The Liberal Response to Trump Is Devolving Into Outrage Porn


Which is not to say that we shouldn’t be outraged about the endless parade of sycophantic cabinet nominees, the conflict of interest scandals, or the possibility that Russia hacked our election. Of course we should. But shouting into an echo chamber will not amplify our voices. To the extent that our outrage forces us to stay vigilant and harness our anger to formulate a plan of resistance, it can be useful. But we must remind ourselves that the television media, especially the cable news networks, will continue to highlight the glamorous if petty squabbles like the one between Trump and Alec Baldwin, while paying almost no attention to issues of grave importance like climate change.

To the media CEOs who care about ratings above all else, Trump’s outrageousness is manna from heaven. Better that we voice our disdain for this coverage by turning it off or by diligently insisting that they shift the narrative to actual policy differences that matter. Other outlets can play a role as well, by reminding the networks that the fourth estate serves a greater purpose than corporate profits. Outrage may keep viewers glued to the screen, but it will not lead to an informed electorate.

When we play the outrage game, we are playing on Trump’s turf—and he has already proven to be master of this game. Opposition to Trump should focus far more on opposition to his policies, decisions, and judgment, rather than on calling him out for his every remark or relying on funny but ineffective memes to make our point. While they might make us feel better in the short term, the benefits of feeling intellectually and morally superior to the man who just defied all polls and pundits to become the president-elect of the United States will certainly prove ephemeral.

Better if we defeat Trump on the issues. Force him to defend his ideas and policies. The less attention paid to his Twitter feed, the better. We don’t have to reiterate to ourselves or to the rest of the world why Trump is unacceptable. Far better if we stand up to him by defending our values of decency, honesty, and equality. Far better, when his policy proposals seem at odds with his promises and will likely betray the very people who voted for him, that we point out these inconsistencies vociferously. We have to make the positive case for change from here forward.



Source link

Loading...

You might also like More from author

Comments