Love him or hate him, you have to recognize that Donald Trump’s use of the “media” is incredible.
He doesn’t seem to care what people say about him, so long as they are talking about him. He has tapped into the “keep people watching,listening, reading across the ad gaps” requirement like no one has ever done before.
Every form of media used to make money from subscriptions and advertising, but with the demise of users subscribing and buying newspapers and magazines and the movement towards online viewing reducing the subscription revenue from cable companies, we saw the elimination of the firewall between editorial and advertising.
When I studied at college, we we’re taught that journalists never let commercial decisions impact a story. This was a cornerstone of their ethical code. But this is clearly not the case anymore. Now we have a 24-hour news cycle that must be filled with an every decreasing budget, which means opinion and reality shows replacing detailed analysis by professional journalists.
News must be timely, controversial and relevant, and that opens the door for anyone to present any point of view, and the more outlandish and crude then the more it will encourage viewers to watch more.
Reality TV shows containing almost naked people doing embarrassing things, saying the most obnoxious racist, sexist things top the ratings. When a plane crashes, that used to be a story on a news show, now it becomes a month-long continuous flow of opinions 24-hours a day. Ask the relatives of the dead what they think, ask retired pilots what they think, then ask the relatives about what other relatives think and see if you can get them to fight each other. News and reality TV have become conflated.
And now we have a reality TV personality as President, and the media can’t believe their good fortune. He cannot stop saying terrible, irrational and hurtful things. And that means there will be an army of hurt people to interview. If only he had a good-looking wife who used to be an almost nude model? And wouldn’t it be good if he had paid off porn stars and insulted war heroes. The ad revenue can only grow. It’s just a shame we had to give up democracy, civility, ethics and the constitution in exchange for media revenue.