By Brigitte L. Nacos
30 years ago, Neil Postman wrote in his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death” that “Entertainment is the supra-ideology of all discourse on television… A news show, to put is plainly, is a format for entertainment, not for education, reflection, or catharsis.”
Whether broadcast and cable networks or local stations, nothing makes for more thrilling, shocking, conflictual news entertainment than real or rhetorical bomb-throwing.
Until television news entertainment embraced Donald Trump as the star of what is presented day-in and day-out as a new version of his reality show, ISIS and like-minded terrorist groups dominated the breaking news with real bombings, decapitations, and other unspeakable evils.
Now, TV, radio, and print organizations prefer the zingers thrown by Trump into the direction of anyone who dares to voice criticism, asks not so convenient questions, or happens to be his competitor as highlights of their news entertainment.
TV’s talking heads and print’s pundits tell us that Trump has managed to dominate the GOP campaign and preempt his competitors. The truth is, of course, that the media’s simplistic over-coverage of Trump created the myth of a populist who fights for the people against the corrupt and incompetent political class.
Hilarious! Trump publicly prides himself of donating money to politicians of all ideological and partisan colors for one simple reason: cashing in when he needs their favors.
In other words, for a long time, this businessman has been part of the problem of influence paddling in a political system that he now attacks.
As the obvious peace-making between FOX News and Trump demonstrates, the media cannot afford to anger the man they elevated to star in an unprecedented political circus.
During his first news conference after his debate clash with FOX News’s Megyn Kelly, there was not one tough question.
Like real bomb-throwers strike fear into their targets, rhetorical bomb-thrower Trump has seemingly spread fear and anxiety among the fourth estate and political commentators.