No, the Trump Era Was Not a ‘Thrill’
White political journalists distanced themselves from the horrors of the Trump administration in a way many of us couldn’t
The parasitic relationship between a certain class of political journalists and the Trump administration was the worst-kept secret in Washington. For over four years, previously obscure reporters leveraged their access to a media-hungry White House to land cushy analyst gigs in cable news, six-figure book deals, and public adoration. Above all, however, this class of reporters loved the thrill of being at the heart of the biggest story in generations.
A few weeks into a new administration, people like Yahoo! News national correspondent Alexander Nazaryan are already mourning the departure of the White House’s previous occupant. “I use that word, thrill, with full intention,” Nazaryan writes in a quickly reviled new essay for The Atlantic. “No need to tell me about the cruel immigration policy, the incompetent pandemic response, the racism and bigotry, the frightening chaos.”
It’s great to know some of my colleagues had the option to opt-out of the horror. The essay, originally titled “I Miss the Thrill of Trump” — and since renamed “I Was an Enemy of the People” — is as bad as the headlines suggest. Nazaryan’s ahistorical, narcissistic rewriting of the past several years is a clear reminder that for many, it was easy to embrace the chaos because they were never going to feel the full brunt of the president’s policies.
It Won’t Be Easy to Break Free from Trump’s Media Chaos
If America is going to recover from its Trump addiction, it’s going to need to embrace monotony
“I was kind of blocked on something I’m writing, it’s always invigorating to realize someone published something much worse,” tweeted Dave Weigel from the Washington Post. “Would just like to say on behalf of my fellow journalists that most of us do NOT have delusions of grandeur about being war heroes, we literally just ask people questions and sit at laptops all day and go click-clack,” wrote BuzzFeed News’ Julia Reinstein.