President and his allies maintain advantage in war on news media

Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times, October 28, 2018, writes that President Donald Trump is succeeding in spreading distrust of the news media. He does that by inundating the news media with lies and groundless attacks against the media and his political opposition. Logic and fact-checking have not proved effective in countering the barrage. Journalists would be well advised to concentrate their efforts on ignoring the “false narratives” intended to divert attention from the real issues and problems,” says Rutenberg.

With one of his ardent followers arrested for sending bombs to his political enemies, Trump has adopted a new tactic by blaming unfair and hostile reporting  for creating an atmosphere of division that led to the attempted bombings. Blaming the news media serves Trumps’s goal of energizing his base for the midterms elections. He is also using immigration and the caravan to set the agenda with the assist of the media who are covering it expansively.  The Atlantic, October 29, 2018, by David Graham)

Danah Boyd of Data and Society, a research institute addressing technology and society, warns journalists that they are succumbing to the manipulations of Trump and right wing provocateurs and conspiracy theorists. The manipulators count on the media to fact-check and rage against the lies. They then turn that reaction into inspiration for their followers. Boyd advises, “Ignore their attention games and focus your reporting on the wide range of non-hateful political views in this country that aren’t screaming loudly to get your attention.” (Vox, October 30, 2018, by Ezra Klein)

Eric Levitz, New York Magazine, November 1, 2018, disputes the view that the media is ineffective in countering Trump. He says the media has informed the public about the effect of Trump policies, as in their debunking Trump’s claim that the tax cut would benefit the middle class. Levitz argues that he Republican base would not be convinced even if the press were more measured in their response to Trump and that the media needs to be even more adversarial, for instance, by making the point that Trup’s sending troops to the border to stop the caravan is actually an attempt to make voters less centered on the real issues of Republican rule.

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