Sunday, January 15, 2017

Presidential Media Entrepreneurship

You, telling me 
The things you're gonna do for me
I ain't blind
And I don't like what I think I see
--Doobie Brothers

There was a time when presidents were highly dependent on the mainstream media (MSM). The MSM had monopoly positions on the pipes that conveyed information to the people. Moreover, if a president did not play nice with journalists, then the press could slant stories in manners that would influence public opinion away from a chief executive.

While such slant persists today, the MSM's monopoly position on the pipes is gone. In today's information age, consumers have more choices for obtaining information than at any other time in the history of the world. People who dislike the quality of information offered by one outlet can easily find other venues.

Although this weakens the MSM's position somewhat, presidents must still depend on the press at large so long as the president outsources the writing and distributing of content.

This, of course, is no longer necessary. A president can take to Facebook, Twitter, et al and publish his or her own content and bypass the MSM altogether. Moreover, if a president does not care for how the press his treating him or her, then he can publish his own rebukes on social media.

Donald Trump has been doing precisely this. Using primarily a Twitter account, he is taking his case directly to the people with no intermediaries. He has publicly praised the MSM for content and practices that he likes, and has publicly sanctioned content and practices that he does not like. The people get it straight from Trump. No journalistic filters in between.

In what can be seen as classic entrepreneurial behavior, Trump has recognized opportunity in taking a technology developed elsewhere and applying it to his situation. Consequently, he is reducing his dependence on the MSM and gaining more bargaining power. Should he decide to exercise more discretion in his availability for traditional interviews, press conferences, etc.--something that he has signaled that he might do--then he could reverse the tables on the MSM, effectively making the press more dependent on him.

The tizzy that this has created among the MSM and their lackies is of epic proportions. As it should be as Trump is trying to restructure the industry of political reporting right in front of their eyes.

No comments: