Donald Trump has managed once again to dominate the news cycle with a single tweet.

Early Tuesday morning, the president-elect mused on social media about how best to punish flag-burners, writing, “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!”

Journalists, commentators and politicians alike were quick to pounce on the story.

“[Donald Trump], what we are allowed to do is dictated by our God-given rights which are enshrined in the Constitution, not by you,” 2016 Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin said in response.

Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffery Goldberg asked of Trump’s remark, “And perhaps a little bit of waterboarding with your jail sentence?”

“The vast majority of Americans, myself included, find the burning of the flag offensive,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday. “But we have a responsibility as a country to carefully protect our rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.”

There has also been no shortage of media coverage for Trump’s tweet, as newsrooms, including the Hill, Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Huffington Post, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, have reported breathlessly on the president-elect’s early morning comments.

And all this for a 113-character tweet.

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“I think the worst thing he did was the tweet the other night about illegal votes,” Gingrich said Tuesday.

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It’s a tricky situation.

On the one hand, the president-elect just suggested imprisonment and revocation of citizenship for Americans who’ve chosen to exercise their First Amendment rights with a form of protected speech. That’s a legitimate news story!

On the other hand, however, the tweet is very likely an off-the-cuff remark from a 70-year-old man who had just been watching a segment on flag burning on “Fox and Friends.” How many times are we in media going to go through this, jumping to attention and tripping over one another to report on Trump’s (likely) flippant, off-handed remarks?

Yes, Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. But perhaps newsrooms and other Trump critics would be better off saving their energy and ammunition for when he actually rolls out objectionable policy proposals.

Trump used social media during the GOP primary and the general election like a snake charmer, distracting opponents and critics with foolish and oftentimes nonsensical commentary. If one is genuinely interested in acting as a check on the Trump administration, a good first step would be to avoid allowing oneself to become distracted by the incoming president’s online trolling.

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Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters Tuesday that he was “just so disappointed” by Trump’s decision.

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A hearing date will be set for before Trump takes office.

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