2017’s Brangelina Break-Up: Donald Trump and The Media

2017’s Brangelina Break-Up:

Donald Trump and The Media

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Donald Trump has been a money maker, story breaker and career-defining media sensation ever since he became the Republican candidate for the 2016 election back in July of last year.

He has provided a litany and seemingly inexorable torrent of stories, material and retweets for the media that have been invigorated at a time when the very notion of media was becoming a blur. With subscriptions waning, print presses shutting down, and a very dismal outlook for journalists and writers alike because of blogging sensations, pre-President Trump, has Donald saved the media as we know it today?

Courtesy of Raw Story

If he has, he probably won’t ever recognize his contribution publicly, as currently the two are going through a very public and nasty break-up, leaving nobody unscathed. 

The five stages of grief for a break up of this magnitude would usually read 1. Denial; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. Only, this is not your typical break-up. And perhaps neither party is suffering a loss to grieve from – they are however suffering a collapse in a relationship that will have ramifications throughout the world and will cement Trump’s presidency (if it isn’t already) into presidential history as one of the most torrid since the conception of The United States of America.

It’s no secret that this relationship has been tested before – it is one that is constantly fraught with difficulties, deceits and betrayals. It had its ups and downs, breaks, and has needed outside counseling – but somehow, through thick and thin, the media and the White House have always emerged on the other side – a unified whole, a well-oiled working machine. The relationship is one that, like many, depends on honesty, communication and a deft belief in one another to provide substance, care and sometimes even some love, for the other half. The two have been known, like a regular couple, to celebrate each others achievements, and chastise (even berate) each others downfalls. Perhaps the media is the more critical of bodies in this particular love affair – but hey, there’s always one.

It was Nixon’s presidency when last the relationship was as tenuous as it is now, ironically, being that he was the president that gave the media their very own room in the White House – the briefing room, a move that in a regular relationship would term ”moving in.” It was Roosevelt who first initiated an office for White house reporters, but it was the man with whom (before Trump) had the most difficult and sensational relationship with the media that allowed them into his house and gave them let’s say, some wardrobe space – room for a toothbrush, even though they were always fighting and he too called them liars, at the end of the day – he made the first move.

Nixon assumed a similar language to that of Trump’s in the past week, calling on media outlets to reveal sources – disavowing ‘leakers’ and really tearing into the core values of his other half in this equation. He of course was eventually brought down by the infamous duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and their confidential informant ‘deep throat’ and some would propose this is why the current president is calling for sources to be revealed – because he’s arrived there’s a scandal afoot of watergate proportions. In order to hide or deflect from this worry, he has used abusive language, publicly defamed the media and chastized individuals for their Washington reporting.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the media has been hurt, by their companion’s words – they have a thick skin. It’s the president who has been the more vulnerable and easily moved by taunting matches – you might go so far as to say that in this relationship, he resembles the stereotypical ‘hysterical woman.’

His reactions are volatile, presumptuous and completely out of control. This week, members of the media were left out of a gaggle(a short, off camera press briefing)  in an unimpressive and belligerent show of force from the White House, in what appears to many and myself to be the president resigning himself to the fourth stage of grief:

Depression

Keeping some members of the press out of the gaggle – kicking a news agency or two out of a White House briefing has absolutely no effect. It’s a sad and frankly disturbing tactic and I would go so far as to say it’s an indication that Mr. Trump is deep into the depression stage, now remaining a recluse from parties. He has decided to opt out of the Correspondents’ dinner – an event at which the pair usually shine; dance together; make fun of each other publicly, and well, parade themselves as a happy couple even just for one evening. Trump’s refusal to go could be read as a sign of anxiety, a symptom of depression – knowing that on the night in question he would be the butt of perhaps one too many jokes.

It’s difficult to pinpoint at what stage of grief the media are at in this particular break-up. They are indeed a much larger and more multi-faceted body than the president; their personality and intellect on an entirely different scale; their ability to digest a loss or grievance, significantly superior to that of their White House companion. I would say, they reached acceptance at Fake News and are currently past the stages of grief and into the rebound phase, or, point of attack. While there may be no reasoning with the gruff secretary Spicer or talking Ms. Conway down, there is someone that can be reasoned with, that will listen. The lovechild of this pugnacious pair…

For me, it’s the most important factor in this break up – as in many. The child. Who gets the child?

The child here of course, is America. It is temperamental, wild, oftentimes outrageous, and in need of a stable, competent parent at. all. times. Over the next weeks and months the break-up will no doubt continue to tear the two parties asunder until under duress there will perhaps come a tipping point, similar to that in 1974. History determines that it is the media – the free, outspoken and imperturbable press that come out winning in this particular scenario.

Amy Corcoran

The Associate Editor of SWAAY: Amy is an Irish writer, avid foodie and feminist with an insatiable appetite for novels and empowering women's writing. She has enjoyed calling Dublin, Paris and now New York her home.

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