But few things are more self-perpetuating than coverage. Acknowledging the excess, Bruni began his Wednesday column by allowing that “I keep reading that Donald Trump is wrecking the Republican Party.” He keeps reading it because every writer in America with an ounce of self-importance thinks it’s up to him or her to personally deliver this news. Bruni’s advice to the GOP is to exploit the obsession. “If they had any guts, they could use him,” said Bruni of Trump’s Republican rivals. “They could piggyback on the outsize attention that he receives, answering his unhinged tweets and idiotic utterances with something sane and smart, knowing that it, too, would get prominent notice.”
Let’s unpack this sentence. Trump is getting “outsize attention”—that is, way too much. He’s getting it, as Bruni doesn’t acknowledge but doesn’t need to, from us, the media. And it’s going to continue because—well, because we just can’t help ourselves. So take advantage of us! Since everything Trump says is news, everything said about Trump is also news, and any candidate who has a lot to say about Trump will get “prominent notice.” If you have a lot to say about war, the economy, or public health don’t expect us to pay any particular attention. But preface these views with, “Contrary to what the buffoon with the comb-over is preaching . . . ” and watch us pick up our pencils!
I personally think Trump deserves coverage because of his standing in the polls, not because of his “colorful” character or his habit of saying mean things loudly. But he deserves coverage the way every candidate does, then, not this “look at the freak show we can’t say is a freak show or stop covering even though it so badly does not need to be covered!” horseshit.
You wanna cover something? Then cover it. But don’t tell me in the middle of covering it how awful it is to cover it. Have some pride.