“Trump isn’t here to serve the people”

That’s a headline I saw over an opinion piece on the New York Times site today. I don’t need to read the article. It’s one of a constant stream of similar pieces that have appeared on the Times site during the last four years.

I get it. I doubt there is a New York Times reader who doesn’t get it: Trump is incompetent and must go.

They’re preaching to the converted. I bet a poll of New York Times readers would find that the vast majority of them won’t be voting for Trump in November.

But might they sway some Trump supporters?

Do many Trump supporters read opinion pieces about him in the New York Times?

Horrors, some might say: How can I generalize about the president’s supporters? They’re not illiterate.

I can turn that around: How could any Trump supporter who has been reading coverage of him in the New York Times these past for years still vote for him?

If it were anybody but Trump running for re-election as president, I wouldn’t be having this conversation today. And I would probably read the aforementioned opinion piece if it were about another candidate. But I’ve heard all about Trump’s failings time and again. I’m fully hydrated, thank you very much.

So for all its reach, I’m wondering this morning how much of a difference New York Times opinion writers will make in the U.S. presidential election campaign.

The same could be said for all the other opinion writers in media outlets covering the Donald, be they for or against him. They’re all preaching to the converted, in most cases.

Are they wasting their time? Should they be sharing lockdown recipes instead?

Maybe I am giving the media too much credit. Maybe they are not reaching all that many people anymore. Maybe a lot of folks are getting their news and opinion in bits and pieces on Twitter, often straight from the tweeter-in-chief himself. How many people really want to wade through a 1,200-word opinion piece on Donald Trump in any newspaper?

News coverage is another matter, and the Donald seems to know how to play the game. He knows anything he utters will be covered extensively. So he can besmirch someone and mention a seemingly off-the-cuff conspiracy theory (against him), and the media will run with it, including the New York Times.

The media always takes the bait.

I get that, too, of course. It’s their job to report what the president says. And all politicians exploit the media to their own ends. But those media outlets should be screening this a little more carefully, I think — in this case, anyway. Maybe they should not have reported every ridiculous thing Trump has said if it appears they were being used to get an idea out there to frighten voters. Because you know how it works: no matter how absurd a Trump comment might be, if the media report it, somebody will believe it.

It won’t change, though. Every dumb conspiracy comment Trump makes will be covered by all the media in the next eight weeks, and many of those (left) media outlets might inadvertently help him win re-election by simply putting his words out there and giving them some apparent legitimacy — unless you read the whole articles.

I’m betting Trump is counting on supporters not to read the articles. It’s enough for them to know that the media felt his words were important enough to be repeated. There must be something to them, eh?

— Jillian