Monday, July 10, 2017

Trump Fatigue Syndrome

I have just been diagnosed with an illness, TFS. It is injurious to long-term health but perhaps too early to say whether it is fatal.

TFS stand for Trump Fatigue Syndrome. It is caused by overexposure to coverage of President Donald Trump. Its symptoms include a depressing sense of watching the same drama over and over again. And just like being stuck in a movie theater watching a badly scripted and poorly produced B movie, it begins with feelings of exhaustion then panic with the realization that it may never end.

All diseases have vectors; the carriers of this disease are the mass media of both left and right political persuasion. They cover Trump endlessly became it generates more viewers and listeners. The presentations are suitably tailored to appeal to their respective audiences. Trump the hero of the forgotten Americans on Fox News; Trump the political incompetent on CNN. Trump generates money for the networks whatever their position. He makes news and attracts viewers through constant controversies. The President provides all the tweets, images, talking points, controversies and mayhem: all the media have to do is to roll the camera and queue the talking head panels. For the mass media Trump is the equivalent of easy money; for the audience the equivalent of empty sugar calories that produce a buzz but not much substance. In an age of Trump Fascination no need to send reporters on overseas missions, or deep reporting about what ails the Republic and its peoples. The cheap and easy coverage of Trump allows us to imagine that we are engaged in political debate or critical analysis while in reality we are party to a flim flam show masquerading as the US presidency.

All diseases have symptoms. For those on the left there is a rising sense of exasperation about what the President does and says. A sense of outrage is continually aroused leading to exhaustion. For those more to the right there is a feeling of resentment against the antipathy to their President in the deep state, Democrats and fake news. Again, a sense of outrage is continually aroused leading to exhaustion.

Most diseases have cures. We should begin our diagnosis with the realization that we no longer inhabit a Republic of political debate but a squalid banality of neo-reality television. This fever of constant outrage will have to be purged or it may kill us all.