Reduction in depth of media discourse in US is a result of the very reduction in ‘presidential’ behavioural standards

Dear Editor,

In retirement, and voluntary incarceration in a TV space, one looks almost resignedly at the fare offered by so many (direct) international channels.

My own preference is for news and then sports, firstly golf.

Of the internationals, BBC and Aljazeera are almost a close tie for first attention.

Next, are the American News media: CNN and MSNBC, the reporting format of both of which tends to be routinely repetitious, sometimes to the point of boredom, particularly in relation to events following the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

Since then the news is so dominated by his machinations (tweets and all) that the viewer is forced to wonder whether anything else has happened in the greatest country in the world, that day.

How is it possible that one man, one personality, can be so dominant, that his behaviour and pronouncements virtually preclude attention to other national (and international) developments, which must be taking place in a country regarded as the most powerful in the world?

And yet, at the same time the debate across channels is dominated by if, how and when the government of this great country is being emasculated by Russia, with particular reference to its leader Putin. The daily/nightly discussion is usually about to what extent Trump has been Putinised, if at all.

What is interesting, even to the point of being disconcerting, is the plethora of personalities, knowledge specialists, analysts (including legal and media pundits) who pontificate on the accepted, twittered inconsistencies of the aptly named President of the United States – Trump, Donald; for he appears to trump all with whom he disagrees, and more alarmingly, those who agree with, and oblige him.

There simply has never been such a trump card in a country of high stake business players, whose successes have been based on trumping the competition.

Night after night one must wonder at the portrayal of flatulence that is consistently projected by the TV and press, of the highly qualified staff who work towards sustaining the Trump effect. When one observes the impressive career profiles of the members of the governance structure, it becomes difficult to understand what norms of morality and integrity are observed – even with the dizzying rate of staff turnover.

What is interesting is that this rampant portrayal of delinquency appears to have enveloped the analytical capacity of the media commentators, to the extent that they in turn revel in reporting political and organisational haemorrhages, almost to the exclusion of any rational achievements. But perhaps there has been too little of the latter – like the recent Syria engagement.

What has happened is the instructive reduction in the depth of media discourse as a result of the very reduction in ‘presidential’ behavioural standards which they feel compelled to criticise.

With the almost superfluously wide range of commentators’ examination, the regular viewer of MSNBC first, then CNN, must wonder whether in the respective presentations there is any awareness of the messages being sent to the rest of the world. There is just this persistent note of parochialism that does not reconcile with being international communicators.

So that when, maybe the prestigious New York Times is reported to be keeping count of the hundreds of lies being told by the President of the United States, it gives food for thought as to what standards the greatest country in the world is setting for other Heads of State; but perhaps more importantly, for young generations of that very society who are learning as acceptable behavioural norms, given the support of their conservative parents and of others who believe in their President.

There is the even more critical implication for youthful populations of (developing) countries around the world who would normally regard the USA as a role model; and are now being taught that lying, twittered or otherwise, is par for the course. The technology has become so pervasive to the point of being destructive.

And as the display of lies is interwoven with scandals and corruption the uninitiated abroad are almost unconsciously, perceiving the whole admixture as normal behaviour.

The question is: how is such a celebrated model of (mis)behaviour retrievable, when in fact the learning curve begins from a very early addictive age?

What/who then is the descriptor of ‘leadership’?

Is there going to be an international standard for lying and all its related connotations?

In this toxic environment, mimicry is alive and unhealthy!

Yours faithfully,

E.B. John

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