Two years ago the laughable ‘rumour’ of Donald Trump running for the Republican Party was a short-held conversation amongst most intellects. The very idea of taking this extravagant publicity stunt seriously was unthinkable, never mind believing it would ever come this far.
Today, it’s hard to imagine turning on the news and not hearing some kind of appalling story about President Trump. Even our social media accounts are not safe from his tyranny.
In this short span of time, many have found themselves dumbfounded and asking “how?” How could a country as ‘progressive’ as the United States of America put themselves in a situation such as this? In the last 8 years, the western world seemed to be taking huge strides forward. With the election and re-election of Barack Obama, America’s first African-American president, it seemed that the logical next step would have Hillary Clinton as America’s first female president. No one was more shocked than us – Americas so called ‘younger brother’ – to see our neighbours from the south make such a mess of their government.
But how shocked do we really have the right to be? After all, what started as a seemingly harmless source of entertainment grew like wildfire and pretty soon the media couldn’t get enough of this eccentric businessman playing at politics. The more outrageous his statements, the more his orange face became plastered over screens across the globe.
I’m sure we are all familiar with the saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity”.
Pretty soon, in a race against 17 candidates running to lead the Republican Party, Donald Trump was all the hype, receiving the majority of the media’s attention. This type of disproportionate coverage meant Americans had limited knowledge on any of the other Republicans who served as viable options.
After Trump’s media outbreak you probably found yourself in one of two categories: either you loved him, or loved to hate him. Either way, I think it’s safe to say that with the exception of Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, you probably had no idea who his competitors were.
When considering the events leading up to this past election, I can’t help but picture a parent in a grocery store attending to their screaming toddler. The more the child yells the more attention they seem to get. This encourages the toddler to yell and scream even more; the scene slowly gathering the curious eyes of spectators nearby. Despite the opinions of these watchers, they continue watching; and the child goes on as he pleases getting exactly what he wants. In this situation the media is the parent, the spectators are the public and I’m sure you can guess where Trump fits into this equation.
It may seem as though I put the blame of the world’s recent misfortune into the hands of the media. But honestly, what were they supposed to do? The same way it is a parent’s job to take care of their child, it is the media’s responsibility to report on the most current and newsworthy material. Trump, like a screaming toddler in a grocery store, knows how to use this to his advantage.
We live in a fast-paced society and our news environment reflects that. In the blink of an eye, public interest moves on to something else and media coverage does its best to keep up.
With Trump, however, a clear pattern has emerged – he always finds a way to make headlines with the most outrageous stories. No matter how disingenuous, we listen to every word waiting for his next statement to infuriate us.
From his frighteningly inappropriate relationship with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to accusing former US President Barack Obama of not being an American citizen, the master manipulator never fails to deliver the most scandalous of stories.
And of course, how could we forget his threats of building a wall to keep all the Mexican “rapists” and “drug dealers” out of the States?
Once he had the public’s attention he reached out directly to an audience that would overlook, forgive and even defend his crude comments and racist remarks in exchange for the promise to “Make America Great Again”.
Once Trump gained a large enough following, people around the world really started to sweat. His rise from laughing stock to serious politician seemed to happen overnight. Suddenly, people weren’t just taking Trump seriously; they were prepared to follow him blindly over a cliff.
In a world where the public already has distrust in journalists, few seek further evidence to back up Trump’s claims and many continue to believe his lies even when they have long been disproved.
Even large media networks have fallen victim to this strategy on multiple accounts.
Back in February 2017, President Trump banned CNN, the New York Times, and other major media outlets from attending a white house media briefing, claiming they were reporting on “fake news”.
And yet Fox News, a news outlet notorious for being more tolerant of Trump’s behaviour, made an appearance.
By censoring who is allowed to report on public concerns, Trump is furthering his hold on the media’s neck. This has the potential to shape public opinion on a large scale. The mass media doesn’t tell you what to think, it tells you what to think about. But for how much longer? Pretty soon the media will tell us what to think, and eventually, we might not even consider an alternative.
If you ask me, it’s getting a little too 1984 for my liking.
What kind of Orwellian society allows a racist, sexist, bigot run their so-called ‘free world’?
This brings me to Trump’s last media manipulation tactic, which includes discrediting anyone who challenges his ideals or criticizes his actions.
It’s nice to know that while some are quite easily swayed by the media manipulator, others have lashed out taking a stand against him: Meryl Streep, J.K Rowling, Johnny Depp and, more recently, Mika Brzezinski. Unfortunately, no matter how legitimate their criticisms, Trump finds a way to discredit them through his childish and offensive retorts via twitter.
His petty remarks span from naming Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” to his horrific comments about Brzezinski’s apparent facelift.
Not only are his comments unsophisticated and insulting, but they have absolutely no merit.
How about we get America some class again?
This ‘greatness’ Trump is trying so hard to get back is lost on me.
And so perhaps it should have been our responsibility to push against the ‘wow factor’ in news media and do more to talk less about Trump.
By now you might be sensing some irony. The election is long over and yet here I am, an educated young individual spending my time, and stealing yours, to write about a man who deserves no more of our attention.
So, is it finally time to abandon the trump train? Or is it possible we are too little too late to make an impact by ignoring him? After all, he is the president of America.