Monday, October 24, 2016


Margaret Sullivan of The Washington Post and Frank Bruni of The New York Times have written strikingly similar columns urging the media to cut Donald Trump loose after the election. Here's Sullivan:
American news organizations may complain of Trump Fatigue.

But whether or not we’ll admit it, we have a far worse condition: Trump Addiction. Combined with the candidate’s own need for attention, and his skill at keeping all eyes riveted on him, it’s going to be a hard habit to break....

Trump coverage ... seems obsessive, and smacks of codependency.

So here’s a modest proposal. If Trump loses on Nov. 8, let’s avert our addicted gaze.
And Bruni:
He is bound to lose the election, and we in the media will lose the rationale that his every utterance warrants notice as a glimpse into the character of a person in contention for the most consequential job in the world.

But he will remain the same attention-whoring, head-turning carnival act that he is today. And we will face a moment of truth: Do we care chiefly about promoting constructive discussion and protecting this blessed, beleaguered democracy of ours? Or are we more interested in groveling for eyeballs and clicks?

... if he remains catnip to readers and viewers? We should show some courage and restraint.

... we ... can’t roll over for him, the way we’ve sometimes done over the last 16 months, chronicling even those speeches and rallies that amounted to sales pitches for his properties and products. His reckoning comes on Nov. 8. Ours comes shortly after that.
How tempted will the press be to cover Trump as obsessively after the election as he's been covered during his campaign? I think he's going to have a loser label attached to him. I remember the media's obsession with Ross Perot's presidential candidacy in 1992, but when he finished a distant third, he lost his cachet. Perot, of course, went away more or less quietly, returning only for a NAFTA debate with Vice President Al Gore for which Gore was well prepared and Perot wasn't. But he was seen as a loser and a crank by then, rather than as a fascinating outsider leading a significant movement. He'd done a lot to advance the cause of deficit hawkery, but he was no longer a media star, because everybody loves a winner.

On the other hand, Sarah Palin lost in 2008 and managed to stay in the limelight for a while. Was it bad for America that Palin continued to find her way into the news, or at least the gossip columns? I don't think so. For a time during the 2008 campaign, and later during the peak of the Tea Party's influence, there were those who said that Palin represented the Real America. They thought she might have a real political future.

But we got to watch her stumble as she tried, fitfully, to remain a political force without ever learning anything about politics and government that didn't come from dubious conservative media sources. It became clear that she was a grifter who was more interested in media stardom than government, and she and her family made a mockery of the traditional values she claimed to espouse.

Palin has no remaining political credibility because we saw all that.

We should all watch Donald Trump stumble around in the wilderness after the election. We should watch as he fails to sue all the people he's threatened with lawsuits during the campaign, as he deals with multiple legal entanglements (Trump University, a rape charge), as he tries to salvage his heavily damaged businesses, as he tries to cope emotionally with the loss of an election and (probably worse for him) the loss of the regular injections of ego gratifications he's received on the campaign trail from adoring mobs. We need to see all that. A lot of Americans have made Trump into a demigod, and they need a close-up look at his feet so they can see the clay.

If the press ignores Trump after November 8, it will be that much easier to pretend that the Republican Party was never Trump's party, that it was all a bad dream, so we should welcome Paul Ryan and John McCain and Kelly Ayotte and the rest back into the community of responsible citizens. I suspect we'll have a problem along those lines even if Trump stays in the news -- the media continues to talk about McCain as an admirable gray eminence, and has never blamed him as much as he deserves to be blamed for foisting Palin on America. Similarly, I think every Republican who endorsed Trump without embracing him will be forgiven. Ryan will continue to be the media's golden boy. Ex-senator Ayotte will be on Sunday talk shows every other week to criticize President Clinton's foreign policy. There'll be no stigma.

I even think Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich will be rehabilitated. In the Acela Corridor, they're seen as good television, and they'll be fierce critics of the new president. That'll be all that matters.

But we certainly won't have a Trump reckoning if he's allowed to slip off the media radar. Fortunately, he'll insist that we keep watching him -- he can't give us up either. No, the press shouldn't continue to track him as obsessively as he's been tracked. But we should watch him fall.


Buford said...

I think Trump will not go quietly at all...Trump TV is going to be bad...I mean BAD as in a Russian propaganda outlet...Breitbart, and the rest of the campaign is going to exploit their carefully accepted base of internet connections...The Russian/Neo-Nazi groups in Europe will get a new voice in America, through Trump and his organization...This is why wikileaks has been chosen by the Russians...the close connection with the Trump campaign...we can call it what ever we want...I think this is sedition...but only time and keeping an eye on this will tell...

Victor said...

"Do we care chiefly about promoting constructive discussion and protecting this blessed, beleaguered democracy of ours? Or are we more interested in groveling for eyeballs and clicks?"

Ooooh, oooooooooh, OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!
Can I answer that, Mr. Kotter?

The vast majority of these media whores will grovel!!!
It's all they know how to do anymore.

Victor said...

According to "Seinfeld," Festivus is a (once fictional) one-day holiday, where the features are a bare aluminum pole, feats of strength, and, most important, and airing of grievances.

t-RUMP is now on his 16th month of his personal Festivus - sans the pole and any feats of strength.
All he knows, is the airing of grievances: HIS!!!

