As Goebbels used to say, to make the nation follow him, a leader needs to be good at two things – reducing complex issues to simple slogans, and constantly repeating them with no regard to protests of the elite. Trump is a master at these things.
Here’s the news that took the lead on major international news sites: Donald Trump shared a few videos from the extremely right-wing organization Britain First on Twitter, and when Downing Street protested, he responded with a suggestion that Prime Minister Theresa May should instead stay focused on the threat of terrorism.
The fact that the president of the United States gives publicity to the far right is a serious problem, but the British media also elaborated yesterday about who insulted whom on Twitter and how many followers Britain First has gained. As a result, Trump’s distribution of recordings from a niche group of xenophobes led to a debate in the House of Commons.
Trump Won the Election Thanks to Whom?
The American journalism lecturer Michael O’Donnell recently expressed regret in Wyborcza that journalists swarm over anything that comes from the tweeting president’s keyboard. And because we’re talking about a man that, among others, gets childishly offended when the leader of North Korea calls him old, and who boasts about the fictional crowds that allegedly attended his inauguration, recounting his feats infantilizes the media.
It’s thanks to them, among others, that Trump, despite the Republican establishment and Washington political class, won the election.
Publishers knew that including his name in the headlines would guarantee a huge increase in the number of website clicks. They gave him a sounding board, he used it – and keeps using it still.
Even in these hard times, there is no lack of great journalists who strenuously and systematically expose Trump’s lies and half-truths. The New York Times and The Washington Post articles about “Russiagate” are some of the best examples of investigative journalism in history. But even the best have to keep in mind the brutal reality of digital media’s modern market.
The all-present addiction to search engine optimization or SEO (a tool that helps websites achieve a high position in search engines with the help of keywords) was most evident in the extremely high popularity of the story about Cecil the Lion being killed by a certain American dentist. Every news site tried to get a piece of the pie from the internet movement, often forcing the name of the unfortunate animal into preposterous headlines (Vox: “Eating chicken is morally worse than killing Cecil the Lion”; and the preposterous headline from the otherwise remarkable Atlantic magazine website: “From Cecil the Lion to climate change.”)
“Trump began as Cecil the lion and ended up president of the United States,” the Atlantic columnist summed up recently.