You’re Editors. So Edit.
Oops I Edit Again…
Donald Trump will soon be America’s new Commander in Chief. But apparently his role as America’s Editor in Chief has already started.
Trump took to Twitter to complain that “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
Although the numbers are off, the claim, as far as we can tell, is loosely based on something related to truth. But aside from that man bites dog factor, is this tweet news? Or more to the point, is it top news?
Yes, historically it’s unusual for a president-elect to share interior monologues about policy on Twitter. So it’s news. But it’s not unusual at all for this president-elect. So it’s not top news.
It’s also true that the story fits into Trump’s broader message that it’s time for the government to stop getting ripped off. So yes, it’s news. But again, is it top news?
My answer would be, “hell no.” The answer of most of the publications I visit on a regular basis is, “hell yes.”
Here are a few examples followed by a few thoughts.
If you’re scoring at home, the big winner in this coverage are the companies that sell stock photos of Air Force One. The losers are media consumers who depend on publications to deliver news in a ranked order based on some independent and well-informed view of what really matters.
I get it. There’s a new reality. We have a president-elect who uses Twitter the way most of us use it (too much). But each tweet is not a news topper.
Editors have to adjust to this new presidential style. He’s the president, so when he communicates, you’ve got to cover it. But just because Trump tweets about Air Force One doesn’t mean it has to top your news.
You’re editors. So Edit.
(On a positive note, at least Trump is finally using Twitter the way it’s supposed to be used. For complaining about airlines.)