Is Better Good Enough?

As with any disaster, accident or tragedy (you select the verbiage) generally multiple things have to go wrong to enable them. The 2016 election of Donald Trump is no exception. Among the enabling factors was the extensive press coverage he received. Leading up to 2024 the press is doing a much better job. The question is if that job is good enough to prevent a similar tragedy in 2024.

Our news media is largely profit driven. The small segment that isn’t still fights for relevance which, like for their for-profit counterparts, is measured by market share as determined by eyeballs, ear and clicks. I’m not advocating for a state-controlled propaganda media but just pointing out that any system has its drawbacks.

It has been over 900 days since Donald Trump has occupied the Oval Office yet he still gets more news coverage than any other political figure in America. Trump has few political talents but one of them is that he is a master at gaining earned media. (I dislike that term and prefer to think of it as free media coverage.) While far from all of it is positive; Trump appears to be of the school of thought that all coverage is good as long as they spell my name right. So far, for him it is working. In the media’s defense I will say that it is actually easier to not cover Joe Biden on many days and Biden is the sitting President of the United States.

The legitimate media is doing a better job this time around in that it is not giving live coverage to Trump events. His lies still get out but at least the responsible media is not complicit and when they cover them, they label them as falsehoods; often long debunked falsehoods.

Another reason (especially harkening back to 2015 and 2016) that Donald Trump got all the coverage is that he was entertaining. Trump leads the current field of GOP contestants by a wide margin. In fact, the only other one who polls in double digits (and is losing ground) is Florida Governor Ron “Kinky Boots” DeSantis. DeSantis gets a fair amount of coverage but, especially of late, it is largely of the why are you doing so poorly variety. The rest of the field is for all intents and purposes (at this point anyway, and I’m not looking for that to change) is largely irrelevant. The only one of them getting much coverage is Chris Christie. While I don’t see Christie coming from behind to win the nomination – and neither does almost anyone else – he is entertaining. That formula worked for Trump in 2016 and is to a lesser degree working for Christie today. In media shock me or make me laugh works. Look at commercials – sex (shock – I can’t believe they showed that) sells. Look at comedians – potty jokes (especially fart jokes) get laughs (and often to a degree shock – I can’t believe they said that).

Baring his death or dropping out I see Trump winning the 2024 GOP nod. Media is doing a much better job than it did in 2016 the question is whether it is good enough to avert another disaster.

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One thought on “Is Better Good Enough?”

  1. Profit driven media reports what is profitable. Trump is like a car wreck. People slow down and gawk at the carnage. So that’s where the media goes, because that’s where the eyeballs are.

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