I just mentioned this in another thread, but I notice Sean Spicer used the “no evidence” line about Trump’s collusion with Russia. There’s a lot of equivocation going on there (people equate evidence with proof), but basically he’s turning around a favourite phrase used by journalists to talk about the Obama wiretap claims. I saw one person (I wish I could remember who) say that the Obama wiretap claim was absurd but journalists have to take it seriously - like if Trump said aliens had landed on the national mall yesterday and the news was saying, “there’s no evidence of that.”
So much is baked into that phrase. “Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack” except to the extent that we can expect we would have that evidence. The example of the spacecraft on the national mall is chosen to remind us of that - if that had happened we’d surely know. If Trump has been wiretapped by the administration, surely the FBI director, or the CIA director or the head of national security would have some knowledge of that. If Trump colluded with the Russians during the campaign, we might not yet have a smoking gun, but you’d expect that at this point we’d see some ties between his campaign and the Russian government, which we have.
This is a long winded intro to get to the point: Comedians are better at covering Trump because comedy is about novel phrasing. If you call Trump a shitweasel one day and get a laugh, you can’t just keep calling him that day after day and get the same laugh. One of the biggest jokes everyone is doing is coming up with new nicknames for people every single time they bring them up.
Serious news uses the same phrase over and over and over, and Trump and his surrogates simply adopt the phrase. This has always happened, but on a much slower scale. Trump stole “fake news” from the real news in just weeks.
Serious news can mirror the success of comedy in this regard without trying to be comedy. All they have to do is use plain language. Don’t adopt catch phrases or jargon, simply say what you mean. What’s stymieing them is that they don’t feel like they can say what they mean, because they feel it would be an insult to the office of the president to tell the truth about the person who is president.
The big difference is that using a silly voice for someone only hurts that person if they are self-important. If you are famous enough for people to make fun of you using a silly voice the response we are all looking for is that you laugh along with them (or politely smile if they actually aren’t funny). If you can’t do that, it reveals you to be humourless, and that’s one of the worst qualities you can possibly have if you want to be popular.