By Paul Wedding
There’s no question that Donald Trump has used Twitter more effectively than any politician before him. Like him or not, the controversial and just plain wrong statements he makes on his social media get the attention he wants, and takes it away from what he doesn’t want people seeing.
As seen in the video above, whenever bad news about Trump’s policy decisions or his business ties comes out, he manages to make an outrageous claim that distracts the public, and by consequence, the media. What are we as journalists supposed to do? Just let him spout off these falsifications to his 582,000 followers with no backlash? Or should we ignore his Twitter, focusing instead on his policies and the ethical dilemmas he presents on a nigh-daily basis?
President Trump gains an additional 136,000 followers every single day, according to twittercounter.com. With this many people subject to what he tweets, we as journalists need to pick up the slack and provide the information not just for what he tweets, but for what he’s trying to hide. This means not just exposing the “alternative facts” Trump gives his followers, but by mentioning the policies and decisions he isn’t talking to the public about on a daily basis.
There’s just one problem, many of his followers don’t really care to listen to the media. A report from the MIT Media Lab shows Trump supporters are particularly insular on Twitter, choosing to stick to people and news sources that coincide with their own personal viewpoints. Even more worry is the fact that a good deal of these Trump supporters don’t really pay attention to the news.
So what is the answer to changing this? How can we remove the view from Trump supporters that the media is biased or lying? The best thing journalists can do right now is stick to what they do best: reporting the facts. Because when or if Trump makes a huge mistake, or does something to betray the interests and reasons people voted him into office in the first place, people will look to the media to have the answers and explanations.