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Are the media really going to help Trump win — again?

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 5/15/2020
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Trump points to a question as he speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11. © Alex Brandon President Trump points to a question as he speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11.

Thanks to Joan Vennochi for presenting examples of the many ways the media are remiss in their coverage of Donald Trump and of Joe Biden (“Media treats Trump with kid gloves on coronavirus, pummels Biden on old allegation,” Opinion, 5/7). Just as they were instrumental in helping Trump get elected by keeping the story of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails alive, they have kept the Biden story prominent even when there are no significant developments.

In the half-decade since Trump announced his candidacy, the media still haven’t figured out how to cover him without advancing his agenda. There is plenty of information on how to avoid promoting him, but the media are too addicted to him and too lazy to change their ways.

For example, cognitive science shows that repeating what Trump says, or even reporting the negative of what he says, activates in the brain the idea he wants to plant there. In reporting, the media should first state the correct information and then refer to Trump’s distortions. This applies to headlines and teasers as well as the reports themselves.

Though he excoriates mainstream media, Trump could not have gotten elected without their unintentional complicity, and he might get reelected with their continuing help.

Michael Biales

Acton

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