Celebrities or Republican presidential candidates
running as celebrities need attention. Desperate
cable networks and digital-first newspapers need
traffic.
As Rutenberg writes, there’s “a disturbing symbiosis
between Mr. Trump and the news media.
“Things are changing so fast that no news
organization knows whether the assumptions it’s
making to secure its future will prove correct. In that
environment, Mr. Trump brings a welcome, if
temporary, salve. He delivers ratings and clicks, and
therefore revenue, which makes him the seller in a
seller’s market.”
Trump is familiar with power, Rutenberg notes. “And
he is using his ratings power to push the news media
to break from its mission of holding the powerful, or
really just him, accountable.”
Instead, we become complicit in the stagecraft. We
banner their sound-bites. We allow ludicrous
assertions to go unchallenged in the name of balance.
Like Turner Sports at the Final Four, we provide
“true homer coverage” for each band of partisans.
That’s not the way Bynum Shaw approached
journalism or the way Penelope Nevin approached
Carl Sandburg.
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