Jay Rosen on Why Chuck Todd’s Trump Interview Worked When So Many Fail

Step 1: Get mad as hell.

There are so many versions of the Donald Trump problem (let’s just call it a DTP for brevity’s sake) we wonder why there isn’t a meme for that. Perhaps the biggest, the one from which many DTPs stem, is owed to a media machine that can’t get Trump coverage right. As NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen put it in an interview with Brian Stelter on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday, it’s “almost like Trump is able to use the news divisions’ corporate settings against them.”

The problem, according to Rosen, is the tension between news and entertainment that comes with media organizations that provide both, especially when they try to deliver both at the same time. Because Trump is so skilled as a media personality, “he kind of overwhelms the journalists, almost like the news division is the poor cousin of the media company that Trump is succeeding with.”

The solution, for Rosen, is for journalists to go all Howard Beale in Network, but in a more measured way.

What you have to do in this situation is you have to kind of almost get mad, you almost have to get offended that Trump has been able to skate and create this Trump storm and Trump show to overwhelm journalism.

I think that something like that happened to Chuck Todd this weekend. He seemed to be almost offended that Trump had been able to get away with being a big candidate and not do retail politics, not really answer questions, helicopter in to the state fair.

I think his emotion and ‘I am going to make you answer these questions’ came through in the interview and that’s what you need.