Trump fatigue causes indifference in US

PHOTO: Reuters

Five months have passed since US President Donald Trump took office.

While American society sees deepening division between conservatives and liberals - which is very unlikely to be fixed - some unexpected phenomena have been observed.

One of them is the "Trump bump," which has been welcomed by newspapers and other major media sources.

It is said that Trump's aggressive attacks on media outlets such as newspapers that have been critical of his administration, labeling them with such terms as "fake news" and "the enemy of the American people," actually resulted in increasing the number of subscribers to these newspapers.

A typical example is The New York Times, which Trump has referred to as "failing."

However, the newspaper saw a net jump of about 300,000 digital news subscriptions in the January to March quarter alone - record growth not seen since its establishment. And the circulation revenue from the digital subscriptions in the first quarter increased by 40 per cent from the same period last year.

The paper did not exactly thank Trump, but its CEO Mark Thompson said, "Even the president of the United States was kind enough to draw attention to it."

Other major newspapers that report heavily on Trump, such as The Washington Post, are said to also be experiencing increases in subscriber numbers, but it would be hasty to conclude that this recent trend promises a bright future for US media.

There have been voices, not only from liberals who are critical of the administration but also from Trump supporters, saying that they cannot take the relentless flood of reports about the president every day.

This is said to be a sign of "Trump fatigue" in the United States.

WFMU, a radio station based in the suburbs of New York, has been airing stories on light topics and local events, including those that feature animals, during the morning commute since spring.

The radio station said it intends to not broadcast stories regarding Trump to give listeners "a spot on the radio in the morning that is a refuge from all the horrible political news everywhere in the American mediascape these days," adding that its listeners to the morning show "have been incredibly grateful."

Some people have decided to temporarily stop using Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites that Trump makes great use of, or to delete their accounts entirely.

Columns promoting the "joy of missing out" are also drawing attention.

"I think it's best to avoid Twitter and Facebook, or any other social media site where you know people are stuck in an eternal argument they have no intention of ever losing," said Drew Magary, a 40-year-old novelist and columnist.

"I stopped following all politics after the election, and it helped a lot."

However, once you turn your back on current affairs and stop voicing your opinion, it is the same as giving the administration a blank check.

I wonder where American society, in which indifference among people is quietly spreading even as conflicts between conservatives and liberals become more serious, is heading.

The only thing I can be sure of is that the future of the United States under Trump is now even more unpredictable.

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