Every President grabs the spotlight; it comes with the territory. Donald Trump has grabbed the spotlight and, depending on one’s viewpoint, has either throttled it nearly to death, pointed it somewhere else or used it to bathe himself in glory.
The problem with this is that the media devotes so much time and space to Trump, there isn’t enough left for other news. And there is definitely other news. Some of it is even important.
Of course, print newspapers have the luxury of space. They can print important things like local news, state news, national news, horoscopes and the comics. They can devote enough space to news to provide not only facts, but context.
Unfortunately, print newspapers are a primary source of information for only about 20% of the U.S. population. More people say Facebook is their primary source, which is somewhat depressing; even alarming. Unless you’re Facebook, which is not a media company — just ask them.
According to a Pew survey, online editions of print newspapers fare somewhat better, being a primary source for about 28% of users. But how many of those users don’t read anything that isn’t linked from the digest in the daily email?
That’s why news media need to start compressing the coverage devoted to Trump into a digest-within-a-digest, especially in their digital editions.
On any given day, President Trump will do something or Tweet something that will delight his adherents and offend or horrify pretty much everyone else in the known universe. There’s really no need to analyse it; just give it a brief acknowledgement in the daily Donald Digest and move on. Using a chart similar to the threat level chart adopted during the George W. Bush administration would tell the public everything it really cares to know.
When it comes to appointments, examine the list of candidates. Based on Trump’s track record to date, whichever one is the least suitable for the position is the most likely candidate (diametrically opposite to an Obama appointment is a handy reference, too). Put a checkmark next to the name and add a note telling all four people who will actually seek more information that they can simply paste the name into Google or consult Wikipedia. Or Facebook.
“Fake news” is old news. It’s a given; quit wasting time on it.
Trump’s foreign policy activity can be quickly communicated in a style similar to the Washington Post’s “Pinocchio” scale. Rate it from one to five Putins and go on to another topic. In a similar fashion, Trump’s economic actions can be rated from one to five Rich Uncle Pennybags, although that might trigger a cease-and-desist letter from Hasbro. In the rare instance that Trump does something that might benefit anyone not wealthy, a negative or red Rich Uncle Pennybags would do.
Add to that a daily and running total of days spent at Mar-A-Lago and that pretty well sums up to day-to-day world of President Trump. Occasional stories about which foreign leader Trump has embarrassed or insulted are newsworthy, especially if they are likely to trigger a nuclear exchange, but most everything else has already been reported to death.
Admittedly, this approach won’t be popular with journalists and pundits and it might cause emotional difficulties for the attention junkie in the the White House but it could be a real boon for the rest of us.