Friday, December 2, 2016

The new journalistic principle

The United States' big media organizations did not cover themselves in glory with regard to their presidential election coverage. As always, they framed the election as a game, with innumerable polls serving as the scoreboard. Worse, though, was how consistently they let Donnie lead them around by the nose. Every tweet triggered a flood of breathless "reporting".

If it wasn't obvious before, it damned well should be now: they got played. Or rather, they let Donnie play us because his exploits made them a lot of money.

Come on! Every time Donnie needed to distract us from news that genuinely damaged his campaign, he shot off a handful of tweets that whipsawed the national conversation in a different direction. And every time, it worked. Our vaunted media elites ran after the fresh clickbait like junkies chasing their next fix.

Worse, we followed them. We all wound up in Donnieland, the crappiest place on Earth, where our fever dreams sound true. (They aren't, to be clear, but that's what Donnie wants us to think.)

If the big media outlets want to stay relevant in what promises to be the most dishonest, utterly shameless administration in history, they're going to have to make one radical adjustment to their rules of operation. It's the same radical adjustmment all of us will have to make on Inauguration Day.

That adjustment?

Ignore everything Donnie says. Pay attention solely to his deeds.

They — we — can't trust anything the Narcissist-in-Chief says. We can't even assume he's lying: he has no fixed relationship to the truth. If you listen to him you will get dizzy and throw up — or go nuts.

We must stop acting like every word emitted from one of his orifices for public consumption is worth mentioning. Got that, journalists? No matter how tempted you are to file several hundred words on last night's tweetstorm, don't do it.

As for us, the audience? Our job is, do no (more) harm.

Stop rewarding Donnie by retweeting him, even ironically. Stop rewarding anybody who enables him. That includes anyone or anything claiming to be a news outlet.

Again: ignore what Donnie says. Watch what he does.

And keep your hold on reality, because that's what Donnie wants: for us no longer to know what's true.

No comments:

Post a Comment