Donald Trump…a saviour?
Through his relentless barrage of abuse, most notably on Twitter, and consistent claims of the spreading of “fake news”, Trump has branded the field of political journalism as one that is not to be trusted. The executive leader has even gone as far as to deny the Washington press access to his administration.
So it should come as no surprise that there are those that claim that he is destroying the mainstream media as we know it. However, the opposite may be true in fact.
Trump appears to have given news organisations the sustainable commercial future they have been so desperately seeking. According to New York Times chief executive, Mark Thompson, Trump has generated phenomenal traffic for news websites such as the Guardian, Mail Online, Buzzfeed News and The Independent. In fact CNN, an organisation Trump repeatedly condemned for circulating fake news, reported 2016 as the news channel’s ‘most watched year’. As such, these news corporations have seen a significant rise in revenue.
Whilst many may label Trump a fool, Shakespeare argued that it is the fool that often speaks the truth. He noted that the fool is a potent truth-teller that commands attention. Shakespeare also stressed that the fool performs a vital social function by forcing the audience to examine their own preconceptions. Trump’s grand and vulgar self-absorption is forcing all of us to examine our own selfishness. His ignorance causes us to acknowledge our own blind spots, and the fear that he invokes and violence he promotes, spurs us on to be braver and more generous.
Thus perhaps Trump isn’t simply a media saviour, but also a societal one. The “fool” currently serving as president of the United States is proving to play an important and perhaps necessary role. Trump is challenging us all to grow in self-awareness and act in ways that respect and fulfil what is best, not only for democracy, but for civilization.