Appearing on Sunday’s Face the Nation, panelist and Washington Post editor Michael Gerson expressed his fear that President-elect Trump’s penchant for reading alternative media, namely Infowars.com, could result in catastrophe for the nation.
(13:52) The problem is not just a chaotic management theory, it’s actually a weird cycle by which he will stay on message for seven days and then all of the sudden, three in the morning, he reads Infowars and, you know, sends off a tweet and then goes off, and then everyone has to go to the family and say, ‘Can you get him back on the wagon?’ And then there’s another crisis – uh, process like this.
The presidency can’t work that way. You can tank markets. You can invite incursions. You can do a variety of things. And the manner in which he both manages and his lack of impulse control when it comes to his own message – I don’t know how that works in the presidency. It’s going to be fascinating.
Another member of the panel, Michele Norris of the Race Card Project, went on to lament the rise of technology and the media’s loss of influence, since Trump can now cut out the middleman and communicate directly to the people.
(2:20) In this country we’ve always assumed technology was a good thing, we embraced it, we assumed it was propelling us forward and that it would perhaps, even though it was displacing jobs, that it would make for a better society, a better flow of information.
I think we’re going to start to question that now on a lot of levels because of what it’s done to democracy, because certainly what it’s done to the level of American discourse.
And as journalists we have to learn how to operate in a world where there is no longer a common set of facts. People get their news in such a way that it usually affirms or confirms everything that they already believe. We have somebody that is about to occupy the Oval Office who is dismissing many of the publications that we work or have worked for and is trying to bypass us and go directly to the people. So as we try to explain the surreal universe we find ourselves almost in a room of fun house mirrors trying to figure out how to describe what’s going on.
The Atlantic’s David Frum added that Trump’s win and other similar victories throughout the world point toward a “crisis in democracy not like anything seen since World War II,” and went on to repeat disputed claims that the Russian government influenced the election and hand-selected Donald Trump as US president.
While the panel debated how paranoid they should be over Trump’s Twitter usage, his incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated the president-elect had no intention of giving up his social media habits.
“You know what, the fact of the matter is that, when he tweets, he gets results,” Spicer told ABC This Week’s Jonathan Karl on Sunday
“You know, with all due respect, I think it freaks the mainstream media out that he has this following of over 45-plus million people that follow him on social media, that he can have a direct conversation,” Spicer added.