Fear, or loathing?

Communicators seem to universally despise Donald Trump—and with uncharacteristic candor. Vital Speeches editor David Murray asks why.

On my personal blog Writing Boots this week, I write that I have never heard a professional communicator say a nice thing about Donald Trump. To the contrary: On my social media feed and at communication conferences, I've heard much snarky and some passionate public insulting of Donald Trump by communicators—normally a relatively discrete crowd. Simply based on the demographics of Trump's following, I'd expect a preponderance of communication executives not to support Trump. But the confidence and apparent unanimity of communicators' loathing of him might be the most remarkable unification of opinion I've witnessed in 25 years in this business.

What explains it?

"Maybe," I write "because Trump offends communicators' sensibilities no matter what their politics. Their sensibility, their morality, their ethics."

Credibility. Dignity. Honesty. The public interest. Accuracy. Uprightness. Cultural sensitivity. Fairness. Balance. Self-honesty. Devotion to the truth.

These are values that Donald Trump has not only violated, but routinely mocks, implying by his every word and facial expression that they are rules for squares, pipsqueaks, and humorless drudges. 

In fact, if there is any constant message Trump's candidacy has sent, it is this that consistent, coherent, careful communication is for chumps. …

And yet these are values that communicators have devoted their work lives, however successfully, to upholding, in the difficult context of organizations full of people who don't.

If Trump wins, communicators lose. And it's worse than that, because it's more immediate than that: As long as Trump is winning, communicators are losingtheir essential argument that sincere communication is effective communication. 

Every day that Trump has permission to occupy the public stage, communicators lose our collective claim—and it has always been tenuous!—to ethical virtue and social usefulness. Maybe that's why I get heart palpitations while watching "The Morning Joe."

In a subsequent disucssion, two communicators begged to differ, not with my theory that all communicators despise Trump—I'm still waiting for someone to call me on that—but with my explanation. Communicators loathe Trump because he "breaks all the rules," said one. "Look how far he's gotten without a speechwriter," said another. Essentially, this theory goes, communicators hate Trump because they're worried about their job security.

Well, speechwriter, you tell us: Why do you hate Donald Trump? Is it loathing, or is it fear? —DM

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