The Washington Post published an article with the headline, “Joe Biden says ‘details are irrelevant.’ Can Democrats get away with that in the Trump era?”
CBS News did a segment on telling jokes in the Trump era.
The Wall Street Journal wrote an opinion piece on how progressives are keeping calm in the Trump era.
The New Yorker recorded a video on lies and truth in the era of Trump.
All of these pieces have four words in common: in the Trump era.
The media has always covered the president. But Donald Trump’s presidency has created an aura that has shifted media perspective and how the media is perceived.
For at least two years, journalism conferences have held sessions with titles, “(blank) in the era of Trump.”
“We would not have had these kind of sessions in the era of Obama or the era of Bush,” said Chip Mahaney, emerging talent leader for the E.W. Scripps Company.
Mahaney was a speaker at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism (EIJ18) conference in Baltimore.
Excellence in Journalism is a collaboration among several journalism associations, including the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Society of Professional Journalists.
His session was called “Gaining Back Trust in the Era of Trump.” In that panel, different solutions were discussed for publications and news stations to regain trust with their audiences.
In a second session at EIJ18 called “Midterm Elections in the Era of Trump,” panelists talked about how coverage of elections has changed since Trump took office.
This year in San Antonio, EIJ19 included a session titled, “Covering Extremism in the Age of Trump,” where the speakers discussed the extremist ideology on which newsrooms have to report carefully.
So the question arises: Why is there a consistent need to have conversations labeled “… in the Trump era”?
During the presidencies of Barack Obama and George W. Bush, journalists did not frequently feel a need to reassure their audiences that journalism still has meaning and purpose.
“Neither of those two presidents transformed the way the public views the press,” said Mahaney. “That’s the difference now.”
The era of Trump means dealing with a president who says and does things the public and media have rarely, if ever, seen in this country.
Whether Trump is president for five more years or one more year, it may take a while to return to what journalists had considered normal. Will the need to have sessions named “(blank) in the era of (president)” continue to be pressing?
“If the next president is another person like Trump, and therefore there’s not much of a change, then the sessions [like these] might become the normal,” said Mahaney.