What is going on? Are we on a blackjack binge?
When I think of a double down, I envision of 5 and 6 at the Blackjack table, putting up double the original bet, and getting one card to hopefully make a 21. This word has been solely applied to a casino game. No more. The political media has hijacked a perfectly good game of chance.
So, this all started with a man named Donald Trump. If he does not win the election, he will be at least known for one success in the casino industry…having a ‘gambling betting term’ pay off in the English language. Forever on, a double down will be more referred to taking a bad idea and increasing its validity.
Trump created the concept to use “double down” by every political pundit and journalist this political season. However, he did not name it. Leave it to the chattering class of copycat pundits to latch on to a phrase as if they created it with the skillfulness of expert linguist.
Now, it is not only used for a situation when Donald Trump does not back down but goes full steam ahead on his original premise. It is now used for anyone in politics. Hillary Clinton “doubles down” on the email debacle. Mike Pence “doubles down” on his support for his running mate even though he cannot support many of the things he says. Rudy Giuliani “doubles down” on his ‘new-found hatred’ for Hillary Clinton. And on and on it goes.
Why do people in the media think they are so brilliant to overuse a new term so frequently? My guess is that they to are in their own bubble. It might be safe to say that all they are doing is listening to themselves, explaining why most of the public has a low favorability rating among the rest of us. It reinforces the narrative that they are an elite group of people who are more concerned about their own careers than reaching out to the public at large in a more relatable and honest manner.
In this political season, the mainstream media has been solely transfixed on Donald Trump, and to a lesser extent, his opponent Hillary Clinton. Why is that? My thought is that they are simply ‘following the money.’ They must have researched viewer analytics and determined that the more they get into “tabloid news” where the people gravitate, the more eyeballs they get, hence the more money they make.
This circular self-fulfilling business model does an injustice to us all. The question we need to ask ourselves is who follows who? Does the media deliver what the public wants to hear? Or, does the media report the news as the professionals they were trained to be and inform us about relevant matters?
Now I know there needs to be one brave news outlet that breaks the mold. A media company that does not do a full night of Donald Trump’s controversial remarks or Hillary Clinton’s scandals. How many analysts do we need on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc to help us form an opinion?
For the brave, there is an answer. Steve Jobs got it right and set the template. Create something of value that people do not know that they want it until they have it. Let’s go back to real journalism, discuss news that would normally make the headlines if not for the media going down to the lowest common denominator.
Let’s stop the “doubling down” and, pardon the cliché, “start ‘splitting’ the news.”