Nice acerbic column by Jack Shafer. Presidents have always been able to shape the news agenda, he points out, but Trump is in his own category. Every time he burps, or tweets, the press jumps to attention and fills pages and saturates the ether with coverage and reaction.
For example, Page One of today’s Washington Post couldn’t be more Trumpian had the president designated coverage himself. Of the six stories on the page, four detail some Trump aspect or action—he is untethered to the facts; his relationship with FBI Director James Comey; his pipeline decisions; and his wall and sanctuary cities edicts. On the inside pages, another 14 stories about Trump, Trump appointees, or Trump actions dominate the paper’s news portfolio. Meanwhile, on the editorial pages, all eight editorials and op-eds sup from the Trump banquet.
Today’s New York Times strikes the same imbalance. Of the six stories on Page One, four are about Trump, with another 11 tucked inside. On the editorial pages, five of the seven pieces deal with Trump. The Wall Street Journal completes the sweep, with seven news stories and nine editorials or op-ed pieces dealing with Trump and his policies.
It should go without saying that every new president dictates the news agenda. But has any new president’s dominance been as complete as Trump’s?
You only have to ask the question to know the answer. Sigh.