The medium is the message is a phrase coined by a contemporary philosopher/professor in the 60s. His name is Marshall McLuhan. It is in my view one of the great truisms of our time.
To illustrate what McLuhan meant by it, let's look at the controversy now raging among pro athletes regarding Trump's recent remarks about kneeling during the national anthem (Isn't there always some sort of controversy? What will it be when this one dies down?).
To paraphrase Trump he said basically every team owner should fire every son of a bitch who does not stand for the national anthem.
I think most people would agree that it is a basic sign of respect for our country and the men and women who are now serving and for those who have in the past. Who wouldn't agree with that?
Well, apparently there are in fact some people who don't. What's more it's their right-a right confirmed by the supreme court and a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
As usual, Trump's method of disagreeing with those people has become the message-not the issue itself.
The same thing happened regarding the Charlottesville fiasco. The issue there was not really about statues. The issue was the presence of Nazi's, white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan. In Trump's handling of this, he basically legitimized hate, bigotry, racism and violence. The statue thing got totally lost in the shuffle.
In other words in both these examples, it was the medium that became the message, not the core issue.
We all know of course that Trump is too stupid to figure this out. I'm sure he never heard of Marshall McLuhan much less understand his point. But how about the rest of us. Well, that's exactly why we see the push-back that we're seeing. People are trying to get across to Trump that he needs to find better, more effective and respectful ways to make his point. Think he will? Me neither!