Dave Pell
Dave Pell
Dec 7, 2017 · 9 min read
Illustration: Trevor Fraley

It’s Happening…

Earlier this year, several family members and I were standing around the kitchen island in my sister’s house when it happened. You know the feeling. For me, it usually happens just to the right of my genitals. Maybe for you, it’s your back pocket, resting on the desk in front of you, on your nightstand, or somewhere as distant as an arm’s length away. I’m talking about that vibration. That breaking-news buzz.

It’s Everywhere…

We are a nation obsessed. The breaking-news tsunami began its dramatic buildup during the 2016 presidential election. (Remember when you couldn’t wait for that news cycle to end because it was so exhausting?) Things have accelerated. Then and now, one person is the primary driver of breaking news (and nervous breakdowns). While Donald Trump’s legislative track record is nothing to brag about (though he will anyway), there is one area where he can indeed claim to be tired of all the winning. Donald Trump wanted to be the biggest show in town. He wanted to be the top story. He wanted to dominate public discourse. Win. Win. Win.

It’s Unprecedented…

Compared to today’s news fixation, Americans were sort of into the OJ trial. Trump news is the equivalent of the white Ford Bronco chase going on for all of 2017. (You can almost picture Kellyanne Conway in the passenger seat and, later, Sean Spicer playing the role of a less talented, less forthright Kato Kaelin.) We follow every twist and turn. You know all the characters, each of the props, and every word from the script (all the way down to which letters need to be in all caps). Pocahontas. Liddle Bob Corker. Rocket Man. Alternative Facts. The Paper Towel Toss. Covfefe. The Wall. SAD! ENJOY!

It’s a Black Hole…

It’s always on, it’s unavoidable, it’s all-consuming. Other content can’t compare. Why would I settle for watching Stranger Things on TV when I can open my laptop and be guaranteed of seeing Even Stranger Things? The president likes to pretend we’re not watching NFL games because a few players are kneeling during the anthem. We’re not watching the NFL because we’re watching Trump news. (Ironically, both the NFL and Trump news carry similar concussion risks.) Want to take a break from a long day of Trump news and watch a late-night talkshow? Well, guess what? The hosts are talking about Trump news, too. And not yesterday’s Trump news. Breaking Trump news.

It’s a Team Effort…

It’s no wonder that we’re all swirling into a bottomless pit of news. But the president and his co-stars couldn’t have created the quicksand cesspool alone. They needed accomplices. And this is one of the few areas where Trump and the media have shared a common goal.

Words That Matter

Some of the year’s most influential writers, thinkers, and experts reflect on the words that matter most in 2018.

Dave Pell

Written by

Dave Pell

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.

Words That Matter

Some of the year’s most influential writers, thinkers, and experts reflect on the words that matter most in 2018.