Every Trump outrage reported by the New York Times only serves to embolden and empower Trump.
In the final months of 2019, we are winding down toward the elections of 2020. And remarkably enough, Donald Trump seems more popular than ever, both within his party and without. With each outrageous tweet and outrageous statement he makes, his base seems to be more emboldened and more admiring of his policies.
And at the same time, with each tweet, the liberal-left becomes more enraged, delighting both his supporters and conservatives in general. Trump is basically trolling the left, and the left is falling for it.
In case you were late for class, trolling is a time-honored technique that dates back to the early days of the internet. Perhaps there were precursors to this in our political arena in ages gone by. Basically, somebody says something outrageous on the internet in order to generate a strong reaction from the opposing party. If the troll is successful, the opposition appears to be so unhinged in response, they can be easily dismissed as crazy.
If nothing else, it's simply wastes the time and energy of the opponent. No matter how you play this game, the troll always wins, unless you simply refuse to engage him.
This whole "sharpiegate" thing is a case in point (and for the love of God, can we stop using "-gate" after every political brouhaha these days?). Trump shows an outdated picture of the path of Hurricane Dorian, which, at the time, was looking like it would go across Florida and eventually hit the panhandle and possibly Alabama or Mississippi. The press goes nuts! "He drew on it with a sharpie!" they cry - "this is a violation of the LAW! He made a false weather forecast as a government employee!"
You're kidding me, right? But Trump milks it for all its worth - six days' worth - and the media obediently laps it up, trying to "fact check" him again and again (sorry, but fact-checking Trump is an exercise in futility - the Trump administration has "alternative facts" - remember?). The media tries to paint it that Trump still believes the hurricane is headed toward Alabama, when it already is past Charleston. This is a pressing issue of the day? This is the searing indictment of the Trump administration? This is an impeachable offense?
You are being trolled, my friends. Stop responding to trolls! For the love of God, please stop!
Sadly, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and National Public Radio seem to not have learned this lesson. Perhaps they have not spent enough time on internet discussion groups like 4chan or 8chan or Reddit. Maybe they should ask their teenage children about this. They could tell them not to be triggered by trolls, as it is merely a waste of time and only makes the troll look better by comparison.
The problem is, the New York Times and other left-wing media outlets - and they are left-wing media outlets, let's be honest about this for a change - act in hysterical response to whatever Trump trolls or tweets on a particular day or week. As a result, the news from these outlets appears to be nothing more than hysterical rantings of an old lady. Thus, it is hard for people to take it seriously.
Not only that, it emboldens Trump's supporters and those on the right in general. People who are right-leaning read the alarmist headlines in the New York Times and chuckle. They say to each other, "Did you see how Trump zinged them today? They're really losing their minds now!" Even the "Never Trumpers" or moderate Republicans who are ambivalent about Trump admire the way he's been able to zing the far left. They don't lose any sleep over the fact that the people on the New York Times editorial board are losing sleep.
With each alarmist headline, the New York Times, The Washington Post, and their ilk are doing nothing more than empowering Trump further and further. Rather than respond to his tweets and taunts, they need to seriously analyze his policy decisions from an objective point of view. If people can see beyond the raging headlines, they might actually realize that many of these policies work against their personal interests, and thus may be inclined to vote against Trump.
But when they see yet another hand-wringing and pearl-clutching editorial from the Times about how unhinged the president is, they only laugh and assume that the left is losing its mind over the fact they lost an election.
Again, New York Times, for the love of God, please stop this madness!
UPDATE: A reader points out that Trump is good for the newspaper business as these outrageous stories generate a lot of clicks in thus a lot of advertising revenue. So maybe it is by design that the New York Times and The Washington Post print these alarmist articles reacting to every tweet Trump makes. In other words, they're complicit in the whole deal.
They know that Sharpie-gate is a whole big nothing, but they also know that fervid Trump haters will click on any article that lambasts Trump.