Sputnik: The book is slated to come out tomorrow, but I know that it has been pre-released and we've seen a lot of press coverage with excerpts from the book itself. What do you think of the book "Fear: Trump in the White House"?
Robert Gutsche Jr: Well, the book is one of multiple volumes that have been coming out in the last couple of years that have a lot of salacious details of the inner workings of the White House and potentially Donald Trump's mind. And one of the questions is: Is this the type of journalism that we need, if journalists feel that there is something that needs to be combated with the Trump presidency? It's a lot of details that we've heard before so it really confirms a lot of things that people think, but it's not getting to the heart of why Trump is popular, for journalists as well as for other voters.
Sputnik: Why do you think he is popular for journalists?
Robert Gutsche Jr: Well, they do make quite a bit of money off of this; I mean they've become a lot more important. Journalism schools have been seeing a lot more interest in their programs, ratings are high at news stations, newspapers are becoming legitimate places again where people go get information, share opinions, have discussions. And that was something that wasn't really happening before 2016 — there was a lot of conversation about the death of journalism. Now we are starting to see journalists using this opportunities, for right or wrong, to say: "Look we are legitimate again, media is something that's important, turn your social media to us and let us tell you what's going on in the White House."
Sputnik: Do you think the situation with journalism as a whole is undergoing some kind of revelation or is it just Trump being so unique?
Robert Gutsche Jr: Maybe a little bit of both, right. It's journalism going through economic hardship, fragmented audiences wanting to go to lots of different places for opinion-based information, or quirky information, the rise of click-bait, the rise of all these different things that we've been playing with. The rise of Facebook, for instance, has been a place to put real news and fake news and opinions and pictures of kitties. And the audiences, I think, are really confused because journalists for a long time have not been providing the resources that a lot of mainstream Americans want and need. There aren't really stories coming from the heartland anymore, there aren't stories from the inner cities that are telling stories of injustice that speak to people living there. Then there is Trump, who has made being a spectacle for most of his career into a real brand for him. So we know what we are going to get as journalists if we were to call up one of his advisers or ask Trump himself at a press conference. We know we are going to get something hot and a good sound bite.
Sputnik: There are a lot of things in this book that actually sound quite frightening. There are people working on the inside of the White House to keep Trump from doing terrible things. How does that affect his work, his reputation, the work of the White House staff when this kind of thing is written? Was this a responsible thing to do or was this not a responsible thing to do to write this kind of book?
Robert Gutsche Jr: I'm not saying that some of things coming out aren't frightening, I think they certainly are. But I think some of these base supporters are a lot smarter than people give them credit [for], in the sense that they do take a lot of these things tongue-in-cheek, they don't really think we are talking about keeping Trump's finger off the nuclear buttons. These kinds of things they kind of take tongue-in-cheek. And that's a problem. But that's on the one hand. The writing of the editorial, what was really interesting about that, was it's saying yes, we are doing things in the White House to curtail some of these crazy moments, but at the end of the day, the writer still supports a lot of the policy shifts, it seems, that have been happening in the White House. Possibly with the immigration policies they we've seen enacted and the warehousing of children and immigrants. That may, to the writer, have been a success. There are a couple of phrases in there that say "we want this administration to succeed."
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