If you were wondering why Donald Trump went manic on twitter over the past weekend it wasn’t because he was trying to convince everyone that James Comey was a liar. It was simply to suck the oxygen out of the Comey news. As usual, the press went for it.
Comey’s interview on ABC aired Sunday night. The stories in the mainstream press the next morning were a win for Trump. Yes, they reported that Comey felt Trump was “morally unfit” to be president and a serial liar. But the stories largely only devoted 1/3 of their ink to Comey and what he had to say.
The other two thirds of the stories focused on what Trump said in his tweets. The press seems to be under some compulsion to repeat almost all of them word for word.
Trump knows that, so whenever something is in the news that he doesn’t like, he tweets to either change the subject or suck up all of the news with his viewpoint.
The unbelievable thing is that it continues to work. The press feels it needs the “can you believe he said that?” factor that Trump’s tweets provide to get readers.
Here’s a suggestion, men and women of the press. If you really need to print all of the Trump’s tweets, put them at the bottom of your story, like an appendix. For example,
“James Comey appeared on 60 Minutes last night and asserted that Donald Trump was ‘morally unfit’ to be president and ‘lies constantly’.” In a series of tweets before and after the interview Donald Trump in turn called Comey a liar and disparaged his character.”
That’s it. Don’t quote Trump’s tweets until the end of the story, and at that point, just print them out one after another. Leave some oxygen for the rest of the story.