Thursday, October 15, 2015


So you're a candidate who's gotten in a bit of hot water because of offensive statements you've made about women. You need to soften your image -- and your wife shuns the spotlight. But your daughter is willing to sugar-coat the story of your dealings with women. But will the press cooperate? If you spoon-feed a soft story to the media about your daughter's support for you (and prominent place in your corporate empire), will the press run it pretty much the way you want it run?

Of course. The press is happy to oblige.

On the campaign, Ivanka Trump, who grew up playing in her father’s office, is his most influential adviser, his de facto first lady in waiting and his character foil: the cautious, measured power behind the striving, showy candidate. She was the first person Trump mentioned by name when Sean Hannity asked in August, “Is there anyone close to you that you count on most?” and the member of his inner circle whom he consulted during the Megyn Kelly imbroglio. And when Trump announced his candidacy in June, it was Ivanka who introduced her father, while his wife, the former Melania Knauss -- a less public person save for her sometimes racy work as a fashion model -- stood in the background. As the crowd cheered, the candidate’s daughter flashed a telegenic style that is more polished than her father’s blend of Archie Bunker and Jay Gatsby and far more self-assured. She is the softer, more refined side of the Trump brand and an antidote to the candidate’s abrasiveness.
This article may not read exactly as if it were dictated by minions in Trump's own offices -- to a large extent, Ivanka comes off as far more mature than her father. But if Trump is trying to soften his image as a sexist, a story depicting Ivanka as strong, capable, and trusted by her father is very likely to undercut the sexism narrative for a lot of wary female voters.

And this is the second Ivanka story at Politico in two days. (The first is here.) There's also an story at CNN in which Ivanka gets out all the talking points:
Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, dismissed the criticism that her father has faced over controversial comments he's made about women and their looks on Wednesday.

The executive vice president at the Trump Organization said she believes those controversies were driven by "sensationalism" and "orchestrated largely by the media."

"Look, my father is very blunt. He's very direct. He is not gender specific in his criticism of people, and people that he doesn't particularly like or people that he does like but thinks they're wrong on a particular issue," she said in an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow. "So I don't think that he's gender-targeted at all. Like I said, I wouldn't be the person I am today, I wouldn't be a high-level executive within his organization if he felt that way."

... His daughter added that her dad will be "amazing" and "incredible for women in this country."
Meanwhile, over at Yahoo News, Lisa Belkin gives us this bit of spoon-fed Trump propaganda:
What’s up with Donald Trump and ‘the women’? Not what you might think.

Donald Trump grinned out from the cover of Savvy Woman magazine in November of 1989 flanked by three women wearing big shoulder pads, high collars and plenty of kohl eyeliner.

“Trump’s Top Women,” the headline read. And the subhead: “Surprise! Mr. Macho’s Inner Circle Isn’t An All-Boys’ Club.”

Surprise indeed.

... While he’s spent his whole career saying things that are arguably sexist, like “You wouldn’t have your job if you weren’t beautiful,” and things that are seemingly patronizing, like “I cherish women,” and “I will be phenomenal to the women,” Trump has consistently hired women for positions of real power in his organization and been darned proud of doing so.

As he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week”: “I’ve had such an amazing relationship with women in business. They are amazing executives. They are killers.”
And on the subject of Trump's boorishness in general, check out the introduction to this NBC Nightly News segment, and also the chat between interviewer Katy Tur and anchorman Lester Holt at the end of the segment:

In his introduction to the piece, Holt says:
HOLT: ... what might get the most attention is the noticeably different tone from Trump today that could signal a shift in strategy for his campaign going forward.
And at the end:
TUR: ... gosh, what a different Donald Trump! Calmer, less combative -- dare I say it, almost like a politician.

HOLT: Well, certainly more reflective.
In the interview, Trump is more soft-spoken, but he's basically Trump -- criticizing Hillary Clinton's Cabinet tenure and calling Bernie Sanders a loser without using the word "loser." But he clearly wants to reposition himself as a mellow, reflective guy -- and NBC is right there to help him do that. Yes, Holt says it's strategic, and Tur says it's what an ordinary politician does -- but Tur's "gosh" says it all: She didn't think he had this in him. She's impressed.

Trump is trying to hold his angry base while expanding his reach -- and the press is right there with him, making sure he has every opportunity to execute his new strategy. Because that's what our political press does.


W. Hackwhacker said...

NBC Entertainment's also going all-out on the Trump makeover: he's hosting Saturday Night Live this week.

W. Hackwhacker said...

Sorry, Trump's hosting on Nov. 7...

Glennis said...

As long as you're young, white and pretty, you're OK with Trump.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how "candidate's daughter likes him" could possibly be a compelling political story. And yet Big Media is so absurd they've decided it must be one.

Never Ben Better said...

Huh. They're realizing that he just might could possibly be the GOP candidate after all, not just an amusing flash in the pan. Hell, he could even become President! So now they have a choice -- cover him as what he really is, a bloviating, shallow, narrow-minded, unfit-for-the-office clown who nevertheless is the epitome of the modern GOP; or remake his public image into something acceptable for the upcoming political coverage they're busy creating the narrative for.

Well, when you put it like that, the choice is clear, isn't it?