By now the media should know what many citizens have well learned: Donald Trump is a dangerous, supremely ignorant embarrassment. The media’s continuing preoccupation with reporting Trump’s daily idiocies is in itself dangerous and unnecessary. We don’t need more evidence that Mr. Trump is unfit to serve as President. That evidence has existed for years and predates his political aspirations. Although new evidence of Trump’s unfitness for office occurs daily, the media does not need to and should not cover it. Why not?
Well, like it or not, obsessive media coverage of Trump plays to an audience of which Trump himself is a member. He apparently watches hours of television daily. Trump appears to feed on attention, even negative attention, and from this he should be starved instead of allowed to gorge. What if the media ignored Trump for a change? What would he do? It is hard to believe that he could behave more outrageously than he has to date.
Importantly, incessant media coverage of Trump deprives us of reportage of the many other issues that deserve attention, such as the executive branch’s intentional dismantling of such federal agencies as the EPA, State Department and Department of Education. The attempted politicization of the Justice Department is another clear and present danger. More media attention must divert to the demise of these agencies before it is too late to save and reclaim them.
The media could also better serve the public by regularly focusing upon the caliber of individuals running for public office and, especially, the judiciary. These are positions that should attract the best and the brightest. Instead, increasingly, public office seems to be reserved for the ignorant and the corrupt. We can and must do better in order for the country to thrive and even survive. This is not hysteria. It is reality.
When the media abdicates any pretense of social responsibility by its breathless 24 hour coverage of the ravings of a lunatic, too many opportunities for social betterment go begging. After all, ratings should not ever be the sole or primary driver of media content. What satisfaction will there be at the finish line of the race for media ratings if the only result is the very demise of our democracy?
Gregg Bertram M.A., J.D., LL.M. is the President and Founder of Seattle-based Pacific ADR Consulting. He is one of the most experienced and successful mediators in the U.S. Gregg and Pacific ADR's panelists mediate and/or arbitrate in every area of civil litigation at the highest professional level.