The media just can’t get enough of scandals—real or fake
24 March 2018
Donald Trump is the number one newsmaker of our time. No one has divided America or courted controversy more than the current President of the United States.
He frequently contradicts himself and routinely makes statements that ostracise large groups of people. Each week he stars in a new scandal that pundits say could cost him the presidency, and his average approval rating is consistently low.
Trump has given the media more ammunition than perhaps any other president in history, so why hasn’t that been enough? Why haven’t Trump’s numerous mistakes and character flaws satisfied those who seek to demonise him?
The media’s insatiable appetite for schadenfreude has led them to chase loose-end allegations and force controversy onto the President and his administration.
One of the earliest and most blatant examples of this stretches back to July of last year, when Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, accused Trump of failing to shake the hand of a disabled boy who was visiting the White House. Video evidence proved this allegation to be false, and it soon turned out that the billionaire author had reacted to an edited video designed to mislead—literal fake news.
People see what they want to see. In this case, multiple people were fooled into thinking Trump purposefully ignored a disabled child.
When you have a narrative in mind, confirmation bias will no doubt lead you to believe illegitimate evidence. You’ll jump on any opportunity that may prove your suspicions true, regardless of how ridiculous that supposed evidence might be.
This has become a recurring pattern throughout Trump’s presidency so far. Allegations and half-truths have turned into proper ammunition for people to mock Trump.
It’s been one year since the world was clued in to the apparent existence of a ‘piss tape.’ We haven’t heard much since. More recently, rumours surfaced that the President was having an affair with his ambassador to the United Nations, rumours which stemmed from a quasi-journalist who once said, ‘if it rings true, it is true.’ This was also around the time we were supposed to take seriously someone called, Stormy Daniels, a porn star who couldn’t seem to decide whether or not she had sex with the President of the United States.
Another recurring pattern has been the left’s frequent attempts to get the nation’s elected leader removed from office. First, they tried to contest his victory, calling for a recount of the 2016 presidential election. Then they moved towards impeachment, an effort which wholly failed in December of last year. After that, they drew their eyes to the 25th Amendment, citing physical and mental instability as reasons to remove Trump.
All of these attempts have either failed or likely will fail. They are egregious and shamelessly desperate.
Every instance of genuine fake news and inconclusive journalism that surrounds Trump only serve to make him stronger. It empowers his base and plays into the story that Trump has been crafting for years, that he and his supporters are underdogs in an America content on keeping them down. What other reason would there be for such fake news and opposition to exist?
If the media and Trump’s opponents continue to smear him with juicy but transient stories, more people will continue to take the side of the President.
You don’t need to force scandals onto a man who regularly makes them himself. You don’t need to try and extrapolate racism from comments that amply prove foolishness.
Haiti is a ‘shithole’, just like Trump reportedly said. Those comments don’t necessarily make him a racist, but they do make him unprofessional and stupid.
The more this happens, the less the people will believe what the media has to say about Trump when it truly matters.
We shouldn’t abandon our critique of the White House, but we should abandon our penchant for sensational narratives that seem to lead nowhere.