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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

HeadlinePorn, Donald Trump, Dennis Rodman, Paris Hilton and Rhianna...

Mark Cuban

I learned it from watching Dennis Rodman and Paris Hilton.  Tell the media what they need and want to hear. Give them a place and time to talk to you about it. Watch the headlines roll in.
Dennis would tell them where he would be partying, with who and something wild he would do. Paris would tell them what she would be wearing and what celebs she would be partying with. Both knew exactly how to leverage the media of the time to their advantage.
It wasn’t long after I got into the NBA I realized that every team had multiple media outlets that had to write, talk or broadcast something every day.  They craved content.  It was so easy to get them to write almost anything.
Once I started getting fined by the NBA, the national door flew wide open.  At the time, sports media, not only believed they were journalists, they actually tried to be.  They wrote stories. They tried to add some depth of coverage to even the simplest or stupidest of topics, say working at a Dairy Queen because I had gotten fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for saying the head of NBA officiating (who still works for the NBA btw), could not manage a DQ.  Media back then was incredulous that I would say the things I did.
It made for a lot of fun battles with them.  If they challenged me based on some nebulous opinion they held, I would challenge them right back.  The give and take was fun for me. Entertaining for some and amazing at brand building for me as well.
Over time media and the media changed.  I started this blog in 2004 particularly to respond to the media. Here is my first blog challenging Kevin Blackistone, here is me ripping the NYTimes 10 years ago this week . The good old days.
Around 2010 social media really started to take off and have an impact on reporting. In particular Twitter changed the sports media game.  Scoops were no longer delivered in the next newscast or web update.  Trolling for clicks was no longer enough.  You had to break stories on twitter.
The problem for political media is that they have not changed with the times. They are getting used and abused by Donald Trump in a way only those who truly understand Headline Porn, like the sports media, truly appreciate.
Donald can talk for hours and say nothing of true substance. But every few sentences he is going to spout out Headline Porn that is going to fit in 140 characters or so and unquestionably have to be discussed by “The Political Shows”. I’m not sure he realizes he is doing it. Im not sure who he reflects the most, Rodman or Hilton, but he is following in their footsteps.  There are certain things that when a celebrity says them, the media has to cover.
Donald is a never ending source of Headline Porn .  The value for Donald in this coverage isnt so much that the viewers of “the shows” become Trump supporters. Its the fact that the Porn becomes the focal point of all discussions and even when its not, its the squeaking springs lurking in the background. He prevents other candidates and “the shows” from being able to seriously discuss issues by overwhelming them. And I don’t think he even realizes it.
So where is he getting his support from ?
Mathew Ingram once had a brilliant line: “If the news is important it will find me”. Today that means it will find its way into your Facebook feed or an email/Instagram meme you get. That’s it.  
Regular people don’t spend time a year in advance analyzing political issues. Regular people don’t even know who Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are.  Now if one of them started dating Rhianna or Adelle, that would all change.  You know how much political substance finds its way into your Facebook feed ? None in my case. How about yours  ? None there either I would bet.
But what I do see on FB feeds is screaming headlines and the inane chatter that follows it.  Political attitudes are determined far more by instagram/email memes and short videos on facebook than anything written or broadcast anywhere in traditional media.  Its the “facebookization” of headline porn.  Gain attention. Watch your friends click like or comment with in depth answers like “wow”. ” I can see that” or better yet “this could be the only way” or “my 1 year old may depend on it “, then make up your mind, for now, about who you like for President
Until the next meme comes along.
I said back in july that what Donald Trump says is irrelevant . Its how he says it that matters.  I said back then that Donald Trump has changed politics forever.  He obviously has.
Donald Trump unwittingly introduced Headline Porn  into the political process. Facebook turned it into poll respondents for him.
Whether or not it will turn them into voters remains to be seen.  But Headline Porn is here to stay.
Think Marco Rubio could start a rumor about an affair with Rhianna and Ted Cruz could start a rumor about an affair with Beyonce and a face off with Jay Z? Now that would propel them to the top of the polls for sure !

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