CNN’s Brian Stelter Admits to New York Times Columnist: ‘I’m a Donald Trump Addict’
Newsbusters ^ | May 15, 2018 6:29 EDT | Ryan Foley
Posted on 5/15/2018, 2:02:27 PM by ethom
During an appearance on CNN’s Reliable Sources, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof admitted that the media has an addiction to covering President Trump, leading them to avoid covering other newsworthy topics. He flushed this argument out further in a recent New York Times op-ed titled “Our Addiction to Trump.”
Host Brian Stelter appeared to agree with Kristof, declaring that “I’m a Trump addict. I think I’m willing to admit that. I think all roads lead to Trump right now.” Kristof then admitted that he also suffered from Trump Addiction: “My wife and I, we find ourselves, our pillow talk is sometimes about Trump.”
Kristof acknowledged that many in the media saw Trump as an antidote to their old business model: “As long as we have our cameras focused on him, then audiences will follow.” Kristof also admitted that the media breathed a sigh of relief that “there was somebody we could cover that could generate these subscriptions.”
Stelter and Kristof then played footage of President Trump’s recent rally in Elkhart, Indiana, where he argued that despite their intense hatred for him, the “fake news media” does not want President Trump to sail off into the sunset, telling the enthusiastic crowd “when I’m not here, their ratings are going to sink.” While Stelter stated that “I don’t think that’s entirely true,” he did mention that The New York Times and other publications have seen increases in subscriptions in the age of Trump.
In his column, Kristof wrote: “I’m not arguing that we avert our eyes from Trump or mute our criticism. Far from it. But we have to figure out how to spare bandwidth for the genocide in Myanmar, opioids in America, and so on.” Kristof said that this task might be easier said than done because any network that decided to abandon their round-the-clock coverage of President Trump to cover one of these less appetizing and less scandalous stories would risk losing viewership to “a rival network that puts a Democrat and a Republican in a studio and has them yell at each other.”
Towards the end of Kristof’s appearance on Reliable Sources, he pointed out that “as a nation, we tend to have our worst policies towards issues that are difficult to talk about or that are invisible. We can be part of the solution. We can help leverage these issues and, you know, put them on the agenda. And it’s hard, and we have to figure out how to build a business model for that kind of thing. But maybe a starting point is to have a conversation about that.”
Kristof cited the decline of American life expectancy as a result of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and crises in work, self-esteem, employment, and living standards as examples of “difficult” and “invisible” issues.
By and large, it does not look like the media will take Kristof’s advice to dial down their coverage of President Trump and focus on the issues that affect “invisible America.” The love-hate relationship between President Trump and the legacy media will continue for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen how many more journalists will follow Kristof’s lead and admit to their Trump addiction.