How much is too much?

Don’t al­low Trump fa­tigue to set in

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - PAUL BERTON Paul Berton is edi­tor-in-chief of The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor and thes­pec.com. You can reach him at 905-526-3482 or pber­ton@thes­pec.com

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.

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