Editorial – Trump’s Stormy affair another rope-a-dope

The president and a former porn star are dominating conversations across the country, not just headlines.

News of President Donald Trump’s alleged past affair with Stormy Daniels broke by The Wall Street Journal back in January. Since then, it’s been a slow-paced story, only made slower through legal means of keeping Daniels quiet, along with intimidation from Trump’s people, according to Daniels in her 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper March 25.

While that interview would’ve been eye-opening a month or two ago, it didn’t really cover new ground except for Daniels’ allegations about a man previously intimidating her into not discussing the alleged affair. For the most part, the sordid details were very common knowledge by this point.

Since January, it’s been hard not to know these details. Television media, no matter if it was a news outlet or a celebrity gossip show, stuck on this story like glue. It didn’t take long for them to go into a disturbing amount of detail about the type of affair Daniels claims she had with Trump. Now it seems Americans know more about his kinks in bed than Trump’s plan to deal with a possible trade war with China. Americans even know that Melania Trump, his wife when the affair began in 2006, traveled to Mar-a-Lago in a separate plane last weekend.

While no woman’s story should ever be dismissed or treated as if it doesn’t matter, Daniels’ story offers no new revelations about the president’s character before he took office or now as he occupies it. He’s a guy that continually boasts about his power and money to anyone who’ll listen and doesn’t waste a second trying to score a woman by emphasizing this. In fact, everyone learned this when the Access Hollywood tape surfaced back in October 2016.

Sensationalizing this news piece led to Daniels’ story becoming a large distraction and one that ultimately benefits Trump.

In fact, one of the lesser-known parts of this story is no one would be discussing Trump and Daniels’ affair had Trump’s lawyer not paid the former porn star $130,000 to keep quiet toward the end of the campaign in 2016.

However, even without that little fact, Trump was having a pretty rough week leading up to the 60 Minutes interview. This story took some of the heat off of a story about a former Cambridge Analytica employee who revealed Facebook was gathering data on users and funneling that information to political campaigns. Trump’s campaign might be among those that benefited. The lawyers he hired for the probe on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump was connected to it were fired the same day the 60 Minutes interview aired.

Not to mention that special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump Organization documents and The Washington Post reported that documents revealed Trump’s officials encouraged former campaign staffer George Papodopoulos to do outreach with foreign officials, emphasizing the benefits of partnership between the U.S. and Russia. This Daniels affair might not be going anywhere any time soon, but it’s important to stay focused. Even the most respected television news outlets and programs like 60 Minutes are victims of their need to haul in viewers. Sex sells.

But to be a truly well-informed electorate, we all have to see beyond the hot and top story. No one besides Trump’s own family is affected by this affair. All the other stories that broke within the last two weeks will and might have already affected millions of Americans. Those are the stories to follow every little sordid detail.