The Media User-in-Chief

If Donald Trump is elected president, there will be plenty of blame to go around: the Republican Party, Fox News, the media, the culture—and those are just the highlights. But because I'm a big believer in holding your own tribe accountable first, I'm going after the media.

Today, as usual, the media conversation is mostly about Donald Trump - his disrespect of a gold star Muslim mother and father, his documented lies about having a "relationship" with Vladimir Putin, his demonstrable ignorance about world affairs, specifically, this time, Ukraine.

Very little, relatively, is being reported about Hillary Clinton. Even less is being reported about policy issues that will actually impact the American people. This is exactly how Donald Trump likes it.

He has no actual policies, which is why his son once more or less offered the job of domestic and foreign affairs to John Kasich. Since Kasich declined, Trump will probably—if elected—give it over to his son-in-law or one of his children.

Trump isn't interested in governing, only in winning and reigning, which is why he can so easily walk back from any outrageous statement he makes. And don't be fooled - he makes them to make news.

First the media covers Trump's latest offensive tweet or remark, then it covers the outrage, then Trump's doubling down, then more outrage, then Trump toning down his original statement or saying something entirely different. It's a vicious cycle, and Trump revels in it because it keeps his name out front.

It also keeps the media from focusing on the candidates' domestic and foreign policy credentials and proposals - a big win for Trump.

It doesn't really matter to Trump whether he wins or loses the argument over his latest outrageous remark, only that he wins coverage. He's been winning the coverage contest his entire career, and nobody on earth is better at it.

So how do you win this battle against Donald Trump? You can't stop reporting his outrageous remarks, and his lies, because people have a right to know. But you can - whether you are part of legacy media or social media - win by giving more coverage to something or someone else.

You can drown the bully out.

Of course to do this you have to make other political coverage as interesting as Trump, which is hard work. It's easy to cover Trump, and easy to make a living or a splash doing it. He knows this. He uses this. He's the media user-in-chief.


Bethe Dufresne, a frequent contributor, is a freelance writer living in Old Mystic, Connecticut.

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