While waiting in line at Walgreen’s, I glanced at a rack of newspapers beside me. Blaring in bold, red letters the name Trump dominated the front page headline on almost every newspaper publication. I was–to say the least–disgusted. I’m sure there are bigger and much more important things going on in the world, or at least in the presidential race, than Trump’s excessive need to prove to American voters that he can indeed pull nonsense out of the deepest crevices of his being. Yet, I found myself gravitating towards the newspapers and grabbing (and I say this shamefully) multiple publications. I flipped through the pages, and scoffed at Trump’s idiocy. Did he really say that? Is he being for real? What’s next?
For a while, I wasn’t fazed by Trump. Nobody would vote, much less support, such a bigot. Right? Right!? Well I was wrong. We all were. What started off as a means to poke some fun out of politics through Trump Gifs and articles about his outrageous statements turned into an uncontrollable force that evidently played into his favor. Trump got more media coverage than any other presidential candidate. He got free publicity! This is all thanks to journalists and media outlets succumbing to giving the American people what they wanted to read–Entertainment.
Sure, one could say that it’s the average Americans’ fault for being so passionate about criticizing T.V personalities, but we wouldn’t know of these T.V personalities if the media didn’t feed them to us. The truth of the matter is, the media tells the public what to care about. And thanks to the headlines I saw in Walgreen’s, we’ve been told to care about Trump–a lot.
What’s even worse is that the media covered much of Trump’s ramblings without effectively fact checking and shaming him for it, leaving the general public to think that Trump is a straightforward, no BS kind of man. Trump supporters are infatuated with the idea of a businessman running the country. In hopes that the economy could improve under his administration (let’s hope he doesn’t get that far), people struggling financially–particularly the middle class–are convinced that Trump is the answer. What they don’t know is that Trump has had many bankruptcies and failed investments. The media failed to inform them that.
New York Times columnist, Nikolas Kristoff, said, “We were lap dogs, not watchdogs.” And he is right. The media failed us. Let’s just hope that journalists and news outlets will learn from their mistake and go back to being watchdogs.