Let's visit just a few of the 500+ (approximate) days, and sing-along, to the melody of "The Twelve Days of Christmas:"
-On the 1st Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievance was Mexican immigrants...
-On the 2nd Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievances were Muslim immigrants; and Mexican immigrants.
-On the 3rd Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievances were Muslim immigrants as terrorists; and Mexican immigrants.

Jump to:
On the 100th Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievances were, POW's who can't be war heroes, because they were captured; and...

Forward to:
On the 150th Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievances were people who said he had teeny-tiny hands, meaning being thimble-dicked; and...

On to:
On the 175th Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievance were people who criticized him for saying Hillary got "schlonged'" and...

Much later:
On the 490th Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievances were that popping Tic-Tacs, sticking his tongue down women's throats, and grabbling by their pussy's, weren't anything he ever, EVAH, did - just boy's "locker-room" talk; and...

On the 500 Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, his grievance were that no one believes that NO ONE respects women like he does, and these lying women were lying, because they were far too ugly for t-RUMP to molest.

On the 503rd, 511th, and 518th Day's of t-RUMP's Festivus grievances were, the lying MSM who said he said he lost all three debates, no one asked Sean Hannity about Iraq, that nobody believed his favorite polls - the on-line-ones, and that the election was rigged; and...

Closer to the end of this week:
On the 519th Day of t-RUMP's Fesivus, his grievances were that none of the Archbishops, Cardinals, Priests, and others at the Al Smith Dinner-Charity had a sense of humor; and...

And yesterday:
On the 520th Day of t-RUMP's Festivus, at the "hollowed ground" of Gettysburg, his grievance were the skanky ho's who accused him of sexual misconduct, and he was surely going to sue all of them after Election Day; and...

And coming soon:
On Election Day, t-RUMP"s Festivus grievances will be,no one believes that elections were rigged, the lying media who won't admit it, and that he is being accused by everyone for the violence his t-RUMP-a-loon-pa's are wreaking in minority neighborhoods; and...

And on the day after Election Day, t-RUMP's grievance will be, no one gives a flying pussy-grab or shit about him not conceding the election results, because Hillary got close to 400 electoral voted,; and...

And a week after that, tRUMP's Fetivus grievances are, no one will want him on TV - except Sean Hannity (and, of course, Sean may be on t-RUMP TV, so t-RUMP can continue to spew poo there) - and everyone who's anyone in NYC and DC will consider him a pariah, and no one will want to hear anything from him.

Jimbo said...

While the establishment Republicans will continue to populate the Sunday Shows (that fewer and fewer people watch anymore since they've been so degraded and alternative news and opinion sources have increased), I doubt that the really outrageous hacks like Giuliani, Newt, Hucksterbee and others will be much welcome since they're such ridiculous liars. Also "Trump TV" will just be a segment of online Breitbart News not an actual network.

Dr.BDH said...

Shorter Sullivan/Bruni: "We built Trump up with free air time, then he exposed himself as the asshole New Yorkers always knew him to be, so let's pretend he doesn't exist now."

dSmith said...

My guess is Trump will be too busy with the lawsuits, criminal charges and the damage done to his businesses to be much of a media presence. Breitbart will try to expand its presence with more streaming video. Beck and Palin have failed tv channels nothing I've seen of Trump makes me think he'll succeed where they didn't.

jsrtheta said...

dSmith has it pegged. Trump will fall, and good riddance. The Trump U. case will get coverage, especially if he loses. The rape trial has puttered along under the radar, and, barring some outrageous outcome, will sink. It's a civil suit, and no one really is following it. Plus, it's ugly, and once the video came out, it showed Trump was ugly, and no one likes ugly.

Trump has done Yuuuuuggggge! damage to his businesses and his own brand. He will not have the social life he had previously, because people will just not invite him anywhere. (Chelsea was ahead of the curve here.)

As for Trump TV? Nah. Look at who has been running his campaign. David Bossie: Clinton obsessive and proven loser. Kellyanne Conway: Probably the brightest of the bunch, but way out of her depth. Steve Bannon: Horrifically bad filmmaker, host of cheesy racist website, wife-beater, and mega-dick. Used up his 15 minutes months ago. Who will invest in this bunch? Put better, would you put your money into anything with Trump in the name? Please.

Come December, it will be like, "'Alt-right'? Wasn't that a thing once?"

Procopius said...

"And we will face a moment of truth: Do we care chiefly about promoting constructive discussion and protecting this blessed, beleaguered democracy of ours? Or are we more interested in groveling for eyeballs and clicks?" What a silly question. When radio was new the networks were developed because there was money to be made from reporting real news, events happening locally and around the world. Then they realized the money was in exciting events. Then they realized the money was in attention-grabbing events and they didn't even have to be real. Then other people realized that they could annonce events and get attention to them, and other people realized they could sell things over the air and still other people realized they could use subtle techniques to make people think they needed stuff. It's been a long time since the MSM cared about truth or accuracy. There are six corporations that own 95% of the media because of THE MONEY. Truth, honor, and the American Way of Life™ are from the 1930s.

@Buford - If you think Russian propaganda outlets are something to worry about you've been completely fooled by the Democratic National Committee. The "17 agencies of the Intelligence Community" were very careful to word their statement to NOT say they had any evidence that the hacking is by the Russians.

jsrtheta said...

@Roger: Gee, I don't know, but this looks like evidence to me: