3 Big Media Reforms to Consider

Geoff Livingston
8 min readDec 3, 2020

The United States may never recover from the warped use of propaganda by the Trump Administration. In many ways, Donald Trump is the modern equivalent of Nazi communications savant Joseph Goebbels, who used propaganda to trick Germans.

Eighty years later, Trump deployed a modern combination of reality TV and social media influencer tactics with reflexive control misinformation strategies to polarize the nation and seize power. His communications savvy consolidated power and literally built an alternative reality accepted by tens of millions of Americans.

Fortunately, Trump is pretty incompetent in every other way, causing him to lose the 2020 election and fail in his coup attempts.

What if opinion-based cable news network shows had to use a warning label to clearly delineate their content as one person’s view and not news?

Still, communications have become weaponized, from polarized mastheads in their many forms through government public affairs, sewing distrust on all sides. The resulting environment damaged institutions and international standing, injected hate into the country's moral fabric, and cost at least 100,000 additional American lives at the hands of the coronavirus.

Now we must clean up this mess.

Identifying Three Primary Problem Areas for Reform

The White House, as seen through an infrared camera.

Trump used media channels to create epic groundswells of support by destroying truth, provoking responses that polarized the nation, and exploiting perceived liberal policy weaknesses. Trump and his complicit sycophants achieved this by:

1. Perverting cable and print news with opinions and lies

2. Deploying viral deceptive social media advertising and communications campaigns across public and private channels

3. Gas-lighting the press corps and the American public with blatant propaganda, attacks, and misinformation

This is an oversimplification of problems. For example, the mainstream media continues to fail to connect with and understand rural Americans. A major gut check and evolution is needed here. Attempts to hire conservative media voices on left media channels and news outlets have been hit or miss (hello, Megyn Kelly).