President Donald Trump tells reporters a time and place for his meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has been set and will be announced soon, as he leaves for Dallas to address the National Rifle Association, in Washington, Friday, May 4, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
If you weren’t aware of it prior to the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, you have to be aware of it now.
Every national political story is now the same, following the same sequence of events.
- Headline: “Something Happens In Washington D.C.”
- The Media wonders out loud how Trump will respond to Something.
- The Media meets Trump in a back alley, rubbing their arms and making sure no one is watching.
- They say “Just one more hit. Please.”
- Trump tweets, or says something on camera, making sure to attack something they hold dear (usually, themselves).
- The rush! The exhilaration! The story!
But, it’s not enough. It’s not getting them the high they want. The high they crave. The traffic, the clicks, the views, the response… none of it is the same. There’s gotta be a stronger dose somewhere.
So, when it comes time to cover the funeral of the former president, they seek out something stronger. Trump is sitting by the Obamas and the Clintons! He’s not reciting the Creed! He is doing this or not doing that!
And in the process, the funeral is no longer about George H.W. Bush. It is about Trump. It’s wrong. They know it’s wrong. They can’t help themselves, though. They are addicts.
With reporters desperate for a fix of Trump, history is all new. Things long done are treated as new events. They obsess over Trump. Stories not about Trump are turned into Trump. The Trump angle must be explored and exploited.
There are tons of stories out there that are not about Trump that must be turned into stories about Trump. There are stories where Trump is only tangentially related that suddenly revolve around Trump. He lives rent free in the heads of the national press corps.
That, via Erick Erickson, is exactly on point. The Media cannot quit Trump, in all his addictive Trumpiness. There are Trump fanatics who are less obsessed with him than some national reporters. But, no matter how much members of the press stand athwart him, ridicule his tweeting and his public statements, blast him as a racist and evil man, they cannot quit him.
And the thing is, he knows it. That’s why he gives it to them. Trump is famous because he is famous. He has used media outlets for decades to get the attention he craves, and the political press is falling victim to the same scheme.
Sure, he’s the President of the United States, and by virtue, everything he does is news. But the absence of doing something is not always news. His reactions are not always news. Yet they make it news because “TRUMP” makes articles, blog posts, and social media posts 30% more valuable.
It’s an addiction, and there is no 12-step for it.