I’ve only used this blog once before to vent some of my frustrations with the media, But I feel the time has come again.
I’ve never been a fan of Donald Trump. I find him pompous, the definition of a narcissist and whatever he says is almost always to build up the church of Donald Trump.
It’s a free country and he can say whatever he likes whether I or anyone appreciates it or not. What annoys me is the way the media caters to him and gives him a platform to spew whatever it is of the moment that’s on his mind. A few years ago that was the fake controversy regarding a Miss USA contestant most of us had never heard of. Then he used the press on a daily basis to publicly denigrate and say vile things to and about Rosie O’Donnell. Usually he inserts himself in the media more whenever a new season of his show premieres. I am actually stymied (call me naïve) that whenever he calls a press conference for his latest nonsense, with the barely camouflaged purpose of promoting himself, the press show up with their questions in tow to help him out. It’s not like it’s a revelation either that he tells lies. He was calling his show “the #1 show” for as long as it was on the air, even as it was tanking. (It had one season as what can be construed as a #1 show, that’s it).
What’s been incredibly sad with this latest episode and his claims against the President is that the origins of these claims are hateful and racist. When was the last time a President was asked to prove he’s an American citizen for this long? Or ever? Plus, these claims were refuted a while back and seemed to have quieted down. All of a sudden Trump had a new season of his show to promote so he teases he might be running for President and brings all these hateful issues up again. As I said, it’s a free country and he can say whatever he chooses. But it was incredibly dismaying to me, to see respectable members of our media giving him a platform to spew hate and not shut him down or GASP! just ignore him.
Meredith Vieira basically let herself be steamrolled by him. George Stephanopoulos actually continued to probe in his interview with him. But when Trump claimed he had investigators in Hawaii that could prove these fallacies, George rightfully followed up and asked what they had found. Trump belligerently said he’s not ready to divulge that and then like the bully he is, bellowed to George “Next Question”. I’m sorry, but in my humble opinion, that’s where George needed to say, “Sorry you’re not running this interview. The only way I can articulately describe Trump’s hubris and obnoxiousness in this exchange is “Chutzpah”. If I’m George, I’d be thinking and hopefully saying “You’re gonna come on my show, say a bunch of lies that have already been disproven and then dictate how I interview you? We are done here”. Yeah that’s how I would have liked the interview to play out. Like I said I’m incredibly naive.
But honestly, I really just wish the media stopped interviewing him and giving him a platform. This is where I think the media is complicit. You guys know these are lies, you know his M.O., you know he just wants to promote himself any way he can, why do you insist on rolling out the red carpet for him and in most cases let him call the shots? I honestly don’t get it. Are people getting big ratings bumps as a result of these interviews? It doesn’t seem like they are. So whatever happened to integrity?
Speaking of integrity, Oprah Winfrey is the last bastion of integrity in this biz, in my opinion. When Jerry Springer had his brief run atop the ratings charts with a show where people would come on and debase themselves and others, Oprah went into the opposite direction. Not only did she say “I’m not gonna do that”, but she said “I’m gonna make my show a force of good, it will be a show of self-help, of everyone living their best life”. She didn’t care if she took a ratings hit. In the long run of course, she won out. (Tangentially speaking, if you need any proof on why there is no one like Oprah and why she will be missed tremendously, check out yesterday’s interview with Michael Douglas where she asked all the necessary questions, but with grace, warmth, and sensitivity. )
I have to say, as a major fan of Oprah, I was a little dismayed to see her give a full hour of time to Trump earlier this year (which I have never watched and have zero interest in watching) and even reran the show a couple of weeks ago. To me, he is the antithesis of everything she espouses. I find it curious he didn’t start all this birther nonsense until after he did her show. I’d be really curious how it would have all worked out if he was booked to do Oprah’s show after this started. Oprah certainly would have grilled him properly on the subject, unlike many others.
Oprah has been airing celebrity testimonials in the last 5 minutes of her show the last few weeks and I imagine it will continue til her show ends May 25th. In most cases it’s famous people who have been on her show many times relating what they think is special about her and what will be missed. They are usually really touching. Well color me shocked because at the end of yesterday’s show she included one from Trump. Typical Trump, instead of just lauding Oprah he finds a way to make it about himself too.
Recently some well accomplished and intelligent celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and the great Robert DeNiro have either distanced themselves or criticized Trump for this latest behavior. So Trump responded the way a 4-year-old would. He said Jerry’s Show is terrible and Robert DeNiro isn’t the brightest bulb. Predictable, considering the source. Was this yet not enough for the media to realize that it’s beyond silly to give this any more attention? No, they fanned the flames instead and reported on the “feuds”.
To be fair, there are those that called Trump out for his horrible lies: Bill Maher, Lawrence O’Donnell (who was teriffic last night. Links below) and Anderson Cooper to name a few. But unfortunately they’re on the fringe of cable media and the major networks usually only helped his cause.
I was somewhat dismayed this morning when the President actually released his Birth certificate and gave a press conference on the subject, because it only gave credence to the race baiting and hateful stuff, Trump has been spewing this last month. (I love the way the President never said his name, though, and didn’t take questions from the press who would have undoubtedly brought it up). I think the President’s use of “Sideshows and Carnival Barkers” was an indictment of the media in addition to Trump. As usual (and predictable as ever) Trump found a way to make himself the victor here. Look I am unabashedly a liberal Democrat and my politics are way different from his, but I can’t imagine how any serious Republicans are not embarrassed by Trump. Has there ever been a person “running for president” with less humility who attacked a sitting President with such contempt and lack of respect? Oh and the latest B.S. where he questioned the President’s academic achievements in Harvard? Please, that’s just laughably absurd if it wasn’t horribly racist, and it should have been the breaking point where the media collectively said “Basta”, “Genug” or in if you prefer it in english – Enough!. Enough!” The Dixie Chicks career was ended for them because they said something about President Bush that when you line it up against the things Trump has said about President Obama, is incredibly benign.
I am rather surprised everyone today is starting to call out Trump as if the President releasing his Birth certificate changed anything. Trumps comments were as heinous, unfounded and racist yesterday too. We knew these allegations were false before today. This is where the media needs to change. Stop booking people just to create fireworks when you know there’s nothing legitimate coming from what he’s saying. There’s a guy on the corner of 34th st and 7th Ave yelling stuff all the time. I don’t see him being booked on every talk show. When is the media gonna stop? You can be an impartial and/or unbiased journalist and still tell someone you’re interviewing, “you’re full of BS and Hate” and I’m not gonna give you this platform anymore. It was actually encouraging to see ABCs CHief White House Correspondent, Jake Tapper tweet this to fellow media pundit, CNNs Howard Kurtz, this morning:“Too many in the media have treated this crap as if it’s subject for debate and not just a falsehood”. Hopefully a beginning.
To me, the way to deal with people like Donald Trump and Ann Coulter who love to say outrageous and hateful things just to sell their shows and/or books is to ignore them. Their kryptonite is lack of attention. I can only hope that’s how the media treats them and other people who spew hate, from here on out.
The Women of The View assessed this situation perfectly this morning:
Thu 4/27/11: Lawrence O’ Donnell who has been one of the most few consistent people calling Trump out did a great job on hos show last night: