One Reporter Went a Week Without News About Trump. Here’s What He Learned

Donald Trump’s dominance of the headlines led one reporter to ponder whether it’s possible to go Trump-news free.

By Alexandra HartFebruary 23, 2017 12:15 pm

ISIS is retreating across Iraq and Syria, Brazil seems on the verge of chaos, a large ice shelf in Antarctica is close to a full break and scientists may have discovered a new continent near Australia. If you missed any of these stories, New York Times technology writer, Farhad Manjoo says that the reason may be the overwhelming amount of news coverage of President Donald Trump.

Manjoo recently wrote in the Times about his week long experience in a self imposed exile from Trump news.

On Trump’s dominance of the news:

“I had this sense for about a month or so that we were in this news environment that had been overtaken by Donald Trump and I was worried I was missing other news by focusing so much on the new administration. I also particularly wanted to see what I could learn about the media and how the modern digital media works by ignoring its biggest subject.”

On finding for Trump-free spaces:

“Amazon was not safe because I was shopping there one day and it suggested I buy Trump toilet paper. There was pretty much no Trump-free zone on the internet. There were parts that were less Trump heavy. If I looked at the foreign press and looked at the BBC for example, there was more non-Trump news but there was still a lot of Trump.”

On whether avoiding news about the president makes sense:

“He’s shaking up Washington and how the administration works. That difference in how he’s operating merits coverage. That said, if you look at Facebook, he is, for a lot of people, 90 percent of what you see on Facebook and I don’t think anyone can make a reasonable case that he is 90 percent of what’s happening in the world.”

On whether Trump will continue his outsized role in the news cycle:

“One of the things I hope is that over time, the news business figures out a balance but at this point, it’s hard to see how that will happen. The Trump administration keeps making news. The news echos across every part of society so it’s difficult to know if we can get to that balance and it’s hard to know how that balance starts.”

Written by Emma Whalen