In an op-ed for The Guardian this Wednesday, the former editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News recounted his years covering Donald Trump before he was president, and marveled at how Trump’s massive celebrity ego has transferred over to his presidency.
“He had no shame in using the media and we had no qualms about capitalizing on his headline-generating power,” writes Martin Dunn. “For decades the competition centered on which tabloid could out-Trump the other. In a city where business leaders are hailed as celebrities, Trump became the undisputed master manipulator – the man who understood that the only thing worse than being written about was not being written about.”
According to Dunn, the facts about Trump that were being written weren’t of prime importance. The only thing he cared about was exposure.
Then, coverage of Trump was a “fun” endeavor, but Dunn says that he’s not laughing anymore, since the “very things that brought him headlines are now the behavior that is costing America in ways unimaginable a few months ago.”
“The president’s nightly, often rambling, performances in front of the White House and world’s press have developed a sad, deep, morbid fascination,” Dunn writes. “It is unconscionable that even in the depth of one of the world’s most deadly crises, Trump displays the same unfiltered – and frequently uneducated – outbursts that typified his relationship with his hometown press in the 1980s and 1990s.”
Dunn admits that’s it’s heartbreaking to acknowledge the role he played in pumping up Trump’s ego, “never considering that with each headline, we were feeding the monster of his ego and enhancing his public profile – a profile that allowed him to eventually take control of the country.”
Read Dunn’s full op-ed over at The Guardian.