Someone who has some association with Donald Trump has a live televised meltdown, and the press, being the vultures that they are, not only kept the cameras running, they exploited it and made fun of a person whose mental health at that point in time for their own narratives.
Axios had an article about the pathetic episode with this observation:
This is one of the reasons America hates the media. Our entire industry lit itself on fire because a troubled Trump hanger-on made an ass of himself — live.
It was more than that. No one asked questions of Sam Nunberg beforehand: was he drugged, having a mental breakdown, drunk, or was he in any condition to give actual consent to an interview.
When I was in my late teens, I volunteered as a recreationist at a psychiatric ward as I was studying psychology and I wanted more real-life experience. I would bring art supplies, and teach jewelry-making in an informal way, and brought other kinds of crafts, such as polymer clay for sculpting.
It was an eye-opening experience in many regards, but there was a Big Lesson: often, when there was a scandal or bad news on the local news, very often the person who was accountable for fixing it or ending things (such as closing a group or business because of the troubles), there was a good chance the person on television having to deal with catastrophic news ended up in that ward.
They were absolutely haunted and devastated that there was an unhappy ending, often meaning some people were out of a job, people were without an important service, and the attacks and abuse the person had to take because of it, even if they weren’t to blame for the troubles in the first place.
We don’t often look at the consequences of that kind of coverage, but I had seen it long before I decided to become a journalist.
If someone’s mental capacity is in question, there shouldn’t be an interview. He may be drunk, but he may have resorted to substance abuse for some other reason. Or he may have other issues.
It is the reason why I have always maintained that journalists should have mandatory training in psychology. You have to have some basis in real knowledge in the human condition, including knowing how to spot certain personality disorders that may cause you trouble later on because you took the information as is when you are unaware you have to verify that information a different way because the person you interviewed has skewed filters.
This is a black mark on broadcast journalists, without a doubt. They wanted to paint Donald Trump as someone who is surrounded by loons. I am certain if they circled around any president, you will find someone who had substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and the like, considering that a significant percentage of the general population struggles with mental health issues at some point of their lives.
But journalism is ignorant of psychology. They would have loved Bedlam where the general public could pay an admission at asylums to watch the mentally ill. It was entertainment until morals took over perceptions.
And the Nunberg Interview was a form of Bedlam.
But people don’t hate journalism. They stopped caring. They became apathetic because there is nothing of value to them in the product.
It reminds me of marriage counsellors who prefer when couples come in arguing than when one has no connect and is apathetic toward the other. The former means there is still feelings, and with feelings, there is hope to save the marriage.
The latter means it’s over. The partner has made peace that this relationship is over, and has moved on.
And that is what journalists fail to comprehend. They are no longer provoking an audience. The audience left and has moved on because they have found other ways to amuse themselves.