Wednesday, June 01, 2016


So we know about Donald Trump's meltdown yesterday:
Donald Trump's criticism of the media has reached Nixonian levels -- only Trump isn't doing the name-calling in private. He's doing it right to reporters' faces.

On Tuesday, Trump pointed out ABC News reporter Tom Llamas and called him "a sleaze." Llamas' crime? Asking the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to explain why he had misled people about how much money he'd raised for veterans.

During his tirade about the press, he interrupted CNN's Jim Acosta who was asking Trump about his ability to deal with scrutiny, to say sarcastically, "Excuse me, excuse me. I've watched you on TV. You're a real beauty."
Hillary Clinton and her surrogates have come close to doing this, but I think sooner or later they should make an ad that intercuts outbursts like this with clips of the world on fire -- war, terrorism, riots -- to make the point that Trump's temperament creates the very real possibility that he'd blow up the planet in a fit of pique. It's not exactly what LBJ's campaign did with the famous "daisy" ad, but it fits the current circumstances.


Of course, Trump attacks the press because the press sits at his feet inviting attack. I know it's unimaginable, but in a better world, reporters would have just walked out when Trump started attacking the integrity of their colleagues. Trump's press conferences reveal his character, but we don't garner information from them. We watch the alpha male thrust and parry; it's good television, and that means it pays the bills, but it doesn't turn us into informed citizens. Nobody apart from the ratings-hungry media needs another Trump press conference; he'll never tell us the truth in any of them, and we see his personality elsewhere. So screw him -- reports, if he insults your integrity, tell him where he can stick his insults. Show some backbone.

That'll never happen, of course. New York Times media critic James Poniewozik reveals (unwittingly?) the real nature of the Trump-media relationship in this piece of commentary about the press conference:
And then there came the question about Harambe, because it is 2016, and this is what we do now: We ask the reality TV star who may become the leader of the free world how tough he would be on large zoo animals.

It was poetically fitting. For almost a year, Mr. Trump has been the 800-pound gorilla whose unpredictable rampages have obsessed the news media. Now he was completing the circle by commenting on the 400-pound gorilla who briefly stole the spotlight from him for one holiday weekend.

For the record, Mr. Trump said that he thought zoo officials had little choice but to shoot Harambe. But, he added: “There were moments with the gorilla, the way he held that child, it was almost like a mother with a baby. It looked so beautiful and calm. And then there were moments when it looked pretty dangerous.”

So it is with Mr. Trump and the news media, and their volatile symbiosis. Tuesday morning, he was in raging silverback mode, glowering, posturing and verbally dragging the press around his gilded Manhattan lair.

But viewed from another vantage point, it can look as if he were holding them very close.
Um, Poniewozik realizes what the press is in this metaphor, right? A helpless three-year-old boy separated from his mommy and at the mercy of an apex predator a strong, untamed beast who sometimes seems to be nurturing? Is that really how these people see themselves in relation to Trump?


Frank Wilhoit said...

No ads necessary. Just push him, harder and harder.

Unknown said...

We're seeing how thin-skinned Trump really is. Should be easy to push him over the edge.

Yastreblyansky said...


Unknown said...

My feelings in this are now that the General Election is almost here the TV ratings will be locked in. So no more kissing Trumps ring? Also if MSM smells Trumps blood in the water, as his skin showed yesterday, the attacks against trump could get very nasty. I really would not be surprised to see Trump on a podium with steel balls in his hand ala Bogey as capt Queeg in Caine Mutiny. I really think if MSM turns on him, which could very easily happen, he will have a meltdown of some kind. Right on TV.

Professor Fate said...

Oh I do hope you're right but I just keep getting the sick feeling that the press will make excuse after excuse for Trump or simply ignore the fact he's barking mad while at the same time attacking HRC for pointing out that Trump is barking mad. to use the abused wife metaphor they will be in full "don't you talk about my husband that way' to anyone who points out the ugly truth of their relationship.

Rand Careaga said...

A helpless three-year-old boy separated from his mommy and at the mercy of an apex predator...

I'm reasonably certain that you will look in vain for any reputable zoologist or wildlife biologist who'd describe a gorilla as an "apex predator."

Steve M. said...

I liked the sound of it, but I shouldn't have gone with it. Changed now.

KenRight said...

So if they did that what would be wrong with Trump running Hillary's orgasm at killing Khadaffi followed by scenes of Libyan anarchy followed by Iraqi and Syrian bloodflow?
Yeah, I'm probably overestimating the "isolationism" in Trump and his team-just like you're purposely underestimating Clinton's capacity for sociopathic
bloodletting for the Empire's war machine.

sdhays said...

@KenRight: There would be nothing "wrong" with Trump running such an ad, but at this point, Trump is clearly such a two-faced liar that I would half expect footage of Trump calling for the US to invade Libya days before the NATO action to surface if he tried. No matter what you believe about Trump's core foreign policy principles (you - and anyone else including me - are almost certainly wrong about them since they don't actually appear to exist), the idea that a Trump Presidency would be less violent than a Hillary Presidency seems extremely unlikely, just based on his temperament and ignorance alone.

But getting to the ad: that kind of ad is harder to run against a known entity like Hillary Clinton. You can run different, potentially devastating ads against her or someone like her, but she's mainstream and very much a known quantity. Her husband was President for 8 years, she was a Senator for 8 years, and she was President Obama's Secretary of State for 6 (?) years. She has been in the thick of it for a long time, for better or worse, so the idea that she's a dangerous unknown doesn't make sense.

Barry Goldwater was a back-bench Senator from Arizona - the hinterlands, especially back then - and he won in an upset, just as Trump is a rookie politician running who has taken most people completely by surprise. Trump embraces the crazy - his nasty mercurial nature is basically the special sauce that has gotten him this far - and Goldwater did too. That's why the Daisy ad was so devastating to Goldwater - it was a powerful illustration of the fears about the candidate that he had created about himself.

Trump is definitely susceptible to this type of attack, but the different media climate would likely dilute its impact. As a mainstream politician, even with poor foreign policy instincts, Hillary just isn't susceptible to this type of attack.