Trump and the News Cycle

On March 4, President Donald J. Trump did what he does best―sent a tweet with unsubstantiated evidence. This time, however, his tweet has gained more traction than his previous “fake news,” “inauguration crowd,” or even “voter fraud” tweets for its ludicrousness.

The tweets were posted in a President Trump like fashion on Saturday, March 4th at 6:30 AM ET. Many journalists believe that the tweets were posted to distract the media from the previous day’s news about President Trump’s frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The president had a fit of anger when he heard his attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from an investigation involving Russian meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election.  

The president’s tweets were greeted with round-the-clock news coverage with headlines such as, “Trump Accuses Obama of Trump Tower Wiretap,” which was uploaded Saturday afternoon to the Washington Post website. The story was originally discussed by right-wing radio show host Mark Levin then by Breitbart, the controversial news network of the “alt-right.”

President Trump’s claim about former President Obama’s “wiretapping” should not be taken lightly. Claiming that an administration has wiretapped someone has a history of political scandal that Trump acknowledges in a later tweet noting the similarity to “Nixon/Watergate.”

There is no evidence whatsoever that Obama committed such a wiretap. Even FBI Director James Comey felt the need “to push back on [the allegations]” because he knew the claims were unsubstantiated. Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the Obama administration, said that President Trump’s tweets were, “simply false.”

There is no doubt that this is another one of Trump’s Twitter tirades. First, the president makes an accusation with no evidence. Then, new agencies dissect the language with various pundits for the next couple of news cycles. This continues until there is either another tweet or new information about one of his previous allegations. In the coming days, there will be more information regarding his accusations and their validity. This story, however, contributes to a larger trend developing, one about the ways in which news agencies transmit news.

Since the beginning of his presidency, news agencies have covered the president’s tweets and controversial stories for a majority of their air time. The people watching these channels are truly watching the “new cycle.” The different news outlets continuously send their reporters out to cover the same stories over and over again. The American public has a reason to be upset, not just with Trump.

The stories that are being covered are the same on every major news channel. When CNN releases a story, it is only minutes until Fox News, MSNBC, and other channels have political commentators talking about the exact same story. This pattern is only perpetuated by the fact that, every day, there is a story about President Trump and his administration that needs to and should be covered.

I am not claiming that news on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, or other channels isn’t or shouldn’t be discussed, but that each news outlet should send reporters out to investigate topics other than the Trump administration. When news channels have reporters discussing issues that no other channel is reporting, that is a good story. American viewers want to know about the most recent tweets about President Trump, but they also want to learn about other issues that no one else is talking about.