Covfefe for thought

Democracy has one prerequisite. One. That the members of the public remain above all else correctly informed about the government which they would elect. When this prerequisite does not exist democracy fails. This is because for a democracy to exist the people of that state must be able to determine for themselves the course that they wish the nation to follow. When knowledge is lacking this leaves them unable to independently form opinions, because on what basis would they plausibly do so if not on the basis of information? This leaves them vulnerable to the manipulation of demagogues and the weak or fallacious arguments proposed by them. For this reason it is tantamount to democracy that the press, or in other words the means of distribution of information, is obligated to inform the public.

The problem arises not only when their ability to distribute information is hampered by the state, but also when they themselves chose not to serve but to exploit the public. This is precisely the problem with the modern media. In a search for clicks they have abandoned the public to their fate of ignorance. Where the media is supposed to hold the powerful to account instead they priorities journalism that they believe will generate the largest number of clicks, and today that meant not the many scandals that plague the administration in the US, not one of the multitude of conflicts ongoing globally or market developments,  no, today that meant writing about, of all issues, a typo in one of Trump’s midnight tweets. In a tweet he said “  Despite the constant negative press covfefe”, is this really the most important issue in the world right now? I would be very skeptical of anyone who would say so. Regardless the media covered this as if this was a major crisis. This behavior however is not simply a waste of time for the public but in fact serves to distract from the issues that are important to the world. As a result although people may well pay more attention to the “news” than they might have previously the content of this information is hardly pertinent to the society around them. This pattern has not simply been demonstrated upon this singular occasion but is in fact is merely representative of a much wider trend trivial issues taking priority over matters of importance.


  1. In this case the media is doing service to inform the people of the incompetence of the Commander in Chief maybe? Using this example, however simple, to help them understand who they have chosen.

    The more challenging problem I think is that the media, like any other business is measured by dollars and cents. Clicks, views, shares, likes, etc. all matter. The people, most of them, are making the choice based on what they like to read. We could blame the people.... they are just not interested in serious things.

    The BBC, CBC, NPR, and a few others are not driven by the revenues or as directly impacted by the revenue stream. I don't think that a pure public funded model is ideal, it brings other questions for the likes of RT or Sputnik, but it is certainly an alternative.

    So how do you solve this?

    1. I would refute your assertion that the reason for the current coverage of non-policy related coverage is a drive for clicks, while this may be a motivation there are a variety of news agencies such as Vox and the Economist that have found significant success in more policy related coverage. Moreover the issue at hand was not that they covered the "covfefe" story as this was by all means unpresidential behavior but rather the problem was that in many ways this relatively trivial story eclipsed (for a short time) more concrete issues such as the Russia investigation and the AHCA bills progress which are both more relevant to Americans but also more of a demonstration of Trumps incompetence.


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