Sunday 25 September 2016

Time to be a statesman not a showman, Donald

Published 04/08/2016 | 02:30

'So far, Mr Trump's pronouncements have been anything but nuanced or diplomatic. His see-sawing on policy and his heady brew of inflammatory statements do not induce confidence' Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
'So far, Mr Trump's pronouncements have been anything but nuanced or diplomatic. His see-sawing on policy and his heady brew of inflammatory statements do not induce confidence' Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has managed to test the tolerance of not only the American public, but he has also sparked open warfare within his own party, too.

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From lambasting the mother of a war hero to humiliating the mum of a crying baby, Mr Trump has produced more cringe-inducing moments than any other contender in living memory in the race to become the most powerful person in the world.

Embarrassment we can live with - but volatility and unpredictability at a time of such global instability is of far more immediate concern. Yesterday, Mr Trump was alleged to have asked an advisor three times why the US can not use its nuclear weapons. A spokesman for Mr Trump denied the claim, but the fact that it could credibly be made is a worry in itself. Yesterday also saw North Korea fire a missile which landed in the sea off Japan - an incident that prompted an emergency UN meeting.

So far, Mr Trump's pronouncements have been anything but nuanced or diplomatic. His see-sawing on policy and his heady brew of inflammatory statements do not induce confidence. His provocative and deliberately controversial stances have guaranteed that he sucks all the oxygen out of the room when it comes to gaining attention, but gaining trust at home and abroad requires something more.

Yesterday, French President Francois Hollande said some of Mr Trump's utterances make his stomach churn, and previously said Mr Trump's election would be dangerous. Playing to the galleries is all very well, providing that's as far as it goes. Mr Trump might set the nerves of the world at ease were he to be more of the statesman and less of a showman. He might also familiarise himself with Mario Cuomo's dictum - 'campaign in poetry, govern in prose'.

RTE must move with the changing times in media

The media landscape is changing before our eyes, and the challenge is clear enough - adapt or die. The national broadcaster, RTE, has been the promised land for aspiring journalists and broadcasters since it was founded on June 1, 1960. With a licence fee and a chokehold on advertising, the station thrived.

It had a clear public service remit and, without competition, went from strength to strength. But, as all media without the benefit of licence fees know, there is no safe haven from commercial considerations. Yesterday the station announced that its deputy director general and managing director of news and current affairs, Kevin Bakhurst, is leaving. Last month, RTE lost Glen Killane, former managing director of RTE TV, and RTE2 channel controller Bill Malone. Holding on to the millennial market and formulating new strategies in such a congested market is vital for RTE. In the digital age, managing and capitalising on changing viewer habits is equally critical.

Advertisers have multiple platforms as the paradigm shifts, so developing new approaches is key.

Montrose has, in the past, been accused of playing safe and sticking too closely to outdated formats. Audiences now have a smorgasbord of choice. It has proven itself to be a survivor, and new director general Dee Forbes, the first woman to hold the post, has an impressive track record. Moya Doherty, chair of RTE's board, said her arrival marks "a significant moment in the development of RTE".

Given the revolution taking place in media, Ms Forbes must know that more of the same just won't cut it.

Irish Independent

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