President Trump, the media — or perhaps “The Media,” as a mass single dark writhing entity — is not your enemy, nor the enemy of the American people. It is a vehicle for news and information, for stories true and tall. The media does not make the message — it is only a carrier.
The 45th President of the United States of America has been attacking the free press since before he became the Republican nominee, calling “The Media” dishonest, saying that various specific publications have been discredited or are failing, and generally painting most media as a tool that fights to prevent the general public from knowing how great he is.
I am attracting the biggest crowds, by far, and the best poll numbers, also by far. Much of the media is totally dishonest. So sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2015
The President asserts that if he was covered fairly in news media, he wouldn’t have to tweet.
If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to "tweet." Sadly, I don't know if that will ever happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2016
On the other hand, in August, Time covered Donald Trump expressing that news outlets directly quoting him and “…put[ting] false meaning into the words I say” was holding him back in polls.
However the media covers President Trump, whether the coverage is neutral, negative, or even glowing, there are going to be a number of Americans who are not going to be happy with his actions. Over half of those who voted in the election did not choose Trump, and even if his actions as President were exemplary, this would be true. As it stands, Mic reported that enough of Trump’s own voter base is suffering buyer’s remorse that one social media user is collecting examples (ranging from people upset at the prospect of losing their healthcare to those angry that he won’t pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton) into a blog.
So, President Trump, I have a message for you.
As “the media” goes, I am but a blip. I don’t have a television platform, and my name isn’t a household word. I do, though, have some basic awareness of how media works, and some information that maybe you could stand to hear.
First, Mr. President, you need to understand that the media does not force stories on people. Whether we’re talking about bloggers, network news, print magazines, or cartoon artists, media only spreads a story when the public chooses to read it. Cartoons that aren’t watched go off the air. Internet stories that aren’t read fade to oblivion.
If people are reading stories that paint you in a negative light, President Trump, it’s not because of some secret media conspiracy to topple you: it’s because those stories resonate with the people and strike readers as an accurate representation of what they see in you. In the same vein, if the American public sees you as a hero, a savior who can snatch America back from the brink of despair and solve all their problems, then news pieces, stories, and political comic strips showing you in that light will be viral, and those opposing you will gather dust in the darkest corners of the internet.
The press, Mr. President, is the voice of the people. It does not thrive if the people do not feel it represents them. The press is only the enemy if the American people are your enemy.
President Trump, I would posit to you that the old saying about ‘shooting the messenger’ is apt here. You don’t smash your phone when your girlfriend breaks up with you by text — or at least, to do so would be unproductive. You don’t blame the doctor for your lab results. You don’t campaign to have your mailman fired for delivering a rejection letter.
The media isn’t the message — the media is merely the vehicle that carries the message. If you don’t like the message being carried, President Trump, the most advantageous direction I could recommend is giving us different stories to tell. That doesn’t mean having a press secretary spin something we can all see with our own eyes. It means choosing actions as President of the United States that the people can cheer. If you do it, we will tell the stories.
You create the story, President Trump, and the media will tell it. The people will decide for themselves how to take it. If you want to change the outcome, star in a different story.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]