It’s not uncommon to see MSM in the spotlight over its controversial reports, but news outlets really outdid themselves when they chose to jump on the bandwagon of a sourceless New York Times article which claimed Donald Trump drinks 12 Diet Cokes a day.
To understand exactly what occurred in the world of MSM on Monday, you first have to go back to a New York Times (NYT) reportfrom Saturday, titled ‘Inside Trump’s Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation.’ It’s a dramatic headline to say the least, which the outlet backs up by claiming to have interviewed “60 advisers, associates, friends, and members of Congress.”
In the report, the outlet – a well-known foe of President Trump – allegedly details the leader’s day-to-day life in the White House. Citing estimates from “people close to him,” the newspaper stated that Trump “spends at least four hours a day, and sometimes as much as twice that, in front of a television… marinating in the no-holds-barred wars of cable news and eager to fire back.”
That claim was enough to get the attention of Trump, who tweeted that it was a “false story” and “bad reporting.” But mainstream media seemed to care less about the TV claim and more about a singular sentence which stated – without naming a source – that Trump drinks a dozen Diet Cokes a day.
“Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day,” the NYT article states. That was all mainstream media outlets needed to make a story.
Quick! Call the experts!
The mainstream media landscape – both in the US and abroad – was dominated with Diet Coke headlines on Monday, two days after the New York Times published its article. A Washington Post opinion piece didn’t stop at Diet Cokes. It went on to shame the president for reportedly… wait for it… eating McDonald’s on the campaign trail. Granted, the claims are that he often ate two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and a chocolate shake in one sitting – but should that really matter, amid North Korean nuclear threats and turmoil in the Middle East?
In an effort to justify the hysteria, many outlets called in experts to provide comment about the ill effects that 12 daily Diet Cokes can have on a person. “That amount of anything is potentially harmful for anybody,” dietician Aisling Pigott, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, told International Business Times UK. “Twelve cans is equal to 500mg of caffeine a day, a large amount of artificial sweeteners and lots of gas.”
Nutritionist Dr. Joanna McMillan went so far as to tell stuff.co.nz that the Diet Cokes could be affecting the president’s brain. “If [Trump’s] eating a rubbish diet with these drinks, considering he is slightly overweight, looking at his diet overall then his brain function is affected,” she said.
‘What happens to your body if you drink 12 cans of Diet Coke a day, like Donald Trump?’ reads a Monday headline from British newspaper Metro. It of course provided the answer by way of David Katz, a nutrition expert at the Yale School of Medicine. “Twelve cans a day, diet or regular, it’s potentially going to do damage to your skeleton, and eventually that can be a serious problem,” he said.
CNN called in numerous experts, one of whom explained the dangers of 12 Diet Cokes using a physical display of, well, 12 Diet Cokes. Another expert told the outlet that Diet Coke can fill a person with bubbles, cause bloating, and damage tooth enamel.
Diet Coke v terrorist attack
CNN really excelled itself when it came to devoting on-air time to the Diet Coke saga, deciding to give it significant attention on Monday. Some would say its dedication to the story was a bit over-the-top, but what happened next was even more shocking.
When news broke of a suspected terrorist attack near Times Square in New York, CNN made the decision to continue shaming Trump about his beverage choice, rather than interrupt its segment for the breaking news.
The timeline of events is easily understood when you watch this video of the Diet Coke segment, which begins at 8:39am EST. Twenty seconds into the broadcast, the anchor tells her guest – CNN contributor and Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio – that the network has breaking news so she may have to cut away from him. However, the clip continues until 8:47am, with no mention of the terrorist attack taking place at all during that time. At 8:45am, a blurb can be seen on the ticker at the bottom of the screen.