A few examples of the corrosive effect of notoriety.
Here’s an extract from Nick Bryant’s piece from the BBC News website this morning referencing a Trump press conference.
“Sitting in the atrium of Trump Tower on Tuesday, as Donald Trump harangued the press – well, you know where I’m going. For all the abuse, for all the belittlement, we as reporters show no sign of ending our relationship addiction with Donald Trump.
Much of our cravenness is easily explained. It stems from the record-breaking television ratings that Trump has generated and, just as important these days, millions of online hits.
A human headline, he more than satisfies the viral requirements of our new media age. At a time when media organisations are struggling still to monetise online news content, and to make the painful shift from print to digital, along comes the ultimate clickbait candidate, a layer of golden eggs.”
Note that it is the entertainment value that is driving media interest. We are attracted by outrage. The question is, at what cost? If (and I appreciate it is a big if) Trump wins, it will be in large part because of his mastery of the headline-grabbing schtick that drives eyeballs and clicks to news sites at a time when the traditional advertising model has been blocked to hell. Trump, one might argue, is the modern embodiment of the Trojan Horse story.
Here (via Simon Ricketts on Twitter) is an extract from Ian Burrell’s column for The Drum.
Note the reference to the City AM remuneration model and consider for a moment what this does to traditional journalistic practice. If the audience is drawn like moths to a flame towards the ‘sidebar of shame’ approach to journalism, how might this influence (a) choice of topic and (b) integrity? News isn’t entertainment, it’s reporting. What gets lost when writers are incentivised to pander to the sugar rush of the sensational?
Strange days indeed.