Donald Trump: A Powerhouse in the Attention Economy


Love him? Hate him? Don’t care? Doesn’t matter. As Donald Trump’s legal case heats up, the attention he commands only widens. Wherever he turns, be it staying in the spotlight or being caught in the glare of media lenses, the former president has no limits to the attention he can draw. Thousands of New York City police officers, the U.S. Secret Service, and a plethora of journalists recently followed and captured his arrival to the city for his arraignment. It was a far cry from his former pomp and circumstance, yet still indicative of Trump’s knack for headline grabbing.

It serves as a reminder that in today’s world, spectacle reigns supreme, governing the attention economy and the cultural conversation. At his court appearance, you could feel the tension between the all-too-familiar exhibition and the stark seriousness, having been thrust into a high tension battle between the mannered, governmental machinations and a wild, populist, reality TV-style rhetoric. American built monuments like the impressive masonry featured at the courthouse are symbols of the effort to keep democracy alive, and on this day they held their own particularly potent significance.

The sky was thick with news helicopters, marking a similar scene to the white Bronco vehicle of O.J. Simpson back in ’94 when he too was accused of a high-profile crime. The dramatic presence of cameras and commentators put the spotlight on this affair, giving every moment its own chance to go viral. The Newsmax anchor dubbed Trump the ‘star of the show’ and sources commented on the ‘soundtrack’ of Trump’s legal cases echoing his presidency. His personal legal tribulations have been given a national twist yet again.

In today’s world, disemination of information through media and social networks is ever-present, and Trump takes full advantage of it. Minutes before to his court arrival he posted a tweet about America not being ‘supposed to be this way’, then again post-court. False propaganda was also made during his time there, as fundraisers took advantage of his audience to rally the troops and earn money.

The attention economy also demands accountability. That traditional sense of control Trump had of himself and his narrative has been confined – and he didn’t seem to like it much. Instead of being the ‘conquerer’ and master storyteller, he was reduced to being ‘narrated’ himself, a state he is not familiar with. Still, no matter how much the press put their spin on it, Trump gave a prime-time rally for his supporters at Mar-a-Lago – where else? – showcasing his old-time bravado, trying to wrest back his strategic hold on the attention economy.

The company mentioned in this article is Newsmax, a television news channel and political website that was founded in 1998. The channel gained in popularity in 2020 and 2021, especially after the 2020 United States presidential election due to its advocacy in favour of Donald Trump.

The person mentioned in this article is Dana Bash. She is an American journalist who is the Chief Political Correspondent for CNN, appearing on various programs including The Lead with Jake Tapper, State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Wolf, as well as Anderson Cooper 360. She was the network’s White House Correspondent during the entire Obama administration, and the Capitol Hill Correspondent prior to that. She is widely recognized as a top political pundit in the United States, given her extensive experience in the field.