Commentary

Insurrection Inciter Who?

Full disclosure: This column is written by someone who stopped publishing the name of the former president years ago, because of a policy of not giving any media attribution to anyone who does harm with it. I adopted that policy after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and I began applying it to the former president in September 2018 for the same reason -- that he was using it to do harm.

So I had to chuckle when I received a request today from watchdog Media Matters for America not to provide live coverage of a press conference the former president plans to give on the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection he incited.

Instead of live coverage, which risks amplifying the incendiary nature of whatever he ends up using it for, Media Matters suggested the media utilize a set of recommendations given by New York University professor Jay Rosen:

  • No build up, no count down, no empty podium awaiting his arrival.
  • Don't carry it live; disinformation risk too high.
  • After it's over, sift for any genuine news and report it.
  • Do not amplify familiar lies and distortions; they've all been fact checked already.

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Rosen is the same professor who recommended media outlets send their interns to cover the former White House's press briefings, and recommended the networks stop airing many of its briefings -- particularly its nutty, nonsensical and misinforming COVID-19 briefings -- live.

If only they had listened.

But the sad truth is that the news outlets that are most likely to adhere to these standards are also the ones least likely to be used by the former president's followers, which will only amplify the divide among us.

On the bright side, according to a Washington Post dispatch I received minutes after Media Matters', the "pro-Trump internet has descended into infighting over money and followers."

That makes sense given that much of everything the former president has done has been all about the grift, including the insurrection, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the twice-impeached former president use the anniversary as an opportunity to plug the social media company he is launching.

Meanwhile, WaPo's Drew Harwell characterizes a spectrum of right-wing media infighters ranging from QAnon promoters to more traditional conservative media pundits and influencers as "money-grubbing grifters exploiting the cause.

"The infighting reflects the diminishing financial rewards for the merchants of right-wing disinformation, whose battles center not on policy or doctrine but on the treasures of online fame: viewer donations and subscriptions; paid appearances at rallies and conferences; and crowds of followers to buy their books and merchandise."

So I guess that means it's actually "the ka-ching, stupid."

1 comment about "Insurrection Inciter Who?".
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  1. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, January 4, 2022 at 9:08 p.m.

    Update via Washington Post:

    Former president Donald Trump has canceled the news conference he planned to hold on Jan. 6 to mark the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

    In a statement released Tuesday by his Save America PAC, Trump blamed the media and the bipartisan congressional committee that is investigating the attack. Trump’s lawyers are fighting the panel’s efforts to obtain his records.
     
    “In light of the total bias and dishonesty of the January 6th Unselect Committee of Democrats, two failed Republicans, and the Fake News Media, I am canceling the January 6th Press Conference at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, and instead will discuss many of those important topics at my rally on Saturday, January 15th, in Arizona—It will be a big crowd!” Trump said.

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