Trump owes success to media nit-Twits
Few candidates understand Twitter. Fewer know how to use it. Donald Trump does, though, and - frankly - owes a good portion of his campaign’s success to a bunch of lazy journalist nit-Twits.
The media, especially the big boy and girl mainstream media in their glittering New York, Atlanta and D.C. towers, love Twitter. Where else can you get a story sent right to your smart phone – in 140 characters no less! Which means that not only does the “news” come to them while they are chauffeured from their posh apartments to their glamorous studios, they never have to actually descend into the icky, sticky, mucky masses of lower humanity to do real investigative reporting, or bore themselves with detailed analysis of current events or policy.
Instead, they can make a few phone calls for some over-reactive quotes (and in our desperate-to-be-offended world there’s always someone willing to overreact), slap a ridiculously overblown headline (“Trump Annihilates Rubio”) on top, then sit back, sip some chardonnay and watch the clickbait fly.
Pathetically, the major media outlets actually encourage this type of laziness, clearly obsessing far less about delivering actual news than how their anchors look on camera – and how little they can spend on reporting.
If you want to see how totally obedient the TV dogs are to ratings these days, check out the hot-mic exchange between Trump and his MSNBC co-hosts on the Morning Joe. For the love of all that’s journalistically holy, it’s freaking MSNBC! They’re supposed to be kicking the crap out of literally every single thing that has come from Donald Trump’s mouth. Instead, they’re kissing his ass.
Real journalism takes time, effort, sometimes a bit of shoe leather, and a lot of thought. It can be expensive, both financially and emotionally. And sometimes all that work, sweat and all-too-frequent blood and tears gets completely ignored by the public.
Making three phone calls to instigate a Twitter war is easy, cheap (in SO many ways) and reliably lucrative. That’s both a sad indictment of modern mass media, and our public culture. But media influences culture in extraordinarily significant and subtle ways, and this is the culture our mass media has created to feed itself with.
As a child of the '80s, it’s actually pretty easy to pinpoint when this mess began: 1993. The same time MTV stopped playing music videos. It began when we were told that style is more important than substance. When the cult of personality became more powerful than the culture of productivity. When musicians who played instruments and dragged their gear through a million sweat and urine-stained clubs to claw their way into a major recording studio were replaced by cute teenagers selected for their ability to dance and wear clothing. When artists who paint great masterpieces or sculpt beautiful forms in marble were replaced by people who stack cans of coke or smear feces on stuff.
Trump’s candidacy is essentially a result of his lucrative contract to crassly fire people live on NBC, and the people supporting him are a lot less complicated than whatever laughable analysis of them will be featured on NBC this week: they’re his viewers, from NBC.
If nothing else, this election should serve as notice to all of us, but especially those guardians of truth who would call themselves “journalists,” “news organizations” and “media outlets”: you get what you create, what you work for, and – ultimately — what you earn. Two decades of our mass media pandering to the lowest common denominator, and this is what they’ve earned.
Nit-Twits now rule the roost.
Sam Stone is a Republican political consultant in Southern Arizona.