By Alex Bregman (yahoo.com)
Rolling Stone magazine contributing editor Matt Taibbi spoke to Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga about his new book, “Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus,” a compilation of his reports from the 2016 campaign trail and new analysis of what’s happened since Donald Trump’s election.
Taibbi spoke with Golodryga about how Trump has transformed political news coverage. He said, “Trump’s main innovation as a politician has been to turn American politics into a reality show, and he’s been extremely effective at doing that. And it’s completely changed the entire landscape of the media.” He continued, “We’ve almost forgotten how to cover the other real story: about policies.”
His advice for journalists covering President Trump: “We’re almost entirely focused on this changing- every-second soap opera that’s going on, that swirls around Donald Trump and that’s to his advantage. I think what we have to do is focus on hard-core specific serious policy stuff as much as possible and try not to get in the circus reality that he’s distracting the press with.”
Taibbi, however, fears that at some point the Trump White House will shut out the press corps. He told Golodryga, “I think what’s going to end up happening is that the press is going to be basically frozen out of any access to the White House.”
Taibbi, however, said he doesn’t see that as necessarily a bad thing for the media. He said, “They’re going to have to retreat towards what’s really their natural posture, which is to be an adversarial body. I think in a way that will almost be a positive.”
Taibbi also talked bout Trump’s ability to get around the usual news media. He said, “People dismiss Donald Trump because he’s ridiculous, because he’s impulsive, because he tweets in the middle of the night, but he’s come up with a lot of innovations that are really quite brilliant, whether it was intentional or not.” He continued, “He’s kind of the Martin Luther of news. He’s bringing information directly to voters. He’s bypassing the church of conventional wisdom. That’s us in the media.”
Taibbi ended with a dire prediction for the next few years. He told Golodryga, “I didn’t predict Donald Trump happening, but I saw a long time ago that America was losing faith in its institutions. That they were losing faith in the press, in the government — and nothing that’s happened in the last couple of years has brought us any closer.” He continued, “We’re only more atomized and more divided than we were before. I think it’s hard to be optimistic that anything is going to get resolved in the next four years. I think it’s only going to get weirder and worse.”