“If you repeat what Donald Trump says and negate it, and say no, and say it’s false, what you’re doing is strengthening that, because in your brain, the neurocircuits have to activate what you’re negating and that strengthens what you’re negating,” he said.
Trump understands the power of using a tweet or claim “to divert attention, ” and journalists can and should outsmart such tactics by giving as little airtime as possible to any false claims, Lakoff said.
A better tactic is for journalists to “frame” fact checking by immediately pointing out that “Trump is diverting attention from real issues … like his foreign policy, like his business connections and on and on.”
Journalists should “talk first about the truth, that he’s diverting attention from, the real issues,” Lakoff told Stelter. This approach results in “30 seconds” rather than “than all the time” spent on Trump, he said.