May 28, 2017

Media Hyperbole is Not Helping

No Photography at CNN 

Bob Woodward offered some worthwhile advice to reporters tasked with covering the Trump administration: "calm it down and listen more" (video available here). I sincerely hope that they hear him and that the on-air personalities at our nation's 24-hour cable news shows heed his advice.

I have no doubt that some of the stories coming out about the Trump administration are newsworthy. They should be covered, and I am glad they are being covered. At the same time, I think there is a serious problem with the sort of coverage we are seeing. Worse still, I fear that this problem may have long-lasting negative consequences.

When our 24-hour cable news media treats every story about the Trump administration as the most earth-shatteringly important thing ever, they are desensitizing their audience. Some will fatigue and eventually tune out; others will lose the ability to prioritize the importance of what they hear. These are not good outcomes. In fact, this strikes me as counterproductive to the goal of having an informed electorate who is capable of effectively participating in the democratic process. It is time to "calm it down" and set aside the hyperbole before any more damage is done.