To Write About Trump, or Not?

“You write about Donald Trump a lot,” my friend told me. I paused, thought about the the homepage of my blog, which I knew featured several posts about Trump. Then I thought about the drafted articles saved on my laptop—many of which are about Trump—and I nodded.

“You’re right,” I said. “But is a lot too much?”

Speaking of drafts, I have one called “To talk about Trump, or to not talk about Trump?” So let’s talk about talking about Trump (confused yet?).

A few weeks ago, Toronto Star’s Washington correspondent, Daniel Dale, came to speak at my journalism school. Dale fact-checked Trump throughout the election, and continued to fact-check him after he took office in January. He is, in other words, no stranger to writing about Trump. During his speech, he said, “Pretty much anything with Trump in the headline gets a ton of readers.” I nodded my head and laughed, because it’s true. As a news-consumer, I am quick to click on articles about Trump. And, lately, the articles I have written about Trump have outperformed non-Trump articles.

This, I think, is exactly the way Trump wants things to be. The adage “All press is good press” seems to embody Trump. Even in the days before he entered politics (the good old days, if I do say so myself) Trump faced negative news cycles. Still, they always seemed to work in his favour—more people watching The Apprentice, for example. I imagine the inside of Trump’s head is a chaotic place. The word “ratings” probably still bounces around a fair bit in his mind. After all, Trump did brag about the viewing statistics for his Inauguration. The presidency is like a reality TV show to him. Negative news about Trump is still good press to him.

So maybe we shouldn’t feed this. In January, I thought it would be cool to go a week without reading Trump-related news and then write an article about the experience. I imagine it would have been a bliss-filled week. I have to complete a weekly news quiz for my journalism class, though, so ignoring Trump-related news unfortunately isn’t an option for me (and, besides, another like-minded journalist ended up doing this experiment and writing about it). I have also considered what would happen if, for one day, news organizations just stopped talking about Trump and American politics. The problem is that, speaking of ratings, theirs would likely plummet. But a Trump-free news cycle would be so refreshing; and I think that’s what my friend was hinting at when she said I write about him a lot.

To say that a Trump-free news cycle would be refreshing, though, is an indication of my privilege. Unfortunately, many people can’t ignore Trump. To them, he isn’t just an incessant topic on CNN. He’s the reason they’re fearful to go outside, the reason their community is facing increasing hate crimes. Trump’s executive orders, policies, and actions affect real people—not just in America, but around the world. If you are privileged enough that they do not have a directly negative impact on you, then I believe you have a responsibility to speak up for those who are affected.

Beyond the fact that, as Dale said, posts about Trump are popular, this is one of the reasons why I refuse to stay silent about Trump. I want to think critically and write carefully about him, and I want to spark conversations and critical thinking for my readers. Maybe I am preaching to the choir—I have no evidence that any of my posts have, for example, made a Trump supporter change their mind about him. But if I’ve made one person think about him differently, or think about his policies and the people affected, then I think I’ve done my job as a blogger and as a journalist.

As I read and write about Trump, I am cognizant of the fact that so many other people are also writing about him. I am just one of the many voices, shouting Trump’s name into the void. Except it’s not really like that, because it’s not a void. I consider myself fortunate to be in a position where people read my blog, consider my words, and sometimes add their own perspective. I am not, by any means, a “definitive voice” on Trump or American politics. But writing about Trump challenges me, and it matters to me.

I know I write about Trump a lot. Maybe it is too much. Maybe we all write about Trump too much—because it is, after all, giving him the attention that he seems to crave. But we cannot lose sight of the fact that our words matter, because the impact Trump has matters. I am going to keep writing about Trump, the people he is impacting, and the ways we can help them. And if you are also a blogger, writer, or journalist, I would encourage you to do the same.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments! | Follow me on Twitter | Bloglovin’

30 thoughts on “To Write About Trump, or Not?

  1. I found this so refreshing and reassuring. I, too, go through this daily dilemma. Trump does or says something outrageous, and I feel the need to say something. I stop myself because I know the world could use less articles about Trump. At the same time, how could you not write about Trump? The things he and his administration have gotten away with warrant a critical eye. And to think the guy’s been in office just under 2 months.

    I appreciate your perspective on this vicious news cycle we’ve found ourselves in. Your thoughtful approach to talking about Trump is insanely brave, especially now when so many people get fired up just hearing his name. We need more articles and discussions like these.

  2. Excellent piece, I have been having the same headache on my own blog (just wasn’t articulate enough to write something like this about the phenomena). Personally, I agree that we should probably not stop writing about him as we need to constantly make people aware about the damage he is doing; however, we cannot lose sight of the fact that other things are happening around us which are important too. It’s just about finding the right balance I guess.

  3. Love the thought you put into your decision. It’s good to be aware of your privilege as someone who can turn off the news and walk away from Trump. I’m one of those people (and I have exercised that privilege by not writing about him or sharing news about him on social media). But I have friends who can’t walk away. Friends in the US who’s families, safety, and livelihoods are threatened. As long as journalists critique him where it counts (policies instead of rumor-mongering), then I think talking about him is still much better than ignoring him.

  4. Hey! Saw your comment on the Community Pool. Really, REALLY, liked your post. I (with the help of a few others) write a blog thats explicitly about politics, so some posts about Trump were always inevitable. I have noticed though that we end up writing quite a bit about Trump… Since the start of the general election, I’d say about a third of our posts were about him. Since the inauguration, maybe as much as half.

    Obviously he was elected President of the United States, so he’s going to come up some in a blog about politics. But I’ve often wondered the same things as you have. Are we becoming too one dimensional? Does the focus on Trump diminish attention from other things that may be just as worth of our attention? Are we “feeding the beast” by helping to drive so much public discourse about him?

    Its a lot to think about. Appreciate your post, I’ll be sure to check back for more whether you’re writing about Trump or not, haha.


  5. As a cycling blogger I am conveniently able to avoid writing about Trump. Unfortunately, this leaves me without an outlet for my Trump angst. Maybe I could shoe horn him into a 500 word blog post about gear ratios?

    Come on…you’d read that, right?

      1. Probably not, but he seems to have brought whatever those years in real estate and television taught to the White House, like how to manipulate the news cycle and get out of trouble by starting a bigger fight.

  6. Trump always says something crazy, and I think that’s upsetting. He’s always speaking about something negative in his tweets or bashful, and I really think as President that should be something he himself should look towards changing.

      1. Yes, thank you!! Looking at the CNN news today, it’s kind of odd knowing that it’s hard to trust where the current President is going with everything.

      2. Exactly! I think a lot of people are questioning whether or not Trump (and members of his administration) can be trusted, considering all of the different narratives going around in the past few days.

      3. Agreed! I myself am not even sure Trump is trustworthy as our President. He’s done a lot of stuff in the past and now, and it’s very hard to forget that.

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