Media must resist wrestling with Trump

It’s the long term effects of journalism that we all need. News orgs will lose credibility and the ability to deliver on that promise if they get stuck in a childish name-calling game with the President.

Growing up 3rd of four active (or rather ‘enthusiastic’) boys meant that I both received and dished out more than a fair share of abuse. I’m reminded of this watching leading media outlets battle it out with Trump right now.

One lesson I learned as both a younger brother and an older brother was the benefit of not overreacting.

As a younger brother I learned ignoring bad behavior either makes it go away or forces it to escalate. The moment he escalates you have everyone on your side.

And as an older brother I learned that igniting an overreaction was a double-win…you get the pleasure of infuriating your little brother, and he gets punished for his over the top response.

As media outlets are losing focus on being the health check for society that we need of them and instead responding to Trump’s childish provocations the rest of us are getting frustrated, just like tired parents unsure who to punish for “starting it”.

Personally, I would like to see more resistence from the media. Resist the temptation to respond to mean comments. Resist the temptation to point fingers. Resist the temptation to attack him to make you feel better.

That doesn’t mean walk away when confronted with a legitimate attack on your existence. As Kenny Rogers said in Coward of the County, “Sometimes you have to fight when you’re a man,” and, indeed, that’s true of children working through their problems, too.

But the moment you escalate or call Mom for help that’s when you’ve lost.

There are a lot of powerless people getting hurt by the Trump Presidency and many other things out there that have nothing to do with Trump.

Focus on those people, not yourself.

If media wants the public to stay engaged in the larger issues facing the world then it needs to focus on what matters and resist the wrestling match Trump is enjoying so much. Another lesson I learned growing up with three brothers is that winning the long game is much more satisfying than winning any single fight.