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5 Reasons Why You Should Read Trump’s Transcripts Instead of Watching Him

Read beyond the Tweets

By Hannah Harkness 

I’m what people call a Luddite. I’m shitty with technology. I’m not a snob who thinks not watching TV makes you better than other people, it’s just really not my thing. I genuinely don’t remember the last time I had a working TV and my laptops have a tendency to malfunction. So to keep up with the trash fire that we called an election, and it’s current administration, I’ve been reading the transcripts of everything that goes on.

After a long time of doing this and comparing notes with people who don’t, I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of really great benefits to reading Trump instead of watching Trump.

Here’s 5:

1.) You’re missing some really insane shit

Seriously, it makes no sense. Via this site

Some of the sentences I see pop up in these transcripts are what I’ve come to call “Trump B-Sides”. People get caught up in the sensational stuff he said and the media will pull choice soundbites, but even if you are listening to the entire broadcast you might not pick up on some really crazy shit the transcribers caught. My favorite is definitely from the 2/16/2017 White House Press Conference

“But if you go – as an example, you’re CNN, I mean it’s story after story after story is bad. I won. I won. And the other thing, chaos because zero chaos.”

I can’t even get on his case too much about that last fragment, I’m pretty sure I’ve spit out something on that level or worse during drunk rants about existentialism in college. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a crazy thing to have wobbled out of his mouth during a press conference, and I would have missed the joy of discussing it if I hadn’t read the transcript.

2.) It messes with his ratings.

Don’t give him the ratings. Read instead.

The guy cares a lot about ratings. At one point he actually bragged that he had better ratings than the 9/11 terrorist attacks. If you’re not a fan of his, don’t help him with those. You can get the same info by reading the transcript. Take this one with a grain of salt though it’s likely that your household isn’t participating in the stats used to determine ratings. You don’t get to pat yourself on the back for this one unless you let the people at Nielsen record your numbers

3.) For the sake of the transcribers

Courtesy Warner Brothers Television

This isn’t really about Trump so much as it’s about recognizing the efforts of the hard-working Americans tasked with transcribing Trump. This is an insane job. I first realized that this was probably an issue when I read the transcript of the AP interview after Trump’s first 100 days. The AP commented in the intro that there were higher than usual instances of having to label part of the transcript “unintelligible”Scroll through the transcript for the “unintelligible” ellipses and you’ll see what I mean.

You might have missed how many times this happened if you watched the interview because, well, it was unintelligible.  CNBC ran an article on the topic of how difficult it is for journalists to not just analyze what he says, but get the source material right in the first place because of the bizarre stream of consciousness way in which he talksElizabeth Pennell, president of ASC Services, which produces verbatim political transcripts for Congressional Quarterly and many of the news networks stated in this article “Almost every time we have done a transcript of him there is something in there that makes you wonder what is going on“.

If you speak any additional languages, you should defiantly read the translations. Translators are tasked with not only getting what he said right but somehow translating that into languages that can’t follow the way he structures his sentences. It’s driving translators insane. So let’s do a service to these brave transcribing soldiers and read their work.

 4.) You get to look at something way easier to look at than Trump

Okay, I’m not saying you have to be good looking to govern effectively. Your appearance has nothing to do with your ability to run a country or most other things and people shouldn’t shame you for it. Also, for the record, the lion’s share of US presidents are horse face ugly. This picture of Martin Van Buren almost made me throw up in my mouth.  That being said, this is an article about the advantages of the transcripts over watching him. So would you rather take all this news in while looking at his terrible ill-fitting suit, shitty hair, and bloated orange face? Or while occasionally taking breaks to look up at a sunset, kittens, your children, pictures of Kat Dennings, Chris Hemsworth’s abs, or virtually anything else? I know my answer.

 5.) It’s legitimately a better way to process what he said and stay informed

Reading Trump’s words makes him easier to try and understand. Pic via this website

Echoing the concerns of the translators, he’s a difficult man to understand. But it’s really important to be able to understand him as much as possible if you’re trying to form your own opinions and not just bark back the soundbites du jour into internet comment fights. There are a lot of dicey news sites around, so it’s helpful for you to go to the source material instead of taking the word of whatever article your friend just shared for likes. Taking the time to read the transcripts gives you a clearer idea of when he contradicts himself and gives you more time to re-read and process things that he’s said and really take in the meaning of everything.

Unless you are stopping and rewinding the broadcasts when something doesn’t make sense, it’s likely you are missing things. Don’t miss things. Hug your local transcriber.

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  • Yes reading Trump is better than looking at him! You should move that one higher in the list. It’s interesting reading movie subtitles too because even background chatter is transcribed.