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Donald Trump subjected in court to the Streisand effect

Photo: Timothy A. Clary Getty Images via Agence France-Presse Donald Trump showed press clippings to the media as he left the Manhattan courthouse on April 18.

Fabien Deglise

Posted at 4:08 p.m. Updated at 4:15 p.m. Analysis

  • United States

The week has been difficult for Donald Trump, confronted with Stormy Daniels and her testimony in his trial for concealing a bribe which has been taking place for several days in New York. An expected moment which, with the salacious details of a sexual relationship recounted by the ex-star of X-rated films, also placed the ex-president face to face with the reality of a well-known perverse effect in the world of communications under the name of “Streisand effect”, an effect which often reveals itself when a public figure seeks to hide, with a little too much determination, an intimate or private part of their life.

“The efforts made to cover up the affair have just backfired,” summarizes Sue Curry Jansen, a professor at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, who has studied this phenomenon at length, in an interview. Not to mention that the recent testimony, in this same trial, of officials of the National Inquirer [a gossip magazine used by Trump to protect his 2016 electoral campaign] has made other stories also hidden or distorted to defend the interests of Donald Trump”, and which also risk fueling other Streisand effects.

US$50 million This is the amount claimed by Stormy Daniels from Donald Trump for violation of her privacy.

The concept has its origins in a court confrontation between Barbra Streisand and Silicon Valley billionaire environmentalist Ken Adelman in 2003. The famous American diva did not appreciate the online distribution of a photo at the time. aerial view of his Malibu coast estate by the activist, who was documenting the erosion of America's Pacific coastline.

However, by demanding 50 million dollars from him for violation of his privacy, and by demanding the removal of the only photo of his house taken from a corpus of 12,000 other photos of the west coast of the country taken by Adelman, Barbra Streisand especially attracted attention to this story and the photo. In the weeks following the announcement of the legal proceedings, the artist's domain was seen by more than 420,000 people, on a site that had until then been rather confidential. An unexpected result for her, amplified by online socialization, and which is now cited as an example in communication manuals…

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The Streisand effect appears to have materialized again during the trial of Donald Trump, accused of having concealed a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels during his 2016 election campaign to buy her silence about a past sexual relationship. However, it is the opposite that he has just received, the raw details of the affair having been brought to light, and under the weight of an oath, this week before a New York court.< /p>

The former porn actress was 27 years old at the time, the populist today the spokesperson for the American conservative extremist movement was 60. The two met in 2006 during of a celebrity golf tournament held in Lake Tahoe, California, where the studio Daniels worked for sponsored a hole on the course. Before the jury, Stormy Daniels spoke of a brief, consensual, but also “uncomfortable” sexual relationship and spoke of a moment guided by “an imbalance of power”. “I was ashamed of not having stopped it, of not having said no,” she confided.

Intimidate into silence

For Brian Martin, professor at the University of Wollongong who has dissected in several of his research this perverse effect of communication harvested by censors or those who aspire to become one, all the components were there to expose Donald Trump to the effect Streisand. “Concealment, denigration, reinterpretation and intimidation were used by [the ex-president] and his allies to obtain silence,” notes the academic contacted by Le Devoir in south-eastern Australia. These gestures, to which is also added the use of official channels in the hope of forcing the disappearance of a story, are often precursors of the unexpected consequence.

Nothing seems to change things among Donald Trump's unconditional supporters, who seem to accept his speech as a victim of political persecution

—Sue Curry Jansen

The intimidation continued on Tuesday in the court room. During Stormy Daniels' testimony, Judge Juan Merchan summoned one of the ex-president's lawyers to his bench to call his famous client to order. According to him, Trump had gestures and interactions with his defense team that could easily be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate the person sitting on the witness stand.

It is still very difficult to know what the consequences of this Streisand effect could be on American public opinion, “especially several months away” from the presidential election next November, notes Sue Curry Jansen. Especially since “nothing seems to change things among the unconditional supporters of Donald Trump, who seem to accept his speech as a victim of political persecution”.

« But some polls are starting to show that this trial could have a negative influence on him among independent voters,” she adds.

Tuesday, Donald Trump's former press secretary at the White House Sarah Matthews highlighted in broad strokes the age difference between the accused and the witness, at the time of the facts, which her former boss sought to keep away spotlights and which, all week, occupied an important place in a Manhattan courtroom. “I don’t know if this will help him win over the voters he’s going to need the most,” she said on CNN, “namely independents and women living in the suburbs…”< /p>

Ironically, Donald Trump will once again be able to complain about being the victim of the Democrats by suffering the Streisand effect. The concept is named after the Funny Girl who, in her memoir published last year, made no secret of her friendship with Bill Clinton and her liberal allegiances, y accused Trump of a “liar” and called on art and artists to speak out against “tyrants and dictators.” Among others.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116