2021. Media executives thought they were cashing in on a goldmine in 2016, but those short-term ratings wins were Pyrrhic victories. As Lt. Frank Drebin said in the Naked Gun, “It's like eating a spoonful of Drano; sure, it'll clean you out, but it'll leave you hollow inside.” In a perfect world, they would choose not to repeat this mistake out of civic responsibility. But if nothing else, they should do so out of self preservation.

It’s time to move on into the future. Trump doesn’t deserve to live rent-free in our minds—or our TV sets and iPhones. And besides, America only has room for one president at a time. And (coming soon) his name is Joe Biden.

Article continues BELOW the FOLD.

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