How much is too much?
Don’t allow Trump fatigue to set in
News editors everywhere are facing a conundrum: more Trump or less Trump?
On one hand, readers and news junkies are desperate for more news, any news, good news and bad news, fake news and real news about Donald Trump. Never before in history has there been so much media coverage surrounding a U.S. president, but not necessarily for good reasons.
On the other hand, some of you have had quite enough. You’re done. One reader called this week, for example, to say space used for Trump news would have been better dedicated to the ice storm in Nova Scotia.
News organizations have always faced such challenges. We need to give consumers not just what they need, but what they want. And wants differ. Trump seems to be one of those people, like Kim Kardashian, Sarah Palin, or Paris Hilton, whose mere celebrity keeps many readers curiously rapt while driving others to distraction.
But Trump is not just some cheesy reality TV star, he is not just a vulgar pitchman or bumbling showman, he is not just an evangelical demagogue, he is the president of the planet’s most powerful country, a nation with which we share the world’s longest undefended border.
The Hamilton Spectator has not often received so many letters to the editor and op-ed submissions about a single issue. We probably received more over the course of the stadium debate, and continue to receive a boatload about LRT, but Trump letters are on a par with those we receive during federal and provincial elections.
A newspaper’s job is to reflect its community as responsibly as it can.
To be honest, we also have a responsibility to survive, which is getting tougher in uncertain times. As Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, said about Trump’s ascendancy last year, “it may not be good for America, but it’s good for CBS.”
So we must strike a balance. I am appalled and horrified by Trump, but I can’t seem to look away, and maybe that’s as it should be.
Many of you disagree, but we — yes, that includes Canadians — are at a turning point in history. Times are changing. I believe we will look back at this era in shame and regret. I believe we have not seen nearly the worst of it. And I believe it is everyone’s duty, American or not, to stay informed and help move us forward, not backward. We cannot trust others to do it. If you believe Trump is indeed making things better and brighter, good for you. If you believe he is making things worse, and darker, that’s your choice.
But events are happening quickly. We must all stand up and be counted. We must all keep watching, learning, listening, reading, studying, scrutinizing, and questioning all the facts, not just from politicians or our favourite news sources, but from all sources.
This is no time to say I’ve had enough; I can’t take it any more. Reading the news and understanding current events has never been more important.
News organizations have always faced such challenges. We need to give consumers not just what they need, but what they want.